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Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz 2018.jpg
Weisz at the Montclair Film Festival, April 2018
Born Rachel Hannah Weisz
(1970-03-07) 7 March 1970 (age 48)
Westminster, London, England
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Citizenship
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Occupation
  • Actress
  • fashion model
Spouse(s)
Daniel Craig (m. 2011)
Partner(s) Darren Aronofsky (2001–2010)
Children 2
Relatives Minnie Weisz (sister)

Rachel Hannah Weisz (/vs/ "vice";[2] born 7 March 1970)[3] is a British-American actress. She began her acting career in the early 1990s, appearing in Inspector Morse, Scarlet and Black, and Advocates II. She made her film debut in Death Machine (1994). Her first Hollywood appearance was in Chain Reaction (1996), opposite Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.[4]

She has also worked in theatre. Her stage breakthrough was the 1994 revival of Noël Coward's play Design for Living, which earned her the London Critics' Circle Award for the most promising newcomer. Weisz's performances also include the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer, and their 2009 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in the latter play earned her the Olivier Award for Best Actress.

Weisz appeared in the film The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Other films that followed are Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Constantine (2005) and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006). For her supporting role in the drama thriller The Constant Gardener (2005), she received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors' Guild award. In 2006, Weisz received the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year. She starred in Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), and appeared in two 2015 Cannes Film Festival films, Youth and The Lobster.

Weisz portrayed Deborah Lipstadt in Denial (2016), based on Lipstadt's book and directed by Mick Jackson. In 2017, she starred as the titular character in a film adaptation of My Cousin Rachel, based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. The following year, she portrayed Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough in Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite.

Contents

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 Films
      • 2.1.1 1992–98
      • 2.1.2 1999–2003
      • 2.1.3 2004–09
      • 2.1.4 2010–present
    • 2.2 Theatre
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Filmography
    • 4.1 Film
    • 4.2 Television
    • 4.3 Theatre
  • 5 Awards and nominations
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life[edit]

Weisz was born on the early morning of Saturday, 7 March 1970 in Westminster, London, and grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb.[5] Her father, George Weisz, is a mechanical engineer from Hungary.[6][7] Her mother, Edith Ruth (née Teich; d. March 2016), was a teacher-turned-psychotherapist from Vienna, Austria.[8][9] Her parents left for the United Kingdom around 1938, before the outbreak of the Second World War, to escape the Nazis.[10][11][12][13] Scholar Rev. James Parkes helped her mother and her mother's family leave Austria for England.[14] Her father is from a Jewish family.[15][16][17][18] Her mother's ancestry is Austrian Jewish, Viennese and Italian;[19][20][21] Weisz's mother was raised Catholic and formally converted to Judaism upon marrying Weisz's father.[22][23][24] Weisz's maternal grandfather was Alexander Teich, a Jewish activist who had been a secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students.[25][26][27] She has a younger sister, Minnie Weisz, who is a photographic artist.[28]

Weisz's parents valued the arts and encouraged their children to form opinions of their own by introducing them to family debates.[29] Weisz left North London Collegiate School and attended Benenden School for one year, completing A-levels at St Paul's Girls School.[30][31]

Known for being an "English rose",[32][33][34][22] Weisz started modelling when she was 14.[35] In 1984, she gained public attention when she turned down an offer to star in King David with Richard Gere.[30]

Her education concluded at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she graduated with a second-class honours, upper division (2:1) Bachelor of Arts degree in English. During her university years, where she was a contemporary of Sacha Baron Cohen, Alexander Armstrong, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc, Richard Osman, and Ben Miller (whom she briefly dated),[36] she appeared in various student productions, co-founding a student drama group called Cambridge Talking Tongues.[37] It won a Guardian Student Drama Award at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival Fringe for an improvised piece called Slight Possession,[38] directed by David Farr. The group existed until 1993.[39]

Career[edit]

Films[edit]

1992–98[edit]

In 1992, Weisz appeared in the television film Advocates II, followed by roles in the Inspector Morse episode "Twilight of the Gods", and the BBC's steamy period drama Scarlet and Black, alongside Ewan McGregor.[40] "Dirty Something", a BBC Screen Two, hour-long film made in 1992, was Rachel Weisz's first film, playing Becca who met and fell in love with a traveller, Dog (Paul Reynolds), at the end of Glastonbury Festival. The opening scenes were filmed at the festival. Also starring as an older fellow traveller and sage was Larry (Bernard Hill).

A dark-haired woman signing autographs for fans. She is wearing a black blouse and shades. Behind her there is a fan.
Weisz signing an autograph during the press conference for The Brothers Bloom in September 2008

Weisz started her film career with a minor role in the 1994 film Death Machine,[40] but her first major role came in the 1996 film Chain Reaction, which also starred Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.[41] While the film received mostly negative reviews–it holds a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes[42]-it was a minor financial success.[43] She next appeared as Miranda Fox in Stealing Beauty, directed by the Italian Academy Award-winner Bernardo Bertolucci,[44] where she was first labelled an English rose.[34]

Following this, Weisz found roles in the 1997 American drama Swept from the Sea,[45] the 1998 British television comedy-drama My Summer with Des, Michael Winterbottom's crime film I Want You,[46] and David Leland's The Land Girls, based on Angela Huth's book of the same name.[47]

1999–2003[edit]

In 1999, Weisz played Greta in the historical film Sunshine.[48] The same year, her international breakthrough came with the 1999 adventure film The Mummy, in which she played the female lead opposite Brendan Fraser. Her character was the English Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan,[49] who undertook an expedition to the fictional ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra to discover an ancient book. Variety criticised the direction of the film, writing: "(the actors) have been directed to broad, undisciplined performances [...] Buffoonery hardly seems like Weisz's natural domain, as the actress strains for comic effects that she can't achieve".[50] She followed this up with the sequel The Mummy Returns in 2001, which grossed an estimated $433 million worldwide,[51] (equivalent to $598 million in 2017 dollars)[52] higher than the original's $260 million[53] (equal to $382 million in 2017 dollars).[52] In 2000, she portrayed Petula in the film Beautiful Creatures,[40] following this up with 2001's Enemy at the Gates,[54] and the 2002 comedy-drama About a Boy, with Hugh Grant, based on Nick Hornby's 1998 novel.[55] In 2003, she played Marlee in the adaptation of John Grisham's legal thriller novel The Runaway Jury, along with Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack and Gene Hackman;[56] and starred in the film adaptation of the romantic comedy-drama play The Shape of Things.[57]

2004–09[edit]

In 2004, Weisz appeared in the comedy Envy, opposite Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Christopher Walken. The film failed at the box office.[58] Variety magazine opined that Weisz and co-star Amy Poehler "get fewer choice moments than they deserve."[59] Her next role was alongside Keanu Reeves in Constantine, based on the comic book Hellblazer.[60] Film Threat called her portrayal "effective at projecting scepticism and, eventually, dawning horror".[61]

A black haired woman smiling. She is wearing a white dress and a necklace with a blue pendant.
Weisz in January 2007

Her next appearance, in 2005, was in Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener,[62] a film adaptation of a John le Carré thriller set in the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani, Kenya.[63][64] Weisz played an activist, Tessa Quayle, married to a British embassy official.[65] The film was critically acclaimed,[66] earning Weisz the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress,[67] the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress,[68] and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.[69] UK newspaper The Guardian noted that the film "established her in the front rank of British actors",[70] while the BBC wrote: "Weisz is exceptional: film star charisma coupled with raw emotion in a performance to fall in love with".[71] In 2006, she received the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year.[72]

In 2006, Weisz starred in Darren Aronofsky's romantic drama The Fountain.[73] The San Francisco Chronicle found her portrayal of Queen Isabel "less convincing" than other roles.[74] That same year, she provided the voice for Saphira the dragon in the fantasy film Eragon;[75] and rejected an offer to star in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor due to script issues.[76][77] The part eventually went to Maria Bello.[78] Her subsequent films include the 2007 Wong Kar-wai drama My Blueberry Nights,[79] and Rian Johnson's 2008 caper film The Brothers Bloom, alongside Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo.[79] In 2009, she played the lead role of Hypatia of Alexandria in the historical drama film Agora, a Spanish production directed by Alejandro Amenábar.[80] The New York Times called her portrayal "adept", noting that she imparted "a sympathetic presence".[81]

2010–present[edit]

The 2012 Deauville American Film Festival

Weisz starred in the film The Whistleblower, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. The film was based on the true story of human trafficking by employees of contractor DynCorp. During its première, the intense depiction of the treatment meted out to victims by the kidnappers made a woman in the audience faint.[82] Variety magazine wrote "Weisz's performance holds the viewer every step of the way."[83] That same year, she guest-starred in the animated series The Simpsons, in the 22nd season episode "How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?".[84] Weisz's 2011 roles included an adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea,[85] Fernando Meirelles' psychosexual drama 360[86] opposite Jude Law again and Anthony Hopkins, the BBC espionage thriller Page Eight, and the thriller film Dream House, alongside Daniel Craig.

She filmed scenes for To the Wonder, a 2012 romantic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, alongside Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams; her scenes were cut.[87][88][89] She has also starred in the 2012 action thriller film The Bourne Legacy based on the series of books by Robert Ludlum.

Weisz plays the Evanora, in Oz the Great and Powerful, which opened on 7 March 2013. In 2015, she appeared in drama film Youth and in science fiction film The Lobster. The film won Cannes Jury Prize. In 2016, she appeared in the drama film The Light Between Oceans, with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, and portrayed Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in Denial, a film based on Lipstadt's book, and directed by Mick Jackson.

In 2017, Weisz starred in the drama My Cousin Rachel, based on Daphne du Maurier's novel, and in 2018 co-starred in a British biographical film about sailor Donald Crowhurst, The Mercy, directed by James Marsh.

Weisz's production company, LC6 Productions, released its first feature film, Disobedience, in 2017, starring Weisz and Rachel McAdams.[90][91] Weisz grew up three subway stops away from where the film is set in London. Raised Jewish, she never fully connected to the faith. She claims she was "really disobedient" herself, and has never felt she fit in anywhere.[92]

Theatre[edit]

On stage, Weisz's breakthrough role was that of Gilda in Sean Mathias's 1994 revival of Noël Coward's Design for Living at the Gielgud Theatre,[93][94] for which she received the London Critics' Circle Award for the most promising newcomer.[95][96] Her portrayal was described as "wonderful" by a contemporary review.[97] In 1999, she played the role of Catherine in the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer,[98] What's on Stage called her "captivating", stating that she brought "a degree of credibility to a difficult part".[99] The same year, Weisz appeared in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things at the Almeida Theatre, then temporarily located in London's King's Cross.[100] CurtainUp called her "a sophisticated, independent artist" with "great stage presence".[101] In 2009, she appeared as Blanche DuBois, in Rob Ashford's revival of the play A Streetcar Named Desire.[102] Her performance in the play was praised by the critics, the Daily Telegraph noted that she "rises to the challenge magnificently".[103] Weisz and her husband starred on Broadway in a revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal. It opened 27 October 2013, and closed 5 January 2014.[104][105] Despite mixed reviews, box office receipts of $17.5 million made it the second highest grossing Broadway play of 2013.[106]

Personal life[edit]

In the summer of 2001, Weisz began dating American filmmaker and producer Darren Aronofsky. They met backstage at London's Almeida Theatre, where she was starring in The Shape of Things. Weisz moved to New York with Aronofsky the following year;[100] in 2005, they were engaged. Their son Henry was born on 31 May 2006 in New York City.[107][108] The couple resided in the East Village in Manhattan. In November 2010, Weisz and Aronofsky announced that they had been apart for months, but remain close friends and are committed to bringing up their son together in New York.[109]

Weisz began dating English actor Daniel Craig in December 2010 and they married on 22 June 2011 in a private New York ceremony, with only four guests in attendance, including Weisz's son and Craig's daughter.[110][111] On 1 September 2018, it was reported that they had had their first child together, a daughter.[112]

On 7 July 2007, Weisz presented at the American leg of Live Earth, along with Alec Baldwin and Kevin Bacon.[113] In 2009, Weisz expressed her views on Botox to Harper's Bazaar – "It should be banned for actors, as steroids are for sportsmen. Acting is all about expression; why would you want to iron out a frown?"[114] During her career, she has been featured on the covers of magazines such as insideKENT,[115] Vogue[116] and Esquire. She serves as a muse to fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez,[117] and was named L'Oréal's global ambassador in 2010.[118] Weisz, a British citizen by birth, became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2011.[119]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Death Machine Junior Executive
1994 White Goods Elaine
1996 Chain Reaction Dr. Lily Sinclair
1996 Stealing Beauty Miranda Fox
1997 Bent Prostitute
1997 Going All the Way Marty Pilcher
1997 Swept from the Sea Amy Foster
1997 I Want You Helen
1998 My Summer with Des Rosie
1998 The Land Girls Agapanthus
1999 The Mummy Evelyn Carnahan
1999 Sunshine Greta
1999 Tube Tales Angela Segment: Rosebud
2000 Beautiful Creatures Petula
2000 This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis Lauren Hynde
2001 Enemy at the Gates Tania Chernova
2001 The Mummy Returns Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell / Nefertiri
2002 About a Boy Rachel
2003 Confidence Lily
2003 The Shape of Things Evelyn Ann Thompson
2003 Runaway Jury Marlee
2004 Envy Debbie Dingman
2005 Constantine Angela Dodson / Isabel Dodson / Mammon
2005 The Constant Gardener Tessa Quayle
2006 The Fountain Isabel Creo
2006 Eragon Saphira (voice)
2007 Fred Claus Wanda
2007 My Blueberry Nights Sue Lynne
2008 Definitely, Maybe Summer Hartley
2008 The Brothers Bloom Penelope
2009 The Lovely Bones Abigail Salmon
2009 Agora Hypatia
2010 The Whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac
2011 360 Rose
2011 Dream House Libby Atenton
2011 The Deep Blue Sea Hester Collyer
2012 The Bourne Legacy Dr. Marta Shearing
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Evanora
2014 Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger Herself Documentary
2015 The Lobster Short Sighted Woman
2015 Youth Lena Ballinger
2016 Complete Unknown Alice Manning
2016 The Light Between Oceans Hannah Roennfeldt
2016 Denial Deborah Lipstadt
2017 My Cousin Rachel Rachel Ashley
2017 Disobedience Ronit Krushka Also producer
2018 The Mercy Clare Crowhurst
2018 The Favourite Sarah Churchill

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Advocates II Sarah Thompson Television film
1993 Inspector Morse Arabella Baydon Episode: "Twilight of the Gods"[120]
1993 Tropical Heat Joey Episode: "His Pal Joey"
1993 Scarlet and Black Mathilde TV miniseries
1994 Seventeen TV short
1994 Screen Two Becca Episode: "Dirtysomething"
2010 The Simpsons Dr. Thurmond (voice) Episode: "How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?"
2011 Page Eight Nancy Pierpan Television film

Theatre[edit]

Year Play Role Theatre
1994 Design for Living Gilda Gielgud Theatre
1999 Suddenly Last Summer Catherine Donmar Warehouse
1999 The Shape of Things Evelyn Ann Thompson Almeida Theatre
2001 The Shape of Things Evelyn Ann Thompson Promenade Theatre
2009 A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois Donmar Warehouse
2013 Betrayal Emma Ethel Barrymore Theatre
2016 Plenty Susan Traherne The Public Theater

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 Saturn Awards Best Actress The Mummy Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Action Nominated
Genie Awards Best Supporting Actress Sunshine Nominated
2002 Empire Awards Best British Actress The Mummy Returns Nominated
2005 British Independent Film Award Best Actress The Constant Gardener Won
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Won
2006 Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Female Actor in a Supporting Role Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
BAFTA Award Best Actress Nominated
London Critics' Circle Film Award British Actress of the Year Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actress Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Nominated
2012 Genie Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role The Whistleblower Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Actress in a Canadian Film Nominated
39th Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Actress The Deep Blue Sea Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle British Actress of the Year Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
2015 European Film Awards Best Actress Youth Nominated