Speaking at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event, Documentary Now! executive producers Rhys Thomas, Alex Buono and Fred Armisen spoke about working with Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. She guest-starred in the third season as a Marina Abramović-type performance artist in the episode titled “Waiting for the Artist,” based on the acclaimed 2012 documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present.
“It was very much like your fantasy of what it would be like to work Cate Blanchett.” Buono said. “It does not disappoint. Its everything you hope in terms of her preparation, in terms of what she brings to it, in terms of how committed she would be to the role.”
So committed, in fact, that Blanchett, who had met Abramović, brought her own costumes, 13 different wigs and even changed her eye color.
“She brought a lot literally to the shoot,” Armisen added.
The series, which airs on IFC, parodies various documentaries and often features in-demand talent includfing Blanchett, Michael Keaton, Owen Wilson, Michael C. Hall, John Mulaney, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Natasha Lyonne and more.
On the show’s the celebrity casting, Thomas said: “The goal is always to maintain the reality of the film and the documentary. You have to be careful with casting known entities because sometimes they’ll bring the baggage of who they are so your investment in the reality of the character can be mudded by it. … It has to be somebody that you know would disappear and commit.”
Armisen quipped: “We have this real hope that someday in the future people will think these are real documentaries. We are trying to fool people.”