Share on Facebook posted 03-23-10 by Andreas Wiseman
Before I go into Coriolanus’ characters and the on-set action, I thought you’d appreciate a closer look at some of the key cast and crew involved in the film. I spoke to Ralph last week and he told me a bit about why he’s chosen them, and I thought I’d give you some background on each one as well. It’s clear from talking to Ralph that he is extremely excited about the team he’s assembled. Not only do they all have an abundance of experience in explosive action films and swords-and-sandals drama but they also have done great Shakespeare adaptations. I’m heading out to Serbia this week end so set updates are on their way, as will be a tour of some of the major locations and the first of a series of posts exploring Coriolanus’ context.
All right, enough preamble. Here are the bios:
Ralph Fiennes â€“ Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus’
Ralph actually had nothing to say about himself, but since he’s the star and director I’m going to remind you why he’s so impressive:
Ralph has had a tremendously varied career, during which he has excelled in both stage and film roles and has been nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Tony Awards. He has played a host of Shakespeare characters, including the title roles in Coriolanus and Hamlet on Broadway.
One of his most heralded and powerful performances came as Nazi Commandant Amon Goth in Schindler’s List, a role for which Ralph received the first of his two Oscar nominations. The performance exemplified Ralph’s ability to portray extraordinary psychological depth and intensity:
Ralph has also starred in some of the biggest action films of recent times â€” most famously as Harry Potter’s arch-enemy, Voldemort. Almost all videos on Youtube have been disabled. Sorry for the poor quality on this one. If you want better quality, rent the DVD or check out this link
He was most recently seen in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar winner, The Hurt Locker, and will soon be on screen as Hades, God of the Underworld, in Clash of the Titans.
[b]Gerard Butler â€“ Tullus Aufidius
â€œThe male rivalry is integral to Coriolanus,â€ Ralph told me, â€œand Gerard is perfectly able to deliver that menacing presence.â€ The same powerful physicality that should serve Butler so well in Coriolanus has helped him become one of the most sought after leading men in Hollywood, quickly cementing his position as an action man extraordinaire. He began his career with roles in Tomorrow Never Dies and Tale of the Mummy, and went on to play the lead role in Attila, the second highest rated US TV movie ever (and no doubt an excellent platform for his role in Coriolanus as another scourge of the Roman Empire, Tullus).
In 2007 Gerard got his breakthrough film role as the Spartan King Leonidas in Warner Bothers’ 300. Again, we can’t embed the best scenes but go here to see an excellent example of 300.
More recently he has stamped his authority on Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen.[/b]
Vanessa Redgrave â€“ Volumnia
Once you see the film (or if you read the play), you’ll understand that Volumnia (Coriolanus’ mother) needs to be as much of a powerhouse as the warriors, Coriolanus and Tullus. Vanessa is one of the most revered actresses of her generation. She has starred in over 80 films, has been nominated for 6 Oscars and is the only British actress to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes Best Actress Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award.
She has made more than 35 appearances on London’s West End and Broadway, played in numerous hit TV shows, including If These Walls Could Talk 2 and Nip/Tuck, recently starred in the film Atonement, and will soon hit theater screens alongside Amanda Seyfried in Letters to Juliet.
The supporting cast is no less impressive, starting with Brian Cox (as Senator Menenius), an Emmy Award winner who’s also brought his gravitas to X-Men 2, The Bourne Supremacy, and Troy. Jolene, Stolen, The Debt and Tree Of Life star Jessica Chastain will play Coriolanus’ wife, Virgilia.
John Logan â€“ Screenwriter
Logan is one of the industry’s most respected screenwriters. As Ralph told me: â€œJohn Logan is a key factor. I pitched him the idea, and he made it into the high impact page-turner that it is. The ‘what happened next’ element is very much down to him. And yet he was simultaneously able to give the language and text its full platform.â€
A two-time Academy Award nominee, Logan wrote the scripts for Gladiator, The Aviator, The Last Samurai, Star Trek: Nemesis, Sweeney Todd, and Any Given Sunday. He is currently working on the screenplay of Spielberg’s upcoming film, Lincoln. And while a certain Mr. Shakespeare (of who much more later) is obviously to thank for the film’s language, Logan is instrumental in determining its rhythm and texture.
Here are a few reminders of John’s most memorable work:
Any Given Sunday
Barry Ackroyd â€“ DoP
It’s not just the nomination for the pretty golden statue (for The Hurt Locker) that Ralph sees in Barry. â€œThe realism is so strong in his work, as is the grittiness,â€ Ralph told me. â€œWith his vision, you’ll feel like you’re in there with the crowd, like you’re in there in the battle.â€ Barry is a longtime collaborator with director Ken Loach and in recent times has DoP’d on Green Zone, United 93 and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, films that reveal the terrain of physical and mental conflict that has been key to his work.
For an example of what Ralph is talking about, take a look at these examples of Barry’s vision:
The Hurt Locker
The Wind That Shakes The Barley: