Kenneth Branagh Homes In On New Movie About Belfast

Belfast Telegraph, 17 November 2020

Kenneth Branagh was determined to make a film about Belfast, set in Belfast and even called Belfast because the city had such an impact on his life and career.

Describing it as "autofictional" rather than "autobiographical", the 59-year-old wrote and directed the movie which follows him as a young boy and the struggle of his parents trying to decide whether to leave Northern Ireland for a new life and escape the Troubles.

He explained: "It's a very personal film. It's partly in Belfast partly elsewhere. It's partly set in the past and partly in the present. I hope that it's humorous and I hope it's emotional - it's to some extent a look at people and a place in tumult through the eyes of a nine-year-old movie-mad kid. The judgment says 'give me the boy till seven I'll show you the man'. I think the imprint of who we become is so strongly forged you know in our early years."

Kenneth, who has been described as one of the world's greatest actors, grew up in Tiger's Bay in north Belfast before moving to Reading aged nine. He says the experiences as a child here is what shaped him into following a career as an actor and director.

"My experience of Belfast was to be a part of a large extended family, one that lived nearby each other. In terms of television, we had three channels in black and white," he added. "We listened to the radio extensively, we played records extensively and we went to see films extensively and when we weren't doing that, we visited each other, and the street lights the family life.

"So, a lot of that shaped not only what I saw. What I remembered what made me laugh. What made me, what moved me was absolutely straight out of Belfast both the experience of the place, and the things that we could do and see together."

The film which is set in the 1960s and stars Jamie Dornan and Caitrona Balfe, who will play Kenneth's parents, while Dame Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds will take on the roles of his grandparents. The actor is most excited about how differently they portray his family on screen.

He added: "You already realise that we have our own view of things, very personal view of things so that includes the way we're gonna remember people and the way we remember things so the process of putting something like this together is to see what Jamie Dornan brings to the role of the Father here and what Caitrona does and you know as soon as they start to do it he gets transmuted in a good way, it gets a little further away from you into the world."

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