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Jewish Journal

Rachel Weisz brings down the bad guys in ‘The Whistleblower’

by Danielle Berrin

August 2, 2011 | 10:53 am

Rachel Weisz (2008)

When choosing roles, Rachel Weisz is less interested in making bank than breaking the bad guys. Her next starring role is in “The Whistleblower” in which she plays a police officer hired to join the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia amongst the wreckage and aftermath of civil war. She then encounters a young woman forced into sex slavery who opens her eyes to a widespread trail of sex trafficking and corruption that leads from the ruined streets of Bosnia to the UN’s door.

She told The Huffington Post’s Jordan Zakarin:

“My favorite genre of movie—if you could call it a genre, because there’s not so many of them out there—would be the ordinary woman doing the extraordinary thing, the David vs. Goliath-style fighting, one lone woman fighting injustice…And I love it, I love that kind of thriller, the ordinary person who, because of their character, it’s their character that leads them. As an actor, that’s a kind of gift.”

A social justice bent and a biblical reference in the same paragraph? That Daniel Craig is one lucky guy…

This sort of post, while not vital news obviously, interests me because it highlights the central investigation of “Hollywood Jew” which is, the way Jewish values inform Hollywood’s creative choices. It her statement, Weisz admits that there is a value, and in this case, a very Jewish one, that influences what roles she likes to play. In another sense, this item interests me because I care about the way Jewish women are represented in American popular culture, and it is my belief that a rising generation of Jewish actresses—among them, Weisz, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Melanie Laurent, Mila Kunis etc.—represent a shift in popular perception of Jewish women. This is the subject of an upcoming cover story that will hopefully run in next week’s print edition of The Jewish Journal, and of course, which I’ll post here. Despite the fact that I filed early, which is nothing short of miraculous for me, some of the story’s subject matter was deemed a bit too racy to run the week of Tisha B’av. So next week I will delve more fully into the topic, and what are, to my mind, the unique sensibilities and character qualities of Jewish women.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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