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Rachel Weisz on Working with Malick

Photo of Matt Mueller By Matt Mueller | Thompson on Hollywood December 2, 2011 at 12:50PM

Rachel Weisz on Working with Malick
Rachel Weisz

Sitting down with Rachel Weisz recently to discuss her role as a 1950s English adulteress in Terence Davies’ adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play "The Deep Blue Sea," the actress also shed a bit of light on working with a third Terrence – Malick – on his untitled love story with Ben Affleck. She describes the experience as “unlike any other I’ve ever had. Unorthodox would be a massive understatement. There isn’t really a script, you don’t know what the story is, you don’t know who the other characters are. I knew I was Ben Affleck’s sister and that he was in love with two different women but otherwise I didn’t know what was going on.”

Although Weisz didn’t know what to expect going in and ended up suitably confounded, she entrusted herself to the auteur’s eccentric methodology. The shoot was daylight only, with the actress turning up each morning “and just seeing what would happen… it’s a hard thing to explain but we would have to walk on an axis to keep pulling the camera in certain directions and Terrence would be throwing lines at you and you would just say them. It’s very weird! It’s not like, ‘I’m this character and these are my lines and I’m going to prepare them.’ You just have to surrender to it.”
Most of Weisz’s scenes were with Affleck; she also acted opposite the actresses playing his two lovers, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko. She’s not convinced we’ll see her in the final film, though. “As you know, a lot of people shoot with him and don’t make it on the screen. I did it for the experience of working with him but it was really quite random. He’s after those unexpected, random moments that will make it into the poem that is a Terrence Malick movie…”

This article is related to: Rachel Weisz, Terrence Malick, Ben Affleck, IN THE WORKS

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.