Ralph Fiennes filming "Coriolanus" in Serbia

Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:53pm EST
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By Aleksandar Vasovic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - After two years struggling to win funding amid the global financial crisis, actor Ralph Fiennes said on Wednesday he would start filming his directorial debut of a Shakespeare tragedy next week in Serbia.

Filming of "Coriolanus" will start in Belgrade on March 17 in the country's highest profile movie project in decades, and is expected to last two months, the British actor told Reuters in an interview.

In the movie, Fiennes also plays the leading role of Coriolanus, a Roman general who betrays his native city Rome and allies with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius for revenge.

"Shakespeare is always examining in his plays how society functions ... he always looks at the fallibility of leadership," he said in Belgrade, which is still emerging from wartime isolation under nationalist leadership in the 1990s.

"We see the necessity for the strong leadership, but also how the human element can corrupt leadership."

Fiennes, who was nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in the "The English Patient" and "Schindler's List," said he chose Belgrade rather than better known locations in Eastern Europe because "there's a spirit to Belgrade which I liked and responded to.

"There's history in the stones and I needed the weight of a capital city," he said. "There was an eagerness which was inspiring."

In 2007, Fiennes first visited Belgrade where he teamed up with a local production house. It took him two years to secure funds, described by producer Colin Vanes as "a medium budget for a European movie."   Continued...