From taking down the undead in The Mummy to cracking cases in Inspector Morse, Rachel Weisz has had an exciting career as an actress. The Cambridge University graduate, began acting in 1992, and got her first break-through role in 1996, playing Dr Lily Sinclair in Chain Reaction. Since then, she has gone on to appear in more than 30 films. Her latest two films to hit the cinema are Deep Blue Sea and the horror, Dream House, where she stars alongside her new husband, Daniel Craig (of James Bond fame). But what have been Weisz’s greatest films to date? Let’s explore the diverse roles she has played over the years.
Chain Reaction (1996)
Weisz joined a star-studded cast for this thrilling drama sci-fi, which included Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) and Brian Cox. The film saw the US Government trying to stop bubble fusion (a nuclear reaction and nothing to do with bath time) from taking place, with Weisz playing the sophisticated, highly intelligent physicist, Dr. Lily Sinclair.
The Mummy (1999) – This action adventure film, directed by Stephen Sommers, sees Weisz play a geeky librarian, alongside with Brendan Fraser’s adventurer Rick O’Connell (George Of The Jungle) and her elder brother played by John Hannah (Sliding Doors). Here, Weisz plays the passionate Egyptologist, Evelyn Carnahan, who is desperate to uncover the mystery behind an ancient cursed box. The only person who can help is Rick, (Fraser) and together they explore the tombs, but not without an unwelcome visit from the undead.
The cast and crew endured sandstorms, snakes and dehydration during the 17 weeks of filming out in the Sahara. The film grossed $416 million worldwide, and this box office success lead to the 2001 sequel, The Mummy Returns. Her performance landed her two nominations for Best Actress by the Empire and Saturn Awards.
Enemy at the Gates (2001) – This epic war film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, also starred Jude Law (The Holiday), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit ) and Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind). Based on William Craig’s 1973 book, Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, this moving film depicts events surrounding the Battle of Stalingrad which took place between 1942 and 1943. Weisz played Tania Chernova (based on a real person) who at 19, once dreamed of becoming a ballerina, but after serving as a partisan in Belarus, she saw Germans as ‘sticks’, only fit for breaking and headed to Stalingrad, determined to fight. Weisz was nominated for Best Actress by the European Film Award for her feisty and heroic performance.
Constantine (2005) – Weisz stars in this horror thriller alongside Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swindon (The Chronicles of Narnia) and Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator). Time magazine described the Francis Lawrence direction, as a ‘one-of-a-kind hybrid’. Weisz was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for a Movie Scream Scene.
The Constant Gardener (2005) – Weisz was highly praised for her role in this John Le Carre thriller, set in the slums of Kenya. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and won the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. The BBC commented ‘Weisz is exceptional: film star charisma coupled with raw emotion in a performance to fall in love with’.
The Whistleblower (2010) Directed by Larysa Kondracki, this thriller was inspired by true events. It premièred at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and was filmed primarily in Romania. It received good reviews, with Rotten Tomato giving it a respectable 71%. It also won several awards, including the Best Narrative Feature and Best Film at the Whistler Film Festival, the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film in the Seattle International Film Festival, and was also nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award – Justice and Human Rights. Weisz played Katherine Bolkovac, a policewoman who risks her life trying to uncover a human trafficking scandal involving a US security company.