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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