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Ralph Fiennes has made his mark on Hollywood with a number of different roles, but many of his most memorable performances have been playing the villain. In recent years, Fiennes performances have taken a distinct turn for the comedic, which doesn't appear to have been a choice by him so much as by those offering him roles, but the actor says he's fine with the shift.
You have to go to weird places in your head and --- well you can never say never --- but after an SS commandant, a serial killer in Red Dragon and Voldemort [in Harry Potter], I decided I didn't want to be that definition of evil any more. If you play those parts, I feel you have to put your head in the place of that person. And it fucks with your head.
For a certain style of actor, to play a role well you need to understand the character. When the character in question is a homicidal nutjob or a World War II-era Nazi, you have to understand some fairly terrible people. One can understand, as Ralph Fiennes tells the Evening Standard, how that could get to be a bit much if you were just going from one job to the next and playing somebody else evil day after day. Eventually, one might just want to take a role in a nice comedy for a change.
Recently, that's exactly what Ralph Fiennes has done. following his role in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel Fiennes has taken roles like that of director Laurence Laurentz in the Coen Brother's Hail, Caesar. The next time he's on screen it will be as the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in The LEGO Batman Movie. It's about as far from playing Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon as you can get.
Of course, just because Ralph Fiennes wants to get away from playing the bad guys, it doesn't mean that he is cutting ties with those roles entirely. There's at least one of his villainous roles that he wouldn't want to give up if it were to be portrayed again.
[if] Voldemort came round again, I would feel possessive... protective. I would like to not let that go.
As much as we'd likely all love to see Ralph Fiennes portray Lord Voldemort again, he likely won't need to subjective himself to the evil character again. While the Harry Potter universe is still going strong, thanks to the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the film's setting several decades before the events of the original films likely means that Voldemort won't be a major concern.
We're sure we'll see Ralph Fiennes play the villain again at some point, but hopefully he'll mix it up with enough variety that he doesn't stay in too dark a place for too long.