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It may seem like a lost opportunity to some, but when sitting down with Ralph Fiennes last month the last thing I wanted to discuss was his role as Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" films or what he'd bring to the "Clash of the Titans" sequel, "Wrath of the Titans," next year (That said, I couldn't resist trying to ask about his role in the new James Bond film "Skyfall," shooting next month, but he smiled and said he couldn't say anything). No matter, the subject this day was Fiennes' impressive directorial debut, "Coriolanus."
As you can tell in the edited down 10 minute interview embedded at the top of this post, Fiennes is a soft spoken, humble and extremely polite English gentleman. That's a surefire contrast to the ferocity he displays in his big screen contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's revenge filled play (working of a script by John "Hugo" Logan). The Brit has an unexpected eye and steady vision you might not immediately expect from "The English Patient" star. During our chat Fiennes, who admits he has the directing bug, reflected on how his time working with Anthony Mingella inspired him on his first adventure behind the camera. He also was encouraged by the conceptual achievement of Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo & Juliet" and you can see hints of the Aussie filmmaker's interpretation of Shakespeare bard in Fiennes Eastern European set thriller.
Fiennes also made things incredibly difficult for himself by taking on the film's leading role. And it's another testament to his talent that he's receiving some of the best notices amongst a stellar cast for his performance (and yet no buzz in the best actor race - sad). Joining Fiennes in an impressive ensemble is none other than Vanessa Redgrave (receiving some best supporting actress heat), Brian Cox (appearing to have more fun than he has had in years), Gerard Butler (probably just happy to be there) and, yes, Jessica Chastain in her fifth release of 2011. For more of my thoughts on the picture itself, you can read my review of the drama from the Toronto Film Festival here.
And, again, to enjoy HitFix's sit down with the esteemed Fiennes, watch the embedded video at the top of the post.
"Coriolanus" is now playing in New York and Los Angeles.
For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.
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