LFF 2011: Coriolanus Press Conference

One of the big Gala Screenings of the London Film Festival was Ralph Fiennes‘ directorial debut Coriolanus a modern day adaptation of the classic Shakespeare play. There to promote the film were writer John Logan, actor Brian Cox and of course Fiennes himself.

The project for Fiennes was very personal as he was no stranger to the role; “Well I think I became obsessed by Coriolanus playing it onstage 10 or 11 years ago. It’s a very provocative piece with a confrontational tone to it and i like that. I like that way that Shakespeare was confronting the audience not just with Coriolanus but with all the questions of loyalty and political intrigue and the idea that you have this man with this obscene integrity. I think the play challenges the audiences’ sense as to where their loyalties should lie and I also think its a play that is continually relevant, I mean now particularly with various uprisings and economic uncertainty around the world which is the background to the play. That’s why it provokes an audience”

Brian Cox plays Menenius, Coriolanus’s mentor, and was drawn to the project after hearing about the modern setting; “Ralph go in touch with me and said he was doing this film of coriolanus and I immediately thought of Togas and stuff, and thought I’ve done these kind of films before so why not Coriolanus? Why not shakespeare? … and then he had a completely different take on it. And then I read John’s (Logan) script and it was an amazing adaptation I mean really truly amazing adaptation. And then also because of the location, because it is set in Belgrade and the fact it was a sort of worldliness, it has its own world. It was just a great script, a great adaptation and a great vision for the film and I thought I want to be onboard. Menenius’s character in theatre is a great role in stage terms but in film he is a much more interesting role.”

One of the big issues for Ralph when directing was trying to preserve the language despite the modern setting and the medium of film; “You are dealing with a sentence structure that has to be delivered like speech but the skill of the actor is to make it accessible. If you blur it , if you drop constants everywhere and smudge it , then the audience won’t get it.” Logan added; “In modern cinemas you know the dialogue is not the most treasured component necessarily so we fought battles with each other with the text to preserve as much poetry as we possibly could.”

But what’s next for Ralph Fiennes and John Logan? Despite not being able to disclose their next project, Logan claimed his ultimate ambition would be make an adaptation of Anthony and Cleopatra with Ralph in the lead role. Ralph in the mean time is working on The Invisible Woman, the story of Charles Dickens secret love affair love affair which the writer kept under wraps for 13 years. Fiennes is definitely set to direct, but when asked whether he would also act he said “It has been discussed. It is a possibility. at the moment we are just trying to put it together and cast the main part.”

Coriolanus will be released 20th November 2011 Nationwide

Read our full review here.

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