| News Archive: July 2004 - December 2004
Dear Kenites - Merry and Happy whatever you are celebrating, will celebrate or have already celebrated! I did a double-take when I saw that the last update was on November 30 - where have I been? It seems like yesterday (clearly I am becoming ever older and time seems ever shorter). So you might well ask... what's new in Branagh-land?
Right up there with the Illiad and the Odyssey, the Hamlet-DVD saga rivets us with its turns and twists. It now seems that the January 10 DVD release of Hamlet is a curious hybrid creation, with Amazon.co.uk showing the cover image of the Branagh version, and listing "Kate Winslet et al." in the cast, but giving the filming date as 1969, directed by Tony Richardson and starring Nicol Williamson. What? Sendit.com has the proper cover, and cast - but apparently our very precocious Kenneth directed it (at age 9), along with Tony Richardson. Ah, there's nothing like a good mentor! There is, I suppose, a passing resemblance between Marianne Faithful (in 1969 :-)) and Kate Winslet... that must be why KB cast Kate in his later version, her hair reminded him of Marianne's. :-) Which is a long useless paragraph to say: still no Branagh Hamlet DVD.
On to much more uplifting news. Kenneth Branagh's 2004 birthday has come and gone, and we can now announce the results of this year's fundraising efforts and also give you his message to the Ken-Friends. What a guy! Click here to read Ken's message and learn about the 2004 project.
More nice news, from the Daily Express, 10 December 2004:
Branagh waives fee for documentary
Actor Kenneth Branagh, who celebrates his 44th birthday today, has helped to ensure that filming will begin on a documentary marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
"The makers of the programme, to be presented by Branagh and actress Miriam Margolyes, found they were running over budget in transporting the pair to the Holocaust landmark in Poland. Branagh immiediately waived his fee, suggesting that they put the money towards the travel costs.
"Now filming will take place in the New Year. An insider told us: 'We feared having to call it off. It is typical of Kenneth to do something like this.'
"The film will be shown on both the BBC and the History Channel in the spring."
Yup, yup, yup. Sterling guy. Giving up sterling for a sterling cause.
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog in Japan. You'll remember the phwoarsome twosome of photos from the last update (see below)...well, now there is a review of the film from the Japanese press and an interview with Kenneth Branagh from the Daily Yomiuri, which also comes with a photo. In the spirit of the season there are also two How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog Christmas cards available: see them here. And... there are more phwoar photos from this Japanese press cornucopia: a coverboy in Japan; a page from the article; another page from the article; a close-up of the good bit from the first page :-); another photo from the shoot; and one more cheeky pose from the film program.
Other goodies: Five Children and It has opened in Spain, and has a rather cute website (with It popping up all over), which offers wallpapers and the trailer, and some photos, including two of KB as the eccentric uncle: A vision in brocade and "If you had eyebrows like these you'd need a magnifying glass, too!".
Kenneth edges towards cool by appearing (in a fashion) on MTV Europe (if MTV is still cool, haven't checked with the offspring lately). You can read all about it (the text is sparse and lite, so don't worry about eye or brain strain :-)) and hear samples of the program called Kenneth B Kenneth B that apparently runs Monday through Thursdays from 9:30-10 pm CET, in Europe (or at least in Scandinavia, where most of my reports come from). It's a bit "naughty", so if you're anti-South Park and its ilk, you are warned. The person doing Kenneth's voice does a pretty good job. :-)
One last goodie - here's a link to a 1996 interview with Kenneth Branagh about Hamlet. Enjoy!
That's all for now (and for this year, I suspect). Happy New Year to all!
(28 December, thanks Virginia L., Kate, Jude, Jane, Chizuko, Isabel, Carina, Reeta, Al)
Yahooooo - new stuff! On the "front cover" you may have noticed the first photo of Kenneth as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And here you will find the experience of an extra on the Warm Springs set. I think filming has ended by now - Kenneth should hurry back home so he can celebrate his birthday next week (I'll be swinging from the chandeliers at the workplace Christmas party on the same day... well, maybe not quite, but discreetly raising a glass to him in any case).
Now, bigger news... or so it seems... I'm hesitating because we've had a few false alarms before. But - UK shops (such as Amazon.co.uk) are listing a January 10 release for the DVD of Hamlet. No extras, 232 minutes, Region 2 (so not good for North American players, unless you have a multi-region one). There was an Empire magazine poll asking readers to vote for the films they most wanted to see released on DVD - maybe the gazillion Ken-fan votes made a difference. We'll keep you posted if there's more news.
The Battersea Dogs Home continues to have brilliant PR (and not only in the form of genius night-time dog escapades). Here's a bit of news from the Observer:
Battersea Dog Is the New Pup Idol
On the photo front, you can see a bunch of great photos of Kenneth at a Russian photo site here.
Vanessa Thorpe, Arts and Media correspondent
Sunday November 21, 2004
If the combined might of Busted, Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams,
Dizzee Rascal, Jamelia, Katie Melua, Daniel Bedingfield and Co does
not take the Band Aid single to No 1 this Christmas, then a cartoon
dog floating above the skies of London could be to blame. Battersea
Dogs Home is launching a rival charity bid and hopes to benefit from a
growing backlash to the heavy hype surrounding 'Do They Know It's
Rockford, the animated canine in question, is the star of 'Christmas
Morning' and is about to become the first mascot for the famous home
for strays. Ahead of the single's national launch, the infectious tune
has excited radio stations around the country.
'We have been overwhelmed by the response. Every one seems to love
Rockford - he could be the new pup-idol,' said Fiona Healey Hutchinson
from the dogs' home.
To mark the release of the song, the home is to fly a huge inflatable
Rockford above Battersea Power Station, echoing the pig floating above
the same urban landmark on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album,
Actors Kevin Spacey, Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp, all supporters
of the home, have been approached to feature on the final cut of the
song. Lemmy from Motorhead has also expressed an interest. 'We have
never done this kind of thing before because we have never found the
right vehicle,' said Healey Hutchinson. 'But now we are happy to have
Rockford as the fifth 'R' in the four 'Rs' that we stand for; re-home,
reunite, rehabilitate and rescue.'
The home receives an average 21 dogs and seven cats a day, and all
profits from 'Christmas Morning', written and sung by Matthew
Sweet-apple, will go to the charity.
As momentum picks up behind Rockford, the words of Pink Floyd's track
'Sheep' on the Animals album may come back to haunt them. The lyric
runs: 'You better watch out/There may be dogs about.'
When the Rockford balloon goes up at the end of the month, older
rockers will doubtless offer a word of warning. Pink Floyd's
inflatable pig notoriously broke free from its mooring and drifted
into Heathrow's flight paths. A pilot reportedly radioed in to say he
had just passed a 30-foot pink object.
And a fab finish: you'll remember from the last update that How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Here is an article and photos from a Japanese magazine: Page One and Page Two. The article also had this information about As You Like It:
I've always thought there is no particularity about ages and places in Shakespeare.
Because [his work] has universality. When I came to Japan for the first time, I was
inspired - [the play] just matched so well with the Japanese landscape. It especially matched
in the sharp contrast between the city and the countryside, and in a place that still values traditional beauty and its temples. I want to work with Japanese actors. The
script is finished. Now I am looking for investors. (Thanks to Chizuko and her friend for the basic translation and apologies if I have mangled it rather than touching up the grammar!)
So that's it for today (pardon me while I sit back to study Page Two a while longer, heh heh).
(30 November, thanks Anna, Paula, Karen, Nadine, Chizuko)
Hi 2B-ers. How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival in late October, and so it got its own Japanese website, which is as delightful as the film. Watch the Japanese trailer (gee, KB learned to speak Japanese so well!) and download nice photos. A treat!
Random notes: Kenneth was sighted at the High Museum of Art (Richard Meier oeuvre, for you fellow archi-freaks) in Atlanta, clearly using some time off from the FDR set constructively. :-)
There will be a big celebration for the bicentennial of the Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, 31 March to 3 April 2005, in Copenhagen. A ton of celebs from all the arts have been invited, including our Kenneth. Some people will be participating in live shows and others will be sending in recorded messages. So stay tuned.
'Tis the season...for charity Christmas cards. Now, visiting a museum doesn't mean you will be hanging in a museum (unless George Dubya decides that capital punishment needs to be carried out in a nicer place, ha ha). And though my fantasy still would have been Kenneth rather than Colin as Vermeer (in Girl with a pearl Earring), we know there's a reason he's an artist of a different kind. (You can dig through the Compendium to find his rendering of a clock and a squirrel if you need proof.) Click here to see a PDF selection of the cards and here to learn more about the Charity Auction for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. I see they've highlighted Robbie Coltrane's card - one of the few clever ones to eschew the crayons (which always seem debilitating, they should have handed out pastels!)
Kenneth, in his Rabbit-Proof Fence incarnation, is featured in full and half-page ads for Sky satellite television.
And let's end with some real (we hope) news:
Tom Teodorczuk, The Buzz, Evening Standard, 11 November 2004
The only tangible sign of the existence of this film to date has been a photo of Ken with a green lady (and not the ecology type). Hmmmm... how does a short film become feature length? They swept the cutting room floor very carefully every night? (Can you believe the cuts?) The domain of films released years after they were made used to belong to Rufus Sewell (hiya, dahling) but no more... Needless to say I am dying to see this. As are a number of good folk who have asked about it over the years - hope you're still with us and reading the news.
'Trainspotting' dirctor Danny Boyle made 'Alien Love Triangle' as a short film back in 1997 but Miramax this week announced that a feature-length version of the movie will open in the US next year. The sci-fi drama, starring Kenneth Branagh, Courteney Cox and Heather Graham, gets its belated release following the theatrical and DVD success of his last film '28 Days Later'. Boyle's new movie, children's comedy 'Millions', will also be released next year.
A couple of reports from young actors who benefited from the bursaries made possible by the annual Ken-Friends donation have been posted here.
We close with Ken, the swinger and Ken, modelling the latest in men's fashions (Gaultier? Galliano?)... actually, as Touchstone in As You Like It, Renaissance Theatre Company.
I will get to the Five Children and It reviews (there are not many) sometime soon.
(14 November, thanks Chizuko, Brittany, Tanja, Bonnie, Jude, Nadine, rebodden)
Hi Kenites... just a small update, to let you know the Compendium personnel are (is) still alive. KB is filming in Georgia, no photos yet, though there has been a sighting:
Oh well, seven sentences to say there was essentially nothing to say... but hey, we'll take what we can get. The good old Ledger-Enquirer, Saturday, October 16, 2004, published this:
FDR Movie Filmed at Lakeside Park
The crew for a movie about President Franklin D. Roosevelt has spent two days
rolling film on the shores of Lake Lanier.
The film, "Warm Springs," is a made-for-television movie set to air next spring
on HBO, according to 32nd President Productions Inc., the Atlanta-based group
producing the film.
Kenneth Branagh stars as the president. The movie is set before FDR's first bid
for the White House, when he discovered Georgia's Warm Springs.
Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role as Miranda Hobbs on "Sex and the City,"
plays Eleanor Roosevelt.
Tuesday, Branagh was on the set at Bolling Mill Park off Chestatee Road, but
Nixon was not.
Neither actor could be reached for comment, and crew members declined to talk
about the production.
Braces for movie like FDR's
Oh great - the "sitting on his legs in a wheelchair" shtick... I'm sure Kenneth has fond memories of that sort of thing from Wild Wild West (Ouch Ouch Wowch). KB may be an expert on polio, but he is most certainly also an expert on braces (see Richard III).
By Harry Franklin, State Editor
WARM SPRINGS, Ga. - Producers of the HBO movie "Warm Springs" found a perfect
place to get leg braces for the movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's early
years of dealing with polio -- the place where FDR's braces were made.
Ellis W. Florence Jr. attached two pieces of a leg brace Tuesday morning
similar to ones FDR wore after he was stricken with polio.
Nearby, Tim Butler was drilling holes into the heel of a pair of shoes for a
young girl who will portray a polio patient in the movie expected to be shown
When 32nd President Productions decided to make the movie, they went to the
experts at Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs
to hand-make nine pairs of braces that will be worn by cast members. Perhaps
the foremost expert in making the type of brace worn by FDR is Florence, a
registered fitter in orthotics and an orthotic technician.
Seven pairs of braces had been finished and a team was hard at work finishing
two pairs by that afternoon so they could be taken to Atlanta where filming was
Thanks to the expert work, the movie will feature braces that are nearly
identical to the braces Roosevelt wore. The main difference is his braces were
steel and the metal in these braces is largely a lighter aluminum, said
Florence, 46, who has built braces for nearly 25 years.
"He is the expert," said Tim Butler, the institute's retech operations
manager. "This would not be happening if it were not for Ellis Florence, who is
the master brace builder."
His father, Ellis Florence Sr., worked in the brace shop for more than 30
years, but Ellis Jr. learned much of what he knows from Marion Dunn, Bill
Crowder and Doug Hamby, who worked in the department for years. His mother,
Annette Florence, also worked at the old Warm Springs Foundation for about 20
years, making corsets for polio patients.
Measuring the leg and then tracing its outline on paper like a child would
outline his hands is the first of seven steps in making a brace. Other steps
include assembling the uprights and bending them to fit the trace lines,
cutting out the aluminum bands that fit around the back of the leg and
attaching them to the brace, attaching the joints to the brace, fitting the
brace to the leg, cutting and padding the leatherwork and sewing it to the
brace and bands, and modifying the shoes to fit the brace.
"I took the measurements for (actor) Kenneth Branagh. He is a real nice
fellow," said Florence, who will portray a blacksmith in the movie. "Mr.
Branagh put his brace on and started walking right away. He looked like he was
already an expert with polio."
The team has made three sets of braces for Branagh, the British-born actor
playing Roosevelt. He required a pair of short braces and two pairs of long
braces, one for his legs and another to be fitted to Branagh's dummy legs.
"In the wheelchair, he will sit on his legs and use dummy legs," Florence said.
The institute's orthotic specialists turn out about 200 braces a year. That is
only a fraction of the number made in the 1940s when polio was such a scourge.
At that time, more than 30 people worked in the brace shop.
It takes two days or more to complete a brace. They can cost $2,000 per leg.
"When I started, you could probably get a pair for $500," Butler said. "The
type braces we mill in the brace shop are not available anymore. We just happen
to have some.
"They come from Spain, Israel, South and Central America and Scotland just to
get this type brace they got 30-40 years ago," he said.
Butler has a deep appreciation for the work done at Roosevelt Institute. He
lost a leg in a 1987 car wreck and came to the institute in 1988 as a patient.
He was in rehabilitation in 1989 and was hired in 1990.
Now he, Florence and other specialists work to see that the same precision is
used today as in the distant past so that patients recovering from polio -- and
actors -- will find them as comfortable and useful as possible.
You will find a short but sweet article about the Ulster Association of Youth Drama on the UAYD page . This is one of the main charities Kenneth Branagh supports, and which the Ken-Friends (and hopefully many of you readers of the Compendium) support through the annual birthday project. There's one underway now, which you can get the details for, (we can't divulge all here, in case there are Branagh inner-circle types spying, ha ha), and participate in, by contacting Jude.
You can see a photo of Kenneth at the lunch celebration for RADA's Centenary, 8 June 2004. The angle makes him look like he's had quite a few lunches, heh heh. So, just to balance things out, take a look at Lena's paper-your-room-with-this! collage. I'll be back with some Five Children and It reviews next week.
(27 October, thanks Paula, Jude, Lena)
Ah yes, it only takes an update (and thinking, 'yesss, I've finally caught up') to bring along some new news. And big and surprising news it is... from Andante:
Kenneth Branagh to Make Large-Scale Movie Version of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte
Wow! I ask only that it not be like 'Moulin Rouge' (though I'm sure many of you out there loved it as much as I hated it, heh heh). I guess when KB is actually a "Sir" they'll be calling him "Lord". It's always good to get a head start. :-).
By Matthew Beard
The Independent [London] - 27 September 2004
After working his box-office magic with William Shakespeare, Sir Kenneth
Branagh is turning his attention to opera. The actor and director, who
brought the Bard to the masses with his stirring 'Henry V' and the
star-filled Much Ado About Nothing, is to direct and possibly star in a
big-screen version of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' [Die Zauberflöte], to be
made in English.
Rehearsals and casting are due to start early next year after Branagh
signed up to the project, which is being bankrolled by the arts
philanthropist Sir Peter Moores. "It seems to me that 'The Magic Flute' is
the ideal opera to film in English which will appeal to a broad audience
outside the opera house," Sir Peter said.
With its multitude of characters and complicated plot, 'The Magic Flute',
which Mozart wrote in 1791, may seem a daunting proposal to turn into a
film. But Sir Peter is convinced that Branagh will be able to put a
modern spin on its themes of power, wisdom and beauty and hopes that the
fantasy setting will give the director greater freedom of
Despite its reputation for elitism, opera is playing to full houses
across the country, having become popularised by the Three Tenors and
Charlotte Church and by the increasing availability of high-quality
recordings on CD and DVD.
Although ticket prices in the stalls can reach £120, these often
subsidise the cheaper seats which sell at £10 or under.
"It is completely old-fashioned to think of opera as elite nowadays,"
said Antonia Couling of Opera Now magazine. "Performances are almost
always sold out and there is a real cross-section of society."
Branagh's new departure may be the most recent and high-profile attempt
to popularise opera but it is not the first. Attempts to bring opera to
the screen by filming a stage production live have been unsuccessful
[sic]. But critics liked Joseph Losey's film version of 'Don Giovanni' in
1970 and a version of 'Tosca' that was filmed on location in Rome and
included black-and-white scenes of the orchestra setting up.
The contemporary standard has been set by the imaginative way in which
Baz Luhrmann incorporated elements of 'La Traviata' into the box-office
success 'Moulin Rouge', according to Ms. Couling. "'The Magic Flute' is a
good choice because you can put any interpretation on it and put it in
any location," she said. "I was very impressed with 'Much Ado About
Nothing '[starring Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Michael Keaton]
and if he shows the same imagination I think it will be a hit."
The film will have some arias in the original German but the dialogue
will be in English to make it more accessible.
This is all very exciting and the imagination runs wild. And as, by chance, I've just been digging through the family photos I'm indulging in a bit of shameless sentimental nepotism and posting the promo card of my grandfather in a Mozart role (in 'The Marriage of Figaro'). It wasn't a flattering costume, tee hee. I'm having a flashback of Kenneth minuetting in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or Hugh Grant teetering about in Restoration. Aaack!
Moving along... two more cast members have been announced for Warm Springs. Cynthia Nixon (an experienced stage actress, but most well-known for Sex and the City) will be Eleanor Roosevelt, and Kathy Bates will be also be in the cast (perhaps as FDR's mum?).
I haven't got any new photos so I'm breaking my own rules and sticking in one which is nicked from its owner with many apologies (and if he writes me I will remove it, though I like to think of this as a form of advertisement). It's an odd photo by one Sven Seiffert, who has an elegant website I encourage you to visit (you can see lots of other nice photos).
That's it (till the next surprise!).
(29 September, thanks Jane)
Hey Kenites, as promised a few photos... but first, click here for some suggestions as to what Ken saw (or heard) while Andy Gotts was taking his picture (see a couple of updates back).
Three photos: working towards being able to do the splits, as Laertes; Richard having a bad day; and looking Norse in a Norwegian photo.
C'est tout, non c'é piu, that's all folks!
(26 September, thanks Nancy, Jude, Anna)
Hey pals - first of all for the New Yorkers: Listening, the short film Kenneth made in 2003, will be shown this Saturday, 25 September, at 7:15 p.m. as part of the El Boca Del Lobo Itinerant Short
Film Festival at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University on Washington Square. See it if you can!
Here's poochie-keen Ken news! Part One is this current blurb from the Battersea Dogs Home website:
Kenneth Branagh's Starring Role
Part Deux is the lovely article from the Battersea Dogs Home 2001 newsletter, called (tee hee) Paws. Read it and melt. Then pause for (P)Aaawww...I and (P)Aaawww...II. This is also Kenneth's 101st coverboy appearance. Wooo hooo!
Star of stage and screen, Kenneth Branagh recently lent his support to
Battersea Dogs Home, where he met his charming leading lady, Susie the Jack
Russell, in 2001.
Kenneth generously gave his time to record the narration for Battersea's
first direct response television advert and 'plays' Rusty, the Collie star.
During the emotive 60-second advert a number of new residents pass under
Rusty's watchful eyes as he tells potential donors how their £3 a month
gift could help rescue, rehabilitate and rehome lost and abandoned dogs.
The advert, devised by bluefrog and produced by BBC Broadcast, is
Battersea's first direct response TV advert. They will air on satellite
channels including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National
Geographic and the UKTV channels from September 1st.
"The canine cast was a new challenge," says Andrea Kapos, the BBC Broadcast
director, "but they were all fantastic and I'm extremely happy with the
Battersea's fundraising director Fiona Healey-Hutchinson is similarly
enthusiastic. "We are confident the advert will deliver some excellent
results," she said.
You can see a videoclip of Kenneth talking about the British film industry here.
From the it's all a question of how you report it files (via WizardNews), this little misinterpration:
Kenneth Branagh Finds Embassy Officials Obliviated [from Contact Music]
Border-crossers will all recognise that blank slate brain that is the bureaucrat's best friend, heh heh. Though it doesn't always stop the profiling, alas.
'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' star Kenneth Branagh was left surprised
last Thursday, when officials at the American embassy in London failed to
The Oscar-winning film-maker was queuing for a work visa, but was taken aback
when he got to the front of the queue only to be asked, "What do you do?"
So, 43-year-old Branagh adopted his best thespian voice and replied, "I'm an
News from the Warm Springs production, from the Columbus, GA, Ledger-Enquirer (already my favourite paper, see the earlier article in a previous update):
'Warm Springs' Casting Attracts Large Crowd
As part of celebrating its centenary year RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) has a swish site up (or is that .swf site?)(geek joke, sorry). They've got anecdotes from illustrious graduates, including Kenneth Branagh. You can see his photo (from A Month in the Country) and read an excerpt from Beginning (click on Faces and Anecdotes), also available here to encourage anyone who hasn't read this entertaining book to do so posthaste.
Nearly 200 People at Open Audition
BY HARRY FRANKLIN
WARM SPRINGS, Ga. - Rebecca Barnes recently moved back to Manchester
from Los Angeles, where she has worked as a flight attendant for Delta
"In L.A., I did a lot of extra work for movies," she said Friday.
When she learned of the Home Box Office movie "Warm Springs," a story
about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1920s visits to Warm Springs for polio
treatments, she decided to apply to become an extra. Friday afternoon,
she joined a long line of people who filled out lengthy applications and
had their photographs taken in hopes of being in the movie.
During the first two hours of a four-hour casting call from 3-7 p.m.,
nearly 200 people, including men, women and children from 27 communities
in Georgia, three in Alabama and one in Florida, had completed the
process. They showed up in wheelchairs, on crutches, in strollers and
walking. They poured into the auditorium at Roosevelt Warm Springs
Institute for Rehabilitation's Roosevelt Hall auditorium, filling every
available parking space in the vicinity.
Barnes said it was an easy decision for her to sign up.
"I grew up here. My family has been part of this community," she said.
"My grandfather, Albert Barnes, actually did the first hand mechanism
for President Roosevelt to be able to drive a car. My dad, Harry Barnes,
remembers that. Grandfather was into automotive parts and I believe had
a dealership at the time. They came to him and said FDR needed hand-held
brakes and acceleration equipment for him to drive without using his
Megan Cannon also came. Cannon, 19, of Harris County, said being in a
movie would be "a new experience, something beyond reality."
Susan Stooksbury, 27, of Peachtree City, a physical therapist at
Roosevelt Institute, said, "Since it's being filmed on our campus, I
wanted to see what's going on and if I could help out."
Many applicants came from Columbus, Manchester and Warm Springs. A large
number of applicants work at the Roosevelt Institute.
Patrick Ingram of Atlanta, the extras casting coordinator, said as many
as 150 extras might be needed during some two weeks of filming in the
Warm Springs area probably beginning around mid-October. Filming also
will take place in Atlanta; Madison, where an old house was located that
may serve as the old Meriwether Inn; and Rome, where a railroad depot is
to be featured. Ingram said he came expecting 100 people to show up, but
said it would be great to reach 300.
Ingram said extras should expect 14-hour work days that could begin at
5:30 a.m. and run until dark. They will be needed on selected days, and
will receive $100 a day plus a meal. If the work day runs longer than 14
hours, he said they would receive overtime pay.
The made-for-TV movie will star British-born actor Kenneth Branagh as
FDR, and is expected to be released near April 15, the 60th anniversary
of President Roosevelt's death at his Little White House here.
Bits and pieces...
1) Quotes from fellow actors:
From soon-to-be-(already?)-flavour-of-the-month (hey, he's going to be Mr. Darcy - check the track record on that role) Matthew Macfayden:
"When he was a teenager, he devoured actors' biographies and the Rada section of his copy of Kenneth Branagh's book Beginnings was dogeared within a week. When he met Branagh recently for a script reading, he wanted to tell him how inspirational it had been. But he said nothing. 'I would have felt such a dork, you know.'" (read the whole article here)
From Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter):
"My favourite actors I have worked with are: Brendon Gleeson, who is such a nice person, [and] Kenneth Branagh (Professor Lockhart in 'Chamber of Secrets', who is a brilliant actor."
And from a review of Ian Holm's autobiography, A Life:
Holm — with ghost-writer Steven Jacobi — is candid about the stars he
has worked with. Laurence Olivier, his hero, is depicted as inspiring
and a brilliant career strategist. Director Peter Brook is described as
temperamental and inconsiderate of his actors’ feelings. Kenneth Branagh
is "a powerhouse of ambition."
2) Neat stuff:
From The Scotsman, 4 September 2004:
College to be Monster Hit for Fans
You have to love a beer company that supports films (makes a change from hockey and rock shows, in any case :-)).
The Royal College of Surgeons has been chosen as the ideal setting for screenings of horror classic Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
The film will be shown as part of the Stella Artois Screen Tour, which aims to bring films to uniquely themed environments.
Adapted from Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, the movie tells the tragic tale of twisted scientist Victor Frankenstein, played by Kenneth Branagh, who creates an artificial man from various body parts.
He then rejects his nameless "abominable creation", played by Robert De Niro, in a moment of disgust and leaves it for dead.
The monster struggles to comprehend its abandonment and searches for Frankenstein, unleashing a terrible rage upon its creator.
This year’s tour will feature a number of screenings around the country at locations chosen to fit the film’s subject matter. These have included 'The Blair Witch Project' in the Queens’ Wood in London, and an outdoor showing of 'Master and Commander' on Brighton Beach.
The Royal College, in the Playfair Building on Nicolson Street, was opened in 1832, and is still dedicated to the highest standards in surgical practice. Tickets for the event, to be held on Friday and Saturday, can be bought through the company’s website at www.stellascreen.co.uk
And a snippet from a techie article on digital film and Conspiracy (you can read the whole thing here).
Except for a few days of exteriors, 'Conspiracy' was produced on sets at
Shepperton Studios. "In one scene, Kenneth Branagh is standing next to
the window and there's a red rose in the shot," said Bellamy. "Stephen
wanted it redder, so we put a window around it and added saturation
without affecting flesh tones or the gray and black colors of his
uniform. In another scene, Stephen asked me to put a slight shadow on a
character's face, as though it was motivated by a cloud temporarily
passing by the sun at an ominous point in the characters' conversation."
The Region I DVD release of Another Country, not starring Kenneth (who knocked them dead in the stage production), includes a seven minute special feature that was first broadcast on the BBC on 2 March 1982, entitled Newsnight: Another Country. It includes a scene of the play between Rupert Everett's and Kenneth Branagh's characters plus a very short interview with
the two, seated in an empty theatre.
That's it for tonight, but I will be back with some new photos very soon, and the contributions to "What did Kenneth see?" from the last update (see below).
(22 September, thanks Zofia, Jude, Susan, Deborah, Jane, Rai, Paula)
Back with a teeny tiny update...
Apparently Warner Brothers have asked Empire, the UK film magazine, to survey its readers for suggestions for films they would like to see released on DVD. Hmmmmmm....now what is that film they have been sitting on for years??...hmmmm.......oh, wait - yes, I remember now! That would be Hamlet! So, follow this link and let your voice be heard. You can review the Hamlet DVD saga here, but just to recap, the last word was that there were 'legal issues' impeding the release. Maybe a kajillion more requests will encourage them to get the lawyers to work, or, better still, cede the rights to some other organisation which will actually release the DVD and include a director's commentary (and make a mint while they make many people happy).
And the other item - a couple of updates back (scroll down) I mentioned a series of photos of "famous people" being sold by their creator
Andy Gotts for the benefit of the UK Diabetes association. Well, a photo of Kenneth from this series appeared in the Daily Mail. You can see it here. Perhaps Gotts was wielding a knife along with the camera? Actually, this would make a good contest: what did Kenneth see? Send in your suggestions and I'll print the funny (and "approved for family viewing") ones.
Five Children and It will be a gala presentation at the Toronto Film Festival; it's being shown on two weekend afternoons, undoubtedly to many children in fancy clothes with air-kissing parents. :-) Let's hope a photo of "Uncle Albert" will come out of this.
(4 September, thanks Fainpathe, Jude)
Aah, ya gotta love it... the surefire guarantee of a something new for the Compendium is to update the news and figure you're done for a week. So... we're not done.
You can read an article with a bit more info about Kenneth preparing for his role as FDR, and, more exciting ("he's still alive and hasn't grown two heads!") see the photo that accompanied the article...do I detect graying temples? Is he slipping into character? KB with a vertical file, it does the heart good. I'm Ms. Vertical File Fan - ephemera rules!! Cough...
And, because I did not live in Italy for 12 years without learning something... a wee bit of nepotism, well-deserved in this case. Click to see what Kenneth's sister Joyce is up to. You can get more detailed information about tickets, etc. here.
Maybe more soon...
(25 August, thanks Deborah, Claudia, Jude)
Hello Kenites... just a few updates today. Of special interest, given our current (and annual) fundraising effort, is the update on the Ken-Friends Bursary winners, which you can read on the UAYD page.
So, it seems that Mission Impossible 3 has now found a director (JJAbrams), but will not be filming until next summer. In the meantime the good old Belfast Telegraph has published an article that appears to have been penned before the new calendar came down...but as it focuses on you-know-who, you get to read it anyway:
Mission: Impossible - Phwoar!
From the Good Works file:
Actually, it's 3rd instalment of spy blockbuster, but just look who our Ken's leading lady is...
(15 August 2004)
Ulster actor Kenneth Branagh is about to star in a Hollywood blockbuster.
For the Belfast-born star, credited with bringing Shakespeare to a new generation of movie-goers, is set to star alongside Tom Cruise in the third instalment of the Mission: Impossible 'super-spy' franchise.
The plot of the movie, which is scheduled to begin filming in Berlin at the end of the month, is being kept under wraps.
But it is understood Branagh, last seen as vain 'dark arts' teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, will play a criminal mastermind.
The role will bring him the biggest pay cheque in his career.
But it will come nowhere near the £30 million that Tinseltown golden boy Cruise is expected to pocket.
Cruise (42) can look back on a 21-year career boasting some of the biggest-grossing films of the 1980s and 1990s, including Top Gun, The Colour Of Money, Rain Man and Born On The Fourth Of July.
He admitted recently that it was a real coup to have Branagh on board for the latest big-budget project.
"Kenneth Branagh is one of the finest actors out there, and, to this day, I envy his portrayal of Henry V," he said.
"I've seen just about everything Ken's done, including his TV role as Nazi henchman Reinhard Heydrich - and that was just so scary."
Branagh, who admits to being a Beatles fanatic, was nominated for best actor and best director at the 1988 Oscars.
He has already won a clutch of Emmy and Golden Globe awards, and has just completed a highly-regarded production of The Play What I Wrote, in London.
Branagh (44) said he was looking forward to his role in Mission: Impossible III, which also stars sizzling Scarlett Johansson.
"It's a challenge and a change from the theatre, although I have to say that while it might put dollars in the bank, I prefer the simple things in life."
Yorkshire Post Online 21 August 2004
Meanwhile, photographer Andy Gotts has been compiling an anthology of photographs of various famous people, which he hopes to publish with all proceeds going to Diabetes UK. He is offering an edition of photographs through his website at this time, in expensive large museum-quality format. There will be a less expensive, smaller print, less limited edition offered at a later date. The book of photographs is due to be published in June, 2005.
Stars Shine on Autism School Charity Ball
Andrew Vine, Chief Reporter
A glittering charity ball is to raise funds for the world's largest school for autistic children – and celebrate the £1m it received from the Yorkshire Post Hidden Disability appeal.
Entertainment stars including Michael Parkinson, Lesley Garrett and Kenneth Branagh are supporting the High Society Ball in Leeds on October 2, in aid of the Robert Ogden School at Thurnscoe, near Barnsley.
Manchester United soccer manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be the guest of honour at the ball, sponsored by Ben Bailey Homes. It will be a glamorous evening themed around Frank Sinatra's famed Rat Pack of the late 1950s and early 60s, whose members included Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr.
There are still some tables available for the event at Oulton Hall, which will feature auctions of unique items that money normally cannot buy. They will be sold off with the aim of raising at least £50,000, which will be used to create new playgrounds at the school.
Funds raised will be added to the £1m raised by the Hidden Disability appeal, a joint campaign between the Yorkshire Post and the National Autistic Society (NAS), the registered charity that runs the school.
Companies, community groups and big-hearted individuals all contributed to raising that magnificent million, the achievement of which was marked by a visit to the school by the NAS patron, the Countess of Wessex.
The money has been used to transform the school from a run-down former comprehensive into a warm and welcoming environment for children suffering from a disability that can make the world an incomprehensible and frightening place.
The school is named after Sir Robert Ogden, the Yorkshire businessman and philanthropist who has given substantial financial backing to it.
Its pupils range in age from five to 19. They suffer from varying degrees of autism, which impairs an individual's understanding of everyday life. Besides receiving an academic education, practical lessons are given aimed at enabling pupils to lead the fullest and most independent lives possible.
Auction prizes at the ball will include a toilet seat autographed by David and Victoria Beckham, mobile phones signed by Sir Alex Ferguson and Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, tickets for a Jools Holland concert at the Royal Albert Hall, limited-edition Harry Potter books signed by Kenneth Branagh and other cast members of the hit films based on them, and concert tickets, backstage passes and signed CDs from Britain's favourite soprano, Doncaster-born Lesley Garrett.
Miss Garrett is a long-time supporter of the Hidden Disability appeal, having a family member with autism.
She said: "The support from the Yorkshire Post has enabled the National Autistic Society to raise over £1m for the refurbishment work at the Robert Ogden School. This is a fantastic achievement, and the ball will be a brilliant opportunity to celebrate both this, and to help raise the funding still needed for areas like the playgrounds.
"Having supported this appeal for the last three years, I am delighted to be able to endorse this event through being a patron of the ball, and I hope that through the ball we can raise the full funding needed to upgrade all of the outdoor areas at the school."
Sir Alex Ferguson said he was looking forward to the event, adding: "Throughout my career, I've seen the enjoyment that people get from sport, whether it's the professionals, the fans, or the children playing sport themselves. I'm supporting this appeal to develop the playground areas at the Robert Ogden School, as the pupils will really benefit from better outdoor facilities."
TV personality Michael Parkinson also threw his weight behind the fund-raising. He said: "We hope that the High Society Ball will help raise funds to transform the playground areas at one of the National Autistic Society's schools in Yorkshire.
"Whether you attend on the evening itself, or simply make a donation you will be helping the charity make a difference to the lives of many children with autism."
The BBC TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky said: "Improving the playground areas at the Robert Ogden School will help teach the children to interact with each other outside and have fun.
"The High Society Ball is an opportunity for people to help us raise the funds to help make this happen, whilst also having fun themselves. Please help the NAS raise the money needed to transform the playground areas at the school into a safe and secure adventure playground."
There are a limited number of tables still available for the ball.
Tickets cost £85 each or £850 for a table of 10 and can be purchased by contacting the NAS Fundraising Team on 0115 911 3361 or emailing email@example.com
Five Children and It opening dates have been announced:
Netherlands - 14 October 2004
UK - 15 October 2004 in Scotland and 22 October 2004 in England
France - 20 October 2004
Belgium - 3 November 2004
The film will apparently also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, but their schedule only goes up on Tuesday.
I have two photos for you today: Matching eyes and shirt at the Harry Potter premiere and a new photo from Rabbit-Proof Fence. And to round these out, you can find a whole slew of great photos by doing a search at the Universal Pictorial Press & Agency.
(22 August, thanks Jude, Deborah, Karen, Nadine)
Greetings Ken-fans! Remember me... yeah, I don't blame you if you don't, it's been waaay too long since I posted any news. Not that there really was any before this week (ahem). Which sort of worked out as I was running around like a chicken without a head for other stuff. There's this illusion that summer is all G&Ts on the patio, but then there's the gardening (community plots are addictive, but you have to at least make a semblance of being on top of things or the Garden Nazis stare balefully when you finally harvest the foot-long, 4 pound zucchini) and the painting and the fact that "9 to 5" is still "9 to 5", just in fewer layers of clothing. :-)
Mr. Branagh might have had a chance to put his feet up a bit, but the holiday is over...
You'll remember that Mission Impossible 3 was due to start shooting in Berlin this month. Then, on July 19, this statement in Variety:
Paramount's "Mission: Impossible 3" has hit another bump, losing Joe
Carnahan as director due to "creative differences" less than two months
before cameras are due to roll.
There has been no word of a replacement yet, but there is an upside to this for us Kenians, as Kenneth is filling in the time (so to speak) by playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the HBO film called Warm Springs. The film will deal with the period in FDR's life when he contracted polio, and will be shot in Georgia in September. No word yet on who the other cast members will be.
The unabridged audiobook of Albert Camus's "The Outsider" read by Kenneth
Branagh will be published in a library edition in September. The BBC will also be releasing the audiobook in November through their mail order company, the Audiobook Collection. It will be available on both cassette (£12.99, 3 cassettes) and CD (£16.99, 3 CDs) formats.
The Audiobook Collection
Bath BA1 3QZ
Freephone: 0800 136919
You'll have to supply your own Gauloises. :-)
On the DVD front here's a notice from Cinema Club:
At last, the long awaited A Month in the Country is being released by
Cinema Club! Based on J.L. Carr's acclaimed novel, winner of a Guardian
Fiction Prize and short-listed for the Booker Prize (1980) this stunning
adaptation tells the story of Tom Birkin, a young soldier returning to
England after surviving the horrors of the First World War. Starring BAFTA
and Emmy nominated Colin Firth (Girl With A Pearl Earring), Kenneth Branagh
(Shackleton, Hamlet) and Natasha Richardson (The Comfort of Strangers).
This DVD release will be Region 2 (UK, Europe, Australia). A petition has been started at this site: www.petitiononline.com/mitcreg1/petition.html to encourage the release of a Region 1 (United States, Canada) DVD.
We are releasing A Month In the Country on the 9th August. At just £9.99,
you can find more information on our website, www.cinemaclub.co.uk.
Unfortunately we are unable to sell our products directly to the public,
but Cinema Club titles are available through most high street shops such as
Virgin or HMV and are also available through internet sites such as
www.amazon.co.uk, www.blackstar.co.uk or www.streetsonline.co.uk.
From the Daily Mirror, 24 July:
Star-Struck Little Brits
And from the Belfast Telegraph, 29 July:
What do Kenneth Branagh, Nigel Havers and Pierce Brosnan have in common -
apart from being dashing male actors, obviously? well, all three are
champing at the bit to join Anthony Head, Ruth Madoc and Vanessa Feltz as
guest stars in the new series of Little Britain.
The second series is due to hit BBC3 in September and BBC1 in December
Actor Branagh Enters Stage Right to Back Derry Playhouse TV Bid
The BBC site lists the winner as "The Old Grammer School" in Birmingham, but the Playhouse is a runner-up. You can read more here.
Ken Wants Arts Centre 'Restored'
By Ashleigh Wallace
The campaign for a community arts centre in Londonderry to be crowned regional
winner of the BBC Restoration programme was given a boost today, thanks to
Northern Ireland's most famous actor.
Stage and screen actor Kenneth Branagh has lent his support to The Playhouse -
situated in Derry city centre - which is one of three properties in Northern
Ireland competing in the regional heat of the BBC2 programme.
The regional final is due to be broadcast at 9pm this Sunday and the local
winner will go on to compete against buildings from other regions across the UK
in the grand final being held next month.
Earlier today actor Kenneth Branagh threw his weight behind the art centre's
bid, sending a message of supporting saying "Your Playhouse needs you! Please
Situated beside Derry's historic walls, the award-winning community arts centre
features a theatre, dance space, gallery and resource centre and is home to 18
culture and arts organisations.
It is based in two B1 listed buildings which are well used and much loved, but
which are in need of urgent attention to ensure the future of the organisation.
Pauline Ross, director of The Playhouse said: "We have been overwhelmed by the
level of support we have received during our BBC Restoration campaign and for
Ken to take time out of his busy schedule to get behind The Playhouse is just
Two other local properties are competing against the Playhouse. They are Armagh
Gaol and the Lock-keeper's Cottage in Newforge.
Members of the public were today invited to join the campaign team this Sunday,
when the regional final will be broadcast live in the Playhouse on a big screen.
Voting lines open at 2am on Sunday and close at midnight the following day. The
regional winner will be announced next Tuesday.
Those wishing to vote for the Playhouse can do so by calling 090 1133 2222.
Further information on the Playhouse is available by visiting
Still on the "lending support" front, this is from the Wimbeldon Guardian:
Big Names March to the Polka Beat
On the literary front again, Faber & Faber publishers has confirmed that the biography of Kenneth Branagh being written by Dr. Mark White will be released on 15 September 2005, rather than this fall. Guy Rose, Dr, White's literary agent commented thus: "It does seem a long way off, but it will be an outstandingly well researched biography and, while not an official one, still has KB's
A glittering cast of celebrities, including big names from stage and
screen, have joined the Polka Theatre as patrons.
The 12 new patrons have joined the children's theatre just in time to
help it celebrate 25 years in its specially-designed building.
The unique theatre was officially opened by the Queen Mother in November
1979, and since then millions of children have been introduced to
As well as two performance spaces it also features a playground, caf,
toy shop and exhibition areas.
The new patrons are Helen Baxendale, Kenneth Branagh, Gyles Brandreth,
Sophie Dahl, Jerry Hall, Joanna Lumley, Sir Trevor McDonald, Virginia
McKenna, culture minister Chris Smith, Zoe Wanamaker, June Whitfield and
They join the current patrons Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Sir Ken Robinson and
Polka's birthday season sees the premiere of "The Playground", the debut
play by multi-award-winning novelist Beverley Naidoo.
Commissioned and developed by Polka, "The Playground" is set in
post-apartheid South Africa and tells the story of Rosa, the first black
child to enter a formerly whites-only school.
Polka's 2004 Christmas productions are the Roald Dahl classic "James and
the Giant Peach", and for younger children, "The Snow Baby", based on a
short story by Terry Jones.
Toga party! Here's a snippet from the Contra Costa Times:
CRONKITE'S REACTION: Up at Monte Rio on the Russian River, meanwhile,
the rich and powerful recently concluded their annual summer campout at
the rustic Bohemian Grove.
If you look up Bohemian Grove on Google you fall into conspiracy sites (chortle), but one can only hope these power-brokers choose to support "kultchah" (in the form of As You Like It, maybe?) while they "run the world". :-)
Spies inside the Grove tell me that actor Kenneth Branagh gave a talk on
performing Shakespeare for modern audiences, and "right-stuff" guy Chuck
Yeager spoke about the history of flight.
I would have loved to see the Bohos' annual "low-jinks" show this year,
especially -- you read it here first -- the unlikely duet of Henry
Kissinger and Sylvester Stallone teaming up to sing Sam and Dave's R&B
classic, "Soul Man."
This year's Grove get-together coincided with the 35th anniversary of
the first moon landing.
So, my inside Grove source tells me, when one Grove employee spotted
"America's most trusted man," retired CBS-TV anchor Walter Cronkite,
tooling around the woods in a "personal mobility vehicle," he decided
that since it was the anniversary day, asking Cronkite about the
historic Neil Armstrong landing would be a good ice-breaker.
"The guy," my source says, "told Cronkite, who'd anchored CBS' coverage
in 1969, that he'd heard that that we really didn't land on the moon."
Cronkite didn't say a word. He just turned his scooter around and drove
My Grove source said he told the shunned employee, "He probably thought
you were either a nut job, or that you'd spent too much time listening
to Art Bell on the radio."
Cronkite did the right thing.
Looking for a bit of fun? Try Spot the Hamlet on the site of one Jasper Fforde, author. You'll recognise at least one of the Hamlets, I guarantee!
Almost finally (we'll end with photos, of course), if you'd like to participate in this year's Birthday Fundraising Project (and promise not to breathe a word to Kenneth Branagh) you can get information from Jude Tessel. I'll have some information on how UAYD put last year's fundraising results to good use next time.
Two new images from past events to end this update: Looking golden at the Golden Quill Award ceremony and At the Evening Standard Awards: "You talkin' to me?"
I'll be back sooner next time!
(8 August, thanks Jude, Jane, Marie, Jacqui, Nadine)
Hi Kenites! I have been extremely AWOL (having had the most fabulous time in Liverpool and near and farther environs and trying to hang on to the feeling), but it's time to report such news as there is... The news from the first half of 2004 (where does the time go!) has moved to the archive.
Presumably the Month in the Country screening went well - a note that Kenneth sent to Glyn Watkins has been posted on his website.
Charity news snippets:
News from the Motor Neurone Disease Foundation:
Film Star Boost for Charity Meeting
And this from the Wallace & Gromit Children's Foundation:
Hollywood actor/director Kenneth Branagh will be attending the Motor
Neurone Disease (MND) Association's first ever charity race evening at
Newbury on July 1.
Branagh has supported the MND Association and its work since he starred
in 'The Theory of Flight' with Helena Bonham-Carter, who played a woman
with motor neurone disease.
The charity's 25th anniversary will be commemorated at the meeting,
which includes several sponsored races and an auction.
Former top trainer Peter Walwyn said: "The Newbury evening is a
wonderful way to mark the MND Association's silver jubilee.
"The Association has achieved a remarkable amount in the past 25 years
but there is always more that can be done.
"We are delighted that so many people have chosen to support this very
Wrong Trousers Help Ill Children
DVD news: Schneiders 2nd Stage is part of the German DVD release "Shocking Shorts 2 - Die 13 neue gefährliche Kurzfilme" (13 New Dangerous Short Films), which came out July 1st. The film is in its original English version and includes a director's commentary by Phil Stoole. You can order it from Amazon.de.
Get Your Wrong Trousers on for Wallace and Gromit!
Wrong Trousers Day on Friday, July 2, is organised by Wallace & Gromit
Children's Foundation and supported by Aardman, the Oscar-winning studio
behind the popular animated characters Wallace and Gromit. The foundation raises funds to improve the quality of life of sick children
in hospitals and hospices all over the UK.
On Wrong Trousers Day, we hope to see as many schoolchildren, workers and
members of the public in their "wrong trousers", paying just £1 for the
right to be "wrong"!
Tesco, Warburtons, GlaxoSmithLine, The Woolwich and Barclays Bank employees
have already promised to throw aside their regular trousers and go to work
in Bermuda Shorts, pyjamas, breeches, jodhpurs, bloomers, hotpants,
lederhosen, plus fours or just jeans - all in the name of charity!
To find out more about Wrong Trousers Day on July 2, call the hotline: 0845
600 1924 for a free fundraising pack or go to www.wrongtrousersday.org
On behalf of Wallace & Gromit's Wrong Trousers Day
Premier PR Berwick Street, London
And that is about it... so in lieu of real news, here are a couple of quotes relating to Kenneth... first, from a recent Sunday Times interview with Robert De Niro:
"I like having fun on a film set, but some people think I always take it deadly seriously. I had some great times with Ken Branagh on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, particularly when my character of the Creature had to roll around on the floor. We used gallons of K-Y jelly and I could hardly focus. We just fell about laughing."
And, from Songs My Mother Taught Me, the autobiography of the sadly departed great Marlon Brando:
"The evolution of English theatre came to full flower in Kenneth Branagh's
production of Henry V. He did not injure language; he showed a reverence
for it, and followed Shakespeare's instructions [to the Players] precisely.
It was an extraordinary accomplishment of melding the realities of human
behavior with the poetry of language. I can't image Shakespeare being
performed with more refinement. In America we are unable to approach such
refinements, and of course have no taste for it. If given the choice
between Branagh's production of Henry V or Arnold Schwarzenegger's The
Terminator, there's hardly a question of where most television dials would
be turned. If the expenditure of money for entertainment in America is any
indication of taste, clearly the majority of us are addicted to trash."
Finally, two photos from the RSC production of Hamlet: Hamlet unmoved by his mother #1 and Hamlet unmoved by his mother #2.
(3 July, thanks Jude, Jane, Karen, Marie, Stephan, Catherine, Virginia, Nadine)