Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes
27 May 1970
|Education||Guildhall School of Music and Drama (BA)|
María Dolores Diéguez
|Relatives||Ralph Fiennes (brother)|
Martha Fiennes (sister)
Magnus Fiennes (brother)
Sophie Fiennes (sister)
Hero Fiennes Tiffin (nephew)
Sir Ranulph Fiennes (third cousin, once removed)
Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes[a] (//; born 27 May 1970), known as Joseph Fiennes, is an English actor of film, stage, and television. Journalist Zoe Williams observed that "he seemed to be the go-to actor for English cultural history". Fiennes is particularly known for his versatility and period pieces. His numerous accolades include one Screen Actors Guild Award and nomination for a British Academy Film Award.
He is known for his portrayals of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth (1998), Commisar Danilov in Enemy at the Gates (2001), Martin Luther in Luther (2003), and Monsignor Timothy Howard in the second season of the TV series American Horror Story (2012–2013). His performance as Commander Fred Waterford in the TV series The Handmaid's Tale (2017–2021) was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2018.
Early life and family
Fiennes was born on 27 May 1970 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, the son of Mark Fiennes (1933–2004), a farmer and photographer, and Jennifer Lash (1938–1993), a writer. He has pan-British Isles ancestry. His grandfathers were industrialist Sir Maurice Fiennes (1907–1994) and Brigadier Henry Alleyne Lash.
His siblings are actor Ralph Fiennes; directors Martha Fiennes and Sophie Fiennes; composer Magnus Fiennes; and conservationist Jacob Fiennes, Joseph's twin brother. His foster brother, Michael Emery, is an archaeologist. His nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin played Tom Riddle, young Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. His cousin is Sir Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, a decorated English explorer.
Fiennes was briefly educated in the Republic of Ireland, then at Swan School For Boys (now known as Leehurst Swan School, following a merger with another school), an independent school in Salisbury, before passing his 11+ exam and continuing to Bishop Wordsworth's School, a voluntary-aided state day grammar school, in the Cathedral Close of the city. He then attended art school in Suffolk for a year, before joining the Young Vic Youth Theatre. Fiennes subsequently trained for three years at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1993.
Stage and film
Fiennes' first professional stage appearance was in the West End in The Woman in Black, followed by A Month in the Country opposite Helen Mirren. He then became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for two seasons.
He made his television debut as Willy in the 1995 television film adaptation of The Vacillations of Poppy Carew. His first feature film was 1996's Stealing Beauty, co-starring Liv Tyler. In 1998, Fiennes appeared in two films that were nominated at the Academy Awards: he played Robert Dudley opposite Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and he portrayed William Shakespeare opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love, receiving nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He and Paltrow were reunited onscreen in Running with Scissors (2006).
In 2003, he lent his voice as Proteus in the DreamWorks animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas opposite Brad Pitt. The same year, he starred in the limited-release film Luther, playing Martin Luther, and he also appeared in The Merchant of Venice, in which he portrayed Bassanio. Fiennes returned to the theatre in 2006 to perform in the one-man play Unicorns, Almost about World War II poet Keith Douglas at the Old Vic.
In 2006, he appeared in the films The Darwin Awards and Goodbye Bafana. Goodbye Bafana was filmed by director Bille August in South Africa, and released in 2007. Fiennes portrayed James Gregory, author of the book Goodbye Bafana: Nelson Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend.
Fiennes starred in the ABC science fiction series FlashForward, which debuted on 24 September 2009 and ran through 27 May 2010, as Mark Benford. He starred in Starz's 10-part series, Camelot, as the wizard Merlin.
In the second season of American Horror Story, which premiered in October 2012, Fiennes played the role of Monsignor Timothy Howard. From 2017 to 2021, Fiennes started on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale as Commander Fred Waterford.
Fiennes was one of the celebrities, including Tom Hiddleston, Jo Brand, E. L. James and Rachel Riley, to design and sign his own card for the UK-based charity Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. The cards were auctioned off on eBay in May 2014.
|1995||The Vacillations of Poppy Carew||Willy||Television film|
|1996||Stealing Beauty||Christopher Fox|
|1998||Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence||Laurence||Released as The Very Thought of You in the US|
|1998||Elizabeth||Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester|
|1998||Shakespeare in Love||William Shakespeare|
|1999||Forever Mine||Manuel Esquema/Alan Riply|
|2000||Rancid Aluminum||Sean Deeny|
|2001||Enemy at the Gates||Commisar Danilov|
|2003||Killing Me Softly||Adam Tallis|
|2003||Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas||Proteus||Voice role|
|2004||The Merchant of Venice||Bassanio|
|2005||The Great Raid||Major Gibson|
|2005||Man to Man||Jamie Dodd|
|2006||Running with Scissors||Neil Bookman|
|2006||The Darwin Awards||Michael Burrows|
|2007||Goodbye Bafana||James Gregory|
|2008||The Escapist||Lenny Drake|
|2008||The Red Baron||Arthur Roy Brown|
|2008||You Me and Captain Longbridge||Narrator|
|2008||Spring 1941||Artur Planck|
|2009||Against the Current||Paul Thompson|
|2014||The Games Maker||Morodian|
|2016||On Wings of Eagles (The Last Race)||Eric Liddell|
|TBA||The Way of the Wind||Post-production|
|2008||Pretty/Handsome||Bob Fitzpayne||Unsold TV pilot|
|2009–10||FlashForward||Mark Benford||22 episodes|
|2012–13||American Horror Story: Asylum||Monsignor Timothy Howard||10 episodes|
|2017||Urban Myths||Michael Jackson||Episode: "Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon"|
|2017–2021||The Handmaid's Tale||Commander Fred Waterford||36 episodes|
|2019||Fiennes: Return to the Nile†||Himself||3 episodes|
|2019||Sherwood||Sheriff Nottingham (voice)||6 episodes|
† released in U.S. as Egypt with the World's Greatest Explorer by the National Geographic.
- The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre London (1993)
- A Month in the Country, Belyaev, Guildford, Richmond and the Albery Theatre London (1994)
- A View from the Bridge, Rodolpho, Guildford, Bristol Old Vic, Strand Theatre London (1995)
- Son Of Man, Jesus Christ, Royal Shakespeare Company, London (1996)||(1997)
- Les Enfants du Paradis, Lacenaire, Royal Shakespeare Company, London (1996)
- Troilus and Cressida, Troilus, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Upon Avon and London (1996)||(1997)
- The Herbal Bed, Rafe Smith, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Upon Avon and London (1996)||(1997)
- As You Like It, Silvius, Royal Shakespeare Company, London (1997)
- Real Classy Affair, Billy, Royal Court Theatre Company, London (1998)
- Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, Edward II, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (2001)
- War Poet's Reading, Apollo Theatre (2001)
- Othello, Iago, West End, London (2002)
- Love's Labour's Lost, Berowne, Royal National Theatre, London (2003)
- Epitaph for George Dillon, George Dillon, Royal National Theatre, London (2005)||(2006)
- 2,000 Feet Away, Deputy, Bush Theatre, London (2008)
- Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano, Chichester Festival Theatre (2009)
- Ross, T. E. Lawrence, Chichester Festival Theatre (2016)
Other projects and contributions
- 2002 – contributed to the compilation album, When Love Speaks, which consists of Shakespearean sonnets and play excerpts – "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises" and "Our revels are now ended" (both from The Tempest)
- 2010 – starred in a series of readings of literary love scenes for The Carte Noire Readers.
- Joseph Fiennes reads Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
- Joseph Fiennes reads The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
Awards and nominations
- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- ‘I’ve done my bit for society – I’ve illustrated the patheticness of misogyny’. The Guardian. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "It's Raiph actually". The Guardian. 14 November 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- "Ralph Fiennes Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
- "Ralph Fiennes – Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- Dobson, Jim (2 March 2019). "World Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes And Actor Joseph Fiennes On Their New Adventure Series In Egypt". Forbes. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- "Guildhall School of Music & Drama | People who studied at Guildhall". www.gsmd.ac.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "Joseph Fiennes Interview: FlashForward". TV.Sky.com. 25 September 2009. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2009..
- "Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green Lead Camelot Cast". TVGuide.com. 3 June 2010.
- "El amor ourensano de Shakespeare". La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). 12 February 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- Pocklington, Rebecca (6 May 2014). "Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Jo Brand and more celebrities design and sign cards for UK's first children's charity". Mirror Online. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
- "Standing Ovations in Berlin". KINO (in German). 12 February 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2020.