Rachel Weisz talks of 'complex' role in My Cousin Rachel
She stars opposite Sam Claflin in the gothic mystery.
Oscar winner Rachel Weisz has said she would be willing to play a woman who was not independent or radical, as long as the character was complex.
The actress will next be seen in the seductive and ambiguous title role of a big screen adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel.
Rachel stars opposite Sam Claflin in the gothic mystery, in which the audience is left to wonder if Rachel is a femme fatale or a wronged woman.
She told the Press Association: “It is refreshing role, it’s not an ingenue role, it’s a complex role for a grown-up woman.
“Cinema used to be full of those in the Hollywood heydays of 30s, 40s and 50s, when movies were all about women.”
She added: “For the mid 19th century she is really radical, she is sexually liberated, she thinks a woman should work to support herself and not be married, just to be a possession. She is a 20th century radical heroine in a 19th century setting which give a classic tale a real edge because she does not fit in her time.
“I’m just interested in playing people of all different shades, I would be interested in playing a woman who wasn’t independent and radical, I’m interested in things that have contradictions.
“It doesn’t have to be ideologically what I personally believe in, I just like good stories and escapism.”
Rachel said while she decided how she saw her character, she never revealed her thoughts to co-star Claflin or director Roger Michell.
She said: “I saw it as gothic, it’s romance, there is a thriller, a ‘did she, didn’t she?’, there is suspense.”
“You could say it’s psychological horror if you think she’s a manipulating femme fatale, and if she’s innocent it’s tragedy, the whole story is tragic.
“I can’t say how I saw it because it would give up my interpretation. I made a decision and the director said ‘I don’t want to know’.
“He wanted it to be a secret from him, so as Sam Claflin’s character and as everyone in the film feels, nobody knew the answer. He was trying to figure me out as the director, which was a good game to play.”
She continued: “I could ask him what he thinks but he will never know what my decision was.
“It would be a shame to say because it would make everyone feel their interpretation isn’t right. It’s made people debate and argue, I’ve seen people get in heated discussions with reasons to back up their argument.”
My Cousin Rachel is in UK cinemas now.