Rachel Weisz is going to play the legendary Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming biopic–presumably with violet-colored contacts. The film, A Special Relationship, chronicles Taylor’s journey as an HIV/AIDs activist. The movie, written by Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and set to be directed by duo Bert & Bertie, focuses on Taylor’s friendship with her assistant Roger Wall.
“Audiences are clearly fascinated by the private lives of iconic Hollywood stars,” Special Relationship producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman said in a press release. “There is no one more iconic than Elizabeth Taylor, and Simon Beaufoy has written a role that shines a light on Elizabeth’s humor and humanity, which will be beautifully brought to life through the extraordinary talents of Rachel Weisz.”
Taylor hired Wall in the mid-1980s, and the two soon became extremely close. He had grown up in poverty in the Deep South, and was a gay man surrounded by homophobia. In 1991, after he was diagnosed with HIV, Wall committed suicide with sleeping pills. As Taylor told Vanity Fair a year later, it was “one of the biggest losses” of her life.
Taylor had a number of people in her life who were affected by the AIDS epidemic; she lost her close friend Rock Hudson to the disease, and daughter-in-law Aileen Getty was diagnosed in 1985 (Getty has since become a prominent climate and HIV/AIDS activist). By the early nineties, she had become a huge fundraiser and founding national chairman of AmFAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
The movie star evolved into a prominent activist, criticizing the Reagan and Bush administrations for their total inaction regarding the crisis. “I don’t think President Bush is doing anything at all about AIDS,” said Taylor at the Eighth International Conference on AIDS in 1991. “In fact, I’m not even sure if he knows how to spell ‘AIDS.’”
The film will tackle her conflicts with politicians and fight for AIDS research and funding. “A Special Relationship is a celebration of how friendships can change people’s lives, and how Elizabeth helped change the world,” said Canning and Sherman.