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Denial: Rachel Weisz on the accent that helped unlock her character

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Rachel Weisz is put on trial along with history itself in the new courtroom drama Denial.

The Mick Jackson-directed film finds her playing American historian Deborah E. Lipstadt, who was sued for libel for calling British writer David Irving a Holocaust denier in a 1993 book. Because the burden of proof is on the defendant in English libel cases, it’s up to Lipstadt and her legal team to disprove Irving’s claims that the Holocaust never happened.

In a recent video interview with EW, Weisz talked about spending time with Lipstadt, whose voice and demeanor provided a point of entry into the role.

“The thing about Deborah that really helped me unlock her spirit and her character is her accent, strangely,” Weisz said. “She’s from Queens, New York, and she’s very much on the front foot. She says what she thinks.”

The Oscar-winner continued, “As a British person, we tend to not say what we really feel, and hide our feelings away, and speak in subtext and stuff. So the thing that unlocked the character for me was spending time with her.”

Jackson added that he likes to pair actors with their real-life counterparts when possible, in order to “see what osmosis happens between the two, and what the actress picks up, and what gets fed back into the performance.”

Denial opens today. Watch the interview with Weisz, Jackson, and more above.

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