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INT: Rachel Weisz

Starring alongside Keanu Reeves in CONSTANTINE is veteran British actor Rachel Weisz. Weisz is no stranger to special effects-heavy event films like CONSTANTINE. Her breakout role came in 1999’s THE MUMMY, a cavalcade of CGI that grossed over $150 million domestically and spawned an even more profitable sequel. After that came roles in critically acclaimed films like ABOUT A BOY and ENEMY AT THE GATES and, perhaps her greatest accomplishment, a ranking of 22 on Maxim’s 100 Sexiest Women of 2001. Bravo, Rachel!

CONSTANTINE offered Weisz the opportunity to play two roles: cynical cop Angela Dodson and her troubled twin sister Isabel. When a tragedy befalls Isabel, Angela teams up with occult detective John Constantine to track down the truth regarding that and other mysterious events occurring around them. Soon Angela finds herself in the middle of an epic battle that will take her to Hell and back – literally.

Weisz took time out of her busy schedule (she’s currently shooting Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN in Montreal) to stop by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills last week and talk about CONSTANTINE.

Rachel Weisz

You and Keanu have great chemistry. How did you work on that with him?

(Laughs) How did we practice our chemistry? You’ve either got it or you ain’t, that’s all there is to it. Chemistry is, you know, you may be feeling it but it may not be all in the script, you know? If it’s there, then… it’s not very hard to have chemistry with Keanu. I’m sure you can imagine that. You can’t work on it or create. Either there’s a little zing or there’s not.

Can you talk a little about this film’s theology?

Well, it’s definitely fantastical, supernatural, entertaining movie, but it’s housed within a very traditional, I guessed you’d say kind of Judaic Christian mythology or theology I should say. And I thought that grounded it in something very interesting and I thought it asked some very interesting questions about morality, good and evil and free will and predestination and how much is up to us and how much is up to us and how much is God’s plan and the struggle between man trying to make a choice to do good and evil and fate intervening. You know, big unanswerable questions which people have been asking for thousands of years, since religion was begotten. I guess it will carry on after, but they’re big old questions.

Does this make it more interesting for you as an actress than something like The Mummy films?

You know, this and the Mummy are just completely different planets – apples and oranges. I loved the tone of The Mummy. It reminded me of Saturday morning TV and B movies. It was itself very comedic. This is more-grown up, darker, I guess a little more intellectual. I guess it asks more challenging questions. What was your question, I was sort of rambling? Okay, yeah, just that there is a lot more theory.

Do you use a coach for your accent?

Every actor uses a dialect coach. Every actor, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. Everybody does, yeah. You don’t want to worry about it. You have someone listening out to check that you’re not straying.

Is there a variation on your American accent from film to film, in your mind?

Most movies I’m just going for what they call “General American.” It means it’s from kind of nowhere. Unless you are doing something where it’s, you know, obviously you’re from Brooklyn or you’re from Philly or you’re from the South, it’s just playing an actor that’s just general American. Who knows what that means really.

Are you interested in or contracted for sequels?

Am I interested in it? There’s no contract for the sequel. It would depend on the script.

Are you shooting the Fountain right now?

Yes. It’s a little bit secret. I’ll tell you as much as I can. It’s an original screenplay. It’s written by Darren Aronofsky, it’s also directed by Darren. It’s a great love story, a huge love story that kind of goes through time. It has a science fiction kind of thing to it. It’s very original, that’s why it’s (hard) to explain. It’s not like anything anybody’s ever seen before. Thank God! It’s about the search for the fountain of youth, hence the title. And it’s Hugh Jackman, I’m starring opposite Hugh.

Where are you shooting?

I go back to Montreal tomorrow. We finish at the end of February.

Is that for release this year?

I think they want to release it this year, yeah.

What is working with Darren Aronofsky like?

Incredible. I’m blown away by his directing. I’ve never come across anything like it… You probably know from his movies, he gets very, very raw (and) very emotional performances from his actors. The way in which he does that is incredible. Hugh said to me on the first day o f filming, “I’ve never felt this safe before.” I don’t know how he does it, he makes you feel totally safe and then he pushes you further than you ever thought you could possibly go.

Does he shoot a lot of takes?

Yes. He shoots a lot o f film. He keeps the camera rolling. He doesn’t cut, he just keeps it rolling and throws something at you. He really kind of off-balances you; he just throws stuff at you. He loves to be on set. He’s one of the happiest directors I’ve ever worked with, even though the subject-matter is very raw, he’s very, sort of overjoyed to be filming. He seems to love the process.

Will this be another “screw the ratings board” thing, like Requiem?

Oh yeah, no. It hasn’t got… That was because of, like, pornographic content? This is not that. It’s very raw, but it doesn’t involve drugs or sex, so there are no taboos. I’m not sure about the rating. It’s about love, it’s all about love at this point. There’s no taboo subject matter. There’s nothing, as far as I can think of. I think it’s emotionally difficult. It’s not offensive to certain members of society.

Is it the hardest role you’ve played so far?

It’s definitely the most emotionally challenging, so yes.

Note: spoilers ahead!!!

In Constantine, how difficult was that scene where Keanu tries to drown you? How long did you have to hold your breath?

Gosh, I really long time. I wasn’t really timing it, but I guess like a minute and a half. The director said that he wanted Keanu not to go easy on me, for it to look real. So he was really holding me down. It was scary.

What was the safe signal?

The safe signal was something like, “Pat me three times on the arm.” (Laughs) I was thrashing around so much that he couldn’t tell. I mean I was really trying to get out of there. There was a moment there in which I was really not acting any more. I was just trying to get out of the bath, but Keanu’s a sensitive guy and we were pretty in-tune, so you know when somebody’s had enough.

When we saw you with your twin sister in the morgue, was that done in split screen?

They made a dead me.

What was it like seeing that?

It’s really strange, because it’s really, the technology, the craftsmanship, it looked real to me. It was me, but dead. It was slightly paler. I went to a morgue as part of my research for the character. I’d never seen dead bodies before, but that’s how they look. They get slightly sunken and grey. So yeah, it was not your average, everyday experience.

Are you going to have some fun with that on April Fool’s Day?

(Laughs) I could drive in the car pool lane. Wouldn’t that be great.

You could do Weekend at Rachel’s.

I’ve never seen Weekend at Bernie’s, but I love the trailer. What a great premise. Is it fun? There are two? I’m going to rent that movie.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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