October 14, 1995
Web posted at: 9:25 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Jill Brooke
NEW YORK (CNN) -- In the new film "Strange Days," Ralph Fiennes portrays yet another flawed character. He says that those flaws make his characters more palatable to audiences.
It is an image that seems all too believable, especially in light of Rodney King, the O.J. Simpson case, and racist Log Angeles cops. These are indeed strange days, and Hollywood has cast cops as the villains in the movie.
Fiennes says he would like to think the police force is free of prejudice. "But experience has shown us time and time again, country after country, that it will be there," he says. (143K AIFF sound or 143K WAV sound)
"Strange Days" looks at the strange days ahead. Fiennes plays Lenny Nero, a hustler who sells a visual narcotic. His life, as well as his pal Mace, played by Angela Bassett, is threatened after he is sent an anonymous tape.
The discovery forces Lenny to rediscover himself. "He is redeemable," Fiennes says, "and I hope people will see him for the jerk he is and actually like him at the same time." Fiennes admits that Lenny is seriously flawed hero in waiting, which is a new twist in the action-adventure theme. "It's kind of interesting. I think flawed heroes are more believable," he says.
If there is any thread that connects Fiennes' work, it is that all of his characters are flawed: the Nazi commandant in "Schindler's List," the troubled king in "Hamlet," the attention-starved preppie in "Quiz Show."
Fiennes conveys a vulnerability that has become his trademark. It is a quality that he values in himself. Fiennes says that he has learned how to use it and by showing emotion and working through them, he says, he can handle situations better.
"Strange Days" was written 10 years ago, but there are many parallels to current events, namely the exposure of racism in the LAPD. "I believe there is racism in anyone's force," says Fiennes, "but there are also honorable and dedicated policemen believing in what they do."
Overall, "Strange Days" is a cautionary tale against violence, drugs and self-delusion. "This film is up front and aware that this could happen," Fiennes says. "It has happened and it can happen again."
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