Sophie Kauer was a cellist studying for a degree when a friend urged her to audition for “Tár. ” The lady watched Michael Caine videos on acting and dove right in.
Lydia Tár commands with the gravitational pull of a planet: Everyone and everything, including the camera inside “Tár, ” Todd Field’s epic about a fictional maestro, lives in her shadow. But when Lydia ( Cate Blanchett ), who has been accused associated with sexual harassment, sets the girl sights on Olga, the rising Russian cellist, she is confronted with a foil of sorts. Is the particular young woman disarmingly naïve or particularly cunning?
In reality, Sophie Kauer , who plays Olga, is a British-German cellist who, after responding to a vague open casting call practically on a lark, found herself months later plunked down in front of Blanchett shooting two-hander scenes in Berlin. She was 19 and had never acted within her life.
“Sometimes I feel like everything’s happening backwards, ” Kauer, now 21, said recently on the video call from a professor’s classroom at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where she is learning for a classical music performance degree. “I’ve kind of just been dropped into the thick of it, which is both wonderful and so weird at the same time. ”
Kauer appeared grateful, dazed plus remarkably well-adjusted about the film and the attention. She has been meticulous about scheduling classes around press duties to maintain her school’s mandatory 80 percent attendance rate.
Born in London, she picked up the cello at 8 and has always been naturally driven — she speaks five languages, and for early auditions developed the girl Russian accent through YouTube videos. (After she was cast, two dialect coaches took over. )
“If We want in order to do something, then I’ll simply do it, ” Kauer said, not with arrogance but rather the particular air of someone who is self-assured about her passions. Music, the girl emailed right after we spoke, “has already been my absolute rock through everything. But what I really don’t like is being put in the box plus told that classical music is all I am allowed to do or We are not sufficiently serious regarding my career. ”
Kauer spoke about the casting process, working with Blanchett, and what she thinks about that Juilliard scene. These are edited excerpts from our interview.
‘Tár’: A Timely Backstage Drama
Cate Blanchett plays a world-famous conductor who is embroiled in a #MeToo drama within the latest film by the director Todd Field.
- Review : “We don’t care about Lydia Tár because she’s an artist; we worry about her because she’s art, ” our own critic writes about the film’s protagonist .
- An Elusive Subject: Blanchett has stayed one step ahead of audiences by constantly staying in motion. In “Tár, ” the girl is as inscrutable while ever .
- Back Into the Limelight : The film marks Field’s return to directing , 16 years after “In the Bedroom” and “Little Children” made waves.
- Big-Screen Aesthetics : “Tár” was among several movies at the New York Film Festival that offered reflections on the rarefied worlds of classical music and visual artwork .
What has your existence been like these past few weeks?
I’m still getting the hang of almost all of this. Every interview I actually do is completely different and I learn so much from it. I just think it’s so surreal that someone wants to talk to me. [Laughs]
How did you become involved in the movie?
My friend sends me the casting contact that has been posted in our school Facebook group, saying, “Look, they’re looking for a young cellist who could do a Russian accent plus feels comfortable inside front associated with a camera. I think you should apply for this. ” And I was like, “Oh, but I don’t do any acting. We wouldn’t get it. ” And she was like, “Oh, just apply. It’ll be fun. ”
I wasn’t really thinking about what size the role was. I had a Zoom audition with [Field] and I was like, “This is therefore cool. I am going to tell my grandkids that I do a Focus audition along with Todd Field. ” Then I got a call asking if I could send a recording of the particular piece a person hear Olga playing in the film, the Elgar Cello Concerto. I had formed played this before, but I had to get it back in my fingers in like the day and send this straight away. They were actually cryptic the particular week after. It was not until I actually was put on a Zoom call with Avy Kaufman [a casting director] and Todd which i found out I had developed got the part. No one had actually explained it to me personally.
Did you have any performing experience?
When the occasional Shakespeare compulsory play came around [in school], I’d play the particular noble man in the background using the painted-on beard who says “Aye” three times or even something like that will. [Laughs] That was the extent from it.
Jordan Caine did these lessons on movie acting [available on YouTube]. That was very technical, but I actually picked upward a lot. I type of figured it out as I went along. When I would have days or hours off, I asked Todd basically would be allowed to watch everyone else act their scenes. I was trying to pick up everything that they were doing,
What was this like in order to go from no acting experience to suddenly working opposite Cate Blanchett?
I remember We saw the girl for the particular first time she place out her hand and she said, “Hi, I’m Cate. ” And you’re just like, “I know! ” [Laughs] And after that I had fashioned in order to [rehearse with] the girl after having met her five minutes before.
I quickly learned that she’s one of the world’s loveliest people, and she’s so supportive and generous. I would even go as far to say that I learned to act from the girl and Todd.
Olga has the very specific dynamic with Lydia. She seems to be the only one Lydia can’t fully control. Why is that will?
That’s the one thing — about to catch designed to understand. We have no idea if Olga has been just super naïve plus very caught up with her life going exactly in order to plan and her achieving her wildest dreams. Or if she’s super calculating and knows exactly what she’s performing. Part of myself would like to think that she’s smart, and the other part of me desires to think that she’s careless and young and kind of free. None of us really know the entirety of the characters. I actually don’t believe Todd does either.
What do you make of how the particular film examines notions associated with power in the world of classical music?
The release of the film is very timely because the Independent Society of Musicians just released a study saying that sexual nuisance, bullying plus racism is at its all-time worst within the classical music industry, and that people feel like they can not speak away about it because they’re freelancers. Plus when they do speak out, they face repercussions and are not rebooked.
It’s perfect that this film is usually coming out right now. I also think the fact that it is a woman inside a position that a man would stereotypically be in is really good, and in a way is slightly less offensive. People kind of simply see the problem for exactly what it is, rather than getting offended.
The film has been discussed at length within the framework of the culture wars, within particular with all the scene in Juilliard when a student expresses discomfort playing music written by straight white men. Lydia has no patience with regard to him. As someone in these classrooms, do you have sympathies for either side in that Juilliard scene?
Of course I perform. We need to become open to discussing this and including all these new voices that have been unheard for so long — music by women or even including more cultures plus ethnicities. And we can’t just forget what has gone before due to the fact this is what our whole history is based on. I can’t wake up tomorrow and say, sorry, I’m in no way likely to play a piece written by the white male composer again. Because unfortunately that is definitely just how history is, plus that is the vast majority of our music.
You can’t exclude the majority of songs history because you don’t identify with it. But I also do think that the point he makes will be very relevant. There can be very little representation for a lot of genders and ethnicities and cultures, and traditional music may have been a bit slower to evolve. But it is evolving. Every time I view, my sympathy for each character changes. Sometimes I believe Lydia is totally right, and other times I’m such as, no, Max, he’s the particular one who’s totally perfect.
What’s next for you?
I am still in the middle of studying regarding my music degree, so I have a lot of stuff in order to catch up on. I’m looking forward to being a musician again. Yet I do enjoy the acting a great deal. I am still very young, so I’m type of seeing what happens and taking it 1 thing at a time. I would like to hope that this isn’t my last project. It had been really quite something.