Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (/ /; born 22 December 1962) is an English actor, film producer, and director. A Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre.
Fiennes at the 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival
Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes
22 December 1962
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation||Actor • director • producer|
(m. 1993; div. 1997)
|Partner(s)||Francesca Annis |
|Relatives||Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (nephew)|
Martha Fiennes (sister)
Magnus Fiennes (brother)
Sophie Fiennes (sister)
Joseph Fiennes (brother)
Jacob Fiennes (brother)
Fiennes's portrayal of Nazi war criminal Amon Göth in Schindler's List (1993) earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, and he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His performance as Count Almásy in The English Patient (1996) garnered him a second Academy Award nomination, for Best Actor, as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
Fiennes has appeared in a number of notable films, including Quiz Show (1994), Strange Days (1995), The End of the Affair (1999), Red Dragon (2002), Maid in Manhattan (2002), The Constant Gardener (2005), In Bruges (2008), The Reader (2008), Clash of the Titans (2010), Great Expectations (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). He voiced Rameses in The Prince of Egypt (1998), Lord Victor Quartermaine in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) and Alfred Pennyworth in The Lego Batman Movie (2017). Fiennes is also known for his roles in major film franchises such as the Harry Potter film series (2005–2011), in which he played Lord Voldemort, and the James Bond series, in which he has played Gareth Mallory / M, starting with the 2012 film Skyfall.
In 2011, Fiennes made his directorial debut with his film adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus, in which he also played the title character. In 1995, he won a Tony Award for playing Prince Hamlet on Broadway. Since 1999, Fiennes has served as an ambassador for UNICEF UK. Fiennes is also an Honorary Associate of London Film School. For his work behind the camera, in 2019 he received the Stanislavsky Award.
Early life and family
Fiennes was born in Ipswich, England, on 22 December 1962. He is the eldest child of Mark Fiennes (1933–2004), a farmer and photographer, and Jennifer Lash (1938–1993), a writer. He has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. His surname is of Norman origin. Because his given name is pronounced //, it is sometimes seen (incorrectly) spelt as Rafe or Raiph. His grandfathers were industrialist Sir Maurice Fiennes (1907–1994) and Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash (1901–1975).
Fiennes is an eighth cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales, and a third cousin of adventurer Ranulph Fiennes and author William Fiennes. He is the eldest of six children. His siblings are actor Joseph Fiennes; Martha Fiennes, a director (in her film Onegin, he played the title role); Magnus Fiennes, a composer; Sophie Fiennes, a filmmaker; and Jacob Fiennes, a conservationist. His foster brother, Michael Emery, is an archaeologist. His nephew, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, played Tom Riddle, young Lord Voldemort, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Fiennes family moved to Ireland in 1973, living in West Cork and County Kilkenny for some years. Fiennes was educated at St Kieran's College for one year, followed by Newtown School, a Quaker independent school in County Waterford. They moved to Salisbury in England, where Fiennes finished his schooling at Bishop Wordsworth's School. He went on to pursue painting at Chelsea College of Art before deciding that acting was his true passion.
Fiennes trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art between 1983 and 1985. He began his career at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park and also at the National Theatre before achieving prominence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fiennes first worked on screen in 1990 and made his film debut in 1992 as Heathcliff in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights opposite Juliette Binoche.
1993 was his "breakout year". He had a major role in Peter Greenaway's film The Baby of Mâcon with Julia Ormond, which provoked controversy and was poorly received. Later that year, he became known internationally for portraying the amoral Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Göth in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. For this, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He did not win the Oscar, but did win the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA Award for the role. His portrayal of Göth also earned him a spot on the American Film Institute's list of Top 50 Film Villains. Fiennes gained weight to represent Göth, but shed it afterwards. Fiennes later stated that playing the role had a profoundly disturbing effect on him. In a subsequent interview, Fiennes recalled:
Evil is cumulative. It happens. People believe that they've got to do a job, they've got to take on an ideology, that they've got a life to lead; they've got to survive, a job to do, it's every day inch by inch, little compromises, little ways of telling yourself this is how you should lead your life and suddenly then these things can happen. I mean, I could make a judgment myself privately, this is a terrible, evil, horrific man. But the job was to portray the man, the human being. There’s a sort of banality, that everydayness, that I think was important. And it was in the screenplay. In fact, one of the first scenes with Oskar Schindler, with Liam Neeson, was a scene where I'm saying, "You don't understand how hard it is, I have to order so many-so many meters of barbed wire and so many fencing posts and I have to get so many people from A to B." And, you know, he's sort of letting off steam about the difficulties of the job.
In 1994, he portrayed American academic Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show. In 1996, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the epic World War II romance The English Patient, in which he starred with Kristin Scott-Thomas. Fiennes' film work has encompassed a variety of genres, including thrillers (Spider), an animated Biblical epic (The Prince of Egypt), camp nostalgia (The Avengers), romantic comedy (Maid in Manhattan), and historical drama (Sunshine).
In 1999, Fiennes had the title role in Onegin, a film which he also helped produce. His sister Martha Fiennes directed, and brother Magnus composed the score. Fiennes portrayed Francis Dolarhyde in the 2002 film, Red Dragon, a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. Fiennes’ performance as a sympathetic serial killer with a romantic relationship with a blind girl, played by Emily Watson, was praised, with film critic David Sterritt writing, “Ralph Fiennes is scarily good as [Hannibal Lecter's] fellow lunatic."
The Constant Gardener was released in 2005, with Fiennes in the central role. The film is set in Kenya. It was filmed in part with the actual residents of the slums of Kibera and Loiyangalani. The situation affected the cast and crew to such an extent that they set up the Constant Gardener Trust to provide basic education for children of these villages. Fiennes is a patron of the charity. He is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres. Fiennes voiced Lord Victor Quartermaine in the 2005 stop-motion animated comedy Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The role saw him play a cruel upper class bounder who courts Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) and despises Wallace and Gromit.
Fiennes portrayed Lord Voldemort in the 2005 fantasy film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He returned to the role for other films of the series: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2. In an interview with Empire magazine, Fiennes said his portrayal of Voldemort was an "instinctive, visceral, physical thing".
Fiennes' 2006 performance in the play Faith Healer gained him a nomination for a 2007 Tony Award. In 2008, he worked with frequent collaborator director Jonathan Kent, playing the title role in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, at the National Theatre in London. In 2008, he played the Duke of Devonshire in the film The Duchess; he also played the protagonist in The Reader, adapted from the novel of the same name. In February 2009, Fiennes was the special guest of the Belgrade's Film Festival FEST. He filmed his version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
Fiennes reunited with Kathryn Bigelow for her Iraq War film The Hurt Locker, released in 2009, appearing as an English Private Military Contractor. They had previously worked together on Strange Days (1995). In April 2010, he played Hades in Clash of the Titans, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. In 2012, he starred in the twenty-third James Bond film, Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. He replaced Dame Judi Dench as M in subsequent Bond films. In 2013, Fiennes was both the director and the leading actor (in the role of Charles Dickens) in the well-received film The Invisible Woman.
Though he is not commonly noted as a comic actor, in 2014, Fiennes made an impression for his farcical turn as concierge Monsieur Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fiennes used his time as a young porter at London's Brown's Hotel to help construct the character. A film critic stated, "In the end it's Fiennes who makes the biggest impression. His stylised, rapid-fire delivery, dry wit and cheerful profanity keep the film bubbling along." For his performance, Fiennes was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. Film magazine Empire ranked Fiennes' portrayal as Gustave the 17th Greatest Movie Character of All Time.
In 2015, Fiennes starred in Luca Guadagnino's thriller A Bigger Splash. In 2016, Fiennes starred in the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings where he voiced Raiden the Moon King, Kubo's grandfather. In 2017 he voiced the British butler Alfred Pennyworth in The Lego Batman Movie, and reprised the role in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019).
Fiennes met English actress Alex Kingston while they were both students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After dating for ten years, they married in 1993 and divorced in 1997 following his affair with Francesca Annis. Annis and Fiennes announced their separation on 7 February 2006, after 11 years together, in a parting described as "acrimonious", following rumours that he had an affair with the Romanian singer Cornelia Crisan.
Fiennes opposed the UK leaving the European Union (Brexit). Following the EU membership referendum in 2016, Fiennes stated, “I'm strongly a remainer. I think that our connection with Europe, faulty as it may be in its current state...it seems to me that the point of the EU was to take down barriers of interactive trade, culture, talk dynamic between cultures, nations.”
Fiennes is an avid collector of books, stating in an interview with the Evening Standard, 'I don't collect anything as such. I buy a lot of books and that's the closest I come to collecting anything.'
|1990||A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia||T. E. Lawrence|
|2008||Bernard and Doris||Bernard Lafferty||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|2011||Page Eight||Alec Beasley||Television film|
|2011–2014||Rev.||Bishop of London||2 episodes|
|2014||Turks & Caicos||Alec Beasley||Television film|
|Salting the Battlefield|
|2005||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Lord Voldemort|
|2007||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix|
- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (1985) – Role: Curio – Directed by Richard Digby Day – New Shakespeare Company – Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London
- A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (1985) – Role: Cobweb – Directed by Toby Robertson – New Shakespeare Company – Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London
- A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (1986) – Role: Lysander – Directed by David Conville and Emma Freud – New Shakespeare Company – Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London and New Shakespeare Company's European Tour
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1986) – Role: Romeo – Directed by Declan Donnellan – New Shakespeare Company – Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London
- Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (1987) – Role: Son – Directed by Michael Rudman – National Theatre's Olivier Theatre, London
- Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (1987) – Role: Arkady Nikolayevich Kirsanov – Directed by Michael Rudman – National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre, London
- Ting Tang Mine by Nick Darke (1987) – Role: Lisha Ball – Directed by Michael Rudman – National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre, London
- Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (1988) – Role: Claudio – Directed by Di Trevis – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
- The Plantagenets: Henry VI, The Rise of Edward IV, Richard III His Death by William Shakespeare (1988–1989) – Role: Henry VI, ghost of Henry VI – Directed by Adrian Noble – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and Barbican Theatre, London
- King John (1989) by William Shakespeare – Role: Dauphin – Directed by Deborah Warner – The Other Place Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and The Pit Theatre, London
- The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman (1989) – Role: Bert Jefferson – Directed by Ron Gene Saks – The Royal Shakespeare Company – Barbican Theatre, London
- Playing with Trains by Stephen Poliakoff (1989) – Role: Gant – Directed by Ron Daniels – The Royal Shakespeare Company – The Pit Theatre, London
- Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare (1990) – Role: Troilus – Directed by Sam Mendes – The Royal Shakespeare Company – Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
- King Lear by William Shakespeare (1990) – Role: Edmund – Directed by Nicholas Hytner – The Royal Shakespeare Company – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
- Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare (1991) – Role: King of Navarre – Directed by Terry Hands – The Royal Shakespeare Company – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and Barbican Theatre, London
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1995) – Role: Hamlet, with Francesca Annis as Gertrude – Directed by Jonathan Kent – The Almeida Theatre Company – Hackney Empire, London and Belasco Theatre on Broadway, NY
- Ivanov by Anton Chekhov translated by David Hare (February–April 1997) – Role: Ivanov – Directed by Jonathan Kent – The Almeida Theatre Company – Almeida Theatre, London
- Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (2000) – Role: Coriolanus – Directed by Jonathan Kent – The Almeida Theatre Company – Gainsborough Film Studios in Shoreditch, London and BAM Harvey Theatre in Brooklyn, New York City
- Richard II by William Shakespeare (2000) – Role: Richard II – Directed by Jonathan Kent – The Almeida Theatre Company – Gainsborough Film Studios in Shoreditch, London and BAM Harvey Theatre in Brooklyn, New York City
- The Play What I Wrote by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben (2001) – Role: Sir Ralph Fiennes – Directed by Kenneth Branagh – The Duo The Right Size – Wyndham's Theatre, West End
- The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton (2003) – Role: Carl Jung – Directed by Howard Davies – National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre, London
- Brand by Henrik Ibsen (2003) – Role: Brand – Directed by Adrian Noble – The Royal Shakespeare Company – Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon and Theatre Royal Haymarket, West End
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (2005) – Role: Mark Antony – Directed by Deborah Warner – Barbican Centre, London & tour
- Faith Healer by Brian Friel (2006) – Role: Frank Hardy – Directed by Jonathan Kent – Gate Theatre, Dublin and Booth Theatre on Broadway, New York City
- First Love by Samuel Beckett – Sydney Festival 2007
- God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza (2008) – Role: Alain Reille – Gielgud Theatre, West End
- Oedipus the King by Sophocles (2008) – Role: Oedipus – National Theatre, London
- The Tempest by William Shakespeare (2011) – Role: Prospero – Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
- National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (2013) – Role: Lambert Le Roux (Pravda) – National Theatre, London
- Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw (2015) – Role: Jack Tanner – National Theatre, London
- The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen (2016) – Role: Halvard Solness – Directed by Matthew Warchus – Old Vic, London
- Richard III by William Shakespeare (2016) – Role: Richard, Duke of Gloucester – Directed by Rupert Goold – Almeida Theatre, London
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (2018) – Role: Antony – Directed by Simon Godwin – National Theatre, London - won Best Actor at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018
Awards and nominations
|1993||Schindler's List||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|1996||The English Patient||Best Actor||Nominated|
|1995||Hamlet||Best Actor in a Play||Won|
|2006||Faith Healer||Best Actor in a Play||Nominated|
- "Ralph Fiennes". Front Row. 20 November 2011. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Cagle, Jess (4 March 1994). "It's Pronounced 'Rafe Fines'". Ew.com. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Richard Linklater, Ralph Fiennes, Kate Kinninmont Become Honorary Associates At Lfs Annual Show". London Film School. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- "Screening of Ralph Fiennes' film The White Crow at Moscow International Film Festival". Getty Images. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- "It's Raiph actually". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2008
- "Ralph Fiennes Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
- James Lipton interview with Ralph Fiennes on Inside the Actors Studio
- "Ralph Fiennes: His incarnations of evil – from sadistic Nazi officer to Voldemort – have made him one of Britain's most celebrated film actors". The Financial Times. 31 January 2014.
- "Ranulph Fiennes: the chilling and thrilling truth about my family". The Telegraph. 17 October 2009.
- Coggan, Devan (14 November 2016). "Eddie Redmayne Auditioned to Play Tom Riddle in 'Harry Potter'". EW.com. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
- Ralph Fiennes on Veritaserum.com
- – 09:45 (31 October 1999). "Desert Island Discs – Castaway: Ralph Fiennes". BBC. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "Voices on Antisemitism | Transcript". Ushmm.org. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- Sterritt, David (4 October 2002). "The doctor is in: Hannibal returns in 'Lambs' prequel". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "Constant Gardener Trust – Patrons". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
- Archived 16 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- DeMott, Rick (5 December 2005). "Wallace & Gromit Leads Annie Nominations". Animation World Network. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- Brown, Maressa (5 February 2008). "'Wallace & Gromit' grabs 10 Annie Awards". Variety. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Ralph Fiennes didn't receive Voldemort tips from J.K Rowling". List.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
- "Skyfall, James Bond, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 October 2012
- Shoard, Catherine (10 August 2011). "Ralph Fiennes to direct story of Charles Dickens affair". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
- "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters/ 17. / Empire /". Empire. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Noveck, Jocelyn (5 March 2014). "Review: Fiennes shows comic chops in Anderson film". Boston.com. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- "First still of "A Bigger Splash": Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes". imgur.com. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Ralph Fiennes, UNICEF UK Ambassador". UNICEF. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
- “Artists Against Racism: Artists”. artistsagainstracism.org
- Ellen, Barbara (7 July 2002). "Intensive care". The Observer. UK. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Francesca Annis interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Hoggard, Liz (12 February 2006). "Francesca Annis: Pretty woman – Profiles – People – The Independent". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Rudić, Filip (11 September 2017). "Actor Ralph Fiennes Receives Serbian Citizenship :: Balkan Insight". www.balkaninsight.com (in Serbian). Balkan Insight. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "Two Women: Ralph Fiennes interview on Brexit, adapting play and learning Russian". YouTube. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- "My London: Ralph Fiennes". Evening Standard. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- "Man and Superman". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014.
- Thompson, Jessie (19 November 2018). "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 - The Winners". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
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