Ralph Fiennes almost never took the role of Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise. As explained on the Johnathan Ross Show, Fiennes was hesitant to take the role over the fact he simply knew nothing about the books. Of course, this didn’t last, and he found himself in the role in the end.
“The truth is I was actually ignorant about the films and the books,” Fiennes said (according to Digital Spy). He then continued:
I was approached by the production. Mike Newell was directing the film that they wanted me to be in . . . the first time Voldemort was going to appear physically. Out of ignorance I just sort of thought, this isn’t for me . . . Quite stupidly I resisted, I was hesitant. I think the clincher was that my sister Martha – who has three children who were then probably about 12, 10 and 8 – she said, ‘What do you mean? You’ve got to do it!’ So then I rewound my thinking.
It’s weird to think if he never listened to his sister, we’d have to sit through and watch some other actor portray Harry’s nemesis.