- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

TOKYO (AP) - Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett brought her latest film, the 1950s lesbian romance “Carol,” to Tokyo.

The movie, which has been a critical smash since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, is up for six Academy Awards, including best actress for Blanchett and best supporting actress for her co-star Rooney Mara.

“It’s an extraordinary honor. Many, many people from the film have been nominated, which is a wonderful thing. It’s always wonderful when your peers recognize your work,” Blanchett said at a press event Friday evening ahead of the movie’s Tokyo screening.

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt,” ”Carol” stars Blanchett as the title character - a married but separating woman with a child - while Mara plays Therese, a timid department store clerk infatuated with Blanchett’s Carol.

In the film, Carol and Therese are irresistibly drawn together, but the women must cloak their surging affection for one another in subtle, hidden gestures, keeping their love private in a conservative, male-dominated world.

The movie features one sex scene between the two characters, which Blachett said Friday she had approached just as she would have with a male co-star, except “the bits are different.”

“The fact that the women are the same gender isn’t important … it becomes an epic love story just like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and that’s the way we thought about it. It’s love, love is love no matter who it is between,” she said.

Also at the event was Japanese actress Shinobu Terajima, who asked Blanchett what challenging role she’d like to take on next.

“Probably the life story of a sumo wrestler,” Blanchett replied.

“You have to gain weight for that,” said Terajima.

“Yes. An anorexic sumo wrestler,” Blanchett laughed.

“Carol” will be released in Japan through Phantom Film on Feb. 11.

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