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Weisz Talks Death in The Fountain

Published November 21, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros.
The Fountain Rachel Weisz in The Fountain
The Fountain is kind of a downer, dealing with the death of a loved one and one’s obsession to hold on. Rachel Weisz plays a woman dying of cancer, while her husband (Hugh Jackman) obsesses over finding a cure instead of spending their last moments together. Also, he may be living forever thanks to discovering the fountain of youth as a Spanish conquistador, but that doesn’t really concern Weisz.

Interview: Rachel Weisz Dips Into The Fountain

“She's pretty brave, I would think,” she said of her character. “I think that she's just a pretty regular girl, who is very romantic and she's very much in love, but she has this tragic thing that happens to her. And, I think she deals with it better than most of us would probably be able to.”

Deathbed movies can be more painful for audiences than actual death, so performing it was a challenge to Weisz. “It’s an impossible thing to accept. How do you get to a place where you actually believe? And I did get there but now I’m totally afraid and have no idea how I got there but during that time I was dreaming about it and thinking about it so intensely and I did get to a place where I believed. I was still frightened and there was one line where I had to say, ‘I’m not afraid anymore.’ And that was the hardest line I’ve ever had to say on any film or stage or anything I’ve ever done. And I meant it when I said it but I was still a little bit afraid but I think that was right for the character. She was very brave but had a little bit of fear so it was a big challenge.”

To research the cancer process, Weisz visited hospices. “Hospitals are places we go where the doctors are tying to save our lives and they operate and medicate and everything else. Hospices, people go there when there’s nothing medicine can do for them anymore and I think the most inspiring thing was meeting the people who work there because what they did every day was they got up and they went to work to help people die. It’s just the most mind boggling job but such an important one and such a brave one and their perspective on death, because it was just a daily occurrence and what they were trying to help happen with grace and with dignity and with nobility. They would hold people as they were dying or play music whatever these people wanted. The workers were very, very inspiring.”

There was still some dress-up fun for Weisz. She appears as a queen in the Spanish conquistador scenes, which may just be a fantasy for Jackman’s character or may be more. “It was great, because I got to be queen. I've never been a queen before, and I had this incredible dress. I mean, this dress was incredible. It took about two hours to put on with the corsets, the bones, the skirts, the under-skirts and the wig and the crown. It was very, very heavy, and then I would walk to set in these very high heels underneath. An assistant director would always say into his walkie talkie, ‘The queen is coming! The queen is coming!' He was very, very serious, too. On the set of the Queen's Court, it was so beautiful. There were a million candles in this room, and she's in a cage and Hugh just looked very hot in his conquistador outfit, I thought. It was just incredibly romantic, this story. This queen, who is secretly in love with her conquistador, sends him off on a mission for the tree of life. I mean, what a thing to do, to get up in the morning and tell that story? It was really something to do.”

The Fountain opens to theatres Tomorrow, November 22nd.

For trailers, stills, early reviews, posters, more interviews and additional info, go to The Fountain Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros.

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