Cate Blanchett Trades Film Acting for Theater Role

Cate Blanchett hinted Friday that her acting career may take a back seat to her new role as the artistic director of a leading Sydney theater company.

The Oscar-winning actress and her playwright husband, Andrew Upton, have agreed to become co-artistic directors of the Sydney Theater Company starting in January 2008.

"The acceptance for the role of co-artistic director of this company is not a dalliance," Blanchett told reporters in Sydney on Friday, after officially accepting the position.

"It's an absolutely firm commitment, and it is not one that Andrew nor myself have made lightly," she said.

The Australian-born actress said the artistic director role would become her new full-time job, although she and Upton would be free for three months each year to pursue their own projects.

"Sometimes I may take that up and sometimes I may not," Blanchett said. "Obviously, as and when situations come up, I will seriously consider it if they lure me away from what frankly is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us, apart from marriage and the children."

Blanchett and Upton, who have two small children, will write and act with the Sydney Theater Company, and will steer its programming.

The actress — who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator" — repeatedly sold out performances in the company's 2004 production of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler," adapted by Upton. Her latest film, "Babel," is currently in theaters.

Blanchett is already slated to direct "Blackbird" by Scottish playwright David Harrower next year, while Upton's new play, "Riflemind," will be directed by Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.