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Cate Blanchett’s Chainsaw-Fueled Lockdown Hysteria Led Her to Borderlands

Borderlands’ August 9 release is just over a month away, and it’s still almost incredible that this movie exists. The fact that it’s directed by Eli Roth and based on the mega-popular video game isn’t so odd; rather, it’s the stacked ensemble cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Hart, Ariana Greenblatt, Edgar Ramírez, the voice of Jack Black, and… Cate Blanchett?

Lest you think that Blanchett, who’s more known for dramatic roles (though she doesn’t turn down franchise opportunities; see: the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok), signed on to play space outlaw Lilith merely for a paycheck, let the two-time Oscar winner set you straight.

Speaking to Empire, Blanchett explained “covid madness” might have influenced her decision to join the cast, under the guidance of Roth, who she’d worked with previously (along with Black) on 2018’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls. “I was spending a lot of time in the garden, using the chainsaw a little too freely,” she confessed. “My husband said, ‘This film could save your life.’”

Even with the state of the world at the time, she was able to engage in some pandemic-friendly research. “My thumbs can barely control a phone, but I bought a PS5 and we played each other,” Blanchett explained. “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.”

She also told the magazine that because the Borderlands movie seemed like such an odd fit, that made it even more enticing. “The crazy asks are usually the things I gravitate towards; the things I could never conceive of,” she said, and admitted “the gun-slinging stuff was so much fun.” What, no chainsaw?

Borderlands arrives August 9.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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