Fi­ennes col­lared by TV’s big screen

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Drama Series - HOLLY BYRNES

JOSEPH Fi­ennes isn’t the kind of man you’d ex­pect to be an en­thu­si­as­tic lover of those big screen, mega-plasma televisions.

But as the Shake­speare­antrained, Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story ac­tor ex­plains, the big­ger the ‘‘ small’’ screen, the bet­ter the tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tions on it have be­come.

Pick­ing up a mo­bile phone, used to record this in­ter­view with the Bri­tish star on the Para­mount Stu­dios lot where AHS is filmed, Fi­ennes says: ‘‘ This is the small screen, and when I grew up tele­vi­sion was the small screen and cin­ema was that gor­geous big screen that, ev­ery Satur­day night, you went to watch if you were lucky enough.’’

Raised on a diet of Hitch­cock and Kubrick, he says ‘‘ it was kind of sac­ri­lege’’ to watch their mas­ter­piece sto­ry­telling ‘‘ on any other kind of for­mat’’.

‘‘ But that has changed and tele­vi­sion has cer­tainly rein­vented it­self. I think that’s be­cause of the writ­ing and the fact that plasma screens are enor­mous.’’

Lead­ing that rev­o­lu­tion is AHS cre­ator Ryan Murphy and his writ­ing team, who have ar­guably played out their great­est ex­per­i­ment with this se­ries and drawn some of the best film and tele­vi­sion ac­tors of this gen­er­a­tion (Os­car­win­ner Kathy Bates was this week tipped for sea­son three).

Fi­ennes says he wasn’t look­ing for a TV gig af­ter the ax­ing of Seven’s Flash For­ward, but how he got the role in AHS, as Mon­signor Ti­mothy Howard, will go down as an­other chap­ter of Murphy folk­lore.

‘‘ I was chas­ing down some­body’s email and Ryan had the con­tact, but then he segued off to Amer­i­can Hor­ror. I still never got that email con­tact.’’ Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, Eleven, Mon­day, 9.30pm

True be­liever: Joseph Fi­ennes, in Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, says tele­vi­sion has come of age.

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