Living Privately in Public

Calgary Sun, January 3, 1999
by Louis B. Hobson

Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter are lovers in real life and in The Theory of Flight

HOLLYWOOD -- For the past three years, Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter have tried to be a very private public couple.  

Though they share a home in London, they have tried to spend minimal time together in public and have generally refused to discuss their relationship.  

 Until now.  

 Branagh and Bonham Carter are starring together in the bittersweet drama The Theory of Flight that opens Friday.  

 Branagh plays an artist who has a nervous breakdown. Bonham Carter is a young woman in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's disease.  

 They fall in love when he is assigned to be her caregiver.  

 Both actors realized that if they agreed to star as screen lovers they would be forced to talk about their off-screen romance.  

 "Kenneth and I were both excited about The Theory of Flight but we were concerned that there would be more interest in us as a couple than in the film," admits Bonham Carter.  

 "Ultimately the material was too special for us to worry about a little added intrusion into our private lives."  

 Branagh and Bonham Carter met when he directed her in 1994 in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. At the time, he was married to Emma Thompson, but the marriage ended shortly after the film was released.  

 "A third party doesn't break up a relationship. It just means that you weren't meant to be," says Bonham Carter.  

 "It was very difficult for Ken and I at first. The British press was so invasive. With this project we really gave them the opportunity to be more invasive but they weren't.  

 "We were surprised and gratified," says Bonham Carter.  

 Branagh feels that "the British press has finally realized that people around the world don't wake up every morning wondering what I'm doing in my private life.  

 "I've never really felt victimized. True I've suffered my share of slings and arrows but it goes with the territory of being in the public eye.  

 "Experience helps you deal with wanted and unwanted attention.  

 "It's important for Helena and I to let people know that we weren't searching for a project to do together but that we were both moved by the eccentricity and quirkiness of The Theory of Flight.  

 "Helena and I both have very politically incorrect senses of humour. I think that's what drew us together in the first place."  

 Bonham Carter recalls that making The Theory of Flight "was unbelievably harmonious and easy. I think our own love and warmth informed the characters we're playing. It seemed so natural and effortless."  

 Everything except the love scenes that is.  

 "Love scenes are so technical that it doesn't even help to be emotionally involved with the person. It's all acting. Your emotions are never present really."  

 Though they spent the Christmas holidays at their home in London, Branagh and Bonham Carter will soon be going their separate ways.  

 Branagh will return to Los Angeles to begin work on his musical version of Shakespeare's romantic comedy Love's Labor's Lost while Bonham Carter will fly to Scotland to begin filming the comedy Women Talking Dirty.

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