GREAT EXCAVATIONS; Interview: Rachel Weisz Rachel Weisz Talks to Alison Jones about Luvvie Rats and Irate Scorpions

By Jones, Alison | The Birmingham Post (England), June 26, 1999 | Go to article overview

GREAT EXCAVATIONS; Interview: Rachel Weisz Rachel Weisz Talks to Alison Jones about Luvvie Rats and Irate Scorpions


Jones, Alison, The Birmingham Post (England)


Rachel Weisz is the classic combination of both beauty and brains. Confirmation, if any were needed, of this came when she was invited to pose for Playboy after her recent starring role - as a librarian.

The idea of displaying her considerable charms across the centrefold of the world's most famous top shelf publication, reduced the Cambridge graduate to tears of laughter.

"I think it is just the funniest thing. My agent came round said 'Obviously you're not going to do it' and I said 'What would it involve?' and he said 'You, totally. . . you know."

"So I don't know whether that is how America sees me, as a librarian Playmate."

She coyly refuses to reveal how much the magazine offered for the Full Monty. "A lot", she said, her voice dropping to a conspiratory whisper. "I suppose they have to get your to sell your body."

Despite her self-effacing amusement at the invitation to pose in the altogether, Rachel is clearly aware of the power of her own sexuality.

Her outfit for our Sunday morning interview could hardly be described as demure, consisting of a leather trouser suit with capri pants, a strappy spangly top and a display of cleavage you could drive a truck through.

On someone less exotically attractive it might look cheap, but Rachel, whose most vital statistic is clearly her IQ, carries it off with considerable class.

In this country the 28-year-old actress is still most famous for her role as the football fantasy girlfriend in My Summer With Des, where she fell for her co-star Neil Morrissey, now her real-life boyfriend.

However, she is about to become huge, after landing the female lead in The Mummy, an Indiana Jones style adventure with Brendan Fraser and John 'Four Weddings' Hannah.

This enjoyably daft slice of hokum has already been a big hit in the States, grossing more than $100 million.

Set in the 1920s Fraser, Weisz and Hannah star as an adventurer, a bookish Egyptologist and her wastrel brother, who disturb the tomb of evil High Priest Imhotep, cursed to endure a living death 3,000 years before following an illicit affair with the Pharaoh's mistress

Old fashioned thrills combine with stomach churning special effects, as the vengeful Mummy attempts to regenerate himself by sucking the life out of living victims and calling down the ten plagues of Egypt.

"I don't normally like horror films, I get really scared. I was petrified watching Gremlins," revealed Rachel, "But I don't think this is horror. It's hokum, a comic book world."

Although hers is the traditional role of the distressed damsel running around in a nightie, Rachel was attracted by the fact it was done with intelligence and humour.

"It was a great character part. Normally women in action movies are just ditsy bimbos. She was a damsel in distress, but she was a librarian in distress, which is funny in itself.

"And I got to do all my own stunts. I didn't do that many but there was one bad one where I had to turn round to shoot a rider on a horse. He was on a pulley that yanked him off and he broke both his arms. They still used the shot though - this is not a charitable industry."

Even the star of the movie, Brendan Fraser, discovered the directors and crew were short on sympathy when he blacked out during a mock hanging scene.

"He nearly died," said Rachel. "He stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. It didn't hold up the schedule though. They were all 'Are you all right darling? Ok, carry on. Time's money'."

Filming took place in Morocco where the cast had to contend with everything from scorpion attacks, to foul smelling, four legged co-stars in 130 degree heat. …

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