Joseph Fiennes on Going to Gladiator School to Prep for the Biblical Epic ‘Risen’

     February 16, 2016


A hybrid of two seemingly disparate genres, Risen tells a biblical epic – the Resurrection of Christ – through the prism of a film-noir detective yarn. Joseph Fiennes stars as the Roman Tribune Clavius, a non-believer, assigned to uncover just what happened to Jesus’s body after it disappeared from its tomb. The first half of the film focuses on Clavius attempting to make rational sense of the supernatural, questioning The Apostles and Mary Magdalene, certain they must have moved the body. But as Clavius is stymied at every turn, he begins to question his lack of faith. Maybe this man did rise from the dead and maybe he is no mere man at all.

There’s hardly a scene Joseph Fiennes isn’t in, the whole film resting solely on his character’s arc from non-believer to convert. It’s a subtle performance from the actor, no wide-eyed posturing or third-act revelatory speeches. The first person narrative adds power to the last act of Risen as Clavius transitions from protagonist to spectator, the movie itself sidelining its own lead – in effect showcasing just how small one man is in the grander scheme.

In the following interview with Joseph Fiennes, he discusses his favorite biblical epics, training at ‘gladiator school’ and his interrogation skills. For the full interview, watch below.

Joseph Fiennes:

  • Fiennes on his favorite biblical epics
  • On performing within two different genres (the biblical epic and the film noir)
  • On what research goes into playing a Roman Tribune
  • On his experience at ‘gladiator school’
  • On learning detective interrogation techniques
  • On his most memorable moment from shooting – the crucifixion scene

Image via Sony Pictures


Image via Sony Pictures


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