Talk about the Oscar curse. Not only has Rachel Weisz not appeared in a blockbuster since winning an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her vivid performance as a diplomat’s do-gooder wife in The Constant Gardner (2005), but her nine-year relationship with director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), with whom she has a five-year-old son, came to an end last year.
Then again, she wed Mr. James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, earlier this year, so she seems to have shaken off at least half the curse.
Her latest movie, The Whistleblower, which opens today (Aug. 5) isn’t going to change her fortunes at the box office. The indie thriller is based on a true story: Weisz plays a Nebraska cop who goes to post-war Bosnia as a U.N. peacekeeper but, once there, uncovers a sex trafficking ring involving her own co-workers. (Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch pops up in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo.)
Weisz’s performance in the film is impressive, full of determination, fury and frustration. She is better than the movie itself, which is often too earnest.
Give Weisz credit, though, for making a film about such a worthy subject, as well as for, post-Oscar, tackling diverse roles in often chancy films. Since Gardner, the London-born actress, 42, has been in eight movies, including Whistleblower, and lent her voice to a ninth, the 2006 fantasy film, Eragon.
She tried her luck in major Hollywood films such as The Fountain (2006), an embarrassingly fatuous romance, which takes place across the centuries and was written and directed by Aronofsky; Fred Claus (2007), a heavy-handed seasonal comedy starring Vince Vaughn, which managed to take in $98 million worldwide; Definitely, Maybe (2008), a so-so romantic comedy with Ryan Reynolds; and The Lovely Bones (2009), director Peter Jackson’s misguided adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name, which grossed $93 million worldwide.
In between shooting those, she also managed to fit in a trio of smaller movies made by respected directors, including My Blueberry Nights (2007), The Brothers Bloom (2008) and Agora (2009). While she gave lively performances in all three, none proved either a critical darling or a commercial success.
No matter how Whistleblower performs, Weisz has promising projects on the horizon. She has already completed filming five new movies, including Dream House, a character-driven thriller in which she co-stars with her new hubby and Naomi Watts, due Sept. 30. Even more anticipated is the release next year of an as yet untitled drama from director Terrence Malick (Tree of Life), in which Weisz appears alongside Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem.
She is also slated to take on major roles in two of Hollywood’s most highly anticipated projects: Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, and The Bourne Legacy, a spin-off from the earlier series but this time starring Jeremy Renner.
But here’s what I really want to know: when will she do a Bond film?
Comments: Tell us your favorite Rachel Weisz movie.
Weisz profiled by Vogue Diaries in 2008:
Weisz discussing The Fountain on the CBC’s The Hour in 2007:
Weisz discussing The Constant Gardner on The Daily Show in 2005:
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