Actor Ralph Fiennes just appeared on Bravo's program "Inside the Actor's Studio," where he discussed several of the noteworthy roles in his film and stage career. He spoke briefly about playing Lord Voldemort, and gave details about how the look of the character was created, in a process he called "very inclusive," involving director "Mike Newell, the producers, the makeup designers" and himself. You can see a clip of Mr. Fiennes talking about his performance in "Schindler's List" at this link, and read a transcript of his discussion of GoF below.
James Lipton (host of "Inside the Actor's Studio"): Now, of course, we come to a phenomenon called Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (applause) This is how Manohla Dargis described Ralph's performance in the New York Times: "As good as these actors are, nothing prepares you for the malevolent force that is Lord Voldemort and the brilliance of the actor playing him, Ralph Fiennes. For years the movies have tried to transform this delicate beauty into a heartthrob but, as "Schindler's List" proved, Mr. Fiennes is an actor for whom a walk on the dark side is not just a pleasure, but a liberation. (laughter) His Voldemort may be the greatest screen performance ever delivered without the benefit of a nose. Certainly it's a performance of sublime villainy."
(Clip of graveyard scene, from " . . . the boy who lived" through "I can touch you now.")
JL: Tell me something, Ralph -- is sublime villainy liberating?
Ralph Fiennes: Yeah, completely.
JL: How much of Lord Voldemort is the product of Rowling, how much of Mike Newell, how much of Steve Kloves and how much of Ralph Fiennes? Did you get to participate in the creation of this (gestures to Voldemort's image on the screen)?
Ralph Fiennes: It was totally inclusive all the way. Mike Newell, the producers, the makeup designers, the shaved head and the . . . the weird sort of translucent skin . . . um, I think we wanted it to be very simple . . . we played with a very simple gown, um, and then the question of the nose came up. (laughter) Uh, there was one picture I think with him without a nose. I wasn't sure, um, about it . . . 'cause it would have to be . . . 'cause it was about reducing the nose . . . it had to be digital. It wasn't like wearing a prosthesis. Um . . . I just . . . it was one of those areas . . . I guess it's, you know, I'm an actor, it's "my face! My face! What are they going to do to it?!"
RF: And you don't have any . . . and you can't . . . you're not going to be there. I mean, with prosthetics, you can sort of be part of it and physically know it and . . . live with it on your face or look at it in the mirror. Uh, but so anyway, I mean . . . I was a bit neurotic, I think, about whether it would work or not, but when I saw it I was very happy with it (laughs).
JL: Was it difficult acting behind it, or . . .
RF: No, not at all. I mean, it was my own scalp with no hair, some pieces here (indicating his brow) to take out the eyebrows, some horrible teeth I put in, um, and the rest was just paint (indicating his hands and arms) . . . transfer . . . they painted, made me very pale and they made these brilliant transfers which they just sponged on every day.
JL: Has Harry Potter brought you a new audience, do you think?
RF: I never understood the phenomenon of it until I went to the premiere here. I've never seen anything like that!