WHEN Cate Blanchett first met her husband, the writer Andrew Upton, she thought him arrogant and he thought her aloof. They then bonded over a late night game of poker and married the following year.
It's a fine example of pre-conceived impressions proved wrong. Just like Upton did, it would be easy to pigeon-hole Blanchett as an ice maiden.
Perhaps it's her ethereal beauty, or the cool elegance she exudes, whether wearing the latest couture on the red carpet or dominating the big screen. So her reaction when asked who her black polka-dot dress is by comes as a surprise.
"Oh, it's Givenchy," she says. "It unzips down the front, so it's very good for a quickie. Not that that will be happening to me today."
Talking to the multi-award winning actress, it's soon evident she isn't one for pretensions. She talks eloquently about her work, with the confidence and breadth of knowledge of someone who has devoted a large portion of her life to the theatre.
It's where she began her career, and she's focused the last few years of her life as co-artistic director and co-CEO of the Sydney Theatre Company with her husband, a role they step down from at the end of this year.
She's continued to make movies, like Robin Hood, Hanna and The Hobbit series. Her latest project is Blue Jasmine, written and directed by Woody Allen. Blanchett plays Jasmine (or Jeanette, as she was born).
"She was a girl who changed her name at school, so she already had a romanticised version of herself," says the Australian actress.
The film introduces the New York socialite shortly after she's suffered a breakdown triggered by the cataclysmic collapse of her marriage to wealthy financier Hal (Alec Baldwin).
Until that point, Jasmine's entire identity was wrapped around being an elegant, immaculate and culturally sophisticated woman living the Manhattan high life. Now that's over, her mental and emotional state is rapidly veering off course.
"I was terrified and excited about accepting the role," admits Blanchett, 44. "It was such an incredible opportunity, there was so much to do, so many avenues to explore."
Jasmine's freefall isn't dissimilar to that of Blanche DuBois' in Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire. It's a comparison that hasn't escaped Blanchett, who portrayed Blanche on stage.
"The first time I read the script, I was sitting at the kitchen bench and saying to my husband, 'Oh, I wonder if Woody saw me'. He hadn't and he never mentioned it, but then Woody's sensibility as a writer is entirely different to Tennessee Williams'.
"He's much more urban, neurotic. He doesn't have that same lyricism that Tennessee does. Certainly, I think it's delicious that any parallels might exist, but they're incidental."
Although Blue Jasmine is less whimsical than Allen's recent offerings, there are lighter moments, and Blanchett feels that's imperative.
"I find even when you're playing something like Hedda Gabler or Blanche, those immensely tragic trajectories they go on, you have to find the ridiculous, the absurd, because otherwise you don't earn the tragic," she says.
"I think that's something Woody innately understands. He understands how we always yearn for the wrong person, or we're so deluded to who we actually are. And I think therein lies the comedy.
"We all suffer from delusions of grandeur. We're all the heroines or heroes in our own narrative and I, like anyone, have had those narcissistic moments, but Jasmine's much more interesting and complex than me."