Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in AIDS activism-focused biopic
Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy penned the script, with The King's Speech producers on board as well.
Rachel Weisz is stepping into some of the most iconic shoes in Hollywood history for her next role.
The Oscar-winning Constant Gardener actress (and star of Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow movie) will portray legendary performer and activist Elizabeth Taylor in a new biopic from the producers of The King’s Speech and written by Slumdog Millionaire‘s Simon Beaufoy.
The Favourite actress, 49, will play Taylor in A Special Relationship, which follows the actress’ AIDS activism throughout the 1980s after she hired a new personal assistant, a gay man named Roger Wall, who grew up in poverty in a homophobic region of the Deep South before becoming one of Taylor’s closest friends.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s script was written after Beaufoy collected hours of interviews and exclusive conversations with those closest to Taylor before her 2011 death, with a focus on how she gambled her reputation and career to speak out against the government’s silence — particularly the Ronald Reagan administration — regarding the AIDS epidemic. Troop Zero directors Bert & Bernie will helm the film.
“Audiences are clearly fascinated by the private lives of iconic Hollywood stars,” Canning and Sherman said of the film, per THR. “There is no one more iconic than Elizabeth Taylor, and Simon Beaufoy has written a role that shines a light on Elizabeth’s humor and humanity which will be beautifully brought to life through the extraordinary talents of Rachel Weisz. At its heart, A Special Relationship is a story of friendship and what better way of guaranteeing that translates to the screen than trusting the directing talents of real-life best friends and creative collaborators Bert & Bertie. Troop Zero dazzled audiences at Sundance and, like that film, A Special Relationship is a celebration of how friendships can change people’s lives, and how Elizabeth helped change the world.”
A Special Relationship is produced by See-Saw Films, the company behind the Best Picture-winning drama The King’s Speech. Iain Canning and Emile Sherman are producers alongside executive producers Simon Gillis, Danny Perkins, Barbara Berkowitz, and Tim Mendelson, the trustees of the Elizabeth Taylor Estate/House of Taylor Trust.
A release date and further casting details have yet to be announced for A Special Relationship, though the film is expected to be sold at the American Film Market in November.