Great British Hopes: Rising Stars In The Arts Firmaments
The Times - April 1, 1995

by Kate Bassett

Profession: Actor
Age: 24

--Where Have We Heard That Name Before?--
Fiennes was in the West End a year ago with Helen Mirren in "A Month In The Country". His Belyaev was judged to have "just the right gangly charm."

--Is That It?--
Before that, he was lifted out of drama school to play the arrogant Actor in the two-hander hit, "The Woman In Black."

--Isn't There Something Else?--
He is about to score his West End hat trick in, "A View From The Bridge", transfering to the Strand Theatre. Fiennes is the gently lovable Rodolpho who inspires dangerous jealousy.

--But That Surname?--
Oh, all right, Joseph is Ralph Fiennes' brother.

--Did Ralph, seven years older, inspire him to act?--
"Not as such." He has been acting since primary school. Moreover, far from romanticising an actor's life, he "knew the reality. And I probably didn't want to embarass Ralph," he adds with light frankness. He went through art school before taking the theatrical plunge. "Really my mother inspired us all. We had a large library--lots of books and paintings," he says, recalling growing up as the youngest child of his photographer father and the novelist-artist mother, Jini.

--Just how many Fienneses Are There?--
He has six siblings, including his twin: Jake, a gameskeeper The rest are in the arts. Magnus has a
recording studio. Martha is involved in film direction. Sophie works in production (with Peter
Greenaway among others). Roll over the Redgraves. The future is Fiennes Family Films.

--Would He Like To Act With Ralph?--
"Well," he says with genuinely startled modesty, "It hadn't crossed my mind."

--What Parts Would He Like To Play?--
"Thousands. With as many dimensions as possible," he says with lively seriousness. "One ideal is to juggle the different media. But employment is a wonderful goal, to pay the rent."

--On Himself:--
"I know more about the characters I play. That's awful, isn't it? I seem to be able to invest more time in dissecting others' thoughts and motivations than in looking at my own. But maybe, in doing that, I can reveal parts of myself."

--Sorry To Go On About It, But What Is It Like Being Ralph Fiennes's Brother?--
"It's like being all my brothers' and sisters' brother. He's brilliant."

© 1998-2000 Joy of Joseph Fiennes