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Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz British actress

British actress
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro British actress
A.K.A. Rachel Hannah Weisz
Is Actor Television actor Film actor Film director Model Audio book narrator Stage actor
From United Kingdom
Type Business Fashion Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 7 March 1970, Westminster, United Kingdom
Age: 50 years
Star sign PiscesPisces
Residence New York City, USA
Siblings: Minnie Weisz
Spouse: Daniel Craig
Height: 1.6764 m
The details

Rachel Hannah Weisz (/ˈvs/ VYSE; born 7 March 1970) is a British-American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award and a British Academy Film Award.

Weisz began acting in British stage and television in the early 1990s, and made her film debut in Death Machine (1994). She won a Critics' Circle Theatre Award for her role in the 1994 revival of Noël Coward's play Design for Living and she went on to appear in the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' drama Suddenly, Last Summer. Her film breakthrough came with her starring role as Evelyn Carnahan in the Hollywood action films The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Weisz went on to star in several films of the 2000s, including Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Constantine (2005), The Fountain (2006), and The Lovely Bones (2009).

For playing a murdered activist in the 2005 thriller The Constant Gardener, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and for playing Blanche DuBois in a 2009 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress. In the 2010s, Weisz continued to star in big-budget films such as the action film The Bourne Legacy (2012) and the fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), and gained acclaim for her performances in the independent films The Deep Blue Sea (2011) and The Favourite (2018). For portraying Sarah Churchill in the latter, she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and received another Academy Award nomination.

Weisz was engaged to filmmaker Darren Aronofsky from 2005 to 2010. She married actor Daniel Craig in 2011 and became a naturalised U.S. citizen the same year.

Early life

Weisz was born on 7 March 1970 in Westminster, London, and grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Her father, George Weisz (born 1929), is a Hungarian mechanical engineer. Her mother, Edith Ruth (née Teich; 1933–2016), was a teacher-turned-psychotherapist originally from Vienna. Her parents both emigrated to the United Kingdom as children around 1938, prior to the outbreak of World War II, in order to escape the Nazis. George Weisz was from a Jewish family. Edith Weisz's paternal ancestry was Austrian-Jewish; her maternal ancestry was Viennese. The scholar and social activist James Parkes helped her mother's family to leave Austria for England. Weisz's mother was raised in the Catholic church, and formally converted to Judaism upon marrying Weisz's father. Weisz's maternal grandfather was Alexander Teich, a Jewish activist who had been a secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Her younger sister, Minnie Weisz, is a visual artist.

Weisz's parents valued the arts; they also encouraged their children to form opinions of their own by engaging their participation in family debates. Weisz left North London Collegiate School and attended Benenden School for one year, completing A-levels at St Paul's Girls School.

Known for being a so-called "English rose", Weisz began modelling at the age of 14. In 1984, she gained public attention when she turned down an offer to star in King David with Richard Gere.

Weisz went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she read English. She graduated with upper second-class honours. During her university years she was a contemporary of Sacha Baron Cohen, Alexander Armstrong, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc, Richard Osman, and Ben Miller (whom she briefly dated), and appeared in various student dramatic productions, co-founding a student drama group called Cambridge Talking Tongues. The group won a Guardian Student Drama Award at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival Fringe for an improvised piece called Slight Possession, directed by David Farr.


Film and television


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. Dirty Something, a BBC Screen Two, hour-long television film made in 1992, was Weisz's first film, in which she played 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).

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

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


Weisz signing an autograph during the press conference for The Brothers Bloom in 2008.

In 1999, Weisz played Greta in the historical film Sunshine. 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, Evelyn Carnahan, is an English Egyptologist, 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". She followed this up with the sequel The Mummy Returns in 2001, which grossed an estimated $433 million worldwide, (equivalent to $625 million in 2019 dollars) higher than the original's $260 million (equal to $399 million in 2019 dollars).

In 2000 she portrayed Petula in the film Beautiful Creatures, following this up with 2001's Enemy at the Gates, and the 2002 comedy-drama About a Boy, with Hugh Grant, based on Nick Hornby's 1998 novel.

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; and starred in the film adaptation of the romantic comedy-drama play The Shape of Things.


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

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

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


Weisz at 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. Variety magazine wrote "Weisz's performance holds the viewer every step of the way." 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?". Weisz's 2011 roles included an adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea, Fernando Meirelles' psychosexual drama 360 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. She has also starred in the 2012 action thriller film The Bourne Legacy based on the series of books by Robert Ludlum.

Weisz plays 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 My Cousin Rachel, a drama 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. 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.

In 2018, Weisz played Sarah Churchill in The Favourite, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and her second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In April 2019, she entered talks to join Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Widow. In July of that year, Weisz was announced to play Melina Vostokoff / Iron Maiden in the film, which will be released on May 1, 2020.


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, for which she received the London Critics' Circle Award for the most promising newcomer. Her portrayal was described as "wonderful" by a contemporary review. In 1999, she played the role of Catherine in the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, What's on Stage called her "captivating", stating that she brought "a degree of credibility to a difficult part". 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. CurtainUp called her "a sophisticated, independent artist" with "great stage presence". In 2009, she appeared as Blanche DuBois, in Rob Ashford's revival of the play A Streetcar Named Desire. Her performance in the play was praised by the critics, the Daily Telegraph noted that she "rises to the challenge magnificently". 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. Despite mixed reviews, box office receipts of $17.5 million made it the second highest grossing Broadway play of 2013.

Personal life

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; in 2005, they were engaged. Their son was born in May 2006 in New York City. The couple resided in the East Village in Manhattan. In November 2010, Weisz and Aronofsky announced that they had been apart for months, but remained close friends and were committed to bringing up their son together in New York.

Weisz and actor Daniel Craig had been friends for many years, and worked together on the film Dream House. They began dating in December 2010 and they married on 22 June 2011 in a private New York ceremony, with four guests in attendance, including Weisz's son and Craig's daughter. On 1 September 2018, it was reported that they had their first child together, a daughter.

Throughout her career, she has been featured on the covers of magazines, such as Vogue. She serves as a muse to fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez, and was named L'Oréal's global ambassador in 2010.

A British citizen by birth, Weisz became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2011.



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Death Machine Junior Executive
White Goods Elaine
1996 Chain Reaction Dr. Lily Sinclair
Stealing Beauty Miranda Fox
1997 Bent Prostitute
Going All the Way Marty Pilcher
Swept from the Sea Amy Foster
1998 I Want You Helen
My Summer with Des Rosie
The Land Girls Agapanthus
1999 The Mummy Evelyn Carnahan
Sunshine Greta
Tube Tales Angela Segment: Rosebud
2000 Beautiful Creatures Petula
This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis Lauren Hynde
2001 Enemy at the Gates Tania Chernova
The Mummy Returns Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell / Nefertiri
2002 About a Boy Rachel
2003 Confidence Lily
The Shape of Things Evelyn Ann Thompson
Runaway Jury Marlee
2004 Envy Debbie Dingman
2005 Constantine Angela Dodson / Isabel Dodson / Mammon
The Constant Gardener Tessa Quayle
2006 The Fountain Isabel Creo
Eragon Saphira (voice)
2007 Fred Claus Wanda
My Blueberry Nights Sue Lynne
2008 Definitely, Maybe Summer Hartley
The Brothers Bloom Penelope
2009 The Lovely Bones Abigail Salmon
Agora Hypatia
2010 The Whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac
2011 360 Rose
Dream House Libby Atenton
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
Youth Lena Ballinger
2016 Complete Unknown Alice Manning
The Light Between Oceans Hannah Roennfeldt
Denial Deborah Lipstadt
2017 My Cousin Rachel Rachel Ashley
Disobedience Ronit Krushka Also producer
The Mercy Clare Crowhurst
2018 The Favourite Sarah Churchill
2020 Black Widow Melina Vostokoff / Black Widow Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Advocates II Sarah Thompson Television film
1993 Inspector Morse Arabella Baydon Episode: "Twilight of the Gods"
Tropical Heat Joey Episode: "His Pal Joey"
Scarlet and Black Mathilde TV miniseries
1994 Seventeen TV short
Screen Two Becca Episode: "Dirtysomething"
1998 My Summer with Des Rosie Television film
2010 The Simpsons Dr. Thurmond (voice) Episode: "How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window?"
2011 Page Eight Nancy Pierpan Television film


Year Play Role Theatre
1994 Design for Living Gilda Gielgud Theatre
1999 Suddenly Last Summer Catherine Donmar Warehouse
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


Academy Awards

Year Work Award Result
2006 The Constant Gardener Best Supporting Actress Won
2019 The Favourite Best Supporting Actress Nominated

British Academy Film Awards

Year Work Award Result
2006 The Constant Gardener Best Film Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
2019 The Favourite Best Film Actress in a Supporting Role Won

Critics' Choice Awards

Year Work Award Result
2006 The Constant Gardener Best Movie Supporting Actress Nominated
2019 The Favourite Best Movie Cast Won
Best Movie Supporting Actress Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Year Work Award Result
2006 The Constant Gardener Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Won
2013 The Deep Blue Sea Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
2019 The Favourite Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Year Work Award Result
2006 The Constant Gardener Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Won
2019 The Favourite Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Nominated
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Feb 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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