A Western starring Cate Blanchett as a rifle-toting American pioneer joined the running for the Golden Bear at the 54th Berlin film festival, one of 23 films vying for the event’s top prize.

Blanchett, who is pregnant with her second child, told that the role in ‘The Missing’ by director Ron Howard required several weeks of study of 19th century herbal remedies, research on the American Old West and fierce training in horseback riding.

“I’m quite urban,” she said. “I don’t like to be too far away from an espresso machine. But I promised Ron I could do it.”

Blanchett plays Maggie Gilkeson, a mother forced to team up with her estranged husband (Tommy Lee Jones) after her daughter is kidnapped to be sold.

Blanchett related to the role as an independent mother trying to juggle family and career and said she generally takes her two-year-old son Dashiell with her on film sets.

“It is a very stimulating environment for a young child,” she said.