Kevin Makes Spacey For Ken at the Old Vic As Branagh Becomes Favourite to Take Over Theatre

Daily Mail, 11 July 2013
By Baz Bamigboye
* Thanks Jules

Theatrical knight Kenneth Branagh is the most formidable of likely contenders to inherit the Old Vic crown when Kevin Spacey steps down.

Spacey is due to leave the Old Vic where he has been artistic director since April 2003, though he will remain as an associate and continue to regard the Old Vic as his London performing home.

Branagh, award-winning classically-trained stage actor, screen star and director, would be a perfect successor to Oscar-winning Spacey.

The actor couldn’t be any hotter now, what with the dazzling acclaim his take on the Scottish play has received at the Manchester International Festival — Branagh takes the lead as Macbeth, as well as directing with Rob Ashford.

However, he won’t be able to simply walk into the role at the celebrated theatre in Waterloo. The Old Vic board, led by Sally Greene, met on Wednesday and voted to appoint theatre consultant Sue Storr to lead the ‘transparent succession process’ to identify Spacey’s replacement.

Storr oversaw a similar task at the Royal Court where the dynamic Vicky Featherstone is well installed following Dominic Cooke’s brilliant term.

The Old Vic’s selection panel will hardly be able to ignore what Branagh could bring to the party.

Back in the Eighties he and David Parfitt founded the Renaissance Theatre Company which, like the Old Vic, was funded by private means and received no subsidy. Branagh totally understands how vital fund-raising and development is.

Greene and her fellow board members at the Old Vic covet someone like Branagh because he would be a magnet for benefactors. The royals like him, too.

However, as I said, he hasn’t got the job yet and, in any case, Spacey won’t leave until after his 11th season. His successor will start in September 2015 — which would suit Branagh who has a busy sideline directing Hollywood movies.

'Thor' made megabucks at the box office. He then directed Chris Pine and Keira Knightley in the thriller 'Jack Ryan', which he has to do additional shooting on once 'Macbeth' ends. Then he goes straight into filming 'Cinderella' with Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James and Holliday Grainger.

A spokeswoman for the Old Vic commented that there would be ‘much speculation about names’ adding that ‘the process is only now formally beginning’.

Branagh’s representative noted that she had not been in contact with him due to his work in Manchester.

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