Sweaty Work: Rachel Weisz on The Bourne Legacy and Sam Raimi’s Oz
The Bourne Legacy introduces not just a new secret agent, but also Rachel Weisz as Marta Shearing, a scientist working for Treadstone. She gave Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) his checkups, and when Treadstone collapses he’s the only one that can save her. She’s with Cross on the adventure, though the brutal fight scenes and intense street chases. We got to speak with Weisz about The Bourne Legacy and a little bit about Oz: The Great and Powerful in which she plays the Wicked Witch of the East.
CraveOnline: What was it like running through the streets of Manila?
Rachel Weisz: It was very hot. I had to wear a hoodie because at the end of this film we get dragged along the ground and I needed to wear elbow pads otherwise I was going to cut up my elbows. So working backwards, we knew I had to have a hoodie. So it was 100 degrees, very humid and I was dripping with sweat most of the time. It was sweaty. Sweaty work.
So they really did drag you on the ground?
Oh yeah, yeah, they really did, on a cable. It was like a couple hundred feet on the ground and I was lying on my elbows and on my lower back. The stuntman said, “Don’t put your feet down.” I said, “Why?” And he said, “Because it will snap your legs off.”
Do you like that movies now have become more and more known for actors doing their own stunts, or is that a frustration that you have to be in there now?
I didn’t know that. Is that true, that actors are more and more doing their own stunts?
Yeah, they brag about it.
Oh, okay. I think Bourne is very unique in that it has a level of realism, don’t you think?
That’s the idea, you see the actors in the shot.
Yeah, I like that. Don’t you? I think it’s really good to feel like it’s really the actors doing it, but I wasn’t aware that was happening in lots of films.
I like it, but I imagine there might be some actors who’d rather just let a stuntman do it?
You know what? Tony challenged me to do them so I did them.
Was riding on the back of the motorcycle the same thing?
It was terrifying, yeah. It was really, really, really terrifying, properly terrifying.
Were you in the shot where he slides the motorcycle down the railing?
I think I was, yeah. It was like a rig, I’m not meant to give away the secrets, but it was rigged on that.
How does the scale of this movie compare with films like The Mummy or Constantine?
I think they’re pretty similar, aren’t they, in scale wise. They’re tonally completely different because Constantine kind of has a comic book feeling to it and The Mummy is a spoof on B-movie kind of horror flicks. I’m not sure budget-wise but they’re all big studio movies, no?
Right, although those examples have more visual effects. Is it the same sense of scale though?
No, this was completely different. You’re not in a studio, you’re not on sets and you’re in real locations and not on green screens. The feeling of the acting is completely different. It’s much more vital and alive. Sets drain the life out of actors I think. Green screens definitely do.
You played a scientist in Chain Reaction. Who do you think is smarter, Marta or Lily Sinclair?
Oh God, I don’t even remember what kind of scientist Lily Sinclair was. I think Marta’s much smarter.
She would’ve been a nuclear physicist, right?
Who knows? Yeah, I don’t know.
Had you seen the first three Bournes on your own?
Yeah, yeah, I was a real fan. I love how smart they are and exciting and realistic.
Is that an interesting place to be as an actor, where you can be enjoying something as a fan and you never know if one day they’ll bring you into the series?
Oh yeah, it would never have crossed my mind that I was going to be in a Bourne film. I would never have imagined it.
Are you finished with your work on Oz, The Great and Powerful?
I have a few more days to do actually. This week I’m going to do a few more scenes.
How does that effects work compare with the Mummy movies?
Well, I suppose it’s completely different. I play the Wicked Witch of the East. I’m not playing a real person. I’m playing a witch who can fly and shoot lightning bolts out of her fingers, so it’s not really like anything I’ve ever done before. It’s a surreal, fantastical, fairy tale world.
Do you imagine you’re building up to the point where she gets crushed by Dorothy’s House in The Wizard of Oz?
I don’t think so, no. I don’t know the answer to that.
What is it like working with Sam Raimi?
Oh, he’s wonderful. You’ve met him.
I love him.
Isn’t he the sweetest.
So gracious and sincere.
Yeah, he’s gracious and sincere and kind and thoughtful, funny and mischievous. I adore him.
Are you green in that movie?
I’m not saying. It’s secret.
Do you get to fly?
Yes. That was fun. That wasn’t so scary as Bourne. That was kind of fun. That was like a fun ride. We’re pretty high up on wires so there is a moment where you think, “Oh my God, if I fell I would die,” but it is fun on the whole.
360 is on VOD. What role do you get to play in that?
I play a really small role in it. I’m married to Jude Law and we’re living in London. I filmed in it for like four or five days. I just did it because I love the director, Fernando.
Have you heard that they’re talking about doing a reboot of The Mummy?
Really? Are they? What do you mean, like another one? But starting at the beginning again? What do you mean?
That’s what they do now. They reboot things.
With the same characters?
I don’t know if it’s Rick O’Connell and Eve Carnahan.
Or would it be like a Mummy IV?
No, it would definitely not be Mummy IV.
Whether they start over with new characters or the same.
I don’t know anything about it. Well, good luck to them.
At this point, what sort of interesting interpretations of The Fountain have you heard from fans?
Oh gosh. I’ve met so many people [for whom] that’s their favorite movie. I think it’s got a real cult following. I’ve heard everything. I’ve heard every possible interpretation and I guess I should say everyone’s interpretation is valid and right.
What was the process of doing a “Simpsons” voice?
Fun. Yeah, it was fun. I’m a big “Simpsons” fan. It was very quick. I was in and out in half an hour. The guys were hooked up by phone. They weren’t actually there, the directors. It was really fun. I think I was his shrink.