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Rachel Weisz By: Mike Meyers

Rachel Weisz By: Mike Meyers

MIKE MYERS :: I know this is about you, but what’s your favorite Mike Myers movie?

RACHEL WEISZ :: Austin Powers!

MM :: That question was actually a joke, but thank you! [laughs] That’s the most conceited thing in the world, to ask about your own movie. Anyway, what’s your favorite thing about New York?

RW :: The first thing that comes to my mind is being able to get amazing food delivered to your house at any time, day or night. In England, forget it-you can’t get deliveries like that.

Interview Magazine October 2006 features Rachel Weisz -– after years of being touted as acting’s next big thing, Rachel Weisz is suddenly exactly that, teaming up with some of the most interesting directors and starring in some of their most thoughtful films. We predict she’s just getting warmed up. Funnyman Mike Myers gets the lowdown from her. Full article after the jump!

Rachel Weisz By: Mike Meyers

Months before Rachel Weisz took home the Oscar for her haunting performance as Tessa Quayle in last year’s The Constant Gardener, movie-industry insiders were buzzing about her work in The Fountain, directed by Weisz’s real-life partner Darren Aronofsky. With that film set to reach theaters later this fall, and with Weisz currently in production on Wong Kar Wai’s next project, we asked funnyman Mike Myers to check in on the woman behind what’s shaping up to be a serious body of work.

MIKE MYERS :: I know this is about you, but what’s your favorite Mike Myers movie?

RACHEL WEISZ :: Austin Powers!

MM :: That question was actually a joke, but thank you! [laughs] That’s the most conceited thing in the world, to ask about your own movie. Anyway, what’s your favorite thing about New York?

RW :: The first thing that comes to my mind is being able to get amazing food delivered to your house at any time, day or night. In England, forget it-you can’t get deliveries like that.

MM :: And your least favorite thing?

RW :: The honking of the cars. In general I find the noise pollution difficult.

MM :: Your favorite thing about London?

RW :: Probably the architecture and all the parks.

MM :: What’s your favorite building in London?

RW :: I think it would be the old Gasworks in King’s Cross. It’s right by King’s Cross station.

MM :: And your least favorite thing?

RW :: I think gray skies. Even when it’s cold and wintry in New York it’s still sunny or bright, whereas in London, it’s cold and it’s gloomy.

MM :: What is your favorite book?

RW :: Off the top of my head that’d be The Member of the Wedding [1946] and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter [1940], both by Carson McCullers.

MM :: What about those books appeals to you?

RW :: Well, the central character in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is a deaf-mute. It’s very like Being There [1970] in lots of ways. There are four central characters around him and they all make him into what they want. It’s about how we all make our own reality.

MM :: When you read a script and decide to be in it, what do you dread and what do you get excited about?

RW :: Well, whatever I read, the first thing I do is flick through to the character’s description. It’s my favorite thing because it’s always quite ridiculous. You know, “Edith Summerville: 29 years old, brunette, full of joy, but a slight sadness in her eyes sometimes.” You go, “Okay, I can play that.” That’s my favorite thing. And then I read through the rest of it with that in mind or not in mind.

MM :: So is that what gets you excited?

RW :: I guess I’m excited that maybe I’ll come across some description that’s a bit different. And I’m also excited by the idea of–if you read it and the characters are obviously written in a certain way that obligates the actor to play it in a certain way–not playing it that way?

MM :: And so that excites you, walking the line of what they’ve written and what you suppose it could be?

RW :: Yes. You said it very well. [laughs] If the woman is a bitch, and a sexy bitch, is there a way of finding humanity in that character?

MM :: The idea that they’re the hero of their own story.

RW :: Exactly, yes! Did you just make that up?

MM :: My mom used to say that.

RW :: She’s so right. Everyone walking around the planet is the hero of their own story.

MM :: And they can justify to themselves every action that they make. Sidney Lumet said in his book [Making Movies, 1995], “Freaks are not the freaks we think they are. We are much more connected to the most outrageous behavior than we know or admit.” Do you think that’s true?

RW :: I do. And I think it’s the actor’s job to get into people’s skin and not judge them but to see things from their point of view.

MM :: Mike Nichols used to say that his recurring direction is “I am like that when…” So when you see a character do something that you couldn’t possibly imagine yourself doing, just try to find the equivalent.

RW :: Oh, that’s so brilliant, because oftentimes you hear people say, “Well, my character would never do that.” Or the director might say to you, “Your character would never do that.” And I always think, We all do everything sometimes.

MM :: What excites you when you’re tackling a role, and what do you dread?

RW :: I guess I dread being very obvious. And I get excited about going into places that you wouldn’t expect.

MM :: Well, Del Close, one of the original members of Second City, talked about the fact that you make your choices when they’re appropriate. And the enjoyment is when they’re appropriate but unusual, appropriate but exciting, appropriate but seemingly contradictory. Maybe what you dread is that your powers of creativity will let you down so that you are only making appropriate choices. Is it possible that you dread having buyer’s remorse, where you’ve made your choice, so you’re not in the world of possibility anymore?

RW :: Well, I wouldn’t say I have buyer’s remorse, but I might have extreme doubt.

MM :: Does that extreme doubt go to dread?

RW :: Yeah, I dread that I suck. [both laugh] Every day I dread that the work I did was shite.

MM :: If you were stuck on a desert island what three items would you take?

RW :: Oh, God. [laughs] I mean, I’d take Darren, but he’s not a thing.

MM :: Darren counts.

RW :: Then I’d take Darren, my child Henry and–

MM :: Chapstick?

RW :: [laughs] Chapstick or maybe a David Bowie album. But I’d need something to play it on.

MM :: Talk to me about Talking Tongues.

RW :: Talking Tongues was a theater company that I started with another girl, named Sasha Hails, when I was in university, and we used to write our own plays through improvisation. There were just two of us in the play, and we wrote about eight plays together. We went through the whole gamut of what two people could do to each other onstage. We used to go to the Edinburgh Fringe festival, which was very avant-garde and experimental, and run through the street with flyers: “Come to our show!” Those were the days.

MM :: You’re the child of an Austrian psychoanalyst and a Hungarian inventor, so I was wondering what you would like to invent.

RW :: There was something recently that I wanted to invent, but I’ll be darned if I remember what it is. Let’s come back to that.’

MM :: Can I tell you mine?

RW :: Please.

MM :: Well, it’s not mine, actually–it’s my best friend’s, and I think it’s the funniest. It’s called a Canoe Caddy. It’s a strap that goes over your shoulder to carry a canoe. It’s for portages–when you carry the canoe over land from one body of water to another body of water. It wouldn’t go on your head, but over your shoulder like the world’s biggest guitar strap. It has a little thing that grabs the front part of the canoe and a little thing that grabs the back.

RW :: It’s not too heavy for one person to carry?

MM :: You could do a little canoe. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

RW :: Double-whipped cream.

MM :: Is that like clotted cream?

RW :: First cousins. I can’t think what the difference is. I think clotted cream is thicker.

MM :: Inasmuch as you chose cream for your guilty pleasure, how English are you?

RW :: I’m as English as the person I’m around.

MM :: Well, that’s a great answer. Because I’m as Canadian as the Canadian I’m around. You get a contact buzz. How did you meet Darren?

RW :: In New York after a performance of a play I was doing at the time, The Shape of Things. It’s a really boring story. We keep saying we have to think up something more interesting, but we haven’t got around to it.

MM :: What might it be?

RW :: Something like meeting in an elevator and striking up a conversation-you know, two random strangers meeting somewhere and having an instant rapport. I think the randomness of life is more interesting.

MM :: That makes sense. What was your best day on The Fountain?

RW :: Well, one of the characters I play is this 16th century Spanish queen, and to get dressed as the queen took hours and hours. I felt like Louis XIV. I’d end up with huge platform shoes and skirts six feet wide and corsets and wigs and things. It was a big creation. My favorite moment was after the hours of getting ready, coming out in this huge skirt that you could fit ten children under and the AD saying into his walkie-talkie with complete seriousness, “The Queen is coming! The Queen is coming!” It was a very privately funny moment.

MM :: What was your worst day?

RW :: The worst day was probably when Hugh [Jackman, Weisz's co-star in The Fountain] and I were filming outside in a field in Montreal in December and it was minus 32 with the windchill. The cold was completely beyond adjectives.

MM :: Was there anything about the movie that surprised you during the filming that was different from the script?

RW :: Well, when you read a script you have it in your head what it’s going to look like, and then it’s Darren Aronofsky’s version of how it looks.

MM :: So, in a weird way it’s like somebody who read a book and then saw the movie version of it-there is always that period of adjustment.

RW :: Yes, of, “Oh, this is what my house looks like. This is the bedroom? Okay.” And then you accept it as your bedroom. Or as a queen: “Oh, this is my palace? Okay.” Actually, I have to say, it was like, “Wow! This is a better palace than the one I had in my head. This is a wild palace. This is incredibly beautiful.”

MM :: Is this the first time you’ve worked with Darren?

RW :: Yes.

MM :: Was there an aspect of his personality that was revealed to you?

RW :: Oh, yeah. It was like meeting a whole new person. It’s like those puppets that have a face on one side and a face on the other. [laughs] That’s a ridiculously odd thing to have said, but it was literally like meeting a whole other person. I think directors have to be like captains of ships-they have to keep the morale of the crews up and inspire faith in their crews.

MM :: Was that a pleasant experience, to see the captain’s side?

RW :: Yeah. I like to see strong authority. [laughs]

MM :: Now we come to the short snappers–rain shower or snow shower?

RW :: I have to choose between the two?

MM :: Yes.

RW :: Snow shower.

MM :: London or Paris?

RW :: Paris.

MM :: Beatles or Stones?

RW :: Stones.

MM :: Tea or coffee?

RW :: Tea.

MM :: Cats or dogs?

RW :: Cats.

MM :: Boat on the Seine or punting on the Cam?

RW :: Punting on the Cam.

MM :: Beer or liquor?

RW :: Liquor.

MM :: Benny Hill or Reg Varney?

RW :: Benny Hill.

MM :: Soccer or cricket?

RW :: Soccer.

MM :: Too hot or too cold?

RW :: Too hot.

MM :: Canada or Greenland? And this is an important one.

RW :: Canada.

MM :: Well done! Caribbean or Hawaii?

RW :: Caribbean.

MM :: Honesty or loyalty?

RW :: Loyalty.

MM :: Bath or shower?

RW :: Bath.

MM :: Theater or film?

RW :: Film.

MM :: That’s it.

RW :: Phew!

Mike Myers’s last film was the 2004 animated feature Shrek 2. Opposite: Vest by CHLOE. T-shirt by JAMES PERSE. Jeans by PAIGE PREMIUM DENIM. Necklace by CARTIER. Hair products by BUMBLE AND BUMBLE. Styling: ANNABEL TOLLMAN. Hair: DAVID BABAII/Avant Groupe. Makeup: MATIN/Artists by Timothy Priano.

ON CHANGING TIMES

MIKE MYERS :: Do you think the times are changing, and if so, for better or worse?

RACHEL WEISZ :: Over the years, since I’ve been an aware adult anyway, I’ve thought the times have been a-changin’ . . . for the worse. When you ask the question, the first thing that comes to my mind is that we’re destroying our planet. But one way things are changing for the better is that suddenly, even people who used to say that global warming was nonsense are biting their tongues, because it’s now a proven, scientific fact. This little documentary by Al Gore, the guy who was meant to be the president, has slowly but surely broken box office records. A lot of people have seen An Inconvenient Truth. Even Bush has had to say “Oh yeah, global warming exists.” At the end of his documentary, Gore gives us all these little things that we can do, like recycling and writing letters to local politicians-I just hope it’s not too late.

I think that in the ’80s and ’90s people felt like there was nothing they could do to make a difference, so when you bring up that line from Bob Dylan it makes me think how angry, in a good way, people were in the ’60s. They had this idealism where they felt that they could make a difference, that they were part of a group. Whereas in the ’80s and ’90s I think people felt it was all about “me”-the self, the individual. But I do think there are seeds of a new consciousness now. Just in the entertainment world, look at what people like Bono and Angelina Jolie are doing.

In the name of the The Constant Gardener, Ralph Fiennes and I, along with the film’s director Fernando Meirelles, helped start a trust to aid the communities where we filmed in Africa. What we’re doing is very small, but effective. I mean, we can’t change the world, but if we can just do one thing. . . For instance, in the slums in Nairobi there’s no running water, so we raised money to build some water tanks, and now there’s fresh running water and WC facilities. And we built a school room and provided some school books. And in the village of Loiyangalani we built a secondary school-this is an area where there was only an elementary school-and each year as the children move up, we’re building another classroom for them to move into, so it ultimately will take them through high school. It’s just one school in one little village, but to that village it’s a huge thing. We’ve also helped to establish a women’s gardening group there, to teach the local women how to plant vegetables, because some basic gardening and farming skills have been lost. We’ve been doing fundraising events and auctioning quite a lot to raise money for the trust. For instance, I was given this diamond jewelry asan award and.1 donated it. And people can donate a dollar or whatever they want by going to the website [www.constantgardenertrust.org].

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11 Comments

# 2

I love her. Does anyone know if they are doing another “The Mummy” film?

# 4

Love this article. She’s my idol.

# 5

Awesome article – I admire Rachel Weisz and Mike Meyers has never seemed that smart like in this article ;)

# 6

Wonderful article, thanks. She is a wonderful actress and so beautiful. Mike Meyers asked some interesting questions.

# 7

Thanks for posting the article and the pics j@red. Really nice :-)

# 8

Ty for this article JJ!
Rachel is truly one of the most naturally beautiful women on the planet, and she is intelligent. Always love to see new pics & articles about her.

# 9

ella es super buena actriz y bonita ademas es bien simpatica y me gusto mucho esa pelicula que hizo la momia se veia super regia…a mi gusto ella es una de las actrices mas lindas de hollywood!

Yes they are making another mummy movie called “The Mummy: Curse of the dragon” and its supposed to be coming out next year after indy 4. Sadly Rachel wont be in it. Neither Imhotep instead we have the cute Jet li. Breden Frasers back which is going to be great!!!! Be great if Rachel was in it though…(^^)

I love them both and they both came off very well in this interview. I have to say, I was surprised at how well-spoken MM was, in particular. Probably because I’m used to seeing him in such over-the-top comedies.

Anyway, I think RW is lovely and a great actor to boot. Both actors sound very intelligent and I liked seeing them interact together. Hey, there’s an idea for a movie…

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