Ten Things You Never Knew About Rachel Weisz

March 5, 2014

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Rachel Weisz, most famous for her roles in “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns”, is among the most well known British actresses to appear in British, American, and Italian films. As a person, she has a rich heritage and interesting upbringing that we can only begin to see brought out in many of her roles that dig deeper than your average chick flick.

1. Survival from the Nazis

Weisz’s Hungarian father, George Weisz, was Jewish. Her mother’s father was also Jewish. Shortly before WWII, her parents moved to England to escape the tyranny of the Nazis, where Weisz herself was born some years later. Perhaps this background influenced her decision to work on the film “Bent”, which depicts some of the hardships that Jews and homosexuals faced in Nazi concentration camps.

2. Psychoanalytical influence

Weisz’s Austrian mother, Edith Ruth, was a psychoanalyst. In such films as “360”, a complex series of intertwining tales, we can only begin to see how Ruth’s psychoanalytical abilities may have influenced Weisz’s portrayal of Rose. “360” begins in Vienna, the city where Ruth was born.

3. Imagination is everything

As a lover of supernatural things, Weisz was especially thrilled to play in “The Fountain”, a multi-faceted sci-fi about love, death, and the all-consuming search for eternal life. “…I’m just drawn to magical, supernatural things,” she commented in an interview. “Different rules apply, anything’s possible… it’s a world of the imagination.”

4. Master of improvisation

Weisz was one of the founders of the acting group Cambridge Talking Tongues when she was in college. In an interview with The Observer, she mentioned that the actors in “The Constant Gardener” were allowed a lot of improvisational freedom that many directors do not permit. Much of her improvisational ability was honed during the three years that Talking Tongues existed.

5. Actress and Model

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Weisz began modeling at the tender age of fourteen. While she is typically known for her modesty both on-screen and in photo shoots, refusing the opportunity to pose for Playboy, “Stealing Beauty” is the one film in which her breasts are exposed. Despite her many modeling gigs and magazine appearances, it was this film which earned her the unofficial title of “English Rose”.

6. Known as a heartbreaker

In college, Weisz was known as the Trinity Hall Heartbreaker. Her loving and passionate sex appeal is evidenced most clearly in “Amy Foster”, with Weisz as the title character falling deeply in love with a shipwrecked foreigner.

7. Claims to have been a bad student at a younger age

Although Weisz graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she claims to have been a terrible student until the age of 16. You could never tell from the intelligence she displays as a brilliant scientist in “Chain Reaction”.

8. Schoolmates with Sacha Baron Cohen

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Sacha Baron Cohen was one of Weisz’s contemporaries at Cambridge. He was offered a role in “Agora” but turned it down, narrowly missing the chance to act with Weisz, a former schoolmate.

9. Always chooses the unconventional roles

Weisz typically chooses somewhat unusual roles, and one of her most peculiar characters was that of Penelope, a rich recluse who collects hobbies, in “The Brothers Bloom”. Weisz once commented, “There’s a lot of contemporary actresses I admire, but there’s practically no one who’s made a color movie whose career I’d want.”

10. Turned down “King David”

Speaking of Weisz’s particularity about the roles she plays, she caused a stir in Hollywood in 1984 at the age of 14 when she turned down a part in “King David”. She didn’t want her schoolmates to dislike her for being different, despite the fact that this was the same age at which she started modeling.

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