18 Things to Know About Rachel Weisz

The Jewish actress just wants everyone to know how to say her name.

Rachel Weisz is an extremely private and offline person. In an interview she once revealed, “I have never been on Facebook. Like never in my life.” Which like, good for her, honestly.

But if you adore the British American Jewish actress like we do, that combo can make it hard to have enough Rachel Weisz content in your life!

Well, never fear! Here are 18 things to know about Rachel Weisz.

1. Rachel was born Westminster London to Jewish parents George and Edith Weisz.

2. As children, George and Edith immigrated from Hungary and Austria, respectively, to the United Kingdom to escape the Nazis. Edith, who has paternal Jewish ancestry, was raised in the Catholic Church and formally converted to Judaism upon marriage.

With these two cultural backgrounds, Rachel describes her childhood saying, “I had double guilt.

3. Rachel’s younger sister Minnie is an artist and photographer. She is best known for her work with camera obscura and has referred to herself as an architectural “detective.”

4. Rachel has described her upbringing as “culturally Jewish.

“I definitely grew up culturally Jewish. We did Friday night. I didn’t go to Jewish school, so I sang hymns and Christmas carols. But, yeah, culturally I grew up Jewish.”

5. In a 2016 interview with Hadassah Magazine, Rachel discussed her father and what Jewishness means to her:

“He went to yeshiva—his mind is very talmudic. I would say what my Jewishness means to me—in terms of my heritage—is a few thousand years of asking a lot of questions. If I asked my father a question, he would ask me a lot of questions. Putting things under a great deal of scrutiny; that’s what it means.”

6. Rachel’s career began at age 14 when she started modeling, though she’s critical of the experience now.

In a 2018 NPR interview she said, “I mean, I was in London, and I think I got, you know, scouted by someone. Yeah, and they used to dress me up in makeup and make me look like I was 30 years old, and I was 15. And I would say that I definitely experienced objectification firsthand in that period.”

You can listen to the full interview below:

7. Rachel attended Cambridge University and graduated in 1988. During this time she studied English and also began her acting career.

Her thesis, titled “The Politics of Space,” was on American female writers in the Deep South. Listen to her talk about it in this interview.

8. At 19 years old, Rachel ignored her agent’s advice to change her Jewish last name. Rachel speculates the name change was suggested because Weisz is “very hard to pronounce.” (It’s pronounced “Viesz.”)

In a 2017 interview with The JC she joked, “In America, they say ‘Weiss’, ‘Wise’, ‘Wooz’, ‘Waz’. I would still love to change the w to a v, so people say it right. I’m childish about it. I want Veisz!

9. Rachel’s first breakthrough came with her role as Evelyn Carnahan in the 1999 film “The Mummy” and the 2001 sequel, “The Mummy Returns.”

Here’s a compilation of her being a total badass in those films:

10. Rachel has won some pretty prestigious awards in her career, including a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Movie Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a British Academy of Film Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, and most prestigiously, the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “The Constant Gardener.”

Check out her acceptance speech below:

11. Rachel is married to none other than Mr. 007 himself, Daniel Craig. First of all, yowza, that’s a beautiful couple. Second of all, also yowza. Third, the pair met in 1994 while starring in “Les Grandes Horizontales” at London’s National Theater Studio. The two remained friends, however, until being paired again in the 2011 film “Dream House.” You can watch the trailer to the movie which brought together this gorgeous duo here:

Now, Weisz and Craig are the happy parents to a daughter, born in 2018. Additionally, Rachel has a 14-year-old son, Henry, from her previous marriage to director Darren Aronofsky.

12. In 2017 Rachel starred in “Denial” as Professor Deborah Lipstadt. The film, which centers around Holocaust denial, marks the first time that she portrayed a Jewish character.

Additionally, Rachel learned a Hebrew prayer for the role. In character as Professor Lipstadt she recites El Male Rachamim during a scene at Auschwitz. (Though Rachel did actually visit Auschwitz when preparing for the role, the filming took place on a set in England.)

It had undeniable power,” Rachel said of the experience.

Take a second to watch the trailer here:

13. Rachel’s second Jewish role came as Ronit Krushka in the queer Jewish film “Disobedience.”

“It was incredibly emotional,” she said about filming the movie’s queer sex scene. “It was romantic; it was spiritual; it was passionate; it was full of heart and longing. It wasn’t just sex. It was something much more powerful.”

No, we’re not crying. We just have allergies….

Watch her CBS Sunday interview on “Disobedience” here:

14. Rachel started her own production company, LC6 Productions, which has produced films like “Disobedience.” The reason Rachel started it is fairly simple:

“I really enjoy all the thousands of movies I’ve seen about men,” she told the New York Times. “I mean, there are some great masterpieces. But there’s just a dearth of ones about women. I love women. Women are just really fascinating and different to men.”

15. Rachel is rightfully frustrated about the conversation on older women in Hollywood.

“And the thing that I find almost absurd, actually, is that we have this conversation about women over 40 as if it was some tiny outlier minority – we’re half the population,” Rachel stated in a 2017 interview. “It’s not like if you were talking about say, a role for a trans-black, now-woman-of-colour who’s converted to Islam. I understand the urgency of that conversation, but I find it so absurd that we’re talking about women. I feel like saying giraffes, or you know there aren’t enough roles for pandas. We’re women – I find it bonkers.”

16. In 2018, Rachel played the role of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough in the critically acclaimed movie, “The Favourite.” Her performance was so good it garnered a nomination for the 2019 Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Though the film featured a rivalry between Rachel and co-star Emma Stone’s characters, they actually get along just fine! Evidenced here:

17. Rachel loves acting alongside other women, like she does in “Disobedience” and “The Favourite.”

“There’s incredible freedom in women playing opposite other women,” Rachel explained to Backstage. “They’ve never owned each other, historically. The patriarchy is not there at all. The history of women in relationship to men was about ownership and control.”

18. You can see Rachel next in the newest Marvel movie, “Black Widow.” Get a load of Rachel’s Eastern European accent in this trailer:

Personally, we would let her destroy us.

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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