Rachel Weisz Biography
Rachel Hannah Weisz is an English actress. She gained wide public recognition after her portrayal of Evelyn "Evy" Carnahan-O'Connell in the Hollywood films The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. In 2001, she starred opposite Hugh Grant in the hit About a Boy and continued to garner leading roles in Hollywood productions. Her performance in The Constant Gardener (2005) won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, along with other major motion picture awards.
Early life and background
Weisz was born in Westminster, England, and grew up in the Hampstead Garden Suburb. Her mother, Edith Ruth (née Teich), is a Vienna-born Austrian teacher turned psychotherapist. Her father, George Weisz, is a Hungarian-born inventor whose family fled to England to escape Nazi persecution. Weisz's father is Ashkenazi Jewish and her mother has been referred to as either Catholic, Jewish, having Jewish ancestry, and being of part Italian descent. Weisz was raised in a cerebral Jewish household and refers to herself as Jewish. Weisz has a sister, Minnie Weisz, who is an artist.
Weisz was educated at North London Collegiate School. She attended Benenden School and later enrolled in St Paul's Girls' School. She then entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she graduated with a 2:1 in English. During her university years she appeared in various student productions, co-founding a student drama group called Cambridge Talking Tongues, which went on to win a Guardian Student Drama Award at the Edinburgh Festival for an improvised piece called Slight Possession.
Having already worked for television, with parts in major UK series such as Inspector Morse (1993), Weisz started her cinema career in 1995 with Chain Reaction and then appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty. She followed this work with more English films including My Summer with Des, Swept from the Sea, The Land Girls, and Michael Winterbottom's I Want You. Although she received favourable critical recognition for her work to this point, her breakout into wide audience recognition came from a popular serio-comic horror movie The Mummy, in which she played the lead female role alongside Brendan Fraser. She followed this up with two hits, The Mummy Returns (2001), which grossed higher than the original, and About a Boy (2002) with Hugh Grant. Since then, her other film work has included Runaway Jury (2003) and Constantine (2005).
In 2005, Weisz starred in Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener, a film adaptation of a John le Carré thriller of the same title set in the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani, Kenya. For this performance, Weisz won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. In her home country, she was recognised as a leading role for the film according to the nomination from the BAFTA awards and winnings from the London Critics Circle Film Awards and British Independent Film Awards.
The same year, she starred in The Fountain and also provided the voice for Saphira in the much-criticized film Eragon. Her 2008 films include the Wong Kar-wai-directed drama My Blueberry Nights (in which she played an "anti-Southern belle") and director Rian Johnson's upcoming The Brothers Bloom, in which she plays a wealthy American woman targeted by two con man brothers (Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo). She will also play the lead in the multi-million motion picture Agora, which is currently set to be released in 2009.
Her breakthrough role was that of Gilda in Welsh director Sean Mathias's 1995 West End revival of Noel Coward's 1933 play Design for Living at the Gielgud Theatre. Her other stage work includes the role of Catherine in a London production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer and Evelyn in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things at the Almeida Theatre (also film) at its, then, temporary location in London's Kings Cross. In 2009 she will play Blanche DuBois in a Donmar revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.
On 7 July 2007, Weisz presented at the American leg of Live Earth. She is represented by Independent Models in London.
Weisz is engaged to American film-maker Darren Aronofsky. They have been dating since 2002. They have a son, Henry Chance, born on 31 May 2006 in New York City. The couple reside in the East Village in Manhattan. Weisz also serves as a muse to fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez.