Greetings Ken-Friends... more catching up! I think I may never catch up completely, but quite a lot of the floaters have been gathered up this time.
Here are a bunch of articles, some older, some recent. From 2010, Branagh's a Spur. Two oldies re-telling what Kenneth said on the Graham Norton show: one and two, and an Olympics re-run.
We have a bunch of Cinderella-related items... lightweight: one, two and three; and, with a bit more weight, reports from CinemaCon: one and two (entertaining).
And a mixed bag: read about Kenneth and Brian Blessed visiting the Guilford theatre company (and see a photo); read about Patrick Doyle and Kenneth's musical relationship; read what Kenneth and Julian Mitchell have to say about staging Another Country (and see a photo); and read about the rainmakers for Macbeth.
The ladies weigh in: more from Emma and Judi plants tongue in cheek.
Finally - a reminder that Easter Sunday (20 April) will offer us Kenneth and Alex Kingston as Antony and Cleopatra. Not to be missed!
We also have few snips from here and there...
First, from a longer article about the producer of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:
"Mace is an old-style gentleman producer," said Kenneth Branagh, who directed and also plays the
Russian villain in "Jack Ryan." "I've no doubt Mace has gotten into scraps. You don't get to where Mace
has been without being tough. He was on our set every single day. As a producer he's careful with the
dough. He has an almost puckish kind of delight, a gleeful pleasure in making movies."
Then, the reveal of Ken's selection for an anthology of poems that "move men to tears", from an article in The Guardian:
It was only after intense negotiation, for instance, that we agreed to stretch most definitions of poetry by
including an extract from a verse play (Christopher Fry's translation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, chosen by
What they are saying... from a longer article about the opera singer Lyubov Petrova:
Acting is, of course, an integral part of any operatic role and Petrova gained some invaluable experience and instruction in that department when she featured as the Queen of the Night in the 2006 film of Mozart’s opera 'The Magic Flute' directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Another snippet from Tom Hiddleston, from a longer article:
“That had a huge impact on me and I really felt I stepped up my acting after working with someone as talented as Kenneth Branagh,” says Petrova, adding that there is no time for resting on one’s laurels. “I never have the feeling that I know everything, about anything. I always try to improve. I learn from every production I take part in.”
The 33-year-old actor wasn't prepared to be catapulted to the spotlight following his role as Loki in the
'Thor' and 'Avengers' movies and insists the new found attention caught him by surprise.
And from an article about the photographer Gemma Levine, her comment on a photograph she took of Kenneth:
He added: "I never expected it. Fame is weird and amorphous and unpredictable. All acting is for an
audience. It's just that my audience now is ... quite large. At the end of the shooting 'Thor' Kenneth
Branagh took Chris Hemsworth and myself aside and said, 'In 12 months, boys, prepare yourselves!'
We were both just, 'Nah!' We couldn't imagine it."
KENNETH BRANAGH, 1988: ‘This was impossible. He was a rising star in the theatre but I had just two minutes with him backstage and had no chance to talk to him. I couldn’t get my flash to work and had to use the natural light on the back stairway. I don’t really like it, because of the ugly, unwanted shadows on the wall behind’
You can see the photo (which you will surely remember) here.
And, just for fun, a mention of a blast from the past (presumably not literally), about a possibly unexploded bomb at Elstree Studios:
“Often the sets were left behind when they were finished with, until the next film came along, so it is likely some of the props were covered over in that time.” The device could also be a prop from short 'The Dance of Shiva' (1998) which was set during the First World War and starred Kenneth Branagh.
The photo finish: photos of Ken during a Q & A event tied in with the European premiere of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
And that is it for now! If I get my wish I will make some progress with getting the photo galleries into the 21st century (in terms of the dates of the photos)... but I'm not holding my breath...
(16 April, thanks Bluefever037, Patricia, Jude, Jane, Virginia, Yvonne, Pennie, John)
A few more things, keen Kenners....
Snippets from here and there...
From a longer article about the British film industry:
According to British Film Institute (BFI) data, of the nearly 1,200 directors who made British feature films in the 20 years to 2008, 74% made one, 15% made two, just under 6% achieved three, and 2.4% made between five and nine. A mere six directors were able to put together 10 or more films.
And, from a longer article on Rob Ashford:
Michael Winterbottom, Ken Loach, Gillies Mackinnon and Kenneth Branagh were in this elite group.
He will eagerly talk about bringing "Macbeth" to the Park Avenue Armory, where Sir Kenneth Branagh will make his New York stage debut in June. "I can't wait for New York to see Ken," said Mr. Ashford, who co-directed the original bravura production for the Manchester (England) International Festival. With Mr. Branagh in the title role and Alex Kingston as his Lady, the Daily Telegraph called it "a triumph ... which will go down as one of the Scottish Play's great revivals."
From an article about the passing of actor Jimmy Ellis, who starred in the "Billy" plays in the early 1980s:
Tributes penned by a number of high profile actors were read out during the funeral service.
Keen Kenners - massive apologies (as usual, because of the day job, as usual) for the big gap! Here is some catch up!
Sir Kenneth said he would never forget his generosity to him. "He was a highly intelligent, funny and kind man, and a tremendous actor... He will be deeply missed by all his colleagues on screen and on stage," he said.
First the excellent news that Macbeth, Kenneth, and Ray Fearon were recognised at the Manchester Theatre Awards. You can read an article here and the judges' comments on the play, Kenneth and Ray.
To my horror I see that I forgot to mention (and put up) an article I formatted ages ago and which has important and excellent news: Kenneth and Alex Kingston will be reunited for a radio production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra - and it will be on in April. Read the article here, and stay tuned!.
There are a few straggler articles/videos related to Jack Ryan: video here, article here and article here.
There are three video interviews from 2011 related to Thor: here, here, and here.
And a cool Empire Online Hangout with Ken, with this intro blurb: 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' director and Shakespeare's representative on earth, Kenneth Branagh is a very interesting person indeed. So when he stopped by to talk to our very own Chris Hewitt about the director's perspective on our Jameson Done In 60 Seconds competition, quite a few of you joined in and asked him questions.
A little piece on Ken's reaction to Thor: The Dark World. A lovely article about Patrick Doyle with many mentions of Ken, and finally an article on the original staging of Another Country. It comes with a "young pup" photo which you can see here.
There are also a few bits and bobs:
From an article about Tom Hiddleston:
Additionally, Hiddleston reveals that he and fellow stage stalwart Kenneth Branagh fashioned the
onscreen persona of THOR taking from Shakespeare. "We made Loki out of Shakespearean characters," Hiddleston asserts.
And finally, from a longer article, some news about the next Wallander:
Furthermore, Hiddleston says, "We talked about King Lear with its two brothers, Macbeth with his
ambition, the way Iago spins every situation for self-interest. In every possible way, Kenneth Branagh
has been my inspiration; there is no way that I would be where I am now without him."
The BBC also has produced its own English-language version of the Wallander books. The fourth, three-episode season of the series, starring Kenneth Branagh as Wallander, is set to air on BBC later this year.
This is it for now, but I have a lot of alerts to weed through, and I have just noticed a lot of things I meant to put up earlier (aaack!) so there will be more (not to mention the glorious day when I get all the loose ends pulled in!). So, till soon!
(29 March, thanks Isabel, Jude, Emma, Jane, Bluefever037, Virginia)
Back for a moment, to give you a big list of videos and radio podcasts added to the site: Actor-director Kenneth Branagh with Tavis Smiley - Branagh and Knightley Unite on Screen - Sir Kenneth Branagh Chats to Steve Wright - The HeyUGuys Interview: Sir Kenneth Branagh talks Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - 'Jack Ryan': Keira Knightley, Chris Pine and Kenneth Branagh Interview - Front Row: Mark Lawson talks to Kenneth Branagh - Kenneth Branagh talks 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' - 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' Exclusive Interview with Kenneth Branagh, David Barron, Lorenzo Di Bonaventure - Sir Kenneth Branagh Interviewed by Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode - Kenneth Branagh: 'America Doesn't Understand Who It's Dealing With ... Perhaps Russia Likes It That way' and Kenneth Branagh on 'Skavlan'. This last one is from Swedish television, with Ken appearing at about 37 minutes - it will be available only until 27 April. You can find all these links listed on the Jack Ryan page and in the Reading Room.
There is lots more (and not just Jack Ryan stuff), and it will come!
(26 February, thanks Jude, Carla, Patricia, Renie)
Happy Valentine's Day Kenians! Back with just two additions till I get my act together again. You can now see a gallery from the Los Angeles premiere of Jack Ryan and one from the London premiere. Some Valentine-y poses with Ken and Lindsay!
It's the weekend and I really hope to add more - fingers crossed!
(14 February, thanks Lyn, Patricia, Emma, Carla, Jude)
So, some catching up... a whole bunch of snips and excerpts from here and there.
From a blog called Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs, 29 December 2013:
Missing Kenneth Branagh
From the Telegraph, 28 December 2014:
I never thought I'd miss Kenneth Branagh quite as much as I do now. Nevertheless, having
solemnly journeyed to my local Shiny Multiplex Enormodome to see the 'Walking With
Dinosaurs' movie, it's the slightly over-earnest tones of thespian Kenny that I long for. For
you see - and forgive me if you've heard this already - WWD 3D features dinosaurs that
talk. And talk. And talk.
Only slowly are those who were happy simply to enjoy the shows starting to comprehend
the scale of the achievement. “Morecambe & Wise,” says Sir Kenneth Branagh, who
directed a play about the pair in 2001, “hijacked the country’s Christmas, but it was a
beautiful bit of hijacking.”
From an article
about a report on British TV tourism:
The report and newly published case studies highlight the benefits of screen tourism,
including examples such as Ystad in Sweden, which has seen a dramatic increase in non-Scandinavian tourists since the broadcast of 'Wallander', starring Kenneth Branagh. The British adaptation, which first aired on BBC One in 2008, is credited with directly contributing to an 18 percent rise in British tourists in 2009.
And speaking of Wallander, the Hollywood Reporter reports:
The BBC also has produced its own English-language version of the Wallander books.
The fourth, three-episode season of the series, starring Kenneth Branagh as Wallander, is
set to air on BBC later this year.
From an article about Carey Mulligan meeting Queen Elizabeth:
The third season of the Swedish Wallander, which features six 90-minute episodes, is
based on Mankell's last novel, 'The Troubled Man', and other original stories. Swedish
production company Yellow Bird Entertainment is producing, with parent company Zodiak
Media handling international sales.
The booze failed to calm her nerves and she turned to actor/director Kenneth Branagh,
who was also a castle guest, and asked him for a last-minute etiquette lesson. She adds, "He's, like, practically related to them (royal family) and I said, 'Kenneth Branagh, what do I do?' and Kenneth Branagh taught me how to curtsy. It was a very brief lesson but he made me feel very comfortable."
From an article about actors who have played the role of Henry V, 6 December 2013:
Kenneth Branagh, RSC, 1984
From the hope springs eternal department - an article about the future of Gilderoy Lockhart:
In 1984, Kenneth Branagh became, at 24, the youngest actor in the history of the Royal
Shakespeare Company to play Henry V. Five years later, he adapted it into a successful
film, which starred three other actors, Ian Holm, Derek Jacobi and Michael Williams, who
had all played Henry on the stage. Branagh said in 1998 that he chose to respond to the
character’s doubt early on, to “the caution, the nervousness, the youth and the guilt”. He
would go on to say it was about the “personal journey of an individual who was growing into
what was required of a statesman”.
Sir Kenneth Branagh, who played Gilderoy Lockhart in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of
Secrets', was recently asked if he would take part in the 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to
Find Them' films for which J.K. Rowling is writing the script. Branagh was promoting his
new film 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit', which will be out later this month.
And on the same subject - from an article in The Guardian, 25 January 2014 (follow the link to listen to the audio clips):
"If they could use really interesting techniques to make me look a little younger, like, about
100 years younger, that would maybe be a good thing," the 53-year-old said with a
chuckle. "It will be fascinating to see how that works out."
Branagh, like the rest of us, is in the dark when it comes to Rowling's script. But if duty
calls, he says, "they have my number."
Exclusive: JK Rowling On Harry Potter Character Gilderoy Lockhart - Audio
Snippets from various video interviews have been turned into articles. Here is one, 21 January 2014:
Listen to JK Rowling spill the beans about one of the most colourful characters from the Harry Potter books – Gilderoy Lockhart
At 'A Celebration of Harry Potter' at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, JK Rowling spilled the beans about one of the most colourful characters from the Harry Potter books – Gilderoy Lockhart.
She revealed that the vain one-time defence against the dark arts teacher, who is played by Kenneth Branagh in the films, celebrates his birthday tomorrow, on 26 January, and she recorded three short audio clips for Pottermore.com – the digital platform for the Harry Potter stories and the world described within them - which we are exclusively showcasing here.
In the three clips, JK Rowling discusses her flamboyant creation's family background, a failed business idea and where the Sorting Hat nearly put him during his time at Hogwarts. The clips show her mischievous sense of humour, and a penchant for poking fun at the excesses of celebrity.
Keira Knightley: 'Psychotic working with Kenneth Branagh'
And another, excerpted from a longer interview, 6 January 2014:
Keira Knightley says working with Kenneth Branagh on 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' was
"psychotic". The 28-year-old actress plays male lead Jack Ryan's fiance Cathy Muller in the
forthcoming film and was thrilled to work with the 53-year-old "actor/director" who played a
veteran of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Viktor Cherevin, while he simultaneously
controlled the artistic and dramatic aspects of the picture.
Talking to BANG Showbiz at the European premiere of the film at the Vue cinema in
London's Leicester Square, she said: "It was completely psychotic! I just wanted to see
how it's done, because I've never worked with an actor/director before, and it's mad!
There's another scene where he kidnapped me and he's being pretty horrific. He's
screaming in my ear and threatening to kill me and all of a sudden he goes, 'OK, and cut!
And thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.' Suddenly he was this lovely Ken again. That's mad!"
"The major reason to do this was to work with him, so being in a scene like that where it's
just him and we're around a dinner table - and he's directing it as well - it's just fascinating."
Knightley - who has recently starred in 2012's romantic drama 'Anna Karenina' and 2011's
historical film 'A Dangerous Method' - was enthralled by the script and was excited about
accepting the project when she knew Branagh would be working alongside her.
She added: "I couldn't put it down. I think that's important with a thriller. I think I've done one
other thriller, but not for a very, very long time. They're difficult to do because you need a
proper storyteller to do them and Ken Branagh is a proper storyteller, so I thought this could
Question: So what got you on the road to join the Jack Ryan family?
And yet another, from a longer article, 15 January 2014
Costner: I don’t really know what is going to happen with this thing. I have a tendency to make one movie at a time, I always have. I wanted to work with Kenneth, I wasn’t thinking far down the road because you never know, about the time you get caught doing that, the franchise doesn’t work out or something like that. I tend to do one at a time and see if people like it, that’s really what you have to do. I think it’s okay to look — I think that’s what executives do, they look down the line, and I think you need to keep your eye on the ball and see what that can be.
Question: Working with Kenneth was one of the attractions, you said?
Costner: It is! It’s really good, he’s very thoughtful. He makes a point like a coach sometimes. Maybe even if you’re not very good he says, “You were really good!” as opposed to directors who just go, “Jesus!” And you walk home and think, “Aren’t you going to say something about today?” You know, Kenneth makes a real point to say, “It was good,” he writes you a little note. It’s nice, actually, it’s kind of thoughtful if you get down to it. He’ll say, “It was very smart today, it had a good crackle to it,” or something like that. And I look at him and I’m thinking, “Really?” I just love that he’s that way, and I like a director who’s enthused, and then when he turns around and looks at somebody he says, “I’m going to have to fix it with a scissors.”
Question: You have something in common with him in that you’re both actor/directors who have done movies where you’re also acting. As a director he kind of shies away from acting in his own movies but he’s doing that again. Have you had scenes with him so far?
Costner: No, no, and I won’t, either. I mean, we met each other when we were both very young, when he had just had his big success with…um, him and Emma when they did that big movie, it’s slipping my mind for a second. He came to Los Angeles, I had him over to my house, and so we’ve been very familiar with each other but not pen pals, not phone calls or anything like that. He asked me two or three years later to do a “Dead Man” something, Andy Garcia ended up doing it actually. I said at that point that it didn’t speak to me at all, I didn’t think so, but I’ve always been fond of watching what he’s up to because he’s really a classic actor and that was probably the single biggest reason why I did this.
Question: So did this film speak to you more than that film?
Costner: Actually, not really, it was Kenneth! I thought he has his mind on how this is going to work so I thought well, let’s just see.
In fact, [Costner] compares his performance in 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' to Sean Connery’s in
'The Untouchables', in which Costner starred. “The smarter directors do this all the time,” Costner said. “They have a supporting role and they put a leading man in it.”
From an article about cultural events in the year 2013, 28 December 2013:
Certainly, Branagh was enthusiastically supportive of hiring the actor, director and
producer who was part of the team that won seven Oscars for 'Dancing with Wolves'. “I was
so grateful to have a master director on set,” Branagh said.
And Costner said he prides himself on being a collaborator. It turned out to be an easy
thing to do for all involved during the shoot in New York, London and Moscow.
Apparently, Branagh, Pine, Knightley and Costner share the same approach and the same
attitude about getting their jobs done. “I like to work with people who are very specific and they were,” Costner said. They understood the new film had to update the Clancy story without diminishing the
attraction of the series that has spawned 13 bestsellers.
In the same vein, from an article on theatre in Manchester in 2013, 27 December 2013:
Kenneth Branagh back on stage after more than a decade to dig deep into the heart of the
darkness of Macbeth, staging it in the aisle of a dimly lit church in Manchester. A thrilling,
chilling production with an old-fashioned grandeur, filmic fluency and hurtling pace.
Best of Manchester Theatre 2013
And while we are revisiting Macbeth, the production has numerous nominations, including Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, for the 2013 Manchester Theatre Awards. See the whole list here.
The Manchester International Festival put our city on the global cultural map with a splendid
array of talent making the choice almost impossible. But, after much debate, our Best Production winner had to be the electrifying 'Macbeth' starring Kenneth Branagh, who co-directed it with Rob Ashford, in the newly refurbished St. Peter’s Church in Ancoats – now home of The Hallé.
Finally, something I somehow managed to miss in May 2012 (!)...
Kenneth Branagh: Big Questions from Bafta Guru.
You will find a number of new articles in the Reading Room. There is a lot more: lots of video interviews for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and the photos from the premieres, but they will come during the next week.
(2 February, thanks Isabel, Carla, Patricia)
Greetings keen Ken-ners! I have added a cartload of new articles, pretty much all relating to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, as well as links to videos. Listing them as I usually do would simply give you a long list of "here"s, so you can either go to the Jack Ryan page and try to remember what you have already read before and then check out the new ones - or you can go to the Reading Room and find them with a "new" flag. There is a fair amount of repetition (understatement!) but now and then someone managed to get a little extra, like here.
I still have videos to link, as well as the photos from the premieres. If I were a monk in a cell this would happen faster (or I'd be copying them out and adding illuminations, which might slow things down more, hahaha), but I will try to do it as soon as possible. Stay tuned!
(22 January, thanks Jude, Emma, Carla, Lyn, Isabel)
Hi again... The July to December 2013 news has moved to the archive.
We have articles, lots of Jack Ryan articles... read them here; here, here, here, here, here - great photo with this one here, here, here, here, here, and here. Or just go to the Jack Ryan page or the Reading Room to see them in a nice list.
Two more photos added to the Jack Ryan on set gallery: here and here.
There will be more soon!
(14 January, thanks Lyn, Emma, Jude)
Happy New Year Kenians! I've been plotting this update since last year (ha!), sorry it's so late! It is also only partial because if I wait till every article, etc. is ready it will be next year.
The main news is that the Jack Ryan promotion machine is in full swing and you will be seeing Kenneth with Ellen Degeneres (9 January), Travis Smiley (13 January), Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Kimmel (both 15 January). I am not entirely sure that these are the correct dates, so "check local listings".
Kenneth will also be attending the Hollywood Reporter Power Lunch tomorrow and will be the main attraction at an "Evening With..." donor event at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on 14 January.
There have been lots of articles and here are a couple: one and two. There are lots more and they will come over the next few days.
There is a new poster featuring Kenneth and there are a couple of new set photos: here and here.
One last thing for today, an older article related to Macbeth.
That's it for now - more soon, I hope!
(7 January, thanks Jude)