Bloody Zoom. It’s such a mood killer. So blank and deadening. Not great for interviews either. That vital spark of human connection tends to dissipate down a digital feed. It does, however, have its advantages. Right now, for instance, Ralph Fiennes has nipped behind the screen to rummage around his home for a prop that he retained from his new film, The Dig. It’s a cloth cap worn by the movie’s protagonist, the archaeologist Basil Brown, who in 1939 discovered and excavated a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk.
“This is Basil’s cloth cap!” the Oscar-nominated star of Schindler’s List and Harry Potter says, smiling broadly as he slips it on. Fiennes, 58, explains that Brown, a self-taught polymath and farmer’s son, was only ever pictured in one of two hats — the cloth cap and the more rakish trilby. “I haven’t got the trilby,” he adds. “But it’s the one that makes people think of Indiana Jones, which has come up a lot in conversations recently.” He means that people, like me, consistently ask him if Basil’s “look” was based on Indiana Jones.