Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in new biopic about her HIV work

Elizabeth Taylor on the Oprah Winfrey Show, 1992 (Photo: YouTube)

British actress Rachel Weisz has been cast to play the role of Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming biopic of the Hollywood legend.

Variety reports that Weisz, 49, will star in A Special Relationship, penned by Slumdog Millionnaire writer Simon Beaufoy).

The film will focus on Taylor’s AIDS and HIV advocacy, as well as her relationship with personal assistant Roger Wall, a gay man who grew up in poverty in the southern US.

Taylor started to campaign to raise awareness around HIV when friends began to fall ill in the early 1980s. Actor Rock Hudson was the first major celebrity to reveal he had the disease, and Taylor publicly stood by his side as his health deteriorated.

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The Oscar-winner went on help found amFAR in the mid-80s. She is credited with persuading Ronald Reagan to acknowledge the disease for the first time in a speech in 1987 and testified before the US Senate and House for the Ryan White Care Act.

She launched her own Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991. She was honored with her third Oscar, in recognition of her humanitarian work, in 1993.

Taylor died in 2011, aged 79.

Rachel Weisz in 2018 movie, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz in 2018 movie, The Favourite

Weisz is best known for her roles in The Mummy, The Bourne Legacy, and last year’s The Favourite. She won an Oscar for her role in 2005’s The Constant Gardener, among numerous other acting awards.

The movie will be directed by female directing duo Bert&Bertie for See-Saw Films. The production company will pitch the movie to distributors at the American Film Market in Santa Monica in early November.