A 'Sea' of accolades for Rachel Weisz, but quietly
Posted January 2, 2013
NEW YORK - Rachel Weisz arrives for breakfast quite frazzled, yet still every bit her genteel self.
She lost her wallet the evening before, while she was taking her son Henry, 6, to see the Big Apple circus. So, cashless and more than a little panicked, she walks to a local café in her downtown neighborhood deeply apologetic for her slight delay and what she calls her general (non-existent) disarray.
But then again, nothing about this day, or year, is going as expected for Weisz, 42. She's entering awards season as more than a dark horse. She never saw herself as a contender, for playing a heartbroken woman in the small romantic drama The Deep Blue Sea, which is now out on DVD and available On Demand. The movie had no Oscar campaign, no glitzy premieres or junkets, just word of mouth. All it has is Weisz inhabiting a suicidal woman caught between a loveless marriage and an affair that might destroy her sanity.
"She's completely out of control. She's hysterical," Weisz says. "She's so in love that she loses her dignity. She's very brave. She's pioneering, even though she's fragile. She's not compromising. I have a lot of admiration for her. But I don't want to be friends with her. She's too much."
It's a fact that works in Weisz's favor. And so, Weisz - who won a supporting actress Academy Award for 2005's The Constant Gardener - is just as surprised as everyone else to be honored as best actress by the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday and to find herself up for a Golden Globe Jan. 13.
"Come on. You know. It's amazing. Amazing. It means people have seen it. It's more like a fairytale. It's so lovely. You know what I mean? Everyone did it for love. It all happened so fast. It's a nice feeling, in a way."
Weisz has just flown back from Los Angeles, where she found herself promoting quite the opposite - the massive, fantastical fable Oz: The Great and Powerful, co-starring Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and James Franco and out March 8.
Director Sam Raimi says Weisz, regardless of the nature of any of her films, is able to humanize her performances. "In this movie, she is Evanora, and I really had to believe she had this power within her to rule the city. She has that power. She pulls it up from somewhere inside her. She can access what she needs to make it believable. It's a real fantasy film, and we needed grounded performances to make us believe these characters are real."
Weisz, who's married to 007 Daniel Craig, makes sure to leave her characters at the door, especially the heartsick, overwrought Hester from Deep Blue Sea. "I have a son. I make dinner. He doesn't want to have dinner with Hester," she says.
Six-year-old Henry, from Weisz's relationship with director Darren Aronofsky, isn't especially awed by Mom's day job even though she's entered the fantasy realm with Oz. "He's like, 'Yeah, whatever. You're flying.' He's not that impressed. Maybe when he's older, but not right now."
Craig, 44, is asleep back home while Weisz fulfills her media duties on this Monday. Her life, she says, is beyond normal. She goes to playgrounds, which she finds equalizing and relaxing. "Literally, you're talking to strangers. I didn't know how it was going to work out. Everyone is there with their mom or nanny. It's not a stressful place. You just sit and talk about whatever."
The actress is an expert at naming the city's best kid-friendly zones, something that doesn't surprise Raimi. "She's very down to earth. She's lovely. She's very elegant. The thing you want most is to be funny enough to make her laugh. She has a great laugh, a lovely deep laugh."
As for her marriage, Weisz keeps it under the radar by choice. She and Craig got hitched in a surprise and secret ceremony, with only a few people attending, in June 2011. The deeply private Craig never discusses his life in interviews, and Weisz follows suit. "Oh, it's easy. Just don't talk about it. Literally. Yeah. Yeah. It's our private life. We're both really happy to go out and do press for our movies, but not for us. We don't get bothered. It's pretty normal."
Either that, Weisz jokes, or the couple have a "magical force field" around them.
So what's next for the British-born actress? She's not sure.
"I've taken most of this year off. I just wanted to be at home, to be with Henry. I need passion if I'm going to work, a lot of passion. That's how I feel right now. It has to be a situation where I have to do it.
"Henry's dad was filming Noah, so I didn't want to be filming at the same time. We just do regular stuff. We go to Tompkins Square Park. Henry is into scootering on the street. He's really into scaffolding on the street. What other things are there? This city is very friendly to children. You just cab it or bus it or tube it. It's just endless excursions."
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