Rachel Weisz to play Elizabeth Taylor in biopic

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Rachel Weisz is set to play Dame Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming biopic documenting the late Hollywood star’s fight to raise awareness of HIV/Aids.

Weisz, 49, will star in A Special Relationship which focuses on Dame Elizabeth’s work as an activist beginning in the 1980s, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

It is reportedly based on hours of interviews with those who knew Dame Elizabeth best and is written by Simon Beaufoy, who won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire.

Rachel Weisz is set to play Dame Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming biopic (David Parry/PA)

The film is said to focus on her journey from actress to activist rather than her colourful private life.

Dame Elizabeth, who died in 2011 aged 79, was married eight times, most famously twice to Richard Burton.

As well as being one of the most recognisable faces in 20th century cinema, Dame Elizabeth was also one of the first celebrities to call for greater awareness of HIV/Aids.

In the 1980s she hired Roger Wall, a gay man, as her personal assistant and the pair became close friends.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor work as an activist is getting the Hollywood treatment (PA)

He took his own life in 1991 after being diagnosed with HIV, with Dame Elizabeth, who was born in London to American parents, calling his death “one of the biggest losses of my life”.

A Special Relationship is being produced by See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.

“Audiences are clearly fascinated by the private lives of iconic Hollywood stars,” said Canning and Sherman.

“There is no one more iconic than Elizabeth Taylor, and Simon Beaufoy has written a role that shines a light on Elizabeth’s humour and humanity which will be beautifully brought to life through the extraordinary talents of Rachel Weisz.”

British-American actress Weisz won the Oscar for best supporting actress for 2005 thriller The Constant Gardener.