British heart- throb takes a new direction.
Even experienced actors can suffer performance anxiety when working on both sides of the
camera, writes Marie- Christine Sourris MAKING your directorial debut opposite one of the greatest actresses of all time, Vanessa Redgrave, is enough to intimidate any man. Even Ralph Fiennes. ‘‘ I didn’t want to f--- up, really,’’ the star of
laughs. Despite knowing Redgrave for many years, thanks to his close friendship with her late daughter Natasha Richardson and Natasha’s husband Liam Neeson, he was in new territory on the set of
Merely reprising the lead role and adapting it for screen wasn’t enough ( Fiennes last tackled the legendary Roman leader who falls from grace in a 2000 stage production in London).
No, the 50- year- old heart- throb chose to cut his filmmaking teeth behind the camera at the same time.
‘‘ I’d run, do a scene, rush back to check it, discuss it with the director of photography, and go back again,’’ Fiennes says.
‘‘ I was exhausted, but adrenalin is
The English Patient
Coriolanus. a weird thing. It was kind of exciting.
‘‘ When I was on I remember the terrific inspirational energy that Steven Spielberg carried. I never forgot that. I haven’t really ever been on a set since that’s had that level. ‘‘ My arse was saved so many times on
by [ cinematographer] Barry Ackroyd and my designers and particularly by my editor. They were crazy days. At the end of the week, I couldn’t move.’’
Fiennes has created a visually impressive retelling – original text spoken in a modernday setting with a Serbian location,
style action sequences and delicious drama from co- stars Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain.
‘‘ Gerard is perceived in the media as the hunky guy with the ripped torso in ancient Greece, or he’s the hunky dude in a romcom,’’ Fiennes says.
‘‘ But of course, like lots of actors, they want to flex their muscles in other genres. His acting’s very good [ here].’’
But it is Redgrave who coolly steals the show as Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia.