Joseph Fiennes is an English actor best known for his roles as William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth, Commisar Danilov in Enemy at the Gates, Martin Luther in Luther, and Mark Benford in the sci-fi series FlashForward.
In 2011 he starred as the sorcerer Merlin in the short-lived fantasy drama television series Camelot.
After several years in British theatre, Fiennes rose to international fame in roles such as Will Shakespeare in the Academy Award-winning Shakespeare in Love, for which he won a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor and a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
He was also nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and a BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
For his role as Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur, he earned a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Artist.
His recent film credits include Bille August’s Goodbye Bafana, with Dennis Haysbert; Finn Taylor’s The Darwin Awards, with Winona Ryder; Ryan Murphy’s Running with Scissors, with Brian Cox, Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow and Evan Rachel Wood; and The Escapist, directed by Rupert Wyatt.
He can also be seen in Against the Current, directed by Peter Callahan.
His additional film credits include The Merchant of Venice, starring opposite Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons; John Dahl's The Great Raid; Regis Wargnier's Man To Man; Eric Till's biopic Luther; Jean-Jacques Annaud's Enemy At The Gates; Paul Schrader's Forever Mine; Milcho Manchevski's Dust, which premiered at the 2001 Venice Film Festival; and Edward Thomas V's thriller Rancid Aluminium.
Fiennes also voiced the character of Proteus in the DreamWorks animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
Prior to making his screen debut in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty and subsequently in The Very Thought of You, Joseph spent three seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company performing leading roles in plays, including Troilus And Cressida, The Herbal Bed, Les Enfants du Paradis, As You Like It and Dennis Potter's Son Of Man, in which he played Jesus.
In 2001, he returned to the Sheffield stage in the critically acclaimed Edward II. In 2003, Fiennes debuted at the Royal National Theatre playing Berowne in William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
His other stage work includes the West End production of A Month In The Country and as Rudolfo in A View From The Bridge. He also starred as George in Comedy Theatre's Epitaph For George Dillon and performed in the Royal Court's highly successful production of Real Classy Affair.
His professional stage debut was as The Actor in The Woman In Black.
Fiennes is the son of novelist Jennifer Lash and photographer Mark Fiennes. The youngest of six siblings, he was brought up in West Cork, Ireland.
He is the brother of actor Ralph Fiennes, filmmakers Sophie Fiennes and Martha Fiennes, composer Magnus Fiennes and his twin brother Jacob Fiennes, a conservationist. His foster brother, Michael Emery, is an archaeologist.
He is a cousin of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt. and eighth cousin of HRH The Prince of Wales.