Ralph Fiennes Talks Voldemort’s Wand, Portrayal, and Future Casting Prospects
Many cast members of the Harry Potter films felt strongly attached to their wands, the props that tethered them to the magical world and created a sense of realism in their wizarding roles. Ralph Fiennes, who played the infamous villain Voldemort in the films, has opened up on the qualities that made his wand a true gem.
Having discussed the design features of his character’s wand with production designer Stuart Craig, Fiennes worked collaboratively to create a wand that was practical and easy to hold, perfect for those mood-setting scenes that display Voldemort’s light grip.
It has a hook on it, so I can hold my hand, and then the end can hook around this finger. […] It should feel like an extension of my hand.
The wand was an important tool for characterization, but visual effects also had an integral role. Well known for his trademark noseless look, Voldemort, says Fiennes, did not require as much prosthetic makeup as many fans believe. His nose was digitally removed in postproduction, meaning that Fiennes was required to perform covered in an assortment of colored dots. His makeup team constructed a pale, sickly complexion, coupled with sponged-on transfers that created the appearance of protruding veins over the entirety of his scalp and face. Underneath the aesthetics, Fiennes says that his portrayal of Voldemort was made easier by author J.K. Rowling’s vivid descriptions of the villain’s voice and snake-like movements in the Harry Potter books, which gave him strong indications for the character’s composition and behaviors.
Though Fiennes, who knew nothing of the Potter world, almost turned down his iconic role before he was convinced to do otherwise by his sister, a mother of three, he admitted to having enjoyed the role of Voldemort and reflected on some of his favorite scenes.
I loved shooting the death duel – that was cool – with Daniel [Radcliffe] in the courtyard. That was epic.
When asked how he acted scenes with convincing loathing, whether he visualized wand blasts and spells that would later be added by the digital effects team, Fiennes’ answer was simple: “You just have to hate Harry Potter with a deep loathing.”
As the Potter series adds more to the tangled and terrific tale of the wizarding world, and of its greatest villains’ crimes, it’s unknown whether a return of Voldemort to the big screen is in the cards, but Fiennes has made his stance frightfully clear.
I’d be pissed if they brought back Voldemort and didn’t ask me.
Perhaps there is more Fiennes for the wizarding world after all.