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Monday, January 31, 2005


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Continuum today begins its series of interviews from the Constantine movie press junket with Rachel Weisz, who is teamed with Keanu Reeves for the second time, following 1996's Chain Reaction.

In Constantine, Weisz plays the catalytic role of Detective Angela Dodson as well as Angel's deeply disturbed twin sister Isabel, who jumps off a building and kills herself.

Following is an edited transcription on Sunday's roundtable interview. (Click on the thumbnails for larger and fuller images.)

QUESTION: You did a scene in the morgue when you're with your twin. How did they do that? Was that split-screen or CG?

WEISZ: No, they made a dead me.

QUESTION: What was it like to see that?

WEISZ: It's really strange. Because the technology and the craftsmanship now, it looked real to me. It was me, but dead. It was slightly paler. I went to a morgue as part of my research for the character. I had never seen dead bodies before, but that's how they look. They get slightly sunken that way.

So it was not your everyday experience.

QUESTION: So did you hang on to it for next April Fool's Day?

WEISZ:It would be fun to be in the car pool with it.

QUESTION: You and Keanu (Reeves) have some great chemistry. How did you work on that?

WEISZ: How did we practice our chemistry? You either got it, or you ain't! That's all there is to it.

With chemistry, you may be feeling it, but it may not be on the screen. If it's there, then... It's not very hard to have chemistry with Keanu, actually, as you can imagine. That's just outside. You can't work on it or create it. Either there's a zing or there's not.

QUESTION:Do you like playing Americans?

WEISZ: It's my favorite thing.

QUESTION: Do you find you lose your accent after playing Americans?

WEISZ: No. No. When I'm playing a character who's American, there's an American accent, but when I go home to England, I just slide right back into Englishness immediately.

QUESTION: Do you have a dialect coach?

WEISZ: Everybody uses a dialect coach. Every actor. Like they say, if they don't, they're lying. Everybody does. You don't want to worry about it. You want to have somebody looking out so that you're not straying.

QUESTION: Is there a variation on your American accent from film to film, in your mind?

WEISZ: In this movie I'm just going for what they call "general American." It means it's from nowhere. Unless you're doing something where you're from Brooklyn or you're from Philly or you're from the South, it's just a plain accent. It's called "general America." Who knows what that means, really.

QUESTION: I don't know what your religious background is, but how do you feel about how this film works, with all these theological things in a big special-effects movie?

WEISZ: What do I feel about the theology of the movie? Well, it's definitely a fantastical, supernatural, entertaining movie, but it's housed within a very traditional Judeo-Christian theology. And I thought that sort of grounded it in something really interesting. And it asks something interesting questions about morality and good and evil and free will and predestination, and how much is up to us and how much is God's plan. And the struggle between man trying to make a choice to do good and evil and fate intervening. And big unanswerable questions that people have been asking for thousands of years since religion was started and, I guess, we'll always carry on asking. So, there big old questions.

QUESTION: Does this make it more interesting for you as an actor in the context of a big special effects movie, instead of a movie like The Mummy?

WEISZ: Yeah. This and The Mummy are tonally completely different planets. Like apples and oranges. I loved the tone of The Mummy. It reminded me of Saturday morning TV and B-movies, and it was very comedic. This was much more grown up, darker, I guess a little more intellectual. It asks more challenging questions. It's just that one's a lot more serious.

QUESTION: How was that scene in the bathtub where Keanu's holding you down? How was that filmed and how long did you have to hold your breath?

WEISZ: Golly, a really long time. I wasn't timing it, but I guess like a minute and a half. I don't know, a long time. The director said that he wanted Keanu not to go easy on me; he wanted it to look real. So he was really holding me down. It was scary.

QUESTION: What was the safe signal?

WEISZ:The safe signal was something ridiculous, like "I'll tap you three times on the arm." I was thrashing around so much that he couldn't tell. I was really trying to get out. There was a moment when I was not acting any more. I was just trying to get out of the bath. Keanu's a sensitive guy and we were pretty in tune, so you know when somebody's had enough.

QUESTION: So you're shooting The Fountain right now?

WEISZ: It's a little bit secret, but I'll tell you what I can. It's an original screenplay. It's written by Darren Aronofsky and it's also directed by Darren. And it's a great big love story, a huge love story that kind of goes through times. And it has a science-fiction kind of thing to it. It's very original, that's why it's almost impossible to explain. It's not like anything anybody's ever seen before. Thank God.

It's about the search for the Fountain of Youth, hence the title. And it's Hugh Jackman. I'm starring opposite Hugh.

QUESTION: Was that you that was pulled through the walls in the one scene?

WEISZ: That was me. They made a chair in which I was strapped into. And then they made a track, a really long track. Then they pulled a lever and the chair was shot back, very, very, very, very fast. And then they computer-generated the office block around me. So I was moving through a studio and then they painted the office block around me. Why should I tell everybody that? Maybe I should say it was real.

QUESTION: Was it like a ride?

WEISZ: Was it like an amusement ride? I suppose, yeah. It was more scary than any amusement ride. I was scared.

QUESTION: Was it the most difficult thing you had to do or was it the bathtub?

WEISZ: People always wanted to know what was the most difficult thing, I don't know why. Which was more difficult? Probably, the bath tub was more difficult.

QUESTION: Was there a most fun thing?

WEISZ: It's not really fun. It's pretty intense all the way thing. I liked shooting that last scene on the rooftop. It had a little noir feeling to it. It was like, "Finally, I'm going to get kissed!" But it was not to be.

QUESTION: Did you do a version where you kissed?

WEISZ: No, we didn't. Because we thought if we did, they would use it. So we made sure it was not to be.

QUESTION: Was the set light with such heavy subject matter?

WEISZ: All actors are different. Personally, when things are intense, I need to be really silly to let off steam in between.

QUESTION: Are you interested in or contracted for sequels?

WEISZ: No, there's no contract. I don't know, it would depend on the script.

E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com

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