Monday, June 27, 2011

Reel People: Ralph Fiennes is Gaius Marcius Coriolanus

The film is Coriolanus. The film marks Ralph Fiennes directorial debut. The movie is based on William Shakespeare's play Coriolanus. Two time Oscar nominated screenwriter, John Logan (Gladiator and The Aviator), shares writing credits with Shakespeare for the screen version.

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus

Gaius (or Caius in Shakespeare's version) Marcius Coriolanus was a Roman general from the 5th century BC. The story of Coriolanus is debatable as history and myth, and many scholars believe it is somewhere in between.

The story of Coriolanus is that as a powerful Roman general he invaded the land of the Volscians, an anchient Italic people, and common enemy of ancient Roman.

After the successful invasion, and initial praise by Rome, Coroilanus makes enemies in Rome when he speaks out against democracy, and he is banished from Rome.

In his frustration at Rome, he aligns himself with Volscians, convincing nobleman Volscian noble man Tullus Aufidius to revolt against Rome. The revolt is an initial success for Volsci until Coriolanus comes in contact with his mother (Volumina in the Shakespeare play, Venturia in many historical accounts). Pursued by his mother to save Rome he cannot continue his attack.

Backing down from his revolt against Rome, Coriolanus became an enemy to the Volsci in additon to the Roman people and government.

Coriolanus returned to the home of Tullus Aufidius who raised support to have him put on trial for disloyalty and killed.


The film follows the Shakespeare telling with Ralph Fiennes directing himself in the lead role of Coriolanus. His co-star is Gerard Buttler playing the part of Tullus Aufidius.

Other stars in the film include Venessa Redgrave as Coriolanus' powerful mother, Volumina, and Jessica Chastain as his wife, Virgilia.

Brian Cox plays Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, recorded consul of Rome in 503 BC.

Ralph Fiennes has received two Oscar nominations (Schindler's List and The English Patient). Will Fiennes receive a third Oscar nomination or perhaps even a win for his portrayal of this tragic Reel (Real) Person?

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