Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench To Star As Shakespeare and Wife In Oscar-tipped Film
Veteran Shakespearean Actors Perform – Alongside Ian McKellen – in Tale of the Playwright’s Final Years 'All Is True', directed by Branagh from Script by Ben Elton
The Guardian, 1 November 2018
A late contender to next year’s Oscar race was announced on Wednesday, as Sony Pictures confirmed their purchase of 'All Is True', Kenneth Branagh’s latest Shakespearean enterprise.
The film, which will have a one-week awards-qualifying run in the US before the end of this year, before being released more widely in 2019, stars Branagh as Shakespeare and Dench as his wife, Anne Hathaway. The plot involves Shakespeare’s return to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613 after a devastating fire destroys the Globe theatre.
The film reportedly examines their by-then troubled marriage, and their grief at the death of their only son, Hamnet. Shakespeare died three years later, aged 52; Hathaway in 1623, aged 67.
Branagh directs, from a script by Ben Elton. Ian McKellen co-stars as the Earl of Southampton, to whom Shakespeare dedicated his two narrative poems, and who has frequently been identified as the “Fair Youth” of his sonnets.
Branagh, 57, has directed and starred in multiple big screen adaptations of Shakespeare plays, including 'Henry V' (1989), 'Much Ado About Nothing' (1992), 'Hamlet' (1996), 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' (2000) and 'As You Like It' (2006). Last Christmas he directed and starred as Hercule Poirot in a new version of 'Murder On the Orient Express'; a followup, 'Death On the Nile', is currently in pre-production.
Dench, 83, last acted opposite Branagh on stage in a 2015 production of 'The Winter’s Tale', and also featured in his films of 'Hamlet' and 'Henry V' – and 'Murder on the Orient Express'. Her previous on-screen bard outings include Peter Hall’s 1968 film of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', a 1979 TV movie of 'Macbeth' (opposite McKellen), and a 1978 TV movie of 'The Comedy of Errors'.
She also stars in the Branagh-directed 'Artemis Fowl', scheduled for release in August 2019.