British actor Rachel Weisz won an Oscar for her role in The Constant Gardener, playing a passionate activist whose husband sets out to discover the truth behind her murder.
Now, in The Whistleblower, she portrays real-life law enforcement officer Kathy Bolkovac, who goes to Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission and discovers UN officials and others colluding with contractors in human trafficking.
You first found out about this film in 2006, but it took five years to get to theatres?
I was pregnant and I thought it was an incredible piece of writing and a great script and important story, but I think because I was pregnant it was a little too harrowing for me to deal with at the moment. But I just never forgot it ... I was haunted by it.
What was it about the story that captured you?
It’s one of my favourite genres of a film, a kind of thriller that is a David and Goliath story about an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things, like in Silkwood and Erin Brockovich. They are just moms who are doing their jobs and come across an injustice and just go after it. They just become unstoppable and they don’t realise they are doing something heroic.
Are you interested in international politics?
Not particularly, I would much rather play a woman who does something really extraordinary and interesting than a woman who doesn’t.
In The Constant Gardener, I played the role of a woman who was a bleeding heart liberal and an annoying troublemaker while Bolkovac (in The Whistle Blower) is not like that at all. She is a cop. She was literally just doing her job. She wasn’t there to make trouble. She wanted to help people. She had realistic ideas which the UN embody and do for the main part.
But then I love things about human politics. I am immensely inspired by stories like Bolkovac’s, not because I want to emulate her, I am nothing like her and if was in her situation I would have gone home without doing anything. I would be way too scared. I don’t have that in my nature.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.