She may be an Oscar-winning actress, but Cate Blanchett tells ABC News that her life wasn’t always so high profile.
Fresh out of high school, the Australian-born beauty spent time working in a retirement home, which believe it or not, she adored.
“I worked in an old folks home,” said Blanchett, 44. “I had to cook the meals, present them and clear up, and I absolutely loved that job.”
“The Aviator” star reminisced to ABC about her past as part of a comparison to a job as a dentist’s secretary in her new film, “Blue Jasmine,” written and directed by the legendary Woody Allen.
In the film, Blanchett’s Jasmine hits rock bottom after her husband (Alec Baldwin) is caught pulling a Bernie Madoff type financial scheme.
“There’s thousands of women like her that have fallen from grace in recent years, whose identity is being built and structured around their partner, their social standing, their economic standing and all that’s gone, so they have to ask themselves, “Who am I?”" Blanchett said.
Cate, who’s starred opposite the likes of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, lives a quiet life with her playwright husband Andrew Upton and their three sons. She says she is much more of a realist than Jasmine.
To prepare to play the formerly pampered socialite, Blanchett resorted to the time-tested tactic of people watching in New York City, while in town performing.
“I hung out at a few restaurants and listened in to a few conversations,” she admits. “I happened to be in New York, performing in a production of ‘Uncle Vanya’ for two weeks before we started shooting, so I spent my days prowling around Gucci and Prada and Jimmy Choo just checking people out.”
She also followed the Madoff case, Ruth Madoff specifically, but said she didn’t base the character off anyone in particular.
“I think there’s a lot of people who live in a fantasy world rather than look reality in the cold hard light of day,” she said. “It’s often an easier, more pleasant choice.”
As for her high profile, yet sometimes volatile co-star Alec Baldwin?
“Alec was fabulous,” “The Hobbit” star said. “I absolutely loved working with him. He’s so smart, incredibly talented … He was incredibly playful and really generous.”
“Blue Jasmine” hits theaters on July 26.