A few thoughts on editorials…


On the occasion of our first editorial, we thought we’d take a moment to remind everyone that editorials are opinions. We’d also like to remind everyone that we do not represent, speak for, answer to, spend time with, pass messages to, get coffee for, or otherwise affiliate ourselves with Joseph Fiennes. We will always strive to maintain this site in a way that would make him proud, but we do that out of respect, not any kind of direct connection.

In summary, editorials posted on the Joseph Fiennes Fansite represent the opinions of the editor, and do not speak for Joseph Fiennes in any way. He speaks for himself most eloquently without any help from us.

That said, we hope you enjoy reading our opinions. We think you will…

an essay on art, discovery, & viewpoint

Editorial #1 from the Joseph Fiennes Fansite


We recently came across a great article about Joseph Fiennes from Lyn Gardner at The Guardian that was written in 1996. Yep, 1996. Back in the days before Shakespeare in Love. Back in the days when Joe was still part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The days when people were just starting to know his name, just discovering that Ralph Fiennes had a little brother who might have something to contribute. Just starting to buzz about what might be…

For us, this article was a fascinating juxtaposition to the current day. It’s 20 years later, and now the buzz is mostly about Joe defending his choice to accept the role of Michael Jackson for a satirical short on British TV. About the kinds of roles he chooses, the kinds of movies he chooses. About how he will always live in his big brother’s shadow. This predominantly closed-minded view in 2016 certainly could launch a whole different discussion about the state of the media and its bloated and poisonous presence in our lives, but let’s leave that for another day. But the contrast between the 1996 article and some articles being written today started us thinking about the difference between a mindset of discovery and a mindset of judgment.

Joe’s been around for a while now. The world knows him. The world loves or hates him. Sometimes the world thinks about him, sometimes it doesn’t. The world judges or forgets him. Not only is that the nature of the business, it’s human nature. In the end, familiarity, and the succession of thoughts and judgments that normally accompany it, negates discovery. When you know something, you’ve already discovered it, so to speak. The problem is, when you look at art without a sense of discovery, you’re not really seeing the art at all.


Art, in its purest form, is all about discovery, about pushing limits, about imagining new things. About being open to new things. When you view it with a sense of wonder and curiosity, letting the art speak to you instead of imposing yourself on the art, well…something magical can occur. We happen to think that humans connecting through an expression of art is one of the most beautiful things in the world as we know it. But when you look at art with judgment, or perhaps through the closed eye of familiarity, you are cut off from what that art has to offer the world.

We suspect this is largely what’s happening with the world and Joseph Fiennes. Because if you think he is an actor, not an artist, you could not be more wrong. Joe is an actor who follows his heart, not his ambition. He follows his muse, not his agent. He loves self-discovery, modern, fresh takes on the world, trying things and failing and wanting to try again. As all artists do, he represents the very best of creativity. Man, we respect him for that. Because – news flash – not every actor acts to be creative, and not every actor is an artist. Not at all. In fact, there are precious few in Hollywood these days. Accordingly, Joe is a bit of a misfit in the Hollywood world. He doesn’t take the big movie deal that he can’t control. He would rather drop in and out of movies, TV, theater…sometimes doing this, sometimes trying that. He tests limits and pushes his range. He’s risky and unpredictable. And perhaps even a little dangerous.


So, if you’re busy looking at Joseph Fiennes with a closed mind, maybe the way you’re used to viewing Hollywood – knowing what you like and liking what you know – you are simply missing out. We assure you. You are missing out on one of the great performers of our time just because he doesn’t fit inside your viewing box. He won’t fit in any of your boxes, ever, so please do us all a favor and stop trying. We think it would be much quicker and easier for you, and certainly less effort, to open your eyes, open your mind, and take a moment to rediscover Joseph Fiennes.

We’ve discussed that he’s an artist and a misfit. But what else is Joe Fiennes? He is “devastatingly effective” with a beautiful “streak of vulnerability.” He’s emotive with fierce depths, immersing himself in his characters “like a marriage between [himself] and their persona.” He values the process over the product and seeks new standards by which to self-evaluate. He treasures acting as a fine art, the dramatic arts, saying, “Art and acting hold hands together. They are both about looking and learning.” He comes from an artistic family, an artistic background that he claims “was strange and wild and unconventional.” And as for that big brother people are always reminding him about…Joe is “even better than Ralph…say many in the know.” Some even say “the real star of the family.” “Joseph is all hesitant, emotional warmth.” He is intense and captivating. He is powerful, touching, and deeply affecting. “There is an element of danger to his performances. You know it’s art, but it seems real. You’d swear there was no safety net.” 

 

“It’s time to rediscover art in Hollywood and the edgy, dangerous, intense artists who share their brilliance with us.”

 


Those things we just shared about him? Oh, they’re all true, as true now as they always have been. Some words were ours, but all those quotes…they are taken from that great little article from 1996 we mentioned earlier, the one by Lyn Gardner of The Guardian. Why aren’t we reading more articles like this about Joseph Fiennes in 2016? Because the world isn’t looking at him through the eyes of discovery anymore. But the world could. The world should. It’s time to rediscover art in Hollywood and the edgy, dangerous, intense artists who share their brilliance with us. This same-old Hollywood circus that cages and tames and trains to fit the rings and fill the tents is getting mighty dull.

Joseph Fiennes is no tame lion in the Hollywood circus. He is a puma, a panther, a catamount. Elusive and wickedly intelligent, he chooses to roam and hunt and explore his own artistic territory. And if you just turn away from that familiar circus for a moment, and notice the beautiful, wild panther stalking the outskirts, you will witness moving displays of power and grace, soulful artistry in a pure and natural state. That’s a personal guarantee. So turn around, Hollywood viewers, turn away from the bright lights and glamorous rhetoric, open your minds, and rediscover Joseph Fiennes. He’s out there, giving us gift after gift of creativity, and you’re missing the show. But we’re not. In fact, we’re going to go rediscover him right now.


Gardner, Lyn “And you thought Ralph was good.” The Guardian 24 July 1996

Read Lyn Gardner’s article