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“I have a real problem with the idea of strong women characters,” Rachel Weisz told the Actress Roundtable. “Does that mean we have muscles or something? No one ever says that to a man. Women have central roles that are complex and drive the narrative.”
The Oscar winner (The Constant Gardener) said she wants “young girls growing up [to] see stories being told where a woman takes a central role, where she is not peripheral to the story,” so they can identify with characters and see themselves reflected on screen.
Weisz’s recent film, The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), “apparently took 20 years to make, because there is lesbianism and three females at the center of it,” but Weisz argued that the current movement of women speaking up on harassment and empowerment helped get the film greenlit.
When it came to developing her character of Lady Sarah, Weisz said, “Everything was on the page.” She called the writing (by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) “rich and complicated,” saying this was true for “all the characters, not just my character, all three female roles.” The other main characters in The Favourite are played by Olivia Colman and Emma Stone.
“On the page, I saw, in the foreground, strength and power and bossiness and sadism and aggressiveness. All around that, I saw vulnerability and neediness, a need for love, a reliance on a best friend and a lover. Everything was on the page really for me, and then it just sparks with your imagination,” she said.
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