From writer-producer-director Todd Field comes TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the groundbreaking conductor of a major German Orchestra. We meet Tár at the height of her career, as she’s preparing both a book launch and much-anticipated live performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Over the ensuing weeks her life begins to unravel in a singularly modern way. The result is a searing examination of power, and its impact and durability in today’s society.
From writer-producer-director Todd Field comes TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the groundbreaking conductor of a major German Orchestra. We meet Tár at the height of her career, as she’s preparing both a book launch and much-anticipated live performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Over the ensuing weeks her life begins to unravel in a singularly modern way. The result is a searing examination of power, and its impact and durability in today’s society.
“This script was written for one artist, Cate Blanchett. Had she said no, the film would have never seen the light of day. Filmgoers, amateur and otherwise, will not be surprised by this. After all, she is a master supreme. Even so, while we were making the picture, the superhuman skill and verisimilitude of Cate was something truly astounding to behold. She raised all boats. The privilege of collaborating with an artist of this caliber is something impossible to adequately describe. In every possible way, this is Cate’s film.”
TÁR opens on an interview between Adam Gopnik and Lydia Tár at The New Yorker Festival, where Tár’s profession comes into focus: After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard, the American polymath became a piano performance graduate of the Curtis Institute before earning her Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Vienna, specializing in music from the Ucayali Valley in Eastern Peru, where she spent five years among the Shipibo-Konibo people. As a conductor, she ascended the ranks of the “Big Five” American orchestras, all the while composing, and in the process earning all four of the major awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, placing her on a short list of so-called EGOTs.
With the support of investment banker and amateur conductor Eliot Kaplan (Mark Strong), Tár founded the Accordion Conducting Fellowship, whose guiding principle is to provide entrepreneurship and performance opportunities for young female conductors. After guest conducting for Berlin, Tár became the orchestra’s chief conductor, a position she has held for seven years.
“For the longest time I’d been thinking about a character who took a childhood pledge of self-education to pursue a dream, and once she’s achieved it, the dream morphs into a nightmare,” says Field. “Whereas once Tár lived a life dedicated to art, she now finds herself running an institution that lays bare her own weaknesses and proclivities, proselytizing her rules to others only to violate them herself with seemingly a total lack of self-awareness. But as Janet Malcolm would say, ‘Being aware of your rascality doesn’t excuse it.’”
“Like a lot of people who are in positions of authority, who breathe the rarefied air of tenured orchestras like the ones in Germany, Tár is enigmatic,” says Blanchett, “That was challenging for me in terms of bringing the character to life and finding the moments that would allow the audience to connect with her experience — because this is a woman who doesn’t really know herself.”
Off the podium, Tár’s life consists of a long-term relationship with Berlin’s concertmaster Sharon Goodnow (Nina Hoss) and the two raise their adopted Syrian daughter, Petra (Mila Bogojevic) in a modern Berlin home; Tár is close with her mentor and predecessor Andris Davis (Julian Glover), who helps her navigate the intricate complexities of her position. And she herself is a mentor to Francesca Lentini (Noémie Merlant), her young assistant who hopes one day to have her own life as a conductor.
“It was one of the most stunning and intelligent scripts I’ve ever read,” says Hoss, who has appeared in several critically acclaimed works by the German director Christian Petzold. “The tension remains very high until the end — you plunge into this character and there’s no relief. You also get excited about what experiencing music does to you on an emotional and psychological level. To say nothing of the business behind the classical music world and the ferocity in it. Todd’s script creates a rich dramatic environment — but at the same time the story has an immense soul to it.”
Adds Merlant, “TÁR introduces us to a milieu we don’t often see — the world of the orchestra and its conductor — but it places a woman in the central role and uses other women to talk about this world and explore the complexity of the relationships between people who live and work in it. The story is very modern in the way it examines power dynamics and prompts questions about their complicated nature.”
As the orchestra prepares for their Deutsche Grammophon live recording date of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 — a high-water mark in Tár’s career — signs of trouble begin to appear.
“Women conductors so often get the chamber pieces but not the big guns — and frankly that wears her down,” says Blanchett. “She finds herself making decisions that are unwise as a result of being exhausted by these systemic processes. You stand on the podium as a woman and a certain percentage of your focus has to push the political fact that you are standing there as a woman.”
In the film’s second half TÁR becomes a story of shifting power dynamics as her orchestra — a democratic body in which the musicians elect the conductor — begin to view her differently. “The notion of democracy versus autocracy is so alive in Todd’s story,” says Blanchett, culminating in a scene in which Lydia and her daughter play orchestra with stuffed animals after the conductor’s power at the podium is threatened. “It’s not a democracy,” Tár instructs the child, revealing the conflict at the heart of Field’s screenplay.
Like so many, Field was first introduced to concert music through Leonard Bernstein. (Field’s own musical background is in jazz.) “When you look at the Harvard lectures Bernstein gave in the 1970s, he removed all the pretense and replaced it with love,” Field says, “He makes it clear that classical music is noise: you can play this phrase and make it sound like Dragnet, or change the touch and attack and make it sound like Charles Ives — it’s all the same. This music should be defanged, demystified, and taught in the public schools. Mahler V – the piece Lydia is set to conduct – is the work that truly changes everything. If you’re listening to a film score today, or for that matter Bugs Bunny, you’re hearing music born from this canonical work.”
TÁR is a rehearsal film, a process film, and Field wanted to try and convey the on-and-off-stage mechanics of such a thing. “One concern about placing a character into this milieu, was that people who actually live their lives there might shrug the film off and say we’d gotten it wrong –– that we’d presented a toy town version of the discipline. So, it was essential the job of conducting have real agency in the narrative and not simply be there as a backstory for something else. Reading John Mauceri’s books on conducting set me on a path. I called John up and found myself under the spell of a true master.”
Mauceri laid out a course study for Field, and the two spent many hours on the phone together. “John was incredibly generous with his knowledge and time. His enthusiasm, very much like that of his mentor Leonard Bernstein, is absolutely contagious.”
For years Mauceri conducted “Movie Nights” at the Hollywood Bowl, drawing sell-out crowds helping to legitimize film scores in the minds of classical music audiences. “John has an unusual background for a conductor,” says Field, “in that he really understands the mechanics of movies. So, we had a shorthand, as a practical matter I could run plot ideas by him to test their plausibility. My time with him also prepared me to ask tough questions of classic music professionals in Germany, who can be notoriously literal, and religiously protective of the thing they’re selling, which of course is beauty and respectability.”
To create a sense of authenticity, Field interviewed a number of German orchestra players, including the first female violaist in the history of the Munich Philharmonic. “She shared challenges she’d faced coming up — things that in a million years her male counterparts would never have had to face. The German-Austro classical music world is still very much frozen in time. Just look at the top orchestras. To this day, not one of them has appointed a female chief conductor. That in itself makes our film a fairy tale.”
“The Mahler V is a milestone, not just in the classical canon, but in other forms of music as well. It’s easy to fall in love with the third movement,” says Field. “For years I’d been obsessed with the subtle nuances of various recordings based on the orchestra, hall, and conductor. That is until I realized how many people’s first introduction to the piece was watching Visconti’s Death in Venice. So, when John asked me what my favorite piece of classical music was, I covered my eyes and became an apologist for the Adagietto. He scolded me, ‘No one truly serious about classical music is ever cynical about the Adagietto. Forget Visconti. Build your thing around the five.’ So, I did. The story would center on a conductor, the first principal female conductor in the history of this Berlin orchestra, and be framed over a three-week period that involves her preparing for a book launch in NY, in addition to a live performance in Berlin for a Deutsche Grammophon live recording of the Mahler V.
After this I wasn’t afraid of anti-populist pretensions and felt free to pursue music I deeply loved. One of those pieces was Elgar’s Cello Concerto. When Elgar wrote the concerto, it was unheard of for an orchestra to have female players. However, cellist Beatrice Harrison was the first to record it in front of the then all-male London Symphony Orchestra on Stage One at EMI (present day Abbey Road Studios) and with Elgar himself conducting.
The piece was all but forgotten until 1965 when Jacqueline du Pré recorded it with that same orchestra in the same studio as Harrison, only this time with Sir John Barbirolli conducting. The piece became so closely associated with du Pré that she kept it as part of her regular repertoire. In fact, it was the last thing she was ever to record before she died, when she returned to Studio One once more, only this time with her husband Daniel Barenboim conducting. It’s this recording that the cellist in the script Olga Metkina tells Tár is the reason she became a cellist in the first place.”
“Cate and I started our work together in September 2020,” says Field. “She made two other films while she prepared for TÁR. She’d wrap during the day and call me at night, then put in several more hours of work. She learned to speak German, play the piano —yes that’s Cate playing, every note—and performed the most exhaustive amount of research. She’s a real autodidact, and she accomplished more in a year—again while making two other films—than Lydia Tár herself would have in 25. During production she didn’t sleep. After a day of shooting, she’d go straight to a piano, German, American-dialect, or baton technique/beat pattern lesson. She spent her ‘day off’ on a racetrack mapped out to the precise dimensions as the roundabout at Alexanderplatz to rehearse a scene with Nina Hoss, while swerving and braking at 60-miles per hour between eight cars driven by stunt people. There was absolutely nothing we could throw at her that she wouldn’t run with. She set the bar for everyone, and we had to do everything we possibly could just to try to keep up with her.”
Blanchett relished the intellectual charge of Field’s script, but connected with the story, first and foremost, on an instinctual, human level. “I could see there were many, many layers to peel back as I, along with the audience, discovered who this fascinating enigma Lydia Tar was. Todd has created an utterly unique creature.” Blanchett was also fascinated by the scripts rhythmic musical qualities and Todd’s unique approach to depicting the character.
“I am very language focused and when I read the script, there were many reference points I simply was not familiar with. I knew I needed to understand them inside and out so that the audience would trust that the character knew exactly what she was talking about at all times. Strangely, the audience does not need to know these references at all, they just need to know that Lydia is a genius.”
“I was riveted by this portrait of a woman unravelling but I also responded to the script on a rhythmic level through the music. Music is often a key for me as an actor for unlocking a character or the atmosphere, to finding a connection to the story. Todd’s film was turbo charged for me in this regard.”
For Field and Blanchett, working together prior to production became an exercise in atmosphere building as much as world building and character development. “We were finding things together that went through the material and beyond,” says Blanchett. “Todd is the most fearless and open-minded collaborator you could ever hope to work with. I would have a crazy idea and he would entertain it and text me at about 2:00AM and say, ‘I think I know how to make this work.’ He was gobsmackingly inventive. We took the characters further when we started to ask big questions like ‘what IS a process?’, ‘How transactional are the relationships in the script?’, ‘Are all the characters complicit in keeping this power structures functioning?’, ‘Is comfort possible when trying to shift a group of people somewhere new?’ ‘We love to admire the great, but do we equally love to watch them fall?’ These conversations helped shape Lydia too. Many of our grand narratives have collapsed, and I was fascinated by those people whose concerns are grand and overreaching but historically have not had access to such grandeur. What happens to great people who want to reach back and have access to the grandeur of the past in the minutia of the present?”
“Cate ingested the script, memorized it soup-to-nuts, then excavated it,” says Field. “She wanted to find out where everything in Tár’s orbit came from, so by the time we started shooting, she knew everything I did — in fact she’d gone beyond what I knew. She’d correct me during rehearsals and say it’s MTT, not Michael Tilson Thomas.”
“Conducting is no easy task, and I was blown away by how much effort Cate put into her performance through all the influences she had taken on board, and how she managed to create somebody entirely new and original who also felt totally authentic and true to life,” says first-time actor Sophie Kauer, and real-life cellist who plays the young Russian cellist Olga Metkina.
“My starting point was the masterclasses of Ilya Musin, and the soul-searing documentary on Antonia Brico,” says Blanchett. “I watched Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber, Emmanuelle Haim, and Bernard Haitink to work out who Tar was not, but also who she aspired to be. Conducting is a language, a colossal act of creative communication. It’s so utterly idiosyncratic and personal. The gestural language was a great portal for me into the mindset of a master musician, but also to show me how she moved through the world.” Blanchett trained extensively with the conducting coach, Natalie Murray Beale, but is quick to point out that “training for this role required piano, dialect, and language lessons. All practical mechanical things within this character’s skillset. However, they are not the character. This is not a film merely about conducting. That is just something essential that the character does, like breathing. The real challenge for me as a performer was to get inside the head of someone estranged from herself. She has forgotten, she has stepped away from the ‘Why?’ and by seeking to establish a legacy, she has broken the connection to the music. Tar is someone with a powerful inner critic that unconsciously subscribes to the notion that if you’re perfect, no one can hurt you. But of course, perfection is impossible in art. Art is full of imperfection and grey areas, and there lies the rub.”
“I understood in my small way what it was like to run a major cultural institution,” says Blanchett who was co-Artistic Director and co-CEO of the Sydney Theater Company with her husband, Andrew Upton, for almost a decade. “Having that level of cultural and physical responsibility can be intensely lonely and thankless at times, just as much as it can be the greatest challenge of one’s career. 70% of our times as artists was spent running the actual organization. The building, the schedule, the sponsors, the audience interface, and of course dealing with company politics, human resources, and government funding.” Her experience helped the academy award-winning actress understand the inner workings of an artistic ensemble – and a demanding, often volatile character who wears both hats in a German orchestra. “The creative and physical buck absolutely stopped with us, but when we assumed the job, we took the desk out of our office, and we consulted with our staff in a meaningful way about artistic decisions. I’m sure many, at first, who may have been accustomed to a more hierarchical approach thought, ‘They don’t know what they’re doing.’ They weren’t used to working in a more democratic way. Traditionally, the classical music world, like many institutions, does not have an agreement like this. Tar, for example, is expected to be a force of one. As a conductor, the music flows through her, but there are no samplers of people in her position. The only examples have been the great, tyrant males of the classical canon like Wilhelm Furtwangler and Herbert von Karajan.
The world of concert music is historically patriarchal. However, TÁR sets its sights on the women in Lydia’s personal and professional life, including her romantic partner Sharon, both co-parent to their adopted child and the concertmaster of the orchestra, Tár’s dutiful assistant Francesca, who wants to follow in her boss’s footsteps, and Olga Metkina the young Russian cellist whose youth and self-confidence fuels Tár’s stalled creative energies and complicates her relationship with the orchestra and Sharon.
“This story has a marriage at its center,” says Field. “It’s worth knowing that ever since Herbert Von Karajan was ousted from Berlin, there are no more appointment-for-life principal conductors left in Germany. All German orchestras are democratic, which means the players vote the principal conductor in, and that “invitation” can be revoked at any time. The concertmaster may be the unseen hand for the concertgoer, but for the orchestra the concertmaster holds the real power. In this way, the relationship between Tár and Sharon is complicated. And would have been controversial when they first publicly disclosed it.”
Like most people, Field knew Nina Hoss’s work from the films she’s collaborated on with Christian Petzold, and also from her work as a professional violinist with PTSD in Ina Weisse’s The Audition.
“From my first conversation with Nina, it became clear why Petzold writes many of his films for her. She pointed to one scene in the film and said ‘I think you might do this differently. I think the important thing in this relationship is not who wears the pants. It’s about complicity.’ That conversation informed the script in important ways that would otherwise likely have gotten lost.”
To find her way into the character, Hoss studied the works of Elgar and Mahler with her violin coach, Marie Kogge, discussing with her what these pieces might mean to Sharon and what kind of power she holds as concertmaster in the orchestra. “Her power is different from Lydia’s, you have to prove yourself every single day as first violin because everyone in the orchestra wants your seat — you’re never safe,” says Hoss. “Sharon holds it all together in the orchestra, she helps find the tone in the practical sense and helps to translate whatever Tár wants to bring out of the group, and how transactional her relationship with Tár is inside and outside the orchestra.”
Adds Hoss: “Sharon was never innocent in my eyes — like Tár, she also has an agenda. She wants Tár to be the big star so they can maintain their status as a powerful couple, and she overlooks her partner’s behavior by remaining silent. This story revolves around power, its currency, and the way in which that currency is paid and banked by both parties. And there are always two parties when it comes to power. All relationships have this tension, this back-and-forth. Relationships have rules. And both parties are complicit in the making and breaking of those rules. Hopefully, the movie will inspire lively and healthy conversations about the true nature of such things.”
Equally complex is the dynamic between Tár and her assistant Francesca Lentini. “Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a film I like very much,” says Field, “it introduced me to Sciamma’s other films, Bande de filles and Ma vie de Courgette, but most importantly, at least for this film, to the very special talent that is Noémie Merlant.”
Francesca is a character in transition. Unlike Tár, Francesca’s is from a cultured bourgeois family. She attended the Conservatoire de Paris, received her MFA from Yale, then a fellowship with the Accordion Foundation, where she met Tár. Their relationship was at times intimate and is now purely transactional. Some years ago, Tár invited Francesca to assist her in Berlin. It was clear to both that this was a stepping-stone to eventually become the assistant conductor. Francesca is privy to the machinations and moves of her boss. Because of this, she has every reason not to trust her, and is quietly constructing a contingency.
Adds Merlant: “Unlike the other characters, we never actually see Francesca play music in the film. Her skill resides in her ear. She’s a listener, a watcher. So, the challenge for me was to embody her love of music and desire to conduct through her body language and her gaze. She admires Tár and wants to learn from her, but, at the same time, she fears her.”
The young Russian cellist, Olga Metkina is a different lens through which to view the orchestra’s power dynamic. Here is a character so utterly confident in their own skill and identity that they ask for nothing, and, in this way, fill a vacuum for Tár, an empty space where the ferocity of art is obscured for her by the energy spent running a major cultural institution. Tár sees her once-young self in Olga. And, because of this, Tár makes a political misstep, one of many, that will ultimately aid in her undoing.
“Casting director Avy Kaufman and I both knew finding Olga Metkina would be the greatest casting challenge — the role required a teenage Russian cellist who could act,” says Field. “The ideal being someone who was a cross between Lotte Lenya and Jacqueline du Pré. In theory, this seemed a reasonable task, and Avy cast the widest possible net, but the criteria for Olga’s country of origin was too specific, so we opened it up to all nationalities.”
A flood of self-tapes arrived in the casting office. Kaufman’s assistant, Brigitte Whitmire, was tasked with watching hundreds of young musicians auditioning on tape in broken Russian accents. Nobody was the right fit. “We knew we were going to have to open it to actors who could play a little cello, or at least hold a bow properly, and while it was exciting to see the depth of young talent, the musicianship wasn’t good enough,” says Field. “Never mind that we were running out of time, neither one of us wanted to dub, fake or body-double an actor to make them look as if they were a world-class cellist. It was important that everyone who’s supposed to be making music in the film actually make the music in the film.”
Finally, in the last week of casting, a self-tape arrived. It was of a 19-year-old cellist with long blond hair to her knees, dressed somewhat primly. She hailed from a middle-class family outside London. In short, Field says “Sophie was nothing like this character. But then she started to act… and there was Olga. When I asked her where she learned her Russian accent she said ‘YouTube.’ Oh, and one other thing: she could play. Really play. Sophie was an extraordinary cellist. We didn’t know this because she was the only cellist we saw who had no social media presence. When we asked her about this, she said it was by design. She didn’t want people hearing her until she ‘was ready.’ That was a perfect introduction to Sophie and consistent with my experience with her as an actor, and player, throughout production and well into post. Sophie Kauer is a force.”
Kauer started playing the cello when she was eight years old. “They offered me the violin but I said no because you have to stand up to play it,” says Kauer. “I chose the cello because I wanted to stay seated.” She began hitting her stride with the instrument at age fourteen, receiving a grant to attend a music academy in Switzerland with other young musicians from across Europe. “I knew then this was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. “You have to make a lot of sacrifices for this kind of life. While everyone’s out partying, you’re at home practicing Elgar.”
Field sent Kauer the script who responded to it immediately. “I was so thrilled that someone wanted to explore the classical music world in this way and tackle so many issues that are relevant today,” says Kauer. “Todd’s writing was beautiful — even the stuff that didn’t make it to the screen, like the scene where the orchestra is agreeing to play the Elgar and he describes bows lifted in the affirmative like ‘a forest grow denser, until it’s fully matured.’”
With the help of dialect coaches Helen Simmons and Inna Resner, Kauer perfected her Russian accent. “They helped get me into the headspace of acting and pushed me to try out new things as I tried to bring Olga to life,” says Kauer. “The dialect work helped me develop her as a character. It was musical, and something that my ear quickly grew accustomed to.”
To better understand acting, Kauer turned once again to YouTube, where she watched an instructional video by Michael Caine. Because she had never acted before, Kauer asked to remain on set during production when she wasn’t filming her own scenes, constantly observing Nina Hoss and Cate Blanchett exercise their craft. “I was always on set trying to learn from the best,” says Kauer. “You have these world-class actors around you — why on earth not?”
Kauer had never soloed with a professional orchestra. “The role was doubly terrifying — most nineteen-year-olds haven’t had much experience in an orchestra, so to arrive on set and perform, and then be recorded on film in a movie was a huge pressure,” says Kauer. “Never mind that I’m playing the cello as someone else — not how I would normally play. Todd had very specific ideas about how he wanted things phrased musically, and Cate was conducting, so I also had to fit with her, and the wonderful players of the Dresden Philharmonie, world-class players who, unlike me, had years of experience playing together as an orchestra.”
Mark Strong plays Eliot Kaplan, one of the world’s top investment bankers whose real passion is classical music. An amateur conductor, Kaplan has bought his way onto the podium through his connections and specifically through his business ties with Lydia Tár. Theirs is yet another transactional relationship. A decade ago, his Kaplan Fund bankrolled a project near and dear to Tár, the Accordion Foundation, an institute whose guiding principle is to provide performance opportunities for young female conductors. “Mark is one of my favorite actors,” says Field. “I knew him mostly through his stage work. His Eddie Carbone in Ivo van Hove’s production of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge is one of the great stage performances I’ve ever seen.”
Strong says he was keen to play this role because it “gave me the opportunity to play a look and a character far removed from myself which is something I am always looking to do.”
Julian Glover plays Andris Davis, Tár’s predecessor at Berlin. He is someone she talks shop with on a regular basis, as he is one of the few people in the world she can relate to. For Tár, this is both a blessing and a curse. She loves the man but is also aware she doesn’t want to find herself in his position in the third act of her life. “Julian is someone whose work speaks for itself,” says Blanchett, “He is the perfect actor and utterly prepared to find the meat of a character. When we shot our scenes together, Julian had just turned the 86, and he was letter perfect, and brought such a rich knowledge of craft with him that was vital for this character.”
“I was instantly lured by the knowledge that Todd would be directing, amazed that I’d be working with the brilliant Cate, then stunned when I read the extraordinary, wonderful, original and MUSICAL script.” says Glover. “My acceptance of the role in such a project was a no-brainer, and so it proved to be.”
Allan Corduner, a mainstay on the British stage and Broadway, and a veteran film actor known to many for his brilliant turn as Sir Arthur Sullivan in Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy starring opposite Jim Broadbent as W.S. Gilbert, plays Sebastian Brix, Berlin’s assistant conductor. Sebastian arrived in Berlin in 1990 with Andris Davis, and, as Eliot Kaplan says to Tár, was a decision she “inherited.” Field and Corduner first met more than thirty years ago when the two were working together as actors. “Allan is a stupendous actor,” says Field. “And a great human being. He knew precisely who Sebastian was and played him as if he was a court character in an Elizabethan drama. It was wonderful to collaborate with him again after so many years.”
"Working on TÁR was truly one of the great pleasures and privileges I’ve had during a long career,” says Corduner. “I’ve known Todd Field for many years and always admired his talent, humility and rigour. He loves and respects actors, rehearsing with them in a quiet space before shooting – a rarity these days. One feels totally supported.”
Artists from around the world helped bring to life the visual and sonic world of TÁR through production design, cinematography, costume design, editing, and score. In locations ranging from Berlin, New York City, and Southeast Asia. With interiors including concert halls, hotels, restaurants, Tár’s childhood home, her old Berlin apartment, and the Brutalist home she shares with her partner and daughter. Field and his team cultivated a world specific to this character, a world of refinement and exclusivity which over the course of the film closes in on Tár as she fights for her survival in this meticulously ordered world.
Long before prep, Field partnered with Production Designer Marco Bittner Rosser. “Marco fearlessly took on many design challenges. The first being, to find a German orchestra with a vineyard style concert hall that would allow a film crew to not only invade it but own it and everyone inside the place in a meaningful way. Marco, and our co-producer, Sebastian Fahr-Brix, led the charge in this regard and were able to convince the Dresden Philharmonie to at least consider the possibility. It was a long, and I’ll admit somewhat nail-biting, negotiation. But without Marco, Sebastian, and Uwe Schott of X-Filme, this would never have happened.
The Dresden Hall had only been in use for 18-months when we arrived. Like all vineyard-style halls, Dresden was born from the creator of the form, Hans Scharoun. We were limited to just the concert hall. All backstage areas, and orchestra offices were off-limits. Because of this, Marco designed the backstage offices, hallways, public spaces etc., with Scharoun’s spirit and aesthetic. Marco’s ability as a designer is impressive, and so are his logistical skills. Like our other creative keys, he ran three different crews in three countries.”
For a production that required such nimbleness, Field turned to cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister to light the film. “I’d seen Florian’s work on the Ridley Scott-produced adaptation of Dan Simmons’ The Terror directed by Edward Berger. The quality of Florian’s lighting on that project, specifically of faces, was breathtaking. For TÁR we performed extensive lighting, lens, and camera tests. This continued on-and-off for two months. We were looking for something neutral and not too pretty. Ultimately, we partnered with Arriflex, who built custom lenses for us, and a custom print emulsion system they now integrate into all their cameras. Florian knew we’d have challenges and limitations, specifically in the concert hall, and went to great lengths to make sure we were never waiting on anything, and that Cate would be supported in every way possible.”
Academy-Award nominated Costume Designer Bina Daigeler (All About My Mother, Volver), boarded the production early to help Blanchett find Lydia Tár. “The relationship with the costume designer and the fitting process is a huge part of where you get to see what the audience will see in terms of the character and the way she moves through the world.”
Daigeler also helped coordinate costumes and props for the New York City shoot three months before principal photography commenced. “Aside from her great skill as a costume designer, Bina is a genius about locations, sets, and frankly speaking, people,” says Field. “She has a particular gift for conjuring an atmosphere that make people leave their comfort zones and reach further. All departments benefitted from her talent and generous counsel.”
Field had previously met film editor Monika Willi during the early stages of a film he ultimately abandoned. Famous for her collaborations with Barbara Albert, Michael Haneke, and Ulrich Seidl, Willi’s exacting reputation is well-known throughout the world of European cinema.
“When we began editing TÁR, London had begun another lockdown, so we were forced to bubble in in a fifteenth-century nunnery outside Edinburgh,” says Field. “Mona is extremely disciplined, and possesses an uncommon sense of rigor, which is precisely what this film required. We had little to do there but edit and walk the lanes and hedgerows, so for seven days a week that’s precisely what we did. We were away from our families, and as challenging as this was, it allowed a sense of engagement with the material that would not have been possible had we been working in London. Mona made huge personal sacrifices, being away from her family for six months, all the way through final post. I was lucky indeed to have such a dedicated and talented artist to collaborate with on this film.”
Academy-Award Winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker) was tasked with the challenging role of scoring a movie that is not only about music and the creation of it but features live performances of several classical works. Guðnadóttir’s approach to scoring TÁR was not to underscore. “This is a film about people who make music, and it was important to Hildur that we not, as they say, put a hat on a hat,” says Field. “Her approach to scoring our film was to explore her interest in frequency, noise, and not getting caught pointing at something in the movie. Her work is subtle and unobtrusive for a reason.”
Guðnadóttir says that working on the project was an excitingly collaborative process from the start. “Todd is very open to ideas from his collaborators, so we had a really lovely dialogue,” she says. “So, as he was location scouting, we would have meetings and go through the script, the locations, the process of writing music, what we imagined she was writing, what her influences were, what her tempo was, etc. I wrote the initial quartet piece based on those conversations, before they shot the film.”
Altogether, the production required four on-screen bands in four countries. First and foremost, Tár’s Berlin orchestra. “There was a rule when it came to the players,” Field says, “and that was that they must never feel like a band for hire or extras. We had two days of casting sessions with the orchestra to see if we might possibly be able to cast the roles of Gosia and Knut from within their ranks. We expected that five or 10 players might be interested. We saw 40. Most were good. Dorothea Plans Casal (GOSIA) & Fabian Dirr (KNUT) were outstanding.”
“It could have been uncomfortable for both to win these parts from the other players. But musicians, like actors, are used to auditioning, and players at this level have a healthy way of dealing with rejection. In that spirit, they volunteered to work in other ways on the film all the way through until we wrapped. This meant driving all the way from Dresden to Berlin to walk down a hallway, pour a glass of water, or be seen in the deep background of a practice room. The commitment of these players created an atmosphere for both cast and crew that allowed for a meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration where we were afforded the opportunity to learn from each other.”
Dresden’s concertmaster, Wolfgang Hentrich, embraced the production and made himself available to Nina Hoss, advising her on the job of the concertmaster and also acting as her desk mate throughout filming. He gave his all to the filmmakers. “We were so lucky to collaborate with an artist like Wolfgang,” says Hoss. “His position within the orchestra is not for the fainthearted. For both practical and political reasons, it’s not uncommon for someone with his job to be aloof and unknowable. Wolfgang, however, is a true enthusiast, and loves teaching. Among other things, he conducts the top youth orchestra in Germany – a stand-in for Olga’s Moscow Youth Orchestra – and he made himself available to everyone on our production.”
“I’ll never forget the moment when Cate started conducting and I was playing the violin next to Wolfgang and all of a sudden, we were in the body of an orchestra — it’s a very powerful moment if you’re not a working musician,” says Hoss. “The Dresden Philharmonie musicians were already aware of what they were doing and how beautiful it is to create music night after night on stage. Maybe at some point you forget the power of music, because you have other things to do, like take the kids to school, but none of us making TÁR ever forgot the beauty of what it felt like to be part of this profession, even temporarily.”
Much is made of Lydia Tár’s post graduate ethnomusicology work in the Eastern Amazon among the Shipibo-Konibo people on the river banks of the Ucayali. The filmmakers wanted to have a meaningful collaboration with their shamanic culture and artists. The first music heard in the film is an icaro performed by Shaman Elisa Vargas Fernandez. TÁR’s sound designer, Stephen Griffith, sent his nephew, Zackiel Lewis-Griffiths (a graduate of the University of London’s School of African & Oriental Studies, and a budding ethnomusicologist himself) up the Ucayali to record Mama Elisa singing an original icaro she channeled for the film.
The filmmakers also engaged the Shipibo-Konibo photographer David Diaz Gonzales to photograph a ritual with Gonzales’ family, a ritual that would later include Tár.
Aside from the classical works performed on screen, and Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score, there are two recordings of jazz standards Field specifically placed into the script, “People who make music, often actively listen to other genres at home to give themselves a break from work.”
The first, Lil’ Darlin’, was a piece Field played with his band in college. The definitive recording was composed and arranged by Neal Hefti for the Count Basie Orchestra. This is played on set during the first scene between Tár & Sharon when the latter’s heart is racing and Tár uses the sound as a form of bio feedback to slow things down “to 60 beats a minute.”
The second, Here’s That Rainy Day by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Johnny Burke, is something we hear in the second scene at home between Sharon & Tár. The recording of the piece that Field wanted, on the album titled 21 Trombones featuring Urbie Green, is a legendary one for trombone players. Unfortunately, the synch rights were obscure. “This was maddening on two fronts, first because this is a very important album that should be available to the public, and second, and more selfishly, I really knew this was the only track for this scene,” says Field. “It was recorded in NYC in 1967 with the greatest trombone players of the 20th Century, and not something any sane person, certainly not a trombonist, would ever suggest could be replicated.”
Lucy Bright, TÁR’s Music Supervisor, found just such “insane people” who had already attempted just that, a Dutch group known as known as The New Trombone Collective. Bright, Field, and Monika Willi boarded a plane for Holland to record them as the 20 Trombones backing the soloist. “But the soloist would have to play like Urbie Green,” says Field, “and that’s like asking someone to act like Brando, no matter their skill level, there’s only one Brando.”
Field called an old bandmate, Ben Wolfe, who for years toured with Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis to see if Wolfe had any ideas. “Ben told me the player I wanted was my old teacher Jeff Uusitillo, and I knew he was right, but I hadn’t spoken with Jeff in forty years. I called him but he’d put the horn down during the pandemic and taken up abstract painting. Jeff said the person I wanted was in Canada, the great Al Kay.”
Kay was happy to do it. Bright sent him the tracks from Holland. Kay played the solo precisely as Green would “And in one take!” grins Field, “I dare anyone, even me, to hear the difference between this 1967 recording and what we recorded just last week.”
In July of 2022. Blanchett, Guðnadóttir, Kauer, and Field met over two weekends at Abbey Road Studios to record music for a concept album born from conversations between Guðnadóttir, Natalie Hayden & Mike Knobloch at Universal music, and the creative team at Deutsche Grammophon.
The concept is two-fold. The first is attached to a goal of Lydia Tár’s. One peek at this LP’s cover art will be enough to understand that yes, in some parallel universe Lydia Tár was finally able to convince the good people at DG to create a full vinyl pressing adorned with her aped image of Claudio Abbado.
The second part of the concept is that the tracks, like the film, are meant to invite the listener to experience the messiness of process involved in the making of music. In this case that includes three different bands and their leaders: Blanchett (as Lydia Tár) in rehearsal for the Mahler V conducting the Dresdner Philharmonie, Guðnadóttir providing instruction to Robert Ames conducting the London Contemporary Orchestra, and finally Natalie Murray Beale conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. As no one had ever produced an album like this, it would have to be bold with many “firsts,” says Guðnadóttir.
One of those firsts is Sophie Kauer making her professional debut playing the Elgar Cello Concerto, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. The concerto was first recorded by Beatrice Harrison for the (then all-male) London Symphony Orchestra with Elgar himself conducting. Kauer’s character in the film, Olga Metkina, was inspired by Jacqueline du Pré’s seminal recording of the piece here. “For Sophie, this was a dream come true,” says Blanchett. “Here she was playing in the same studio with the same orchestra as du Pré in 1965.”
The disk begins with Hildur Guðnadóttir singing the theme of the composition Lydia Tár composes in the film, and ends with Elisa Vargas Fernandez singing an icaro meant to be a field recording made in the Amazon by Tár in 1990.
Field says, “Though I was present for these recordings, listening to them now feels otherworldly. As they say, you can’t step into the same stream twice. It’s thrilling to be able to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of the energy and creative force these artists produce when in process. It’s something rare, and yes, a “first,” and I’m very happy this LP exists in the parallel world of our film, but even more so in the world at large. It was a happy reunion after not seeing each other for six months. The film was finished, and everyone could enjoy making some noise.”
TODD FIELD (Producer/Writer/Director)
Todd Field made his feature film debut at the Sundance Film Festival with IN THE BEDROOM. Internationally acclaimed by critics, the film was named Best Picture of the Year by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and went on to receive five Academy Award nominations including Best Picture of the Year. Field’s next film, LITTLE CHILDREN, premiered at the 44th New York Film Festival, and received three Academy Award nominations, including one Field shared with Tom Perrotta for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film also earned three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture of the Year, and was nominated for two SAG awards and the WGA award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Of Field’s short films, NONNIE & ALEX premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Prize. Another short, WHEN I WAS A BOY, made its premiere at the festival, and was selected to screen at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films Series at the Museum of Modern Art. As an actor, Field has appeared in such films as Victor Nunez’s RUBY IN PARADISE and Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT.
ALEXANDRA MILCHAN (Producer)
Alexandra Milchan’s credits include the Apple TV+ limited series “Black Bird” starring Taron Egerton, AMC's “The Terror: Infamy” and “The Terror,” THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, INTRUSION, THE 24TH, STREET KINGS, and MIRRORS. Upcoming credits include Netflix's THE KILLER directed by David Fincher and starring Michael Fassbender, and the Apple TV+ series "The Crowded Room" starring Tom Holland, Amanda Seyfried and Emmy Rossum. She recently executive produced the Starz docuseries "Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult” which was their #1 non-fiction series in history.
SCOTT LAMBERT (Producer)
Scott Lambert is a partner at Emjag Productions with Alexandra Milchan. They just premiered their new Apple TV+ series “Black Bird,” starring Taron Egerton, with Dennis Lehane showrunning. Upcoming, Lambert produced the third season of AMC’s “The Terror.” Other productions include MARY, starring Gary Oldman, and THE SILENCE, starring Stanley Tucci. Prior to Emjag, Scott was a part of Film 360, the production arm of Management 360, President of the Business Group and Executive Vice President at Relativity Media and Executive Vice President at the William Morris Agency, where he represented television and film talent. While at William Morris, he also served as their head of motion picture packaging and was involved with financing over fifty feature films.
FLORIAN HOFFMEISTER (Cinematographer)
Florian Hoffmeister, BSC is a German cinematographer. Recently, Hoffmeister worked on Apple TV+ series “Pachinko,” for which he shot four episodes, the film ANTLERS from director Scott Cooper and OFFICIAL SECRETS, Gavin Hood ́s political thriller starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith.
In feature films Hoffmeister is mostly known for his collaborations with Terene Davies, for whom he lensed THE DEEP BLUE SEA and A QUIET PASSION. His other features include Charlie Stratton’s IN SECRET with Elizabeth Olsen, as well as David Koepp’s MORTEDECAI. His television work includes: “House of Saddam”; Brian Kirk’s “Great Expectations”; and “The Terror”. For “Great Expectations”, he earned awards including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography, a BAFTA TV Award for Best Photography and Lighting and an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, establishing himself as the first cinematographer to win an Emmy, a BAFTA and an ASC award for the same program.
HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR (Composer)
Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, Emmy-, two-time Grammy-, and BAFTA-winning Icelandic artist. Her work for film and television includes SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO, MARY MAGDALENE, and the critically acclaimed HBO series “Chernobyl,” for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as a Grammy Award. Guðnadóttir received a multitude of accolades for her work on the JOKER, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy. In addition, her body of work includes scores for films such as TOM OF FINLAND, JOURNEY’S END and 20 episodes of the Icelandic TV series “Trapped,” streaming on Amazon Prime. With Sam Slater she co- composed the video game score “Battlefield 2042” for Electronic Arts’ massively successful Battlefield franchise. The score won a Society of Composers & Lyricists Award.
Guðnadóttir began playing cello as a child, entered the Reykjavík Music Academy and then moved on to musical studies/composition and new media at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and Universität der Künste Berlin. She has released four critically acclaimed solo albums: “Mount A” (2006), “Without Sinking” (2009), “Leyfðu Ljósinu” (2012) and “Saman” (2014). Her records have been nominated a number of times for the Icelandic Music Awards. Her albums are all released on Touch.
She has composed music for theatre, dance performances and films. The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic National Theatre, Tate Modern, The British Film Institute, The Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm and Gothenburg National Theatre are amongst the institutions that have commissioned new works from her. Currently she is curating an exhibit for the opening of the new Academy Museum in Los Angeles, set to open on September 28. Guðnadóttir has performed live and recorded music with Skúli Sverrisson, Jóhann Jóhannsson, múm, Sunn O))), Pan Sonic, Hauschka, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, The Knife, Fever Ray and Throbbing Gristle, among others. Guðnadóttir lives in Berlin, Germany.
BINA DAIGELER (Costume Designer)
Most recently Daigeler served as costume designer on Disney’s MULAN, directed by Niki Caro who she previously collaborated with on THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE. Other recent credits include Anne Fletcher’s DUMPLIN’ starring Jennifer Aniston; José Padilha’s hijacking drama 7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE starring Rosamund Pike; Wim Wenders’ SUBMERGENCE starring Alicia Vikander; and Oliver Stone’s SNOWDEN starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Daigeler has also worked on highly successful television series, such as Netflix’s critically acclaimed shows “Narcos” and “El Tiempo Entre Costuras,” and most recently on Dahvi Waller’s “Mrs. America” for FX starring Cate Blanchett and Elizabeth Banks. Daigeler previously collaborated with Cate Blanchett on MANIFESTO, directed by the German video artist Julian Rosenfeldt, which was a major success in the art world and also awarded Daigeler with the German Film Award for Best Costume Design.
Daigeler landed her first job as a Costume Designer in Spain on Juanma Bajo Ulloa’s AIRBAG, a box office hit which led her to then work on Pedro Almodovar ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER and VOLVER. For these two films – along with her costume design for Joaquin Oristrell’s UNCONSCIOUS, and Fernando Leon De Aranoa’s PRINCESAS, Daigeler received 4 Goya Awards Nominations for her costume design.
MONIKA WILLI (Film Editor)
Monika Willi, born 1968 in Innsbruck, Austria, is an Austrian film editor known for her many years of collaboration with Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher, Time of the Wolf, Funny Games U.S., The White Ribbon, Amour, Happy End), Ulrich Seidl (Rimini, Sparta), Barbara Albert (Northern Skirts, Free Radicals, The Dead and the Living), Michael Glawogger (Workingman’s Death, Contact High, Whores’ Glory, Untitled) and others.
She has received many awards and nominations for her work (Austrian Film Awards, Outstanding Artist Award, Film+) and she’s member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
MARCO BITTNER ROSSER (Production Designer)
Marco Bittner Rosser is an established production designer and trained architect. He studied Architecture at the Technical University in Darmstadt, the University of East London and graduated in Architecture at the University of Art (UDK) in Berlin.
In film design he merged his passion for film, architecture and design. He worked on his first international feature in 1999 in Berlin's 'Studio Babelsberg' on Jean- Jaque Annaud’s ENEMY AT THE GATES where he worked as a set designer. He continued his career working as an art director, supervising art director and production designer on international features productions with directors including Quentin Tarantino (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), the Wachowskis (V FOR VENDETTA, SPEEDRACER), Guilermo del Toro (HELLBOY), Jim Jarmusch (ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE), Steven Spielberg (BRIDGE OF SPIES).
CATE BLANCHETT (Lydia Tár)
Cate Blanchett is an internationally acclaimed, Academy Award-winning actor, producer, artistic director, humanitarian, and dedicated member of the arts community.
Blanchett plays the titular role and executive produces Todd Field’s highly anticipated feature film “TÁR,” which marks the writer-director-producer’s first film in over 15 years. The film was warmly welcomed at the Telluride Film Festival and Venice International Film Festival, where Blanchett was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for her second time since I’m Not There.
This fall, Blanchett will appear in Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film, “PINOCCHIO,” and the mockumentary hit series “Documentary Now!” She will also begin production in Australia on Warwick Thornton’s “The New Boy,” in which she stars and produces via the production company Dirty Films. She most recently wrapped production on “Disclaimer,” directed by Alfonso Cuaron, in which she also stars and executive produces. In 2021, Blanchett appeared in Adam McKay’s smash hit, Don’t Look Up, as well as Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.
Blanchett is also the co-Founder and Principal of film and television production company Dirty Films, alongside her partners Andrew Upton and Coco Francini. Dirty Films most recently produced the highly acclaimed Mrs. America for FX and Hulu, as well as the Netflix limited series “Stateless,” which received a record breaking 18 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) nominations, winning 13. The production banner also executive produced Christos Nikou’s Apples, which was named one of the year’s best International Films by the National Board of Review in 2020. Other credits include Truth, Carol, Little Fish, The Turning, and wide-reaching podcast, “The Climate of Change.” Upcoming film projects include: Fingernails with Director Christos Nikou; Queen Bitch and the High Horse with Directors Bert and Bertie; The Champions with director Ben Stiller; and Lucia Berlin’s celebrated A Manual for Cleaning Women. Dirty Films has a first look deal with FX Productions for television projects, and with New Republic Pictures for feature films.
In 2015, she appeared in the title role of Carol, which she produced with Dirty Films and was directed by Todd Haynes. She received an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and SAG nomination for her performance. The same year, she appeared as Mary Mapes in Truth opposite Robert Redford. Blanchett has won Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performance as Jasmine in Blue Jasmine, and Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. In 2008, Blanchett was nominated for two Academy Awards; one for Best Actress in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and one for Best Supporting Actress in I’m Not There. She was only the fifth actor in Academy history to be nominated in both acting categories in the same year. She also received dual SAG and BAFTA Award nominations for each role, and won a Golden Globe Award, Independent Spirit Award, numerous critics groups’ awards.
Blanchett’s film credits include (in no particular order): Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel; Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Sam Raimi’s The Gift; Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, Barry Levinson’s Bandits; Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried; David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley; Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German; Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Gillian Armstrong’s Charlotte Gray and Oscar and Lucinda; Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood; as well as Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
She has collaborated with Julian Rosefeldt on his visual art films and installations, Manifesto and Euphoria; Marco Brambilla’s The Four Temperaments; a video portrait of herself with David Rosetzky; and Nathan Coley’s architectural exhibit at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Between 2008-2013, Blanchett served alongside Upton as the co-Artistic Director and co-CEO of the Sydney Theatre Company, creating between 19 and 20 shows a year, which toured extensively, both nationally and internationally. Their most notable productions include; Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Liv Ullman; Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya directed by Tamas Ascher; Steven Soderbergh’s Tot Mom; Benedict Andrew’s highly acclaimed productions of the War of the Roses, The Maids, Gross Und Klein, and the seminal adaptation of The Secret River by Neil Armfield, which has since inspired the title-sharing ABC television series; Andrew Upton’s The Present, directed by John Crowley for which Blanchett earned a Tony Award nomination. Whilst at the company, Blanchett directed productions of David Harrower’s Blackbird and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Recently, Blanchett has appeared on stage in the controversial adaptation of Martin Crimp’s National Theatre production When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, directed by Katie Mitchell.
In 2010, Blanchett and Upton were awarded with the Green Globe Award for their Green Contribution at the Sydney Theatre Company, becoming one of the World’s Greenest Arts Organizations.
Blanchett is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and a lifetime member of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a strong supporter of the Actors Benevolent Fund, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, an AFI Ambassador and Patron of the Sydney Film Festival and the NIDA Foundation.
Blanchett holds a BFI Fellowship from the BFI London Film Festival and was awarded the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Award for expanding the roles of women in film; the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018 for her work with UNHCR and has received the 2018 Stanley Kubrick Award for Excellence in Film. She has been awarded the Centenary Medal of Service to Australian Society through Acting and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2018, Blanchett served as Jury President of the 71st Cannes International Film Festival and she was the Jury President of the 77th Venice International Film Festival in 2020.
Blanchett, a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), holds Honorary Doctorates of Letters from the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and Macquarie University. In recognition of her continued advocacy for the arts and her support of humanitarian and environmental causes, Blanchett has been awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in the General Division; she was also awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture. She lives in the United Kingdom with her husband Andrew Upton, their four children, three dogs, twelve chickens and two pigs.
NOÉMIE MERLANT (Francesca Lentini)
Noémie Merlant has quickly become one of the most acclaimed international actresses of her time. Merlant is known for her breakout role in the 2019 film PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, directed by Celine Sciamma, for which she won the Lumières Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the César Award for Best Actress alongside her co-star Adèle Haenel. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay at the festival. It was nominated for Independent Spirit Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards and was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top five foreign language films of 2019.
Merlant began her career as a professional model before attending the Cours Florent acting school in Paris. She had her first breakthrough in the 2016 film HEAVEN WILL WAIT for which she was nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress. In 2020 she starred in Zoé Wittock's JUMBO, which premiered at the Sundance film festival--a film about a woman who falls in love with an Amusement Park ride. Most recently she starred in Jacques Audiard’s 13th DISTRICT, a coming-of-age love story between young adults finding their way in the modern world of dating, the film is currently streaming. Merlant currently stars in LES INNOCENTS directed by Louis Garrel which screened at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Merlant also stars in the upcoming BABY RUBY alongside Kit Herrington which is premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. BABY RUBY tells the story of Jo (Merlant) a successful, French lifestyle entrepreneur who is happily pregnant but soon after Jo welcomes baby Ruby, something starts to feel off. As Jo fights to protect herself and her baby, she is plunged into a waking fever dream where everyone is a threat, and nothing is what it seems.
Merlant has directed two short films, the 2017 film JE SUIS UNE BICHE and the 2019 film SHAKIRA.
NINA HOSS (Sharon Goodnow)
Nina is one of Germany’s most well-respected working actors today. She has been nominated 23 times over her career and has picked up many wins along the way. She is a Board Member of the European Film Academy and has served on several juries, including the Venice Film Festival as well as the Locarno Film Festival. Nina is best known for her roles in the critically acclaimed German films, PHOENIX, A MOST WANTED MAN, and BARBARA, which won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012. In 2019, Nina won the Best Actress Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival for her performance in The Audience. She also starred that year in Katrin Gebbe's drama, PELICAN BLOOD, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. She won Best Actress at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards in 2016 for her role as Nelly in PHOENIX directed by Christian Petzold.
Nina starred as Lisa in the film LITTLE SISTER which was Switzerland’s official Academy Award submission in 2022. Nina received rave reviews for her performance. Nina made her English debut in 2017 as Astrid in Showtime’s Homeland.
Nina can currently be seen in Netflix Germany’s/ BRON Studios limited series, “Defeated,” opposite, Taylor Kitsch, Michael C. Hall, and Logan Marshall-Green which Måns Mårlind and Bjorn Stein directed. Upcoming Nina will be seen playing Alena Kovac, the President of the Czech Republic, in season 3 of “Jack Ryan” for PTV/ Amazon, which will be released this December 2022.
SOPHIE KAUER (Olga Metkina)
Sophie Kauer is a British-German cellist and actress. She is currently studying classical cello performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, in the class of world renowned cellist Torleif Thedeén. She started cello lessons aged 8 and, just 18 months later, was accepted into the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied for 7 years and received a scholarship. From the ages of 13 to 18, she was also a private student of distinguished cello professor, Melissa Phelps. Sophie has been successful in many competitions in the UK, including winning the ‘Search for a Cello Soloist’ competition and had won all prizes open to her at the Junior Royal Academy of Music by the age of 16. She made her debut as a soloist with orchestra aged 13 and has performed the Dvorak, Elgar and Haydn cello concertos, in addition to playing solo recitals from the age of 11. Sophie is a current Hattori Foundation Junior Award recipient and has received a scholarship from the International Academy of Music in Liechtenstein. She has been fortunate to receive tuition from leading musicians such as Andreas Brantelid, Vilde Frang, Johannes Goritizki, Henning Kraggerud, Kian Soltani, Troels Svane and Raphael Wallfisch. Sophie plays a modern cello made by Ragnar Hayn in 2020.
She recently recorded music from the film with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Natalie Murray Beale for an album to be released by Deutsche Grammophon.
JULIAN GLOVER (Andris Davis)
Julian has an extraordinary film legacy including the Imperial General Maximilian Veers in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the ruthless Greek villain Aristotle Kristasos in the James Bond film FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and the deceptive American Nazi Walter Donovan in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.
More recently he was a series regular in Seasons 1 - 6 of “Game of Thrones” and voiced the giant spider in HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. He was recently seen in the West End in THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA.
ALLAN CORDUNER (Sebastian Brix)
Corduner’s Theatre credits include “My Fair Lady” (Lincoln Centre, NYC); “Murder on The Orient Express” (McCarter, Princeton); “Showboat” (The Sheffield Crucible); “Taken At Midnight” (Chichester & Theatre Royal Haymarket); “Passion” (Donmar Warehouse); “Hello Dolly!” (Regent’s Park); “A View from the Bridge” (Duke of York’s); “The Birthday Party” (Princeton); “Two Thousand Years” (National Theatre); “Comedians” (Acorn Theater); “Fucking Games, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, Icecream and No End of Blame” (Royal Court); “Serious Money” (Royal Court, London’s West End, and Broadway); “Titanic” (Broadway); “Rosmersholm” (Young Vic); “The Boys Next Door” (Hampstead & Comedy Theatre); “Arsenic and Old Lace, Insignificance” (Chichester); “Marya” (Old Vic); “A Midsummer Night’s Dream;” “Play It Again Sam;” “Once a Catholic;” “The Amazons;” “The Entertainer.”
Television includes “Ridley Road;” “FBI;” “The Blacklist;” “Fearless;” “Homeland;” “Call the Midwife;” “Utopia;” “Da Vinci’s Demons;” “Spies of Warsaw;” “Dancing on the Edge;” “Midsomer Murders;” “Zen;” “Lennon Naked;” “Schama’s Power of Art;” “Heartbeat;” “Friends and Crocodiles;” “Daniel Deronda;” “Foyle’s War;” “The Way We Live Now;” “Fat Friends;” “Drop The Dead Donkey;” “Mad About You;” “Nostromo;” “Inspector Morse;” “Mandela;” “Freud.”
Films include ABYZOU; OPERATION FINALE; DISOBEDIENCE; FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS; WOMAN IN GOLD; DEFIANCE; FRED CLAUS; THE WHITE COUNTESS; THE MERCHANT OF VENICE; VERA DRAKE; DE-LOVELY; FOOD OF LOVE; MOONLIGHT MILE; THE GREY ZONE; JOE GOULD’S SECRET; TOPSY-TURVY; THE IMPOSTORS; HEART OF DARKNESS; EDWARD II; TALK RADIO; SHADOWMAKERS; YENTL.
MARK STRONG (Eliot Kaplan)
One of today’s most compelling and charismatic actors, Mark Strong will be seen in the forthcoming feature films, SQUADRON 42, NOCEBO and MURDER MYSTERY 2 for Netflix. He was most recently seen on screen in Sam Mendes multi-award-winning feature film 1917 and Disney’s CRUELLA; and for television in “Temple for Sky, which he also produces.
Moviegoers have seen him in notable collaborations over the years with directors Guy Ritchie, on SHERLOCK HOLMES, ROCKNROLLA, and REVOLVER; Ridley Scott, on ROBIN HOOD and BODY OF LIES, for which he received a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination; and Matthew Vaughn, on KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, KICK-ASS, and STARDUST.
Mr. Strong’s other films include DC’s SHAZAM!, Robert Burdreau’s STOCKHOLM, Toa Fraser’s 6 DAYS, Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s APPROACHING THE UNKNOWN, Richie Smyth’s JADOTVILLE, John Madden’s MISS SLOANE with Jessica Chastain, Mortem Tyldum’s THE IMITATION GAME, Jorge Dorado’s ANNA, Nae Caranfil’s CLOSER TO THE MOON, Eran Creevy’s WELCOME TO THE PUNCH, Nick Murphy’s BLOOD, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s BLACK GOLD, Andrew Stanton’s JOHN CARTER, Tomas Alfredson’s TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY with Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, Peter Weir’s THE WAY BACK, with Jim Sturgess; John Michael McDonagh’s THE GUARD, with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle; Martin Campbell’s GREEN LANTERN, opposite Ryan Reynolds; Jean-Marc Vallée’s THE YOUNG VICTORIA, opposite Emily Blunt; Pete Travis’ ENDGAME; Vicente Amorim’s GOOD, with Viggo Mortensen; Danny Boyle’s SUNSHINE; Stephen Gaghan’s SYRIANA with George Clooney; Roman Polanski’s OLIVER TWIST; Kevin Reynolds’ TRISTAN + ISOLDE; Thomas Vinterberg’s IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE; Mike Figgis’ HOTEL; David Evans’ FEVER PITCH; István Szabó’s SUNSHINE (1999); and, also for Focus Features, Bharat Nalluri’s MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY and Kevin Macdonald ’s THE EAGLE.
He was a BAFTA Award nominee for his performance in THE LONG FIRM, and also won the Broadcast Press Guild Award for Best Actor. His other telefilm and miniseries credits include, “Temple,” “Deep State”, “Nosferatu,” “Our Friends in the North,” directed by Simon Cellan Jones and Stuart Urban; Adrian Shergold’s “Low Winter Sun” (which won the BAFTA [Scotland] Award for Best Drama – he recently recreated the role in the US) and “Births, Marriages and Deaths;” Pete Travis’ “The Jury,” “Henry VIII;” David Drury’s TRUST; Diarmuid Lawrence’s EMMA, opposite Kate Beckinsale; Roger Michell’s “The Buddha of Suburbia;” Danny Boyle’s “Screenplay” episode “Not Even God Is Wise Enough;” and, opposite Helen Mirren for directors David Drury and Tom Hooper, respectively, “Prime Suspect 3” and “Prime Suspect 6.”
Mr. Strong has also performed in radio and stage plays, most recently appearing in the National Theatre’s “The Red Barn,” and the Young Vic’s critically acclaimed “A View from the Bridge” which also transferred to the West End and Broadway. For his performance in “A View from the Bridge,” he received both the Olivier Award and Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actor. He was an Olivier Award nominee for his performance in Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse staging of “Twelfth Night” (which he played in repertory with “Uncle Vanya”). U.K. audiences have seen him perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company, in Danny Boyle’s staging of “Hess is Dead,” among other productions; with the National Theatre, in four productions for Richard Eyre, David Thacker’s “Death of a Salesman,” and Patrick Marber’s “Closer,” among other shows; at the Royal Court, in Lindsay Posner’s production of “The Treatment” and Hettie MacDonald’s staging of “Thickness of Skin;” and Peter Gill’s New Ambassadors production of “Speed-the- Plow.”
He studied English and Drama at London University, and then acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.