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Cate Blanchett has a very reasonable explanation for why she's in the Borderlands movie

It wasn't the big paycheck.

Cate Blanchett as Lilith in Borderlands
Image credit: Lionsgate

The long-in-the-works Borderlands movie packs an impressive all-star main cast which includes Jack Black and Kevin Hart, but the biggest surprise was Cate Blanchett as the lead. How did that happen?

During an interview for Empire, the actress, who's done a bit of everything (including The Lord of the Rings and Marvel) over the years, revealed what really got her into Eli Roth's Borderlands, and the answer is a bit surprising.

"The crazy asks are usually the things I gravitate towards; the things I could never conceive of," she explained, potentially justifying why she's taken on lighter roles such as Thor: Ragnarok's Hela or The House with a Clock in its Walls' Florence Zimmerman. She continued: "I think there also may have been a little Covid madness — I was spending a lot of time in the garden, using the chainsaw a little too freely. My husband said, 'This film could save your life.'" Her answer is both funny and intriguing, and one has to wonder how much the Covid lockdown and all the following Hollywood slowdown really affected her.

Money definitely helps in those cases, especially when studios are hoping to launch a new movie franchise and need eyes on their projects, but Blanchett is a veteran, and someone whose streak of big-screen wins never really ended. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi once revealed the main reason why she took on the role of the titular hero's evil older sister was that she thought her children would enjoy it: "She was very into doing something that would make her kids think she’s cool... I would also do stuff for that reason." In the case of Borderlands, however, we're looking at a far more adult affair despite its colorful nature, so we're guessing she simply wanted to get out of her comfort zone again.

Her preparation for the role included a deep dive into all things Borderlands, though we don't think she played through the entire game series: "My thumbs can barely control a phone, but I bought a PS5 and we played each other... I wanted to know the limits of the game and what fans loved about the character. I got really absorbed in that whole world. The cosplayers. The YouTube make-up tutorials." Who knows, maybe you matched online with Blanchett's Lilith and didn't know it was her.

Borderlands, who's gone through a lot of reshoots - with Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate's Tim Miller - on its way to the big screen, will finally release on August 9, 2024. Are you optimistic about it or bracing for the worst?

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