"People find out I'm an actress and I see that 'whore' look flicker across their eyes." Rachel Weisz
British actress Rachel Weisz, sometimes credited as Kenya Campbell, received wide recognition as scientist Evelyn Carnahan in Stephen Sommers' box-office blockbusters The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). First noticed on stage while starring in Sean Mathias' West End revival of Noel Coward's "Design For Living" (1994), Weisz later gained more attention for acting in such films as Stealing Beauty (1996), Chain Reaction (1996), The Land Girls (1998), Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Confidence (2003), The Shape of Things (2003), Runaway Jury (2003), Constantine (2005) and The Constant Gardener (2005). She will soon star in the upcoming films The Fountain, and Heaven and Earth.
This greenish-hazel-eyed, exotic-looking brunette was one of Hello’s (UK magazine) “The Most Beautiful Actress,” European Film Promotion Board’s “European films' Shooting Stars” (1998) and Stuff magazine's “102 Sexiest Women in the World” (2002). A model at age 14, Weisz is currently the face of Revlon (2005). Additionally, the 5' 7" English beauty, with a flawless American accent, reportedly is set to replace Kate Moss as the new face of Burberry fragrances.
On a more personal note, Weisz has been linked to several high-profile names, including actor Neil Morrissey, her I Want You co-star Alessandro Nivola, Chain Reaction and Constantine co-star Keanu Reeves, and American Beauty British director Sam Mendes (born on August 1, 1965). In June of 2005, she became engaged to Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky.
"I find Hollywood really toxic." Rachel Weisz
Cambridge’s Most Popular
Childhood and Family:
In London, England, Rachel Weisz (last name is pronounced "vice," means “white” in German) was born on March 7, 1971. Her father is George, a Jewish-Hungarian inventor (credited with inventing life-saving respiratory medical equipment) and her mother is Ruth, a Jewish-Austrian psychoanalyst (of part Italian descent). When Rachel was younger, she spoke only German. She went to St. Paul’s Girls School in London and studied English Literature at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, where she was the most popular girl.
Rachel Weisz now lives in a $450,000 London apartment and drives an old, black Jaguar 4.2 Sovereign with pepper-pot wheels. She has recently become a supporter of The X Appeal, the official charity of the Royal College of Radiologists.
Design for Living
"You just have to play every scene honestly and forget about a reaction and what the audience is going to think. I think the more seriously you take something, the more funny it might be." Rachel Weisz
A model since age 14, Rachel Weisz began acting while studying at Cambridge University and appeared in various student productions. She later co-founded a theater company named Cambridge Talking Tongues and won the Guardian Award at the Edinburgh Festival, for its take on Neville Shouthall's "Washbag." Afterward, Weisz began appearing on TV. She acted opposite Paul Reynolds in the TV movie Dirtysomething and costarred with Ewan McGregor in the 1993 BBC miniseries "Scarlet and Black," an adaptation to Stendhal's novel. She was also spotted as a guest on "Inspector Morse" and "Sweating Bullets," as well as played a role in the 1994 made-for-TV movies White Goods and Seventeen.
Weisz got her stage breakthrough role as Gilda, in Welsh director Sean Mathias’ West End revival of Noel Coward's 1993 play, "Design For Living," at the Gielgud Theatre. The role, which she played opposite Rupert Everett, earned Weisz a Most Promising Newcomer by the London Critics' Circle and Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer.
Writer-director Stephen Norrington's sci-fi action Death Machine (1995) was Weisz's debut big screen work, in which she was cast to play a junior executive. Two years later, she was cast as Miranda Fox, a beautiful, but snooty artist's daughter, in Bernardo Bertolucci's drama Stealing Beauty (1996, starring Liv Tyler). She followed it up with that same year’s film, her first US feature, Andrew Davis' chase movie Chain Reaction. In the film, Weisz played scientist Dr. Lily Sinclair, opposite stars Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.
1997 watched Weisz playing Ben Affleck's girlfriend in Mark Pellington's adaptation of Dan Wakefield's novel, the drama comedy set in 1954, Going All the Way (also starring Jeremy Davies) and appearing as a prostitute in Sean Mathias' screen version of Martin Sherman's play, the war drama Bent (starring Clive Owen). She also won her first leading role, as servant Amy Foster, in Beeban Kidron's 19th century romantic drama Swept from the Sea (costarring with Vincent Perez).
Weisz teamed up with Catherine McCormack and Anna Friel, portraying three young women who join The Women's Land Army during World War II, in David Leland's film based on Angela Huth's novel, The Land Girls (1998). She then starred as Helen, a young woman running a hairdressing salon, in Michael Winterbottom's crime drama I Want You (1998, alongside Alessandro Nivola) and costarred as a Hungarian Jewish woman, who has a treacherous relationship with her brother-in-law, in writer-director István Szabó's epic tale Sunshine (1999, starring Ralph Fiennes), the latter of which gave her a nomination for a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2000.
1999 marked Weisz with blockbuster status and worldwide recognition, thanks to the female lead role of the beautiful, but clumsy, Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan, opposite star Brendan Fraser, in Stephen Sommers' box-office hit The Mummy. The role eventually earned Weisz Best Actress nominations at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and Saturn Awards. Weisz later reprised her Mummy role in its 2001 installment, The Mummy Returns, in which she also played Princess Nefertiri.
On the London stage, Weisz starred as Catherine in Tennessee Williams' "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1999, Weisz received the 1999 Barclays Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress) and as an American sculptress in writer-director Neil LaBute’s "The Shape of Things" (2001) at the Almeida Theatre. Her motion picture work also continued. She costarred with Susan Lynch in Bill Eagles' thriller comedy Beautiful Creatures (2000) and snagged the female lead role of courageous female soldier Tania Chernova in Jean-Jacques Annaud's WW II drama Enemy at the Gates (2001, with Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law and Ed Harris).
The subsequent years saw Weisz join Hugh Grant in Chris and Paul Weitz's romantic comedy, inspired by Nick Hornby's best-selling novel, About a Boy (2002) and play art student Evelyn in Neil LaBute's big screen version of his own play, The Shape of Things (2003, opposite Paul Rudd). Director James Foley cast her to play a brash, blonde pickpocket named Lily in his crime drama film Confidence (with Edward J. Burns and Dustin Hoffman) and Gary Fleder handed her the role of John Cusack's mysterious girlfriend in his drama film, based on John Grisham's novel, Runaway Jury (both in 2003). In the next year, Weisz portrayed Ben Stiller's wife in Barry Levinson's comedy Envy (also starring Jack Black).
More recent, in 2005, Weisz reunited with Keanu Reeves to play skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson in Francis Lawrence's adaptation of Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis' comic book "Hellblazer," in the action drama Constantine. She also portrayed Tessa Quayle, the brilliant, passionate activist and new wife of the British diplomat Justin Quayle (played by Ralph Fiennes), in Academy Award-nominated director Fernando Meirelles' politically charged thriller film, based on the best-selling John le Carré novel, The Constant Gardener.
"It was everything. It was the character, a brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime role. It was the story. It was Ralph Fiennes. And it was Fernando. I'd seen City of God. That surpassed my wildest fantasies about what the film could be." Rachel Weisz (on winning the role of Tessa Quayle in The Constant Gardener, 2005)
Weisz will soon complete her upcoming film, the sci-fi drama written and directed by fiancé Darren Aronofsky, The Fountain, opposite Hugh Jackman. She will also portray true-life character James Miranda Barry, the first woman doctor, who had to pretend to be a man, in Marleen Gorris' British drama, Heaven and Earth.
"There's nothing I would do if I didn't act. I've only ever wanted to make films and now I am. So, right now, I'm sorry to say, I'm very satisfied. It's gross, isn't it?" Rachel Weisz
- Barclays Theatre: Best Supporting Actress, "Suddenly, Last Summer," 1999
- Evening Standard: Best Newcomer, “Design for Living,” 1994
- London Critics' Circle: Most Promising Newcomer, “Design for Living,” 1994
- Edinburgh Festival: Student Drama Award, 1991
- Critics' Circle Best Newcomer Award