In Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg’s masterful contemplation of the Holocaust, the face of evil has gentle eyes and a runny nose, cherubic cheeks and a quiet voice. It is that improbable-looking villain, Nazi commandant Amon Goeth, who follows you home after the credits roll and the audience files silently from the theatre. This was a man who would stand on his balcony, bare-chested and bloated, aiming his rifle at children; a man responsible for the murder of 4,000 Jews his first month as a commander of the Plaszow labour camp. When I look at Fiennes during our interview, it’s those same gentle, ice blue eyes glaring back at me. It’s a bit unnerving. However all the other elements of Amon Goeth have since melted away – including roughly 25 pounds he gained by way of alcohol, cake, and weight-gain powders for the role. Fiennes tells me he spent countless hours searching for any signs of Goeth’s humanity. He couldn’t find much. “It may sound glib,” says Fiennes, “but I think the killing of human beings that capriciously is like the [grown-up] version of the little boy with the air rifle who is blasting at sparrows or smashing wasps with a fly swatter. And obviously, it was something that turned him on.” - Entertainment Weekly Interview, 1994
That’s what the emperors had. A man stole something, he’s brought in before the emperor, he throws himself down on the ground, he begs for mercy. He knows he’s going to die. And the emperor, pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go. That’s power, Amon. That is power.
The Krakow ghetto “liquidation” scene in Schindler’s List was only a page of action in the script, but Steven Spielberg turned it into 20 pages and 20 minutes of screen action “based on living witness testimony”. For example, the scene in which the young man escapes capture by German soldiers by telling them he was ordered to clear the luggage from the street was taken directly from a survivor’s story (x).
Favorite actor series | Ralph Fiennes: [On working with
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel] “The best experiences I’ve had as an actor have always been being part of a company or an ensemble. The worst experiences, or the least satisfying, I should say, have been when the actors were in their trailers and no one talks to each other,”
“Ahead of this, I was worried, I didn’t know what it would be like but, actually, I loved it. And I could see why actors came back, because Wes creates this sort of family atmosphere.” - Ralph Fiennes