[1] - imdb.com

[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Jasmine

[3] - http://bostonherald.com/entertainment/movies/movie_news/2013/08/cate_blanchett_answers_woody_allen_s_call_to_star_in_jasmine

[4] - http://www.kqed.org/arts/movies/article.jsp?essid=124365

[5] - http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57595139/cate-blanchett-said-yes-to-woody-allen-blue-jasmine-before-reading-script/

[6] - http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/cate-blanchett-worried-shed-be-dumped-from-woody-allen-film-20130724-2qi97.html

[7] - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/fashion/woody-allen-skips-his-films-premiere-party.html?_r=1&

[8] -http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/doug-elfman/woody-allen-took-dicemans-advice

[9] - http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/woody-allen-standup-guy/

[10] - http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/the-reel-breakdown/q-cate-blanchett-sniffs-blue-jasmine-oscar-210930019.html

[11] - http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=819997

[12] - http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/i-really-dont-care-after-that-twitter-scandal-actor-alec-baldwin-discusses-fatherhood-working-with-woody-allen-and-being-in-the-public-eye-8714563.html

[13] - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578607641655807484.html

[14] - http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/25/artists-with-depression_n_1451512.html

[15] - http://www.people.vcu.edu/~djbromle/modern04/paulh/

[16] - http://www.npr.org/2013/07/26/205522871/blue-rhapsodies-woody-allen-in-need-of-new-tricks

[17] - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2430992/Woody-Allen-gave-Cate-Blanchett-wardrobe-responsibility-Blue-Jasmine.html

-Limited release on July 26, 2013; Released wide: August 23, 2013

-Budget: [Not yet released] Gross: $9.4 Million (as of 8/18/13)

-Runtime: 98 min

-Production Company: Perdido Productions

-Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics (6th collaboration)

-Rated PG-13

-Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1

-The relationship between mental health and artistic creativity has long been a subject of debate. From Picasso's 'blue period' to Tracey Emin's unmade bed, the manifestations of depression have been evident in the work of some of the most prominent and celebrated artists in history. [14]

 

-It was believed that Picasso was merely inspired (or uninspired depending on your take) by his living situation, as well as being unrecognized and in extreme poverty. One of his closest friends Sabartés wrote, “Picasso believed Art to [be] the son of Sadness and Suffering…that sadness lent itself to meditation and that suffering was fundamental to life…If we demand sincerity of an artist, we must remember that sincerity is not to be found outside the realm of grief.” [15]

 

-If depression defines a blue period, then the mid-90's during his legal troubles the would have been presumably the period when he was most depressed. Yet during that time, nobody spoke about a blue period. [WAW]

 

-If a blue period is defined as quality of creative output (both good and bad), the first decade of the new millennium could be defined as Woody's blue period. First half was considered sub-standard and the second half to now, could be viewed as a creative rebirth. [WAW]

 

-But here it is in 2013 and Woody names his new film Blue Jasmine. Of course in his head, the title probably has more to do with the tone and subject matter of the film more than his own artist tendency. Yet the viewer has every right to ask, "Is this Woody's Blue Period?" [WAW]

 

-Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is the darkest, toughest, grimmest film the prolific writer-director has made in years. Where his Oscar-winning "Midnight in Paris" two years ago was light on its feet, "Blue Jasmine" trudges through the emotional wreckage left behind as a self-centered, Upper East Side society wife loses everything when her Bernie Madoff-style husband is sent to prison for defrauding his investors. [11]

"Blue Jasmine" Screening Companion

A Streetcar Named Similarity

 

Cate Blanchett: ""Streetcar" was a while ago, there was never any discussion with Woody about that at all. Obviously, there are parallels in the set-up. Jasmine is a grand character and she’s deluded. Also, the fact that Jasmine has difficulty navigating the fine line between reality and fantasy, the world is too horrifying and her social shame, that’s something that she and Blanche share. But the way this story unfolds is very contemporary. It has the rhythm and tone of a Woody film. To try to overlay one character over the other would be futile." [9]

 

-I don't think Allen identifies with Jasmine the way Tennessee Williams did with Blanche. He clearly hates her. She didn't know her husband was defrauding investors, but only because she didn't want to — not with shopping and Pilates and all those charity events. Calamity hasn't made her a better person. [16]

 

-That Blanchett played Blanche DuBois onstage is a mixed blessing. I found her too theatrical, too external: I wanted a grittier actress. But Blanchett does carry scenes that would trip up a less able performer, and she's a terrific physical comedian. [16]

 

The Cate Blanchett factor

 

-Woody Allen called Cate Blanchett with a “Blue Jasmine” role he’d written specifically for her, the two-time Oscar winner wasn’t about to say no. [3]

 

-Blanchett said yes to the role even without reading the script. [5]

 

-Cate Blanchett: "I'd given up hope [getting the chance to work with Woody]. So many people I'd known had worked with him, and I thought, "Well, not every filmmaker's interested in every actress," so I kind of accepted it. I was very surprised when I got the call. [laughs] It was a very short call -- about two-and-a-half minutes. He said he was interested in sending me a script, and was I interested in reading it? And I said, "Yes, of course, Mr. Allen." He sent it and asked me to give him a call when I read it. I read it straight away, of course, and it was an incredible opportunity, of course. So I called him back and we spoke for about 45 seconds. I said, "I'd like to do it," and he said, "Great, I'll see you in San Francisco." [11]

 

-Cate Blanchett: “That’s why I loved working with Woody. With Woody you’re always aware of the audience and that’s what you really get onstage. Whether it’s who he is or it comes from the long hours he’s spent strutting the stage doing stand-up, he understands when an audience is with you and when they’re not with you.” So Allen might say after a take, “That pause was too long for the audience.” [3]

 

-Working on Woody Allen's new movie Blue Jasmine was a real test for Cate Blanchett - because she was convinced she was about to get fired throughout the shoot. "You just assume he's (Allen) going to fire you and then you make day 13 and you're doing well and you make day 20, you make the end of the movie." [6]

 

-Cate Blanchett: "So I'd ask him questions, and he'd answer them. Sometimes he'd think the questions were stupid and useless, so he'd give a short answer. And sometimes he'd indulge me. The wonderful, refreshing thing about working with him is that there's not an ounce of preciousness. He simultaneously cares deeply and doesn't care at all. He's making his summer movie, and next year he'll make another summer movie. So there's a kind of restlessness and impatience to the atmosphere on set, which means that the actors haven't got any time to be navel-gazing or to be too precious." [11]

 

-I knew that you only get one or two takes but eight takes later, I looked over at the monitor and he was smacking his head. And he came over and said to me, "It's awful. It's awful. You look like an actor saying my lines, I don't believe a thing you're saying, it's awful." He was shaking his head in disbelief, like a rabbi. And Peter and I just burst out laughing. Ultimately, we cut that scene. He rewrote it and made it much shorter in a different location.  So it was partly he didn't like what we were doing, and partly he didn't like the location, and he felt the scene was too labored. So you can't take it personally. In a way, that made me feel very safe. He'll absolutely come and say, in the most brutal, frank, direct way, when something's not working. So when he didn't say anything, you knew that either he had to go to dinner or you were doing OK. [11]

 

-Cate Blanchett: "[In preparing for the role] I did a lot of people watching. I drank my fair share of rosé. In the end I had to play the anti-heroine that Woody's written, but of course I thought about the Madoff scandal, because that's the holocaust of the financial crisis. And there are many, many women like that. I followed them like everybody else did, but as an actress you go back and you're slightly more forensic about those relationships. So yeah, I hoovered up all those stories.  Also, I wanted to chart out her course. She breaks so many times, but I wanted her to break in different ways depending on what particular cocktail she was on or what was the specific fear or moment of guilt that was spiking up. [11]

 

-After spending all those years "in the comedy coal-mine" of 30 Rock, Baldwin admits that he "hadn't been around the dramatic actresses of that level for quite a while. And Woody really put her through the machine, because she's so talented. Take after take after take of very exhaustive, emotional scenes. I sat there at the end of the day and thought, 'She is unbelievable.'" [12]

 

-Bette Midler on Twitter: "Cate Blanchett gives the performance of her life in #BlueJasmine. A must-see. Good for her!"

Rolling the casting dice

 

-Louis C.K. originally auditioned for the part played by Andrew Dice Clay. Woody Allen felt that C.K. was too nice to play the role and offered him another part. [1]

 

-Woody Allen: "We had a hard time finding someone to play the Andrew Dice Clay role. One person was too old, one person was a little too mafia, one person had something else wrong. We couldn’t find anybody. Years ago I had seen Andrew Dice Clay do his standup act on television for a few minutes, and I thought, this guy would be a very good character for a movie. It’s a good bet that comedians can act. The other way around doesn’t work so much. If you see Marlon Brando or the greatest dramatic actors, they can’t always do comedy." [9]

 

-"I was doing Westbury Music Fair out in Long Island," [Andrew Dice] Clay explains. "I was packed up, ready to go back to L.A., and I got a call from my manager Bruce Rubenstein. He goes, 'Look, stay in New York, I want you to meet with Woody Allen. He thinks you're right for a part in his movie.' I'm like, 'You're kidding, right? Woody Allen wants me in his movie?' If he had said Scorsese, I would get it." [13]

 

-Mr. Allen apparently had Mr. Clay stowed in his mind for years. "I saw him as a stand-up comedian, and I've always thought he would be great," Mr. Allen said via email from a film location in Europe. "I have great confidence in the ability of comedians." [13]

 

-So they invited Mr. Clay to audition. "He just walks in, and he's the guy," Ms. [Juliet] Taylor recalls. "It's all kind of on-the-natch. His acting was just on-target effortless. He didn't try to act too much. He just was. He was exactly what the part called for." [13]

 

-When Woody was having issues directing a scene inside a moving limo within traffic and changing sunlight, a frustrated Clay said to director, "Woody, this isn’t working." Clay suggested shooting the scene on a pier which offered more reliable sunlight. Woody took him up on the suggestion. [8]

Trivia

 

-Bradley Cooper was considered for a role but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. [1]

 

-The third Woody Allen film in which Alec Baldwin has been cast. [1]

-Woody skipped Blue Jasmine's premiere because he was in France shooting his next film. [7]

 

-Woody Allen's third film with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, after Manhattan and Anything Else. Unlike those films, which were shot with anamorphic lenses, this was shot with spherical lenses in Super 35.

 

-The picture was filmed in 2012 in New York City and San Francisco. [2]

It was Allen's "best-ever opening per-screen average" and the year's highest per-screen average. [2]

 

-Woody left the hefty responsibility of Blanchett's character's meticulously groomed wardrobe in her hands. With the help of costume designer Suzy Bezinger, the 44-year-old actress said she crafted the disgraced Manhattan socialite, Jasmine, because Allen has 'no interest or understanding' in his characters' aesthetic. "He's been wearing the same Ralph Lauren sweatpants and T-shirt for the last 20 years and doesn't understand why anyone would change their wardrobe according to their mood, or how they want to present themselves,' she told Vogue UK. 'He just doesn't get it." [17]

 

-Much of Jasmine’s refined clothing was one-of-a-kind items on loan from leading designers, including Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Fendi; Roger Vivier custom made the shoes. [17]

Critical Reception

 

-Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "Want to see great acting, from comic to tragic and every electrifying stop in between? See Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen, in rare form, puts Blanchett front and center in this hommage to Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, spinning hilarious but mostly harsh truths about love in the time of financial cholera. That'd be now."

 

-Rex Reed of The New York Observer wrote: "I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: even on an off day, Woody Allen is better than everyone else on Sunday. But Blue Jasmine is not Woody between triumphs. This is the first-class work of a great talent at the top of his game, cooking on four burners with resolve and focus...Richly chronicled characters, sharp dialogue and that stupendous centerpiece performance by Cate Blanchett are contributing factors in the best summer movie of 2013 and one of the most memorable Woody Allen movies ever."

 

-Jon Brooks of KQED wrote: "What didn't I like about it? Stilted dialogue, lazy camera set-ups, inconsistent tone, generalized performances, reams of exposition, and the explicit, heavy-handed depiction of every emotion and beat. One of Allen's favorite ploys in recent films is to have characters divulge their entire psychological history at the drop of a hat. In Blue Jasmine, there's an ostensible reason for it: The lead character is having a mental breakdown. But it's also a way of justifying lazy storytelling, the revealing of backstory in the most expedient way possible. And while Cate Blanchett's performance features much to admire, I didn't think she was able to rise above the pedestrian nature of Allen's highly theatrical dialogue." [4]

 

-David Edelstein of NPR wrote: "I'm amazed he makes films like Blue Jasmine seem fresh and lively when he works in such a closed creative ecosystem — in which no music seems to have penetrated his consciousness in any meaningful way since the jazz of the '50s, no theater since early Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, and no movies since Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers in 1972. He continues to refine his technique. His movies are lighter, leaner, more fluid. Blue Jasmine is sour and derivative, but he sells it beautifully. [16]

 

-David Denby of The New Yorker stated that "in all, this is the strongest, most resonant movie Woody Allen has made in years. [2]

 

-89% Rotten Tomatoes rating [as of 8/20/13]

 

Review Headlines

 

-Woody Allen is back, and in form, in 'Blue Jasmine' - Philly.com

 

-Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' is a sharp-fanged, serious comedy with heft (A-) -Dallas Morning News

 

-'Blue Jasmine' is Woody Allen at his sharpest -Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

-Magnificent 'Blue Jasmine' is Oscar bait for Woody Allen -The Detroit News

 

-'Jasmine' is one of Woody's best -Boston Herald

 

-'Blue Jasmine' is a dark victory for Cate Blanchett and Woody Allen - Detroit Free Press

 

-Blanchett captivates in Woody Allen’s searingly beautiful ‘Blue Jasmine’ -Sacramento Bee

 

-Blanchett comes undone brilliantly -Denver Post

 

-'Blue Jasmine' is another Woody Allen classic -Blue Springs Examiner

 

-Blue Jasmine is the best Woody Allen film in years -Diamondback Online

 

-Annie get your coat: Woody's new girl is Oscar-bound -The Copenhagen Post