Joseph Fiennes is a film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayals of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Sir Robert Dudley in Elizabeth (1998), Commisar Danilov in Enemy at the Gates (2001), and Monsignor Timothy Howard in the second season of the TV series American Horror Story (2012-2013).
His first professional stage appearance was in the West End in The Woman in Black, followed by A Month in the Country opposite Helen Mirren. Fiennes then became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for two seasons.
He made his television debut as Willy in The Vacillations of Poppy Carew. His first feature film was 1996’s Stealing Beauty, co-starring Liv Tyler. In 1998, Fiennes appeared in two films that were nominated at the Academy Awards: he played Robert Dudley opposite Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and he portrayed William Shakespeare opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love, receiving nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He and Paltrow were reunited onscreen in Running with Scissors (2006).
In 2001 he appeared in the film Enemy at the Gates. In 2002 he starred in the independent film, Killing Me Softly.
In 2003 he lent his voice as Proteus in the DreamWorks animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas opposite Brad Pitt. Fiennes returned to the theatre in 2006 to perform in the one-man play Unicorns, Almost about World War II poet Keith Douglas at the Old Vic. In 2006, he appeared in the films The Darwin Awards and Goodbye Bafana.
Fiennes starred in the ABC science fiction series FlashForward, which debuted on 24 September 2009 and ran through 27 May 2010, as Mark Benford. Fiennes starred in the Starz’s 10-part series, Camelot, as the wizard Merlin.