Despite his packed film and legit schedule, Ralph Fiennes is a patron of the Constant Gardener Trust, an organization set up by “The Constant Gardener” producer Simon Channing-Williams after the Fernando Meirelles-helmed pic’s Kenya-based shoot.
The aim of the charity is to work specifically with the Kenyan communities of Loiyangalani and Kiberia, with the location fee that would normally have been paid to local officials instead being used to build a school.
The trust has become an ongoing initiative to improve the basic sanitation and education needs in the impoverished areas.
Fiennes is also a UNICEF ambassador and has lent his support to other causes such as Artists Against Racism and the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, launched in 1999 by former Soviet leader Mikhael Gorbachev to tackle child cancer following the death of his wife, Raisa, from leukemia.
Just don’t expect to see Fiennes crowing about his works in an effort to get publicity. In keeping with the thesp’s low profile away from the camera and the boards, Fiennes is much happier for others to take the plaudits.
“Going to Africa and working on ‘The Constant Gardener,’ I think a lot of us felt it would be good to help in the areas where we had been working, and this project particularly was led by Simon Channing-Williams,” Fiennes says. “I have also really loved the work I’ve been able to do for UNICEF. I think it was the charity event they held in 1999 for Kosovo that really impressed me, and then I went on a few trips with them.”
Fiennes was joined by brothers Joseph and Magnus as well as sister-in-law Maya as they formed the committee that organized the 1999 London-set event, dubbed Act Now Kosovo, to raise money for children caught up in the war between the Kosovan Liberation Army and Serbian army.
Given his already crowded acting schedule, Fiennes is all too aware of the limitations of being so in-demand as a thesp.
“It’s a tricky one, and I feel I don’t do enough,” Fiennes says. “But then I’m an actor, and that’s what I do. It is hard. You can’t balance everything.”