When Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench co-starred in last year’s drama “Notes on a Scandal,” their off-camera conversations naturally turned to Queen Elizabeth I, a role each has played.
They didn’t chat about the grand legacy of the long-reigning monarch, though. According to Blanchett, they spoke of stench and halitosis.
“I think we talked sort of generally about how smelly Elizabethan England would have been,” Blanchett told The Associated Press in an interview. “We did talk about the smell and how bad everyone’s breath would have been.”
Blanchett, 38, shot to stardom in 1998’s “Elizabeth.” She reprises the role in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” which opens Friday and centers on the queen’s dalliance with the dashing Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) amid a holy war Catholic Spain wages on Protestant England in the late 16th century.
The 1998 film earned a best-actress Academy Award nomination for Blanchett, who later won the supporting-actress prize for “The Aviator.” Dench won the supporting-actress Oscar for playing the queen in “Shakespeare in Love,” released the same year “Elizabeth” came out.
Blanchett recalled that while she initially had been reluctant to revisit the character, “Elizabeth” director Shekhar Kapur always seemed to have a second film in mind.
“He literally started talking about it the minute we wrapped. I honestly thought he was joking,” Blanchett said. “So I didn’t really pay it much mind. Then over the years, he just kept returning to the idea, and I thought, he’s not simply being provocative. He actually believes there’s something more that we could say.”
The story of Elizabeth may not be over for Blanchett and Kapur. At a recent question-and-answer session with an audience after an advance screening of “The Golden Age,” Blanchett again expressed reluctance about a third chapter.
But the crowd clapped heartily when Kapur raised the idea.
“I keep saying that, because the more people applaud, the more she will be persuaded,” Kapur said.