Rachel Hannah Weisz (/ˈvaɪs/ VYSE; born 7 March 1970) is a British actress. Born in Westminster, London, she began her acting career in the early 1990s, appearing in British television series such as Inspector Morse and Scarlet and Black. She made her film debut in Death Machine (1994).
Weisz’s Hollywood breakthrough was in the blockbuster action films The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001), in which she portrayed Evelyn Carnahan, the female lead. She starred in a string of films throughout the 2000s, including Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Constantine (2005), The Fountain (2006), and The Lovely Bones (2009). In 2005, for her supporting role in the drama thriller The Constant Gardener, she received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In 2012, Weisz starred in The Bourne Legacy, based on the series of books by Robert Ludlum. The following year, she appeared as the main antagonist in Oz the Great and Powerful, based on the series of children’s books by L. Frank Baum. Weisz portrayed Deborah Lipstadt in Denial (2016), based on Lipstadt’s book and directed by Mick Jackson. In 2017, she starred as the titular character in a film adaptation of My Cousin Rachel, based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. Also that year, Weisz’s production company, LC6 Productions, released its first feature film, Disobedience, starring Weisz and Rachel McAdams. In 2018, she garnered critical acclaim for her portrayal of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, winning both a BAFTA and a British Independent Film Award. Weisz also garnered her second Academy Award nomination for this performance.
Weisz has also performed on stage throughout her career. Her stage breakthrough was the 1994 revival of Noël Coward’s play Design for Living, which earned her a London Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Newcomer. She later starred in the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer, and their 2009 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in the latter play earned her the Olivier Award for Best Actress.
In 2006, Weisz received the BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year. At the 28th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, she received two awards: a special Jury Award for her work as part of the ensemble of The Favourite and a Tribute Award for her career. Previously engaged to filmmaker Darren Aronofsky from 2005 to 2010, she married actor Daniel Craig in 2011. That year, she also became a naturalised U.S. citizen.
Weisz starred in the film The Whistleblower, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. The film was based on the true story of human trafficking by employees of contractor DynCorp. During its première, the intense depiction of the treatment meted out to victims by the kidnappers made a woman in the audience faint. Variety magazine wrote “Weisz’s performance holds the viewer every step of the way.” That same year, she guest-starred in the animated series The Simpsons, in the 22nd season episode “How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?”. Weisz’s 2011 roles included an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s play The Deep Blue Sea, Fernando Meirelles’ psychosexual drama 360 opposite Jude Law again and Anthony Hopkins, the BBC espionage thriller Page Eight, and the thriller film Dream House, alongside Daniel Craig.
She filmed scenes for To the Wonder, a 2012 romantic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, alongside Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams; her scenes were cut. She has also starred in the 2012 action thriller film The Bourne Legacy based on the series of books by Robert Ludlum.
Weisz plays the Evanora, in Oz the Great and Powerful, which opened on 7 March 2013. In 2015, she appeared in drama film Youth and in science fiction film The Lobster. The film won Cannes Jury Prize. In 2016, she appeared in the drama film The Light Between Oceans, with Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, and portrayed Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in Denial, a film based on Lipstadt’s book, and directed by Mick Jackson.
In 2017, Weisz starred in the drama My Cousin Rachel, based on Daphne du Maurier’s novel, and in 2018 co-starred in a British biographical film about sailor Donald Crowhurst, The Mercy, directed by James Marsh.
Weisz’s production company, LC6 Productions, released its first feature film, Disobedience, in 2017, starring Weisz and Rachel McAdams. Weisz grew up three subway stops away from where the film is set in London. Raised Jewish, she never fully connected to the faith. She claims she was “really disobedient” herself, and has never felt she fit in anywhere.
In 2018, Weisz played Sarah Churchill in the film The Favourite, garnering her the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and her second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.