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50 Facts About Ralph Fiennes - Lord Voldemort From ‘Harry Potter’ Franchise

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Ralph Fiennes is an English actor and a noted Shakespeare interpreter, who has achieved great success onstage for the portrayal of Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth in the 1993 movie “Schindler's List.” Here are 50 facts about the actor

Ralph Fiennes attends the photocall to announce the start of the production of the 24th Bond Film 'Spectre' at Pinewood Studios on December 4, 2014 in Iver Heath, England.
(Photo : Karwai Tang/WireImage) Ralph Fiennes attends the photocall to announce the start of the production of the 24th Bond Film 'Spectre' at Pinewood Studios on December 4, 2014 in Iver Heath, England.
  1. Fiennes is the first actor to win a Tony Award for his performance as Prince Hamlet on Broadway.
  2. He was awarded the William Shakespeare Award from the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C on March 3, 2001.
  3. He ranked #15 on the list of the 100 Years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains, by American Film Institute for his performance as Amon Goeth in the 1993 movie “Schindler’s List.” The role also earned him the rank of #61 in the list of “100 Greatest Performances of All Time,” by Premiere magazine.
  4. He was named one among the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History by Empire magazine. The October 1997 UK edition of the magazine also listed him at #34 in the list of “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time.”
  5. He has been serving as an ambassador for UNICEF UK, since 1999.
    Ralph Fiennes
    (Photo : The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) Ralph Fiennes
  6. Born as Ralph Twisleton Wykeham Fiennes, on December 22, 1962 in Suffolk, England.
  7. His father Mark Fiennes was a farmer and a photographer, while his mother Jennifer Lash was a writer. His grandfathers were industrialist Sir Maurice Fiennes and Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash.
  8. He is the eldest of six children and four of his siblings are also in the arts field - Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus Fiennes, a musician; Sophie Fiennes, a filmmaker; and Joseph Fiennes, an actor, while his another brother Jacob Fiennes is a conservationist. He also has a foster brother Michael Emery, is an archaeologist.
  9. He is the 4th cousin of Lord Saye & Sele, owner of Broughton Castle, and the eighth cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales. He has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.
  10. His family moved to Ireland in the year 1973 and resided in West Cork and County Kilkenny for a few years.
    Ralph Fiennes
    (Photo : The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) Ralph Fiennes
  11. Fiennes attended St Kieran's College and Newtown School in County Waterford. After his family moved to Salisbury in England, he went to Bishop Wordsworth's School. He pursued painting at Chelsea College of Art.
  12. Upon deciding that acting was his true passion, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art between 1983 and 1985. His acting career began at the Open Air Theatre, the National Theatre and the Regent's Park.
  13. He fell in love with his classmate Alex Kingston at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He dated Kingston for more than 10 years and married her in 1993. Within a period of 4 years, the couple announced that they have divorced.
  14. His first on screen role was in the year 1990, but his film debut was in 1992 in the movie “Wuthering Heights,” as Heathcliff.
  15. The next year, was a major breakthrough year for Fiennes as he gained international recognition for his performance as the amoral Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth, in the “Schindler’s List” based on the life of Oskar Schindler, by Steven Spielberg.
    Ralph Fiennes, Alex Kingston
    (Photo : The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) Ralph Fiennes, Alex Kingston
  16. Spielberg said that he casted Fiennes for his “evil sexuality.” The director said “It is all about subtlety: there were moments of kindness that would move across his eyes and then instantly run cold."
  17. However, the director also said that he was impressed with Fiennes performance as T.E. Lawrence in “Great Performances: A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia” (1992).
  18. Fiennes had to put on 28 pounds of weight for the role, by drinking Guinness. In preparation for the role, he watched historic newsreels and spoke to Holocaust survivors, who knew Goeth.
  19. A survivor of the events, Mila Pfefferberg, began shaking uncontrollably, when she was introduced to Fiennes in Goeth costume, as he reminded her too much of the real Goeth.
  20. His performance in the movie, garnered him Best Supporting Actor awards at BAFTA and Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, along with nominations for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards as well as the Golden Globe Awards.
  21. Later, in an interview about his role as Goeth, Fiennes said that portraying the role had a profoundly disturbing effect on him.
  22. Following his success with the movie “Schindler’s List,” he played the role of Count Laszlo de Almásy in “The English Patient,” the World War II epic romance movie, in the year 1996.
  23. His burn make-up in the movie, took around 5 hours to apply every day, even then, Fiennes insisted that full body make-up be applied for scenes in which only his head would be filmed.
  24. A shirt he worse in the movie fetched over $1900 at a charity audition in New York in the year 2001.
  25. His performance earned him nominations for Best Actor award at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and the British Academy Film Awards.
  26. He starred as John Steed in the 1998 movie “The Avengers,” opposite Uma Thurman, which had an average score of just 12 out of 100 at Metacritic. The film was universally panned by critics.
  27. Fiennes was nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor, while Total Film magazine voted Fiennes and Thurman in “The Avengers” as "The Worst Movie Double Act Of All Time," in 2003.
  28. His performance in the 1999 movie “Sunshine,” a historical film that follows three generations of a Jewish family, earned him the Best Actor award at the European Film Awards.
    Ralph Fiennes and Wife Alex Kingston during 49th Annual Tony Awards - After Parties at Sardi's Restaurant & Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York, United States.
    (Photo : Ron Galella/WireImage) Ralph Fiennes and Wife Alex Kingston during 49th Annual Tony Awards - After Parties at Sardi's Restaurant & Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York, United States.
  29. In 2002, he was cast as Francis Dolarhyde in the movie “Red Dragon,” based on Thomas Harris' novel of the same name.
  30. In preparation for the role, he got a back tattoo that took 8 hours to apply and also gained fifteen pounds of muscle.
  31. He starred in the Oscar nominated movie “The Constant Gardener,” as Justin Quayle, opposite Rachel Weisz.
  32. In the entire movie, for every Justin’s point-of-view shots, it was Fiennes who held and operated the camera.
  33. He received the BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film as well as was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading role award at BAFTA.
  34. He portrayed the role of Lord Voldemort in the blockbuster fantasy film series “Harry Potter,” since the 2005 movie “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
  35. The filming of his cameo scenes in the “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” movie took him two days to be completed.
  36. Initially, he was reluctant to take the role, as he was not impressed with the previous three Harry Potter films. His family members urged him to take the role, while his other friends counseled against it.
  37. He changed his mind and accepted the offer, only after the director Mike Newell showed him preproduction conceptions of what the Voldemort character might look like. He said "The little kid in me that likes to dress up and be bad went 'Yeah! I want to do it!'".
  38. He later said in an interview that he felt he had the character right, when he noticed children watching the shooting of the movie were scared of him as Lord Voldemort.
  39. In the 2009 movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” from the franchise, it is Fiennes’ nephew, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, who plays the role of Tom Riddle, the young Voldemort.
  40. A sequence from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” in which Fiennes awkwardly hugs Tom Felton as Draco was not in the script and was actually an improvisation by Fiennes himself. Felton’s reaction of stopping dead in his tracks was genuine as he did not know what to do.
  41. He was considered for the role of Robert Langdon in the 2006 movie “The Da Vinci Code,” which was bagged by Tom Hanks.
  42. He was nominated for 2007 Tony Award for his performance in the play “Faith Healer,” by Brian Friel about the life of the faith healer Francis Hardy.
  43. He appeared as Contractor Team Leader with an on screen time of less than 10 minutes before being killed off, in the movie “The Hurt Locker,” in the year 2008.
    Ralph Fiennes attends the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at The Old Vic Theatre on November 22, 2015 in London, England.
    (Photo : Mike Marsland/WireImage) Ralph Fiennes attends the Evening Standard Theatre Awards at The Old Vic Theatre on November 22, 2015 in London, England.
  44. His cameo appearance in the 2010 movie “Nanny McPhee Returns,” was shot in just 2 days.
  45. He was cast as Gareth Mallory in the 2012 James bond movie “Skyfall.” It is reported that he was considered for the role of James Bond years before this casting.
  46. In 2014, he starred as Monsieur Gustave H, in the blockbuster comedy film “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which received a 92% "certified fresh" rating at the Rotten Tomatoes. His performance in the movie earned him nominations for Best actor at the Golden Globe Awards, the BAFTA Awards, Online Film Critics Society Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award.
  47. Though not known as a comic actor, his performance was well received and Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press said "In the end it's Fiennes who makes the biggest impression. His stylized, rapid-fire delivery, dry wit and cheerful profanity keep the movie bubbling along."
    Ralph Fiennes at 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Press Conference at the Crosby Hotel on February 26, 2014 in New York City.
    (Photo : Vera Anderson/WireImage) Ralph Fiennes at 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Press Conference at the Crosby Hotel on February 26, 2014 in New York City.
  48. He played the role of M in the 24th James Bond movie “Spectre,” which is the first film to have a male M character in the major M role since the 1989 movie “Licence to Kill.”
  49. Fiennes accepted the role of Harry Hawkes in the 2015 movie “A Bigger Splash,” just as he received the screenplay. It is reported that it was written in the screenplay that in a few minutes down the film, his character would express himself through dancing and that he had never been asked to do that before so he said “yes, thank you.”
  50. His dancing sequence in the movie was shot in just a single day. In preparation for the shots, he had the song on his iPod and danced to it in his free time.

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