Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List

April 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Source: Time

In the Steven Spielberg movie Schindler’s List, Plaszow death camp commandant Amon Goeth was played by British actor Ralph Fiennes.

[Spielberg] met Fiennes and tested him for Goeth. “Ralph did three takes. I still, to this day, haven’t seen Take 2 or 3. He was absolutely brilliant,” the director says. “After seeing Take 1, I knew he was Amon.” In Fiennes’ eyes, Spielberg says, “I saw sexual evil. It is all about subtlety: there were moments of kindness that would move across his eyes and then instantly run cold.”

During last winter’s grueling shoot in Poland, Fiennes vacuumed up nuggets of Goethiana from every source: newsreels, Thomas Keneally’s Schindler novel, testimony by the Schindler Jews. But he needed no research to feel the chill of hatred in his bones; simply by appearing in his Nazi uniform he enlisted volunteers of bigotry. “The Germans were charming people,” a sweet-faced woman told him. “They didn’t kill anybody who didn’t deserve it.”

When Fiennes, in full Hauptsturmfuhrer regalia, was introduced by Spielberg to Mila Pfefferberg, a Schindler survivor depicted in the film, the old lady trembled. “Her knees began to give out from under her,” Spielberg recalls. “I held her while Ralph enthused about how important it was for him to meet her — and she vibrated with terror. She didn’t see an actor. She saw Amon Goeth.”

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Entry filed under: Scary.

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