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Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in A Special Relationship

Rachel Weisz in Definitely Maybe

Story by Jack Foley

RACHEL Weisz is to play screen icon Elizabeth Taylor in new drama A Special Relationship.

The Oscar-tipped biopic is being developed by the producers of The King’s Speech and Simon Beaufoy, the writer of Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Fast-rising female filmmaking duo Bert & Bertie (Troop Zero) are poised to co-direct.

The film is set to explore Taylor’s journey from actress to activist through the lens of her friendship with her assistant Roger Wall.

According to the producers, the film won’t focus on the glamorous and scandalous life most associated with Taylor, but rather focus on the late star’s role in the fight against AIDS and how much it personally meant to her.

In the mid-1980s, Taylor hired a new personal assistant, Wall, a gay man who grew up in poverty in the homophobic Deep South. Despite their different backgrounds, they developed a deep friendship that would alter the course of both of their lives.

Beaufoy’s script is said to be drawn from hours of interviews and exclusive conversations with the people who knew Taylor.

It is designed to present what the filmmaking team have described as a “never-before-seen portrait of the real woman behind the violet eyes”.

It will also reveal how the acting legend gambled her reputation and career to speak out in the face of the silence that emanated from President Ronald Reagan’s administration, forcing Taylor to go “toe to toe with the leader of the free world”.

Yet, in doing so, she helped create a public call to arms against ignorance, bigotry and homophobia, according to a description of the film.

See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who will serve as producers, said in a statement: “Audiences are clearly fascinated by the private lives of iconic Hollywood stars. There is no one more iconic than Elizabeth Taylor, and Simon Beaufoy has written a role that shines a light on Elizabeth’s humour 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.”

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