While predominantly known for his acting career on stage and screen, Ralph Fiennes is now on to his third shot at directing following 2011’s Coriolanus and 2013’s The Invisible Woman.

The White Crow traces the life of Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, played incredibly by real life Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko, alongside Chulpan Khamatova, Adèle Exarchopoulos, famed Russian dancer Sergei Polunin as Yuri Soloviev and Fiennes himself who plays Nureyev’s teacher.

The film evokes both the beauty of dance as well as the gripping thriller-esque tale of Nureyev’s defection during the height of the Cold War plus his bold, fiery character and exploration of his sexuality.

We had the honour of speaking with Ralph Fiennes at the film’s premiere at the London Film Festival. He explained what inspired him to tell the story of Nureyev, casting and working with a dancer but non-actor in the central role and what he hoped people would take away from the film.

Oleg Ivenko told us about how he prepared to play the role of Nureyev and his experience working with Fiennes as a director.

Chulpan Khamatova spoke to us about her character Xenia Pushkin who emerges as both a mother and romantic figure to Nureyev.

Meanwhile French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos explained how she saw her character Clara Saint and her relationship with Nureyev and what it was like working with Ivenko and Fiennes to make the film.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 19th October 2018.
Videos: Marta Starczynowska

The White Crow is released nationwide on 22nd March 2019Read our review here.

For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.