Ralph Fiennes, Master of Monsters: Monsters and Man, a new book by Jeremy Stribling, is currently on sale in our store for £10.99.
“Ralph Fiennes was the kind of actor who inspired the kind of confidence that many actors still seem to lose. He was in control of every movement he made. He commanded the cinema. And yet he was never a controlling presence and he was never the centre of attention. He had a quiet strength and a quiet grace and that has been lost in so many actors who have sought to become the centre of attention. Not necessarily in a bad way but certainly in an unhealthy way. He never wanted to be the centre of attention and the result was that he found himself very much on the periphery. He may have been good at hiding it all behind carefully crafted performances that masked his own inner demons and it is fair to say his screen presence became more and more peripheral in the 1980’s. By the end of the decade he seemed to have lost a great deal of his originality, charm and confidence as an actor and became one of those actors so consumed with his public image that even when he made an acting career his heart and soul lay very deep in private and not in performance. He was never, ever, a good actor but he always had a strong sense of his theatricality and a strong sense of the theatricality of others and of his own acting. I think we are losing his power in performing as an actor. It has been replaced by a kind of ‘preening’. He really was, as I’m sure he was to friends and colleagues, a genuinely kind and gentle man. He was a very sweet man and I remember a friend of mine saying at one point, “Ralph would hate this life. He’d hate this life. I think he’d have a better chance of having lived the rest of his life in the theatre. He really would. That’s who he is and it’s what he’s meant to do. He’s never meant to be an actor but he has. He’s just been unable to get past it. He’s done it badly – he’s played a monster in the past – and he’s played a human in the past and he’s done an animal in the past. But that’s still the Ralph