Young ballet dancer Oleg Ivenko went through acting bootcamp with Ralph Fiennes after the Schindler’s List star picked him to play Rudolf Nureyev in his new film. The Tatar State Ballet company dancer was cast following a nationwide search throughout …
Young ballet dancer Oleg Ivenko went through acting bootcamp with Ralph Fiennes after the Schindler’s List star picked him to play Rudolf Nureyev in his new film.
The Tatar State Ballet company dancer was cast following a nationwide search throughout Russia to find the man who would play the ballet icon in The White Crow and director Fiennes then spent weeks with his leading man giving him a crash course in acting.
“We employed two casting directors in Russia to do a big sweep, which ended up with four or five candidates and I identified this young Ukrainian dancer, Oleg Ivenko,” the Oscar nominee tells WENN.
“I felt he had a latent acting ability and he is a strong ballet dancer, who has a physical proximity to Rudolf Nureyev. I pushed him to understand the best screen acting is rooted in being really present and in the moment. You’re reacting and listening, so the thing to get him to feel is, ‘Don’t show me you’re angry or shy or irritated or whatever; just feel it, be it. Have it inside’.
“I said, ‘If you really have it or are close to having it, it will reveal itself’.
“It sounds quite simple, but it’s hard to be really present, and the beauty of his work is that he is very present. It’s an uncluttered performance. He was very generous and allowed me to steer him a bit, but he has a real pure screen acting instinct.
“In the end, I felt we were comfortable with each other quite quickly and there was a good working relationship.”
The White Crow, which details Nureyev’s early life in central Russia in the 1940s, his student years studying dance in St. Petersburg, and his decision to defect to the West in 1961, was released throughout Europe earlier this year (19). It hits cinemas in the U.S. next week (26Apr19).
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Ralph Fiennes has adopted a persuasive attitude as a director.The English Patient star recently stepped behind the camera for the third time, for The White Crow, a biopic of Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.Although the 56-year-old admits he often i…
Ralph Fiennes has adopted a persuasive attitude as a director.
The English Patient star recently stepped behind the camera for the third time, for The White Crow, a biopic of Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
Although the 56-year-old admits he often insists actors stick to his vision, the mild-mannered star likes to gently urge rather than shout and scream.
“I know I’m quite vocal,” he tells British magazine Reader’s Digest. “I sometimes have to say, ‘No it has to be like this’. But I think the thing to say, ‘Yes, that’s interesting but what happens if we go here? One of the basic things about directing is not to close a door. You don’t want to close down the confidence of an actor who’s exploring and that’s really important.”
Ralph has modelled his softly spoken style on his English Patient director, the late Anthony Minghella – whom he credits with allowing him to open up as an actor.
“Anthony Minghella had a very particular, gentle, probing style,” he explains. “I think he genuinely wanted to see what an actor could reveal for him, and bring to a line or moment.”
Another inspiration was his writer mother Jennifer’s attitude to his decision to go into acting – one she fully supported when he told her while studying at London’s Chelsea College of Art.
He adds: “The art school atmosphere was designed to push you to be inquisitive and curious and something about it gave me the confidence to say, ‘This is what I need to do’. Once I said that to my mother, it was as if she’d been waiting for me to say it. She was completely behind it.”
The White Crow is in cinemas now.
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