Listening to Rachel Weisz, one gets the impression that you’d have to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on her: In the decade since her breakthrough performance as Brendan Fraser’s beloved in The Mummy, the dark-eyed Cambridge University grad has developed a reputation as one of Hollywood’s brainiest (and most outspoken) leading ladies. But in Rian Johnson’s new comedy, The Brothers Bloom, she plays somebody who’s hopelessly slow on the take: an endearingly dizzy and sheltered heiress named Penelope who falls precariously in love with a sad-eyed con man (Adrien Brody), much to the chagrin of the latter’s brother (Mark Ruffalo), who sees her as just another mark.

“Penelope is kind of gullible,” Weisz says — over the phone from New York, where she lives with her boyfriend, director Darren Aronofsky, and their three year-old son, Henry Chance. “She’s impressionable and naive — whatever you want to call it. Penelope is also quite literal, and literal can be very funny. I think that it’s a rich vein for comedy.”

Weisz also notes that shifting into sweetheart mode can be exhausting. “By the end,” she says, sighing, “I had used up my entire quota for enthusiasm and wide-eyedness — I was just this cynical wreck. It was like I’d gotten five years’ worth of enthusiasm out in one go!”

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