Ad Astra writer-director James Gray confirms Cate Blanchett’s involvement in his upcoming film Armageddon Times. In the autobiographical feature, “Cate Blanchett is going to play Donald Trump’s sister which is the weirdest sentence I have ever said,” jokes Gray. As Maryanne Trump Barry, Blanchett joins the impressive ensemble cast of Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Anne Hathaway, and Oscar Isaac on the project.
Gray’s Armageddon Times takes place in 1980’s New York when the filmmaker was around 12 years old. He shares with Collider that the film is “a memoir…about my best friend and my relationship with him and when I moved from public school to private school.” It tells the story of how racism and classism ultimately destroyed the boys’ friendship when Gray changed schools to the exclusive Kew-Forest School in Queens, NY, which boasts former-president Trump as an alumni.
Blanchett performs the speech Maryanne Trump Barry gave at Kew-Forest for which a young James Gray was in attendance. He wrote the scene from memory, recollecting the length of the speech and loquaciousness of the orator. Gray describes the speech as a “real scene-stealer,” although Blanchett’s part seems to be on the smaller scale, with an estimated three days of filming.
Gray has had Armageddon Times in the works since well before Ad Astra’s 2019 release, but Covid-19 and safety protocols have significantly delayed the project. Filming is finally set for fall of 2021, at which time the filmmaker is confident the cast and crew will be properly vaccinated.