Rachel Hannah Weisz (born March 7, 1970 or 1971) is an Academy Award-winning English actress. She became well-known after her roles in the Hollywood films The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, and has since continued appearing in major film roles.
Weisz (pronounced Vice) was born in London. Her mother, Edith Ruth (née Teich), is a Vienna-born Austrian teacher turned psychotherapist. Her father, George Weisz, is a Hungarian-born inventor whose family fled to England to escape Nazi persecution. Weisz has a sister, Minnie Weisz, who is an artist.
Rachel was a model when she was 14 and began acting during her studies at Cambridge University. While there, she formed a theater company named Talking Tongues, which won the Guardian Award, at the Edinburgh Festival for an improvised piece called Slight Possession.
Her breakthrough role was that of Gilda in Welsh director Sean Mathias's 1995 West End revival of Noel Coward's 1933 play Design for Living at the Gielgud Theatre. Having already worked for television, with parts in major UK series such as Inspector Morse (1993), Weisz started her cinema career in 1995 with Chain Reaction and then appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty. She followed this work with more English films including My Summer with Des, Swept from the Sea, The Land Girls, and Michael Winterbottom's I Want You. Although she received favourable critical recognition for her work to this point, her breakout into wide audience recognition came from a popular serio-comic horror movie The Mummy, in which she played the lead female role along with Brendan Fraser. Since then she has starred in a number of films including The Mummy Returns (2001), which grossed higher than the original, as well as Enemy at the Gates (2001), About a Boy (2002), Runaway Jury (2003) and Constantine (2005). Her stage work includes the role of Catherine in a London production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer and Evelyn in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things at the Almeida Theatre (also film).
In 2005, Weisz starred in Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener, a film adaptation of a John le Carré thriller of the same title set in the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani, Kenya. For this role, Weisz won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. In her home country, she was recognized as a leading role for the film according to the nomination from the BAFTA awards and winnings from the London Critics Circle Film Awards and British Independent Film Awards.
In 2006 Weisz was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The same year, she starred in The Fountain and also provided the voice for Saphira in Eragon. Her 2008 films include the Wong Kar-wai-directed drama My Blueberry Nights (in which she played an "anti-Southern belle") and director Rian Johnson's upcoming The Brothers Bloom, in which she plays a wealthy American woman targeted by two con man brothers (Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo).
Weisz is engaged to American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. They have been dating since 2002. They have a son, Henry Chance, born on May 31, 2006 in New York City. The couple reside in the East Village in Manhattan. They are considering getting married in a traditional wedding ceremony at the oldest synagogue in New York.