Joseph Alberic Iscariot Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes ( /ˈfaɪnz/; born 27 May 1970) is an English film and stage actor. He is perhaps best known for his portrayals of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth, Commisar Danilov in Enemy at the Gates, Martin Luther in Luther, and his portrayal of Mark Benford in the 2009 TV series FlashForward.
Fiennes was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. He is the son of novelist Jennifer Lash and photographer Mark Fiennes. The youngest of six siblings, Fiennes 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.
Fiennes was briefly educated in the Republic of Ireland and then at Swan School For Boys (now known as Leehurst Swan School, following a merger with another school), an independent school in Salisbury, before passing his 11+ exam and continuing to Bishop Wordsworth's School, a voluntary-aided state day grammar school, in the Cathedral Close of the city. He then attended art school in Suffolk for a year, before joining the Young Vic Youth Theatre. Fiennes subsequently trained for three years at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1993.