We discussed levels of accent. When she came she said, Look, I looked at some pictures of Katharine Hepburn and theres a couple here. And she got in a certain position sort of on her haunches, Cate Blanchett did, and she said, I think she was like this. Sure enough, thats the way shes sitting on the beach when Howard comes up and asks her to go golfing with him. That was taken from a PR still off the set. And she just had it. She had the gesture, she had the lines to be, the body lines, the look of Katharine Hepburn. The attitude, really, of Katharine Hepburn.
It was a matter of really working, ultimately, on the level of accent. And it goes two ways. One way which is that yes, its an accent that reminds you of Katharine Hepburn with the particular certain laughs that she has, the barrage of words that she hits Howard Hughes with in the golf scene when you first see her. But also theres an element to Katharine Hepburn that if you dont know Katharine Hepburn, the person created in the story and the script and by Cate Blanchett is definitely a character. Shes a Yankee. She comes from a family with a very socially progressive thought and action in life. And a very opinionated woman, right up there, right in your face and if you dont like it, leave. That kind of thing. And that is a character. Its a valid character and some younger people may say, Oh, thats interesting. She was an actress at the time. I see. So we were going on three levels, really, for those who knew and for those who dont know.
Theres an element that Cate Blanchett brought to it that is quite extraordinary. I think its that breaking of that facade, particularly in the scene where she leaves Howard. When she finally says, I met someone. Ive fallen in love and so Im leaving. You look at her eyes and shes waiting for him. Shes waiting for him to blow up. She doesnt want to really do it. And then she goes, So, there we both are. Youre not one for tears. No, were going to have to deal with this emotionally, Kate. Im going to get angry. You can see it in her eyes that shes getting a little nervous and particularly when he says, Stop acting. She says, Im not acting. And starts laughing. Thats it. Cate Blanchetts reaction and her reading and her body language when she says, Im not acting, tells it all, really. If not the real Katharine Hepburn, then the Katharine Hepburn that is the one John worked out in the script, based on this character, this person.
Ultimately what I finally did with Cate Blanchett, she was still working, and a long story short, I had her look at every Katharine Hepburn film from A Bill of Divorcement to 1939, The Philadelphia Story. But on a big screen, 35 mm, so that shed be absorbed by the image and by the character, whoever that character is up there on the screen. So that shed feel comfortable with the body language and if she had to improvise a word or two. And then Tim Monoch who is a wonderful dialect coach who Ive worked with since Age of Innocence, he worked with her very, very closely to the point where she finally came to rehearsals, she didnt really want to read. I said, Should we read a scene? No, Im not ready yet. I think what she was really waiting for was being comfortable with the level of the accent. Thats when she said, Okay, I think I can read a few pages now with Leo. When I started to hear the accent, then I understand. In the actually scenes, I just guided her through in a way. I didnt try to get in the middle of what she was doing. I didnt want to mess it up and try to give her any direction.
Gwen Stefani is just literally Jean Harlow. I would have liked Gwen to be in the film more. I would have liked Jean Harlow to be more of a character. But again, thats whats so interesting about the script. Logan only showed you certain things and its whats not that there that has the resonance in the scenes that are there. When she comes out of the car, you know what the relationship is. Shes dressed in white. Shes dressed exactly the way Jean Harlow was dressed that night and she does exactly Jeans speech. You get a sense of whats going on. Come on, Slim, take a bow. Thats what she told him. He really was holding her hand, crushing her hand during the screening.