Actress Rachel Weisz reveals the hairy moments she had on horseback while filming for her latest blockbuster My Cousin Rachel — including the horse that was “trained to die”

“Never work with animals or children” may have been ringing in actress Rachael Weiz’s ears as the horse she was riding during the filming of Daphne du Maurier’s twisty tale My Cousin Rachel collapsed to the floor with her on board.

“It wasn’t unpainful,” said the 47-year-old The Constant Gardener star on The Graham Norton Show last week (Friday 9 June 2017) . Something of an understatement we sense.

In the latest adaptation of De Maurier’s romantic thriller, set in 19th century rural England, Rachel plays her namesake Rachel Ashley. The dark romance tells the story of her cousin plotting revenge against her, believing that she murdered his guardian. But he soon finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Clad in a bonnet and period costume, Rachel can be seen cantering side saddle along the beach in the film, which hit the cinemas last Friday (9 June 2017), with her co-star Sam Claflin, who plays Philip.

“This horse had been used in Game of Thrones, and had been trained to die, so if you pulled his left rein hard he would very elegantly collapse his front legs and lie down,” says Rachel, who is married to the James Bond actor Daniel Craig in real life.  “And these are great big stallions we’re talking about.

“At one point I cantered out of the shot and stopped and pulled the left rein and he just ‘died’ on his left side — and I was on the left side [riding side-saddle], so he ‘died’ on to me. Everyone went silent.”

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Watch the clip from The Graham Norton Show here *Viewer discretion advised: adult themes*:

The horses were provided by The Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, with Rachel working with Camilla Naprous, who is the daughter of world renowned horsemaster and stunt co-ordinator Gerard Naprous.

The Buckinghamshire-based company has over 70 horses, each trained in various stunts. It also offers training for actors to prepare them for starring roles in the saddle.

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