NEW YORK (Reuters) - British actress Rachel Weisz won an Oscar for her role in “The Constant Gardner,” playing a passionate activist whose husband sets out to discover the truth behind her murder.
Now, in “The Whistleblower,” she portrays real-life law enforcement officer Kathy Bolkovac, who went to Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission and discovered U.N. officials and others colluding with contractors in human trafficking.
Weisz, 41, spoke to Reuters about the difference between low- and big-budget films, how her marriage to Daniel Craig hasn’t affected her fame and why celebrities should be protected from phone hacking.
Q: You first found out about this film in 2006, but it took five years to get to theaters?
A: “I was pregnant and I thought it was an incredible piece of writing and a great script and important story, but I think because I was pregnant it was a little too harrowing for me to deal with at the moment. But I just never forgot it ... I was haunted by it.”
Q: What was it about the story that captured you?
A: “It is one of my favorite genres of a film, a kind of thriller that is a David and Goliath story about an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things, like ‘Silkwood’... and ‘Erin Brockovich.’ (They are) just moms who are doing their jobs and come across an injustice and just go after it. They just become unstoppable and they don’t realize they are doing something heroic.”
Q: Are you interested in international politics?
A: “Not particularly, I would much rather play a woman who does something really extraordinary and interesting than a woman who doesn’t.
“In ‘The Constant Gardner’ she was a bleeding heart liberal and she was an annoying troublemaker, pain in the arse ‘left’ kind of girl, and Kathy is not like that at all. She is a cop. She was literally just doing her job. She wasn’t there to make trouble. She wanted to help people. She had realistic ideas which the U.N. embody and do for the main part.
“But then I love things about human politics ... I am immensely inspired by stories like Kathy’s, not because I want to emulate her, I am nothing like her and if was in her situation I would have gone home without doing anything. I would be way too scared. I don’t have that in my nature.”
Q: What’s better, or different, about working on a smaller, low-budget film versus a larger one?
A: “The amount of scenes we had to shoot per day was very, very big, it was faster than TV ... but no one was there to make money, everyone there was really passionate.”
Q: Big-budget movies attract fame, and you, of course, already have a certain measure of fame. Do you get tired of the privacy invasions, especially now?
A: “I don’t really have any — invasions of privacy. I get snapped at the airport, cause that is where the paparazzi — red carpets and airports — are at.”
Q: Has it worsened since your marriage to Daniel Craig?
A: “Not really, no, it actually hasn’t. I mean, yes, I didn’t really get photographed at the airport and now I do. I think, touch wood, there is a way of staying pretty unhampered, believe it or not.”
Q: Regarding the British phone hacking scandal, it seems the British public could accept royals and celebrities’ phones being hacked into, but there was only a bigger outcry when it affected regular families. Do you feel that is fair?
A: “Everyone has a right to privacy regardless of their status. Actually a tiny bit of that reminded me of ‘The Whistleblower’ and the U.N. situation. One (News International) is a corporation, so someone has to be found guilty. Whereas the U.N. isn’t a corporation, it’s an organization.
“In discovering, who is the person? (the hacker) who did this, when Rupert Murdoch said ‘I have 53,000 employees and it is a really big organization, corporation’ it reminded me a little bit of the movie. Although they are completely different stories, how you find out who is responsible for things when there are so many employees there? I think that is a problem at the U.N.
“But no, I believe in civil liberties, I think everyone has a right not to have their phone hacked.”
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney)
This story was refiled to strip Life! from dateline