Every actor has a few favorite projects on his resume, and Ralph Fiennes is no different. Here, he picks four of the most personally meaningful films he has worked on.
1. The English Patient (1996)
To play the film's disfigured burn victim, Fiennes had to endure makeup sessions that were even longer than the ones he'd later have to sit through to look like Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Still, he found the overall experience enchanting. "The world of it, the locations, were all unusual in a positive way," he recalls. "[It was] amazing to be in Italy and Tunisia and all that."
2. Sunshine (1999)
Fiennes had become the go-to-guy for intense performances in European historical epics with Schindler's List, The English Patient, and Oscar and Lucinda. But here he topped even himself—taking on the roles of three different male protagonists from different generations in this Hungarian family saga that plays out over more than half a century.
3. The Constant Gardener (2005)
Fiennes has fond memories of shooting on location, this time in Kenya. But the film, a John LeCarre adaptation, was also important to him because it led to a close friendship with the late, great producer Simon Channing Williams. "Watching him negotiate with all these tribes in Kenya with such calmness and assurance and tenacity and humor was just phenomenal," Fiennes recalls. "[The film] was produced with such integrity." It was Channing Williams' encouragement, in fact, that ultimately led Fiennes to try his hand at directing.
4. Coriolanus (2011)
Fiennes fell in love with the little-known Shakespeare play after seeing Ian McKellan star in it, and he later played the title character on the London stage, so it was a natural choice for his directorial debut. He sought to make the modern-dress adaptation as authentic as possible by hiring military-trained policemen from Belgrade (where the film was shot) for the combat scenes. "I trained with them," he says. "They were fantastic. They looked great. They knew how to move."