Nominated for five Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director, “Benjamin Button” tells the story of a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be.
Fincher had Blanchett on his mind to play Daisy, Benjamin’s love interest, since catching her performance in “Elizabeth.” “I remember going to the Sunset 5 and just thinking, ‘Who is that? My goodness,’” he recalls. “You just don’t see people who have that kind of power and ability every day of the week.”
The actress, says Pitt, “elevated most of our performances. She’s exquisite. She’s a great friend. She can read a scene like few actors can. I find her to be grace incarnate. I liked that she was playing a dancer. It fit her because of who she is, because of her undeniable elegance.”
The relationship between Daisy and Benjamin evolves as she comes to understand and learns to live with his preternatural circumstances. Notes screenwriter Eric Roth, “Cate embodies this woman, who has to make peace with the idea of growing older while the person she loves is on the backward path. What does life become for her then? She goes from being an impetuous, passionate dancer to a woman with deep reserves of strength.”
Blanchett shaped Daisy with a dancer’s manner and passions, though the actress’ own ballet practice ended in childhood. “When I was a child, I did the usual girly thing and studied ballet but had to choose between that and piano lessons,” Blanchett notes. “I chose piano and then gave it up for drama. I have a great appreciation for dance, but know my limitations. This movie was a great opportunity to revisit that appreciation.”
Daisy is one of many figures that come into contact with Benjamin. “Benjamin is like a cue ball and all the people he collides with leave marks on him,” says Fincher. “That’s what a life is – a collection of these dents and scratches. They are what make him who he is and not anyone else.”
Benjamin first meets Daisy when they are both children and she comes to visit her grandmother. Daisy sees through the exterior of his elderly handicaps to the child beneath. “One of the linchpins of the piece is how their lives coincide and differ,” says Roth. “This relationship evolves as they grow and change, with all the missed and found opportunities in between.”
Their paths will diverge and converge throughout their lives, until they reach what Fincher calls the “sweet spot” in the middle when they’re meant to be together. “The universe conspires to make them who they are at exactly the right moment,” he says. “And you kind of breathe a sigh of relief when they get together because now it can happen, exactly as it is supposed to.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.