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“Photographers aren’t there with the express intention of p–––ing me off.
Yes, there are times when I’ve been caught without make-up and not even a pair of huge sunglasses to hide behind, but it’s not worth getting exercised about.” Born in London to an Hungarian inventor father and an Austrian teacher-turned-psychotherapist mother who fled Europe before the outbreak of the Second World War, Weisz and her younger sister, Minnie, a photographer, were privately educated.
Astonishingly, he wasn’t nominated for his magnum opus, Skyfall.
Isn’t she ever tempted to set her blond Bond on them?
“They’re just trying to make a living,” she says, with slightly unnerving reasonableness.
“I just knew I’d been playing earth-bound, emotional characters and this was entirely different and I’m always greedy for new experiences.
The Wizard of Oz was the first film I remember seeing and I was really, really scared, but then fairytales are supposed to help children explore the concepts of good and evil, even if they are peeping out from behind a chair in terror.” The film takes its inspiration from the Oz novels by L Frank Baum, and envisions how it came to be that the wizard – a trickster who ruled by smoke, mirrors and prestidigitation – rose to power.
“When I turned 40 it was one of the best years of my life; I played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea and got married – none of which I’d ever done before,” she smiles. No, she is off to drink tea with her sister, whose exhibition, “Camera Obscura”, is running at The London Film Museum in Covent Garden.
“As you age the characters you play get more interesting, more complicated.” The studio apparatchiks are circling, ready to whisk her away. “I’m the sell-out, my sister’s the artist,” she says with quiet pride, crouching down beside me to show me photographs on her smart phone.Weisz’s early career saw her appear in television and stage roles, until her big-screen breakthrough in 1999 with a knockabout adventure film, The Mummy and its sequel, The Mummy Returns, two years later.In the interim she has taken on rather more demanding roles and has built a reputation on her ability to convey emotional nuance.So what on earth is she doing in this does-what-it-says-in-the-title crowd pleaser?“It’s impossible to define what makes me want to do a script; there’s no formula,” she says, unapologetically.They courted quietly and married in secrecy in 2011 and it says a lot for the esteem in which Weisz is held that not a soul begrudged her bagging James Bond. “In America there’s wildlife that can kill you,” she says.