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Rachel Weisz to spotlight Elizabeth Taylor’s role as an AIDS activist in A Special Relationship

Photo: Silver Screen Collection (Getty Images), Jon Kopalof (Getty Images)

Portraying one of the most beautifully iconic women ever to grace the big screen is a daunting prospect. But Rachel Weisz is now ready to join the ranks of brave souls like Helena Bonham Carter, Sherilyn Fenn, and Lindsay Lohan who have dared to personify movie goddess Elizabeth Taylor. Deadline reports that Weisz has signed on to play Taylor in the upcoming project A Special Relationship, directed by female directing duo Bert & Bertie and written by Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy.

The special relationship of the title is not about Taylor’s tie to any of her seven husbands, or close friends like Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson, but “Taylor’s journey from actress to activist through the lens of her friendship with her assistant Roger Wall, a gay man who grew up in poverty in the Deep South.” Beaufoy has apparently conducted hours of research by interviewing those close to Taylor, who was a two-time Best Actress Oscar winer for Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. She died in 2011 at the age of 79.

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In an interview with Taylor in 1992 titled “Liz’s AIDS Odyssey,” Vanity Fair noted that when she became the chair of the first major AIDS benefit—the Commitment To Life dinner in 1985—“No celebrity of Taylor’s stature up to that point had had the courage to put his or her weight behind a disease that was then thought to be the province of gay men.” She also describes Wall’s death in that interview as “one of the biggest losses of my life.”

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.