Ralph Fiennes

  • Aired:  12/07/11
  •  | Views: 30,772

Ralph Fiennes explores his obsession with "Coriolanus" and revels in the magic of William Shakespeare's words. (7:09)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK TO THE

SHOW.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, A GREAT ACTOR.

HIS LATEST FILM THE HE BOTH

DIRECTED AND STARRED IN IS

CALLED "CORIOLANUS."

>> I SAY AGAIN IN SOOTHING THEM,

WE NOURISH IN OUR SENATE

REBELLION, INCENSE, SEDITION

WHICH WE OURSELVES HAVE

SCATTERED BY MINGLING THEM WITH

US, THE HONORED NUMBER WHO LACK

NOT VIRTUE, NO, MORE POWER WHICH

WE HAVE GIVEN TO BEGGARS.

>> WELL...

>> NO MORE WORDS.

>> YOU SPEAK OF THE PEOPLE AS A

GOD TO PUNISH, NOT MAN OF MERE

INFIRMITY.

>> IT IS A MIND IN POISON WHERE

IT IS NOT POISON ANY FURTHER.

>> SHALL REMAIN.

HEAR YOU THIS MINNOW MARKS YOU.

>> Jon: WE SHOULD TOTALLY

STILL TALK LIKE THAT.

PLEASE WELCOME RALPH FIENNES.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

NICE TO SEE YOU.

SO NICE TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME

HERE.

>> YOUR FIRST DIRECTORIAL...

YOUR DIRECTORIAL DEBUT, YOU

TACKLE "CORIOLANUS," ONE OF THE

MOST DARK, TRAGIC SHAKESPEAREAN

PLAYS.

YOUR DECISION TO JUMP IN THAT

DEEP A POND, HOW DO YOU COME TO

THAT?

>> I PLAYED THE PART ON STAGE

ABOUT 11 YEARS AGO, AND IT

BECAME AN OBSESSION.

IT'S A POLITICAL PARABLE, IF YOU

LIKE.

IT'S A TRAGEDY ABOUT... YOU SEE

THE CRAZY SOLDIER WHO HAS NO

TIME FOR POLITICIANS THAT CHANGE

THEIR MINDS.

AND HE LOSES IT.

AND IT'S... I THINK IT'S A STORY

THAT HAS A LOT OF RESONANCE WITH

THINGS GOING ON TODAY.

>> SURE.

>> ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY, PEOPLE

ON THE STREETS, PEOPLE AT WAR

AND POLITICIANS MANEUVERING AND

CHANGING THEIR MINDS AND IT JUST

SPOKE TO ME.

AT THE CENTER OF IT YOU HAVE

THIS MOTHER/SON RELATIONSHIP

WHICH IS THE THING THAT'S ALWAYS

MOVED ME ABOUT THE STORY.

>> AND IT'S SHAKESPEARE, SO

THERE HAS TO BE A LITTLE BIT IN

THERE ABOUT THE MOTHER AND THE

SON.

YOU KNOW HOW THAT GOES.

GUY HAD SOMISH SEUSS.

LET'S FACE FACTS.

IS IT... WHEN YOU... IT SEEMS TO

FLOW SO EFFORTLESSLY FROM YOU.

DID IT... HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN

ABLE TO PUT YOURSELF IN THOSE

PLACES?

IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THAT

LANGUAGE THAT YOU FEEL... THE

WAY THAT HE WRITES THAT SOMEHOW

YOU'RE ABLE TO DO IT IN MANNER

THAT SEEMS EFFORTLESS, YOU KNOW,

AND THAT'S OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE A

CRAFT TO IT.

>> WELL, I'VE HAD A CRACK AT A

FEW SHAKESPEARE PARTS OVER THE

YEARS, AND YOU GET BETTER AT IT,

BUT I'VE ALWAYS... IT'S ALWAYS

THRILLED ME EVER SINCE I WAS

YOUNG AND I HEARD RECORDINGS OF

ACTORS DOING SHAKESPEARE,

SOMETHING ABOUT THE LANGUAGE HAD

A KIND OF MAGIC FOR ME.

BUT YOU NEED TO DO IT, AND I'VE

HAD GREAT OPPORTUNITIES DOING IT

ON STAGE AND I GUESS IT'S BEEN A

DREAM OR AN OBSESSION OF MINE TO

TAKE THIS "CORIOLANUS" INTO A

FILM.

>> Jon: ARE THE ACTORS IN

BRITAIN... LIKE IN THE STATES,

OUR ROLE MODELS ARE OBVIOUSLY

STALLONE, SCHWARZENEGGER.

[LAUGHTER]

THE LANGUAGE IS LESS IMPORTANT

NECESSARILY THAN WHAT WE WOULD

CALL IN THIS COUNTRY "THE BULK.

," "THE HEFT."

SO OUR ACTORS ARE TRAINED

OBVIOUSLY BY POWER LIFTING.

BUT IS THAT... WHEN YOU GO

THROUGH...

[LAUGHTER]

YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH OUR WORK.

WE'RE THE ONES WHO PLAY THE

ARMY.

WE'RE IN THE ARMY WITH YOUR

CHARACTER, BUT IS THAT SORT OF

THE FIRST THING THAT EVERY

SCHOOL BOY LIKE IN BRITAIN

TACKLES?

>> NO.

NO, I MEAN, I THINK FOR... FOR A

LOT OF PEOPLE SHAKESPEARE IN

SCHOOL IS REALLY A CHORE.

>> RIGHT.

>> AND IT'S HARD.

BUT I THINK WHEN IT WORKS AND

WHEN I'VE SEEN GREAT ACTORS DO

IT AND INHABIT IT, IT CAN BE

FANTASTIC.

THERE'S ALWAYS A LITTLE LEARNING

CURVE, IF YOU LIKE.

THE FIRST ONE, I GO TO THE

THEATER AND I SEE A SHAKESPEARE

PLAY, I ALWAYS HAVE A MOMENT OF

IJUDGMENT.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> ABOUT TEN, 15 MINUTES, THEN

MY EAR CLICKS IN.

I'VE SEEN SOME WONDERFUL ACTORS.

VANESSA REDGRAVE IS IN THIS

PLAYING MY MOTHER.

SHE'S JUST EXTRAORDINARY AND HER

EASE WITH THE LANGUAGE... YOU'RE

RIGHT IN THERE WITH IT.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT

SOMETIMES THE LANGUAGE IS A

CHALLENGE, BUT I HAVE HEARD

ACTORS DO IT AND INHABIT IT IN A

WAY THAT I THINK IT... THE

ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS TAKE ON THE

ANOTHER LEVEL.

>> Jon: IT ELEVATES IT.

IT'S LYRICAL, MUSICAL IN A WAY.

>> AND IT'S VERY REWARDING

WHEN... I DID THE SHAKESPEARE

PLAY JUST NOW IN LONDON IN THE

WEST END, "THE TEMPEST.

" AND PEOPLE COME UP TO ME AFTER

AND SAY, I'VE NEVER SEEN

SHAKESPEARE BEFORE AND I LOVED

IT AND I WANT TO SEE MORE.

>> Jon: THAT'S AMAZING.

YOU SHOULD HAVE SECURITY.

YOU SHOULD BE, MR. FIENNES,

SOMEWHERE IS HEREED AT THE DOOR.

IN A SCHOOL BOYS' PLAY, THE KIDS

IN OUR SCHOOL, THEY'RE ALWAYS

PUTTING ON "HOW TO SUCCEED IN

BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING"

OR "THE PAJAMA GAME."

WHAT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF THAT

WHEN YOU'RE EIGHT AND THEY WANT

TO PUT YOU IN YOUR FIRST PLAY?

WHAT'S THE GO TO?

IS IT LIKE MARY POPPINS?

WHERE DO THEY GO?

>> THE STAPLE USED TO BE "JOSEPH

AND HIS TECHNICOLOR DREAM COAT."

>> Jon: BOY.

>> THAT WAS ALWAYS THE ONE THEY

WENT.

TO I DO THINK THAT SHAKESPEARE

TAUGHT THAT STUDENTS... THE WAY

TO LEAD STUDENTS IN IS MAYBE...

I'M SURE ROMEO AND JULIET IS THE

BEST ENTRY.

IT'S THE STARRED.

IT'S YOUNG LOVES.

IT'S GANG, IT'S FIGHTING, IT'S

STREET CRED AND MA CHIZ MOW.

>> Jon: EVERYTHING WE LOVE.

ALL RIGHT.

THIS ONE IS COMING OUT OF

NOWHERE, BUT SOMEBODIED IN

AUDIENCE ASKED ME BEFOREHAND, SO

I HAVE TO ASK.

IF VOLDEMORT, AND THIS IS FROM

THEM, SO I HAVE TO ASK YOU.

[APPLAUSE]

BY THE WAY, THE ANSWER TO THIS I

BELIEVE IS RELATIVELY SIMPLE,

BUT YOU CAN DECIDE FOR YOURSELF.

IF VOLDEMORT WAS IN A SWORD

FIGHT, ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH

HERMAN CAIN RUNNING FOR

PRESIDENT, A GENTLEMAN RUNNING

FOR PRESIDENT AND HAD TO STOP

BECAUSE OF A LOT OF LADY

PROBLEMS.

>> HISTORY.

>> Jon: IF THEY WERE IN A

SWORD FIGHT, IN YOUR MIND, WHO

WOULD BE THE VICTOR...

>> BETWEEN VOLDEMORT AND HERMAN

CAIN?

>> Jon: EXACTLY.

>> DEPENDS ON THE LENGTH OF THE

WAND.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

>> Jon: "CORIOLANUS," IT'S

PRETTY GREAT, AND HE'S PRETTY

UNBELIEVABLE IN IT.

IT WILL BE IN THEATERS ON

JANUARY 20th.

RALPH FIENNES.

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