With a background in avant garde theatre, the actress broke big with ‘The Mummy’. Now she plays historian Deborah Lipstadt, who took on Holocaust denier David Irving
One might reasonably deduce that Rachel Weisz had a personal connection with the material in Mick Jackson’s Denial. Based on a script by David Hare, the picture focuses on the libel action taken by David Irving, the English Holocaust denier, against Penguin Books and the historian Deborah Lipstadt in 2000. Both Weisz’s parents fled Europe before the war to escape the Nazis.
“There wasn’t really,” she says. “The Holocaust denial thing didn’t really affect me until the internet age. The parallels with Trump are huge. David Hare was massively aware of that. He was inspired by that before he even knew he would become president.”
Weisz is a famously smart piece of work. She learnt how to debate at the hearthside. She did a bit of modelling as a teenager. She read English literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she formed an avant garde theatre company. The larger world recognised her talent in 2005 when she won an Oscar for The Constant Gardener.
Did that early period of modelling prepare her for what was to come?
“No. Not really,” she says. “I was just a teenager getting dressed up for photographs. There was no fame attached. It’s actually a bit detrimental for acting in film. Doing that, you have to forget the camera is there. Well, I do anyway.”
Weisz twice decided not to go to drama college. The option was there when she left school. It loomed again when she left university.
“There was a choice,” she says. “I was going to go to drama school afterwards. I had a place at Central School of Speech and Drama. Then I got a job and didn’t go. I did want to. I had been thinking about drama school before. But I had been brainwashed to go to college.”
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Check out the new trailer for My Cousin Rachel
A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
The gallery has been updated with HD screencaptures from 1996 movie Chain Reaction, in which Rachel played Dr. Lily Sinclair. The movie stars also Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.
Two researchers in a green alternative energy project are put on the run when they are framed for murder and treason.
Featured Films > Chain Reaction > Movie Screencaptures
The biography The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry: Victorian England’s Most Eminent Surgeon from author Rachel Holmes has just been optioned by Maven Pictures and they have hired Nick Yarborough to adapt. Rachel Weisz, who previously co-starred in Maven’s The Whistleblower, is attached to star as the woman in the 1800s who disguised herself as a man to fulfill her dream. Maven co-founders Trudie Styler (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, American Honey) and Celine Rattray (The Kids Are All Right, American Honey) will produce with Weisz.
The story of James Miranda Barry is a fascinating one: Born Margaret Bulkley, she lived her entire life as a man so she could study and practice medicine. She became a prominent surgeon who spent her groundbreaking career championing the rights of the lower classes and pushing for medical reforms and better sanitary conditions. After becoming an army surgeon and beginning work as a medical assistant in Cape Town, Barry was promoted to the role of personal physician to Governor Lord Charles Somerset. This appointment led to Somerset supporting Barry’s often controversial work, and to a close and eventually scandalous relationship with Somerset, which was widely viewed to be homosexual in nature. While in Cape Town, Barry performed one of the first known successful caesarian sections, saving the lives of both mother and child. Barry’s true gender was not discovered until her death in 1865.
The story has been brought to the small screen in a BBC drama-documentary called A Skirt Through History years ago, but this will be the first time the story of a woman who did what she had to to fulfill her dream is being made into a feature film.
Jenny Halper (The Kids Are AllRight, American Honey), Ari Pinchot and Jonathan Rubenstein of Crystal City Entertainment (The Ides of March, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) will serve as executive producers.
Beyond this film, Maven has made a reputation for itself in choosing interesting film subjects that attract top talent and many that then go onto critical acclaim. Those have included the aforermentioned The Kids Are All Right, The Whistleblower (which also starred Vanessa Redgrave), Still Alice which earned its star Julianne Moore an Oscar last year and this year’s American Honey, which was the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner. Directed by Andrea Arnold and starring Shia Labeouf and Sasha Lane, American Honey has won 4 BIFAS, and been nominated for 6 Spirit awards.
Also upcoming in 2017 is Novitiate, directed by Maggie Betts and starring Margaret Qualley and Melissa Leo. That film will premiere in competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
The company also is spot on when choosing writing talent. The screenwriter for The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry is Yarborough who is is also working on A Letter from Rosemary Kennedy for Emma Stone.
Upcoming in 2017, Maven will release Freak Show which is based on James St. James’ best-selling novel and marks the directorial debut for Styler. Freak Show stars Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game, Departure), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland) and Better Midler.
The gallery was updated with HQ scans and outtakes from The Edit issue from August which featured Rachel on their cover. Take a look!
Our longlist for the London Evening Standard British Film Awards, revealed today, captures the unique sensibility of the capital, celebrating its diversity and creativity.
Films are eligible for consideration if they had a public screening in London between February 7 and October 21. This year’s advisory judging panel comprises Evening Standard film reviewers David Sexton and Charlotte O’Sullivan; Evening Standard film and TV writer Ellen E Jones; Kate Muir, chief film critic for The Times; Peter Bradshaw, Guardian film critic, and Tim Robey of the Daily Telegraph. The panel is chaired by Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands.
The shortlist will be announced in the paper next Thursday. The three final contenders for the Everyman Award for Best Film will be screened to the public in Everyman cinemas in the last two weeks before all winners are revealed at the ceremony at Claridge’s on December 8.
The winner of the Editor’s Award in partnership with Claridge’s — a special honour for a cinematic event or person to have grabbed the headlines in the past year — will also be announced on the night.
This year also sees a new audience award for Most Powerful Scene, created by Finch & Partners, where readers can vote online for their favourite film moment from 2016. The 10 scenes to choose from will be published in the Evening Standard tomorrow with details of how to vote.
Previous winners of our film awards include Daniel Day-Lewis, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, John Hurt, Glenda Jackson, Mike Leigh, Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Stoppard and Kate Winslet.
Best Supporting Actress
- Naomi Ackie, Lady Macbeth
- Lyndsey Marshal, Trespass Against Us
- Sarah Solemani, Bridget Jones’s Baby
- Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake
- Rachel Weisz, The Light Between Oceans