Joseph Fiennes on Playing Villain Opposite Jennifer Lopez

The Jennifer Lopez-led action movie The Mother premieres on Netflix this Friday, May 12. Ahead of its release, ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to star Joseph Fiennes about playing the villain and the movie’s global setting.

“A deadly female assassin comes out of hiding to protect the daughter that she gave up years before, while on the run from dangerous men,” reads the logline.

Tyler Treese: You’re quite intimidating in the movie. How does a nice guy like yourself turn on that villain mode and really get into character?

Joseph Fiennes: I’m intimidating in real life! There’s nothing nice about me, really! I never pay the bills, you know? [Laugh]. No, I think that’s really just down to great filmmakers and camera work and brilliant stunt coordinators and a good bit of makeup — that always helps to amplify the villain.

I wanted to ask about the makeup because your face gets some damage in the movie. What was that makeup process like?

That was right. It was early in the morning. You climb into the chair around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and it took about an hour and a half, but we got it down to maybe about a half an hour at the end. I mean, suddenly everyone becomes very [quick] with it and it’s not too intrusive.

I was so impressed throughout the movie by Jennifer Lopez. I did not expect her to be such a badass action-hero star, but she pulls it off here. What really impressed you the most about her as a scene partner? She really brought intensity to her performance.

Yeah, she has an extraordinary work ethic, so she is prepared like no one else. She, in terms of the fight, was 100% in it emotionally and knew it inside out in terms of the choreographies. So that combination lent a danger to being in the scene with her, because if you didn’t know your thing, you are, you know, your moves and what you’re doing, you are liable to get knocked out.

So it was quite intense, to say the least. But she’s a wonderful person and so warm and affable and funny and generous. There’s a part of her spirit which has an authenticity and that’s what really comes through. She’s just a wonderful person, but boy, she’s prepared. So you have to be on your game.

I love the overall nature of this movie. Every act is in a very distinct location. What did you like about being able to have this full character arc, but shoot in so many different places?

I think a big character within the movie are the locations. It has that sort of Bond scope where we go from, dusty deserts to snowy mountains and it just gives a scope. So when you have that scope and then you have this other story, this narrative which is a mother and child and this compassion and love and this newfound bonding amongst that epic look, it’s a treat for an audience. So there’s a lot to, to take away for an audience. It’s deeply satisfying.

There’s a lot of oomph to the action scenes throughout The Mother. What about Niki Caro’s approach to the action sequences really stood out as her directing style?

She’s one of the best in that regard. She understands action and where to move the camera. She’s got an extraordinary eye — attention to detail like no one else. She really owns it. She knows what she’s after and she has this very vivid muscularity, the way she shoots these big action scenes. So it ramps up and amplifies all that thrilling excitement. She’s a really special director, in that regard.

ComingSoon thanks Joseph Fiennes for taking the time for our The Mother interview.