Ralph Fiennes: ‘Don’t lie, don’t deceive. Do your best not to hurt people’

The stage and screen icon described himself as an outsider in A Letter To My Younger Self

Acting legend Ralph Fiennes said his career hasn’t lost its novelty – and he still feels “a delight” when invited to be in a film.

Fiennes spoke exclusively to The Big Issue in A Letter To My Younger Self, where he confessed that the 16-year-old Fiennes would not have believed the opportunities he has access to.

Fiennes said: “At 16 my passions were girls, a half-hearted attempt to learn karate and an equally half-hearted interest in punk rock… My mum sewed my jeans über-tight and I had a scraggy haircut that wasn’t a Mohican, it was a weird mess of a crop. I didn’t know what I was doing. I straddled somewhere between The Stranglers and David Bowie.”

“I was a bit of an outsider,” he continued: “My younger self would not believe if they were told this is what you would achieve. That younger person would go, No, really? No, I don’t believe you. They would be thrilled and delighted that these opportunities have come my way.”

On love

Fiennes commented: “When it comes to his love life, I would advise my younger self to have the courage to be honest in whatever situation. Don’t lie, don’t deceive. And do your best not to hurt people. Oh god, there is lots of advice. Know when to walk away is one, don’t hang around in a needy way. Get out.

I also hope to work with Wes Anderson again

Sometimes there is a sadness that collaborations are not repeated. I loved working with Steven Spielberg on Schindler’s List all those years ago. That was thrilling… I hope one day I might be invited to do something with him again. I also hope to work with Wes Anderson again – we have talked about collaborating again, so that might happen and I would also love to work with Luca Guadagnino because I loved A Bigger Splash.”

He concluded: “Have the courage of your own convictions and have the courage to speak your mind, which is sometimes harder than it might sound. That is the main thing I would tell my younger self. But be open to other people’s opinions. Listen. And be alert to the continuous journey of believing in yourself while being open to others without betraying your own conscience. That is what I would say. It is the continuous alertness. Don’t be complacent.”

The Schindler’s List and Grand Budapest Hotel star also said he would tell his younger self to have the courage to speak his mind – something that is “sometimes harder than it might sound”, he confessed.

“But be open to other people’s opinions,” he continued. “Listen. And be alert to the continuous journey of believing in yourself while being open to others without betraying your own conscience.

“It is the continuous alertness. Don’t be complacent.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue.

Read the full article in this week's Big Issue.
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