Rachel Weisz on quality roles for women: ‘I think we all have to get on with it’


We don’t talk about Rachel Weisz’s hair enough. She has amazing hair, right? I like that she never does anything too radical with it – she’s almost always a brunette (her natural hair color) and it just looks so healthy and bouncy. These are photos from the BFI London Film Festival premiere of Youth. Rachel wore a Lanvin gown which, I have to admit, I really like. Yes, it sort of looks like upholstery, but I still enjoy it. Rachel has been in London all week, premiering two films and doing press. Much like Cate Blanchett, she’s a little bit tired of the same questions about strong female characters and all of that stuff. Some highlights from several interviews:

On “strong female roles”: “I have a real problem… with this notion of strong female role. You never say to a male actor – you never say to George Clooney, Matt Damon or Tom Hiddleston – you play lots of strong men unless they play men with really big biceps. I just literally don’t know what that means. Bodybuilding roles? …It would be good if there were more films where the females were the leads so the story’s about them and not peripheral. Women’s stories, stories about a woman’s life, we’re talking as if we’re some kind of tiny minority.’

There needs to be a female spy with sexual agency: She wouldn’t mind playing a spy who is invincible, yet lonely, despite a ‘large sexual appetite’. She sips water and asks why this character shouldn’t be sexually vociferous ‘just because she’s a woman’?

The talk of roles for women: “I think we all have to get on with it.”

Working with Colin Farrell: “He had to eat a lot of ice cream for the role. To me he’s always going to be chunky Dave (after his character). He’s got this incredible sweetness in the film, because you’re not distracted by the Adonis. You can see his soul…Yes, the Las Vegas era [Elvis]. Colin’s like chunky Elvis.”

[From The Daily Mail & Metro]

Are you guys willing to give Rachel a break on “I think we all have to get on with it”? I don’t know. I enjoy the fact that more women in Hollywood feel empowered to discuss the dearth of great roles for actresses and to have a larger discussion about representation in art and media. But I also think we’ve sort of reached Peak Bulls—t with this stuff, where every entertainment journalist is asking every actress her thoughts about wage equality, feminism, representation, etc, like every actress is supposed to be an expert on those issues just because of her lady parts. What if the journalists start asking the actors, the male directors, the male producers and the studio executives these same questions over and over again?



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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15 Responses to “Rachel Weisz on quality roles for women: ‘I think we all have to get on with it’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think by “strong roles” people mean roles where the woman is more to the story than a backdrop, where she is more than a decorative moment or gratuitous nudity in a movie that revolves around the male characters. She’s not the girlfriend of the lawyer who appears a couple of times to have sex with him, or the helpless woman the bad guy chases down the street until she turns her ankle and he catches her, or the central character’s mother, female friend or wife. She IS the central or one of the central characters. The story is about her.

    I can understand how these women are tired of answering the same question over and over, but I find it hard to believe she doesn’t understand the question.

    • perplexed says:

      I thought maybe that was what she was trying to say, but it didn’t come out that articulately. (Although maybe she thinks women are already playing some strong roles, but people aren’t paying attention to when those roles are being played? I wasn’t sure…the answer came out as if she was thinking out loud.)

    • Sixer says:

      I thought she meant “get on with it” as in “get on with creating the good roles” not “get on with it” as in “making do with what we’re given”?

      • Jayna says:

        Exactly. That’s the way I took it.

      • Pamela says:

        That was my takeaway too.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, I understood that part. I think I misunderstood the first part – I thought she was saying she didn’t understand what people meant by “strong role.” Maybe she was just pointing out that it’s nuanced, as lunchcoma was saying.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I do think there’s something to distinguishing between “strong” women characters and well-developed, interesting women characters. A lot of movies take a female role that is essentially the hero’s girlfriend or the one woman on a team that’s otherwise guys, and then try to pass that role off as a strong woman because the character either makes smart-mouthed comments or participates in action sequences or both. A lot of the female roles in superhero movies end up being like this – I’m thinking Lady Sig and Gamora and all the other female characters who fight but who are secondary characters at best.

      I also think the use of the word “strong” tends to confuse people about the other side of the equation. There have been many excellent roles for men where the character being played is weak or cowardly or deeply flawed. I think it’s relatively uncommon to see a movie that examine’s a woman’s weakness in ways that aren’t entirely shallow or villainizing, especially outside of the smallest indie movies.

  2. Momoko says:

    I am woman, hear me roar! – I am loving this new voice. Better than “I don’t know.” Or, “I am not anti-man.”

  3. Georgia says:

    I dunno, I read that quote – “we have to get on with it,” more as, “let’s get to it,” as in, there should be more stories about women. Like what she was saying earlier on “we’re talking as if we’re some kind of tiny minority,” when that’s so demonstrably untrue. I think her heart is in the right place, she just came across as a bit inarticulate. Maybe the interviewer put her on the spot

  4. Tacos and TV says:

    This is a hot topic for discussion right now. And, I do agree it should be discussed openly and viewed as an important issue, not a secondary issue. But, I can also bring up the scarcity of minorities in films/tv. I mean seriously! Yes, as a woman, am I happy this is being discussed? Absolutely, but as a minority, I can’t help but think that there are other issues that can be brought up as well. So, I think if we are going to stay on this topic, why don’t we also address other topics? As well. I do like her attitude though and I think after a while I would adopt the same one. Let’s work together, bring these issues to light but also keep moving forward.

  5. Catherine says:

    How is she 45? years old and doesn’t appear to have any lines on her face, botox, laser treatment?

    • MrsNix says:

      Great genes, good diet, healthy weight and physical health through her entire adult life. Probably a non-smoker.

      I’m 40, and though I’m nowhere near as attractive as a Hollywood type, I look younger than my age because of great genes. I easily pass for 30 and have very few wrinkles. If I had never smoked, I’d look even younger. It’s mostly genes, not smoking, and good diet.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        Heavy smoker, actually. I don’t smoke but the degree to which Americans specifically are brainwashed re: “smoking is the cause of all evils” is concerning. And it is concerning because it makes them blind and unable to look beyond the smoking. Why do we get sicker and sicker in countries where smoking is much more rare these days and exposure to second hand smoking is times less than before? Yet we are times sicker and I mean young people, even children. Smoking is quickly becoming the government’ s best friend.

  6. captain says:

    I like Rachel so much, she looks like she has come to herself lately. She was so special always, then turned into some generic girl with Aronoffsky. But in the last months the sass, the life and the unique charme are there! I’m soo glad to see it, and to see more of her in general – especially that her dress and make up sense are always impeccable.