Ralph’s Director Responds

To the Editor:

What was the purpose of Sara Vilkomerson’s piece on Ralph Fiennes [“After His Tony Loss, How Fiennes Is Ralph?”, June 19, 2006], devoted largely to a prurient rehashing of gossip about his personal life? When Ms. Vilkomerson did bother to discuss his work, she chose to focus on listing awards he didn’t win and films he’s made that were unsuccessful. The headline alone was a cheap shot at a man who is widely acknowledged as one of the finest actors of his generation, with a diverse and uncompromising body of work.

As the writer/director of Mr. Fiennes’ new film, Land of the Blind, I know that the interview was under the pretext of discussing that project. But the film was given only a cursory and dismissive treatment, the better to save column inches for schadenfreude about Ralph’s private life and the Tonys. Ours is a tiny little movie with almost no advertising or marketing budget; we only had two press opportunities with Ralph, and chose to give one of those slots to The Observer.

We were rewarded with a character assassination. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that The Observer exploited Mr. Fiennes to get a movie star’s picture on the front page, then gleefully carved up his personal life in a manner more appropriate to a tabloid than a serious newspaper. Neither I nor your readers expect (or want) a puff piece. But we do expect (and want) responsible and informative journalism. On that count, it is Ms. Vilkomerson who deserves lambasting.

Robert Edwards


Hundred Years Bore

To the Editor:

Re “An Unmourned Death, An Unspeakable Cause” [The National Observer, June 19]: Richard Brookhiser writes with an eloquence that is completely absent from anything written in the past hundred years. I have forwarded [the column] to everyone I know.

Steve Bender

East Grand

Rapids, Mich.