Want the news as soon as it comes in? Join Ken-Friends, the Kenneth Branagh Mailing List, which has spies in every corner of the globe... ;-). And if you have a bit of news or info yourself, let me know. This includes any "chance" encounters you might have with our Ken (on the street, in a restaurant, outside his home as you're being dragged away by security), but if you're stalking him, I don't wanna know...

 
 
Happy Birthday to Kenneth Branagh!! (It's already the day where he is.)

Just a few articles to let you know I am still here. They are all follow-ups to the Cinderella trailer release, which had break-the-internet numbers of views (well, almost). You can read them here, here, here and here. There is another article here with links to an online interview which I will link up separately the next time.

Back soon, I hope.
(9 December, thanks Jude)


So the official Cinderella trailer is out! You can see it here. There are also a number of official photos, which I will put up soon. For the moment, a couple of articles linked to the trailer launch are available here and here.

More soon!
(23 November, thanks Lyn, Pat, Nancy)


Ken-Friends! A blink-of-the-eye teaser for Cinderella has been released and you can find a link to it from this article. Apparently a longer trailer will be released tomorrow - stay tuned!

Also, a few words from Ken about Cinderella, courtesy of Baz, here.

There will be more (plus I have about 6 months of catching up to do...), so - hopefully - till soon!
(18 November, thanks Lyn, Jude)


Greetings Kenians! I am actually not dead, my absence here notwithstanding. It's still the day job ruling the roost, alas, but I hope for better times.

Just a couple of quick things: Wallander is coming back and you can read three (very similar) articles here, here, and here. You can also visit Ian Bolton's Branagh's Wallander website.

The other thing I have for you - to keep the spirits up and beg forgiveness for being AWOL - are some photos: at the Macbeth After Party, at the 68th Annual Tony Awards and at the BGC Global Charity Day.

I will try to be back soon!
(2 November, thanks Lyn, Jane, Ian, Emma)


So, back after eons, as usual (blame the day job, alas). Random bits and bobs...

Excerpted from Stage Views: "Chicago Fire" and Becket Star Yuri Sardarov On Kenneth Branagh, Patrick Stewart and More by Andrew Gans:

What production are you most excited to see?
I'm currently struggling to find sensibly priced tickets to Branagh's Macbeth. I just can't get over the fact that this is his New York debut. Get out of here! He's Kenneth Branagh. The closest living embodiment of Shakespeare himself. If only someone had an extra... Can I post my number in this thing?
LOL! Hope he got a ticket! And, excerpted from Shakespeare's Bloody Problem: Why the Tragedies Almost Never Work Anymore by Jesse Green:
On the other hand, I have seen two Macbeths that managed to keep their balance. One—the National Theatre of Scotland version with Alan Cumming that played on Broadway last year—did so by setting the entire play within the fevered mind of a mental patient. (The murder of Macduff’s son was efficiently represented by a wee empty sweater.) Whether the result was really Macbeth is arguable, but it was coherent. The other is Branagh’s, now playing at the Park Avenue Armory. Within its theme-park trappings, it offers an integration of violence with scenic concept and dramatic development I can only compare to a modern musical. No accident that in staging the production Branagh was joined by Rob Ashford, who initially made his name as a choreographer. The violence throughout is as carefully considered, as varied in style and intensity, and as smoothly woven into the narrative as a scoreful of well-wrought (if totally unhummable) song and dances.
A blurb from the New York Daily News from the beginning of Macbeth in NYC:
'Macbeth' Gets Happy Kenneth Branagh made his New York stage debut with Alex Kingston Thursday night, as the Park Avenue Armory debuted his production of “Macbeth.” After the show, there was an intimate benefit dinner for Park Avenue Armory donors and celebrity guests, featuring sips of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 Brut Champagne with cast and crew. Guests there included the president and executive producer of the Park Avenue Armory, Rebecca Robertson; arts programmer Alex Poots; Anna Wintour; Kate Beckinsale; Willem Dafoe; Matt Bomer; Jonathan Groff; Bebe Neuwirth; Anne Hearst; Jay McInerney, and Jamie Tisch.
And a good time was had by all, I'll bet.

And - maybe something still to come... from Contact Music, 30 May 2014:

Prince Harry - Stars Back Prince Harry's Wounded Warriors Competition In New Clip

British royal Prince Harry has recruited big names including Daniel Craig, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy to make a video in support of his new sporting competition for war heroes.

In September (14), more than 400 wounded service men and women will take part in the Invictus Games, a series of competitions in London organised by the British royal in the style of America's Warrior Games.

In the new promo clip, stars including Craig, Branagh and Hardy, as well as Joss Stone, Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley, all recite William Ernest Henley's Invictus, the poem which gave the games their name, with rapper will.i.am delivering the powerful final line, "I am Invictus."

The Black Eyed Peas star adds, "This is all about using the power of sport to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation. I want to wish all the competitors the very best of luck with this inspiring event." Bond star Craig adds, "Our Armed Forces community have made huge sacrifices in recent years. Please give something back to those who give so much."

So, I have just rifled through the stuff on the virtual desk and it's daunting. There has not been much new news (thank goodness!) but having once been labelled a completist I feel an obligation to live up to that and cannot possibly do it quickly. Sooo... I will, at least, post the above for now, so you know the site is not abandoned! I will chip away at the rest whenever I am not dead from the day job (which brought to mind a site from waaaay back and I just checked and it's still there and although it will be irrelevant for most, yay for Death by Architecture, going strong since 1995!). [Apologies for the off-topic!]

(7 September, thanks Renie)


Greetings Ken fans! Needless to say, Macbeth was amazing and it was a huge privilege to be able to see it again. It conquered New York in all honesty and will no doubt be remembered for a long time.

I'm way behind as usual but have a few things, just to tide us over. There was a most excellent interview with Kenneth, and also Rob Ashford and Alex Kingston on The Charlie Rose show and you can watch it here.

A few Macbeth articles: one, two and three.

And a couple of others: an article about the Shakespeare Society's 'Playing Shakespeare' Celebration, which comes with photos; and a lovely look back by Samantha Bond, which also comes with a couple of photos.

That's where we end today. There is lots more, it will come... (not saying how soon!).
(2 July, thanks Paula, Renie, Jane, Jude, Virginia )


Hi Kenners, just before lucky me gets to go to NYC to see Macbeth, here are some reviews: Putting the Mud in “Macbeth”; Aisle View: Branagh's Monumentally Masterful Macbeth; Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston in Epic New ‘Macbeth’; 'Macbeth': Theater Review; Theater Review: Just About Everything Works (Except the Seats) in Kenneth Branagh’s 'Macbeth'; Manchester International Festival's 'Macbeth' Moves to New York and Opening Night Of Macbeth Packs The House, Raises Funds For Park Avenue Armory.

There are more and there are pictures but I am not sure they will appear here before next week. Click on the links to the original articles to see photos (mostly stunning!). I will be back!
(10 June, thanks Jude, Virginia, Renie)


A few updates: You can watch a series of short videos relating to Macbeth, with Kenneth telling you all, on the Park Avenue Armory website.

There were a few articles, in anticipation of the previews which began yesterday: here, here, here and here. There are a couple of new photos from the New York Times: one and two.

Another article, which I missed last time: Kenneth Branagh Backs Plans to Restore Alexandra Palace’s Derelict Theatre. It comes with two nice photos,one and two.

And as he will be in New York...CBS News tells us that Kenneth will be a presenter at the Tony Awards on 8 June:

SHugh Jackman will host the show for the fourth time with several stars serving as presenters, including Kevin Bacon, Matt Bomer, Wayne Brady, Zach Braff, Kenneth Branagh, Patricia Clarkson, Bradley Cooper, Fran Drescher, Clint Eastwood, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Vera Farmiga, Will Ferrell, Tony Goldwyn, Anna Gunn, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Carole King, Zachary Levi, Lucy Liu, Kate Mara, Tony nominee Audra McDonald, Leighton Meester, Alessandro Nivola, Zachary Quinto, Emmy Rossum and Liev Schreiber.
Hopefully more soon, when the Macbeth reviews turn up.
(2 June, thanks Lyn, Marilyn, Virginia)


Hi keen Kenners! How does a month go by so quickly? Macbeth opens in New York in just under two weeks! You can read a great article related to the opening. It also comes with two photos: here and here. You can watch a video of Kenneth talking about his New York debut and the complete cast list has been released, notably with Richard Coyle taking over the role of Macduff from Ray Fearon, who had a previous commitment and cannot come to NYC.

There are three new (for this site) photos from Macbeth: one, two and three.

Looking further into the future, Disney has released a first poster for Cinderella and also an "Official Teaser Trailer".

The treat of the day (week, month, year)! A fantastic, almost two hour Screen Actors Guild Foundation "Conversation with Kenneth Branagh",recorded in 2012. Make yourself comfy, get ready to be entertained and click here. Full screen advised!

Bits and bobs:
An exhibition called Shooting Shakespeare: 150 Years Of Stage Photography has been travelling around (currently in Cardiff until 8 June) and features a photo, taken by Douglas H. Jeffery, of Kenneth as Henry V, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 1984.

A comment on the radio version of Antony and Cleopatra:

Amid the brickbats thrown at the BBC for mumbling in the recent TV 'Jamaica Inn', let’s give Auntie a huge bouquet for the wonderful Radio 3 performance of 'Antony and Cleopatra' on 20 April. Kenneth Branagh, Alex Kingston and the rest of the cast gave full measure to every spell-binding word of Shakespeare’s poetry. Words do matter, but only the steam radio seems to know it.
Jane Jakeman, Oxford
What they are saying... from an interview with the excellent Canadian Shakespearean (and more) actor Colm Feore:
“I like the big things. A few years ago I did “Thor” which was directed by Kenneth Branagh. We talked a lot about the themes and stories of the movie before we shot, and realized that it was classic stuff — very much like Shakespeare. He would tell me ‘I want a little more Hamlet in the line,’ and I would understand exactly what he meant.”
And the photo finish - two magazine covers: from 2012 and from 2012.

That's it for now. Maybe one day I will get the photo gallery sorted out... (breath-holding not recommended).
(16 May, thanks Lyn, Renie, Jude, Nancy)


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 Kenneth Branagh).
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.

“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.”

Another snippet from Tom Hiddleston, from a longer article:
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.

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 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."

And from an article about the photographer Gemma Levine, her comment on a photograph she took of Kenneth:
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.

Michael Winterbottom, Ken Loach, Gillies Mackinnon and Kenneth Branagh were in this elite group.

And, from a longer article on Rob Ashford:
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.

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.

Keen Kenners - massive apologies (as usual, because of the day job, as usual) for the big gap! Here is some catch up!

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.

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."

And finally, from a longer article, some news about the next Wallander:
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

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.

From the Telegraph, 28 December 2014:
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.

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.

From an article about Carey Mulligan meeting Queen Elizabeth:
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

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”.

From the hope springs eternal department - an article about the future of Gilderoy Lockhart:
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.

Quote:
"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."

And on the same subject - from an article in The Guardian, 25 January 2014 (follow the link to listen to the audio clips):
Exclusive: JK Rowling On Harry Potter Character Gilderoy Lockhart - Audio
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.

Snippets from various video interviews have been turned into articles. Here is one, 21 January 2014:
Keira Knightley: 'Psychotic working with Kenneth Branagh'

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 be fun."

And another, excerpted from a longer interview, 6 January 2014:
Question: So what got you on the road to join the Jack Ryan family?

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.

And yet another, from a longer article, 15 January 2014
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.”

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.

From an article about cultural events in the year 2013, 28 December 2013:
THE COMEBACK

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.

In the same vein, from an article on theatre in Manchester in 2013, 27 December 2013:
Best of Manchester Theatre 2013

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.

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.

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)