Observations: Joseph Fiennes is the new face of Carte Noire Readers

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The Independent Culture

At the moment we're used to seeing Joseph Fiennes play action man. As the star of the US television sci-fi drama FlashForward, he charges around Los Angeles waving a gun, trying to work out why everyone on the planet simultaneously lost consciousness for 137 seconds.

It's a world away from the Fiennes we're familiar with, usually found in tights and getting himself into impossible romantic situations, be it in Shakespeare in Love or Elizabeth.

Those who miss Fiennes's more sensitive side might be interested to know that he is the new face of Carte Noire Readers. Having previously been fronted by The Wire's Dominic West, the series sees Carte Noire team up with Penguin Books to recreate emotionally intense scenes of seduction from a mixture of modern and classic novels available to view online.

You can watch Fiennes tackle the moment when Thérèse and Laurent decide to consummate their carnal desires in Emile Zola's Thérèse Raquin, or hear him recite the poetic interactions between Gabriel and Bathsheba in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. There's even a heartbreaking scene from Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit. If you prefer to relax with something on the lighter side, he's also offering up his own dramatic interpretations of Marian Keyes' The Brightest Star in the Sky and Elizabeth Noble's The Girl Next Door, among others.

As a noted Shakespearean actor, you can imagine him getting into the classic reads but how did he fare with the chick-lit? "The Marian Keyes was very funny, it made me chuckle." A rom-com for Fiennes next, perhaps?

Click here to read Gillian Orr's full interview with Joseph Fiennes