Risen has been in development for nine years, and next week it will finally play at a theatre near you. The people behind the film have been making the rounds to promote the film, and none more so than the film’s star Joseph Fiennes.
I interviewed Fiennes myself two weeks ago, and last month I posted links to some of his video interviews here as well as a print interview here. What follows are some of the other interviews with Fiennes that have popped up in recent days.
First, Fiennes told the National Catholic Register about the difficulties of wearing his Roman costume, and about how he envied the actors playing the disciples:
Fiennes’ costume was made of leather and iron; and on the first day of filming, he wondered whether he would be able to survive the next three months.
“Leather and 100 degrees don’t go well together,” he said with a laugh, looking back. “I didn’t know whether I was the man for the job.” And, alas, his role required sandals — and he wondered how the Romans had conquered so much of the world in such uncomfortable footwear.
In preparing for the role, Fiennes spent time with a police detective, learning interrogation techniques. “Although this is a biblical story,” the actor said, “I wanted to be pragmatic about what Clavius needs to do, because I really do see the piece as a noir detective story.”
Although his role kept him separated from the cast members who played the disciples, Fiennes particularly enjoyed the scenes in which he connected with them.
“I was jealous that I wasn’t a disciple,” he confessed, “because, off camera, they seemed to be having so much fun. They were always together, telling stories and jokes. They had private prep sessions, and they gathered together for prayer.”
Fiennes told Beliefnet it was a challenge to make his character “likeable”, given that his character kills a lot of people early on in the film:
“The hardest part for me was wearing sandals for three and half months,” he laughed. “The hardest thing is negotiating a non-believer and also a military tribune steeped in warfare. A brutal man in many respects, we see him as part of the death squad that crucifies Jesus. I had to work hard in introducing something likable, someone you want to go on this journey with,” he said.
Fiennes discussed his religious background with the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
Joseph, Ralph and their four siblings were raised by parents, photographer Mark Fiennes and novelist, Jennifer Lash, who had different faiths. “My mother was Catholic and my father was Protestant, so there was religion from the get-go,” recalled the youngest of the Fiennes brood.
While he said he was baptized a Catholic, Joseph described himself as “lapsed.” “I like to live just by human values rather than dogma,” he explained.
But he clarified, “Belief is very important as long as it doesn’t mean that your beliefs are at the cost of alienating or hurting another group. What I am attracted to is the belief system, where there’s moral integrity—and it’s awakened!”
The 45-year-old British actor told CNS that a pivotal scene, one in which Clavius meets Jesus, was akin to his brief encounter with Pope Francis at the general audience Feb. 3.
“To tell you the truth, I had so many questions and when he looked me in the eye, the conversation seemed pointless,” Fiennes recalled. “It was a connection beyond conversation, he’s deeply connected as a spiritual being and so talking seems like a waste of time, it seemed shallow. And it’s the same with the character meeting Christ, as if to say, ‘This is enough.’”
Fiennes also told AFPTV (via The Guardian) that he got emotional meeting the Pope:
“I tried to maintain a face that was calm and cool but I blubbered like a baby,” he said.
“I don’t know what it is, he’s authentic!”
Finally, some video interviews, starting with this 7-minute clip from HIS Radio:
Then there are these brief soundbites from the Christian Broadcasting Network:
And then there is this 22-minute interview with Mimi Geerges, in which Fiennes talks about not only Risen but also the Eric Liddell movie The Last Race:
Finally, there is also this somewhat bizarre video interview with Wish TV: