Though Rachel Weisz has taken on many different roles throughout her Hollywood career, it wasn’t until she became a mother that she realized just how different acting can be from reality.
“I’ve placed myself in many hypothetical situations through acting, but motherhood is real life,” she tells Reader’s Digest. “It’s an experience that can’t be transferred. I can get a general idea of some things — losing a child, for instance. But being an actual mother? No, that’s impossible to imagine.”
The 39-year-old actress, who has one son, Henry Chance, 3 ½, with fiancé Darren Aronofsky, says that the only true way to understand the mother-child bond is to live it:
It is one of the very few unimaginable experiences that you have to live to fully understand.
“It’s a purely empirical experience,” she explains. “The entire process: the pregnancy, the delivery. Becoming a mother is a fantastic experience!”
In the film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, Rachel plays a mother dealing with her daughter’s murder – a role which has made it very important for her to “separate fiction from reality”: “Once I’m done acting, I come back to my partner and my son in real life,” says Rachel, adding that if she’d been offered a role like this when she was younger, she would have “ended up deeply depressed”.
Rachel goes on to say that career-wise, “acting allows for greater freedom” as a mother: “White- or blue-colloared Americans have only two weeks vacation each year. They spend most of their time at work.”
“Actors get longer breaks and when we do work, our children can visit us on the set,” Rachel explains. “It’s a very flexible profession, perhaps more so than many others. I have never lived any other life, but motherhood has been quite manageable for me.”
The Lovely Bones is currently in theatres.