Rachel Weisz Discusses ‘The Bourne Legacy’

Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) shows off her action skills as a scientist forced into running for her life in The Bourne Legacy, the fourth film of the franchise and the first without Matt Damon in a starring role. In this Bourne, it’s not a ‘Bourne’ at all whose adventures we follow. Instead, Jeremy Renner takes over as Aaron Cross, an agent who’s equally as lethal – and determined

– as Jason Bourne.

Discussing the Universal Pictures action thriller during the LA press day, Weisz talked about handling the action scenes and preparing to be the female lead in a Bourne movie.

On starring in an action film and riding a motorcycle behind Jeremy Renner:

“What I really liked about the tone of the Bourne films is that it’s really realistic, so I’m not playing an action heroine. I’m playing a scientist who’s a pretty normal person. I’m not physically gifted in any way, so I think it’s always very, very realistic. She’s really scared, she’s really terrified, and then at the end, she gets to kick ass a little bit, but I’m not a super hero.”

“As to what it was like to be on a bike behind Jeremy, it was really terrifying. Actually Jeremy told me today – he was very sweet, he never told me when we were in Manila – that that was the scariest stunt for him because he was responsible for my life, which he was. He didn’t tell me that in Manila. Thank God! Because I would have been, ‘Oh

my God, if he’s scared, then…’ I just had to surrender. I just had to hold on, but I didn’t have to act. It was just terrifying.”

On mentally preparing for the interrogation scene:

“I couldn’t really do any research on it. I didn’t meet anyone who’d been interrogated. It was very well written I think, so I just said the lines that Tony [Gilroy] had written and imagined it was really happening. That’s the best answer I can give because it’s the truth.”

On shooting the laboratory attack sequence:

“That was very choreographed. It wasn’t so chaotic. It was quite meticulously choreographed and had to be done step by step. It was intense.”

On her reaction to seeing the film with those action scenes all put together:

“I’m very proud of it. I think it seems very naturalistic and truthful and exciting and sexy. I like it.”

“I love seeing the scenes that I wasn’t in so the scene up the mountain that Oscar Isaac and Jeremy are in, where they find each other in that cabin at the beginning of the film…the sequence with the wolf. I thought that was wonderful, very exciting.”

On the intensity of The Bourne Legacy and handling it off camera:

“I mean, during action and cut, yeah. Then when the director says cut, I leave it behind. I don’t stay in that place. Otherwise I would have a nervous breakdown. […]It’s a skill that I’ve learned, like you might learn to juggle. It’s not something I was born knowing how to do but I’ve worked on it and now when the director says cut, I drop it. It’s like dropping some hotcakes. Just drop them.”

On how that skill has developed over the years:

“Probably any film that I did in my 20s, I didn’t know how to drop it. But I don’t think it makes you do the acting better. [Laughing] It might make you worse actually, for me anyway.”