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...

  Sincere apologies from me for the thinness of coverage of Kenneth Branagh's activities during these last few months (and a couple of years before that). Entirely my fault but I'm hoping to not go down without a fight, hahaha. We'll see...

In the meantime, at Queens University Belfast there will be a symposium on Kenneth's career: Kenneth Branagh, Renaissance Man? A symposium. If anyone is in the vicinity I am sure it would be interesting to attend.

Meanwhile, I will try to be less AWOL. Thankfully there is lots of alternative access to "Ken stuff", contrary to the early days of the Compendium when Ngoc kept us alive by scouring the 'net!

(13 June, thanks Sarah, Jude)

  Wooo hooo!! FINALLY the Academy has woken up and handed Kenneth Branagh the Oscar he deserves (there were many earlier nominations which he also deserved)! The award is for Best Original Screenplay. I have listed a few of the awards garnered to date on the Belfast page (which is still awaiting a ton of links to articles). There is a Wikipedia entry for "List of accolades received by Belfast (film)" which is quite amazing (kudos to those maintaining that list!) - visit here.

(30 March, thanks to all the Ken-Friends)

  Have added a few articles regarding Belfast - the coverage is still wall-to-wall and I will add more. Probably not very efficiently but hopefully "slow and steady wins the race"!

(2 March, thanks Ngoc, Renie, Jude)

  Have managed to add a few articles regarding Belfast - the amount of coverage is amazing, also in terms of video (which you can easily find on Youtube, though a few especially good ones are linked on the Belfast page). I think there will be quite a few more.

For the moment I am not doing anything with regard to images as they seem to be everywhere and easy to find, and I have not, so far, accomplished my desire to organise the ones already on the Compendium.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that I also questioned the point of "re-capturing" the text of the written articles, given that they "were all available online and linked as such". So I did a little experiment and discovered that many of the links to the original article did not work.. perhaps the address had changed, or the article had not been kept. So, the Compendium transcript is all we got!! :-D I still have about five articles, already in the Reading Room which will be transcribed soon.

So the catch-up of bits of missed news and links to articles and videos will continue, I hope. Continued happy surfing in the interim!

(19 February, thanks Ngoc, Jude, Emma, Renie, Karen, Isabel)

  So nominations for awards and prizes have been rolling in. Eventually they will all be listed but I will list the wonderful cartload which has arrived today for the Oscars:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Original Screenplay
Best Sound
Best Original Song - Down to Joy
Best Supporting Actress - Judi Dench
Best Supporting Actor - Ciaran Hinds

There will be a catch-up (slow, alas) of bits of missed news and links to articles and videos. Happy surfing in the interim!

(8 February, thanks Ngoc, Jude, Emma)

  Happy New Year to everyone! Just back to very quickly point you to the great news about the Ken-Friends 2021 fundraising. Read all about it, including a message from Kenneth Branagh here. I'll be back again!

(5 January, thanks Jude and Jane)

  A special note : ALAS, I am not entirely well and this has detoured me from properly keeping up with the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING amount of news related to Belfast. I am trying to gather all/most of the good bits and I do plan to catch up. Given how the internet has developed since the mid-90s an old site like the Compendium functions mainly as a kind of archive and memory of times past.

Hopefully I'll be puttering around relatively regularly! In the meantime we can all wallow in the tons of ongoing Belfast coverage!

(21 November)

  Things are heating up for Belfast. Wonderful reviews from all around. And random information like this from the Los Angeles Times:

The movie that landed with this group [audiences at Telluride] was Kenneth Branagh’s nostalgic memory piece “Belfast,” the sweetest movie about the Troubles ever made. It’s the kind of film that used to be irresistible to the old academy — and still might be.

No movie screened more often at Telluride than “Belfast,” with Branagh and star Jamie Dornan making the rounds, expressing gratitude about the ability to show the movie in theaters packed to capacity. “It’s restorative,” Branagh told me Sunday, expressing the hope that Telluride’s success indicates we’re “inching toward a new normal.”

And from Chicago : Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rebecca Hall Are Scheduled to Visit the 57th Chicago International Film Festival Oct. 13-24. Branagh is the subject of a festival tribute."

Meanwhile, more viewing options are appearing : Mill Valley Festival Tribute programs include Emmy and BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh who will receive the Mill Valley Film Festival Award.

The above was written a while ago - with my apologies for not getting it online earlier (you don't wanna know) - but now, thanks to Ngoc, Renie and Jude, there is a "Master List" which will help you to dig up all the goods on the many showings of Belfast and appearances of the cast and/or director. Enjoy! Eventually most of the goods will end up on the site... (she says optimistically).

(19 October, thanks Jude, Ngoc, Renie)

  In the interim (before the Toronto International Film Festival) Belfast has been shown at the Telluride Film Festival and you can read a couple of articles here, as well as see the poster and the trailer.

There will be more!

(5 September, thanks Ngoc, Jude, Evelyn, Linda, Sarah, Gracie, Renie)

  And this time.... good news!. You can read the production notes for Belfast here!

Belfast will be showing at the Toronto International Film Festival.

I hope to be back with more news/information soon!

(28 August, thanks Ngoc, Jude, Renie)

  Unfortunately.... bad news! "Due to an increasing number of Covid-enforced absences, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company/Fiery Angel Production of The Browning Version at Riverside Studios has had to be cancelled." You can get more information from the KBTC website.

Hopefully back with better news soon!

(20 July, thanks Emma, Ngoc, Jude)

  BIG NEWS! Kennth Branagh will be returning to the stage this summer! He will be joined by RADA graduates in The Browning Version, from 5 to 29 August at Riverside Studios. Tickets went on sale today and I'm sure they'll fly - so hopefully you're not just reading this now.

You can read an article here. I'm sure there will be others...

Hopefully back with more soon!

(21 June, thanks Jude)

  Greetings Ken-keeners! I have added a few articles in the Reading Room.

And here is a bit of catch-up...

From Directors on Directors: Filmmakers Analyze 2020 Favorites in Variety, 4 February 2020:

The Father
Directed by Florian Zeller
Essay by Kenneth Branagh

Florian Zeller makes a mesmeric directorial debut with “The Father.” As anyone who saw his play from which it is evolved can testify, there was already a powerful theatrical experience at work. How to make such theatrical brilliance cinematic? Firstly, he trusts his story. Its immediacy, its humanity and the raw recognition it offers to so many audiences.

And then, he trusts his characters. He has two acting titans at the center of the film, and as a director, he clears the way for them to do their work. His visual style is spare, measured, elegant. It allows performance to be seen sharply at the center — intimate, darkly funny, ragged and deep. Zeller has a surgeon’s touch. He is delicate and precise with his cutting style, and yet it is never soulless.

It is however forensic. He invites the viewer into a cinematic puzzle, where the question of what is real, and what is not real is all-pervasive. But in his clear and uncluttered frame he also manages to induce the slow mounting panic of a story that just will not be what it appears to be. The surface of the movie is all calm and clarity, and the underneath is all mounting dread and terror. This is a discordant chamber music of the soul, and it is conducted by Zeller with exquisite tenderness and pain.

As Zeller the director, he has the smart and humble idea to get out of the way of Zeller the writer’s brilliant idea. In so doing he lets something ancient emerge from the drama. A Greek tragedy in a London apartment. Hopkins and Colman are magnificent, and their director has paid them the honor of leaving much to them. Their performances return the favor with soulful largesse. The result is an emotional thriller that wrangles with the mind, and fairly breaks the heart. Zeller the director has arrived — in triumph.

An Emmy-winning and multiple Oscar-nominated director and actor, Branagh’s films include “Hamlet,” “Thor” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Watch a short video about the directing/filming of Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit: Sir Kenneth Branagh: The Tsar of Shadow Recruit.

There will be a chance to enjoy For One Knight Only again. Here is part of the longer article in Broadway World:

FOR ONE KNIGHT ONLY Will Be Rescreened in Aid of The Royal Theatrical Fund

The event will include a new introduction from the RTF Chairwoman Samantha Bond and RTF President Robert Lindsay.

Following the success of the live Q&A in November 2020 which raised over £300,000 for Acting for Others, Lockdown Theatre today announces they will be rescreening For One Knight Only in aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund and partner organisation, the Fleabag Support Fund. Featuring an introduction from the RTF Chairwoman Samantha Bond and RTF President Robert Lindsay, the intimate Q&A stars British acting legends Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Maggie Smith hosted by Sir Kenneth Branagh.

The special evening of intimate conversation sees the acting stars discuss their careers, inspirations, and share tales about their time in the business.

The Q&A will be streamed 21 - 23 May at 7pm, and is available for on demand viewing from 28 - 31 May. Tickets are £25 and can be purchased via www.stream.theatre/season/116"

In addition, there will be one, For One Knight Only poster, signed by the cast, auctioned via The Royal Theatrical Fund's eBay: Auction ends 31 May 2021.

Otherwise no new news - though between Belfast and the future Bee Gees project, there are things to look forward to.

Hopefully back soon!

(7 May, thanks Renie)

  Super-quick - the Kenergizer is adding yet another item to the 'TO DO" list: directing a Bee Gees biopic for Paramount.

You can read about it here!

Hopefully back soon!

(13 March, thanks Pierpaolo)

  Another quickie to mention an online RADA fundraising event which will held on Friday 26 February. You can read about it and book a ticket here.

Some new articles have have been added.

Hopefully back soon!

(10 February, thanks Jude, Renie, Ngoc, Berni)

  Just a quickie to point you to the lovely message sent by Ken in his thank-you for the donation of $4,400 US, raised to celebrate his 60th birthday and support students from Northern Ireland under The William & Frances Branagh Memorial Award at the Royal Aacademy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Click here for details of this year's fundraising and the history of the Ken-Friends donations going back to 1998!

I'll be back with more soon!

(28 January, thanks Jude, Jane)

  Happy New Year all! .... as happy as it can be in these unnerving times. Thank goodness for the efforts many actors, theatres, film-makers and producers are making to keep our (and their) spirits up!

Starting with some catch-up! Lovely long interview with Ken from mid-2019 - listen here.

There are just a few new articles up at the moment (find them here, but I still have tons to post from earlier). There is also link to a behind-the-scenes feature from the making of Jack Ryan.

I am hoping to get back to more regular updates - fingers crossed!

(18 January, thanks Jude, Jules, Ngoc, Renie, Sarah)

  Before anything else, there are two events at which Kenneth Branagh will be present and which you can "attend". The first is For One Knight Only - "Sir Kenneth Branagh hosts a quatrain of Dames and Knights of the realm for an evening of intimate chat, with you as the guests". This will be on Sunday 29 November from 7 pm to 8:30 pm (UK time). Click on the link for more info and to purchase tickets.

There will also be an other event featuring Ken:  THe Nolan Variations: the Movies, Mysteries and Marvels of Christopher Nolan, "in conversation with acclaimed writer and director Kenneth Branagh". This will be on Wednesday 2 December at 12:00 PST. Click on the link to sign up for free.

One can only say that the chance to see Kenneth Branagh at these events is a slight upside to the whole mess of the pandemic.

A few other things....

Very sad news about the passing of John Sessions. You can hear a tribute from Ken on Last Word.

Here's a short notice about a new gig:

Kenneth Branagh & Olivia Cooke Voicing Animation ‘Fireheart’   From Deadline :

By Tom Grater

Kenneth Branagh (Death On The Nile), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), and William Shatner are voicing the lead characters in animated family adventure Fireheart.

Anton (Paddington) is backing the project and will unveil first footage at AFM in partnership with CAA; the pic has sold out internationally. eOne has key rights for Australia, UK, Germany, Spain, Benelux and Canada.

Set in New York in the roaring twenties, Fireheart tells the story of a young girl aspiring to be the world’s first female firefighter who, refusing to let others define her, heroically fights for her dream.

A random old news bit... You can listen to a snippet of the audiobook: Death on the Nile | Kenneth Branagh Reads the Hercule Poirot Story

Listen to an extract from the all new digital audio edition of 'Death on the Nile' narrated by Kenneth Branagh, director and star of 20th Century Studios’ upcoming 'Death on the Nile' feature film, in cinemas this October. In this famous Agatha Christie mystery, Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian adventure aboard a glamorous river steamer descends into a terrifying search for a murderer, with enough twists and turns to keep you unsettled and guessing until the final, shocking discovery. Kenneth Branagh reprises both his directorial role and that of the iconic detective in the upcoming film adaptation of 'Death on the Nile'. Listen to the book this summer, and see the thrilling mystery come to life on the big screen this December!

That's it for now. Will be back...

(26 November, thanks Jude, Ngoc, Renie)

 Branagh Bunch... so the 12th of November presented us with a lovely interview with Sir Kenneth and the kind people from the Belfast Media Festival have provided "an edited version" here. Enjoy!

You can read a bit more about 'Belfast' in a new article.

More to come!
(13 November 2020, thanks Jude, Ngoc)

 Keen Kenners... you can read about Ken appearing in Belfast on 12 November here.

Even better - you can "be" at the Belfast Media Festival 2020 Virtual Q&A by signing up. The Q&A will be at 12:30 pm, Belfast time (7:30 am in North America and 1:30 pm in Europe). You must enter your information on the Festival's website here: http://belfastmediafestival.co.uk/?mc_cid=b20b2466b5&mc_eid=cdcf996285 and you should receive an email, promising to send you a special access code 48 hours prior to the Q&A.

In "catching up with older stuff".... you can watch a WONDERFUL documentary about the filming of The Magic Flute here.

There is more (older stuff) but I'll put this up now so you can sign up for Belfast!
(7 November 2020, thanks Jude, Ngoc)

 Greetings Ken-fans. A few new things are finally posted. One day we'll be back on track - for now it's haphazard but the intention is there. You can see a Tenet page which includes a poster gallery. There are a few new articles (with others to come) here.

Back soon I hope!
(4 October 2020, thanks Jude, Jane, Berni)

 Ken-keeners! All our wishes are to be fulfilled! Ken is working on Belfast, which he has described as “my most personal film”.

You can read short articles here, here and here.

There are also a couple of articles relating to Death on the Nile, here and here.

A couple of things have been added on the Tenet page.

And more to come in general!
(8 September, thanks Jude, Berni, Emma, Ngoc)

 Hello Ken-Friends! Adding articles, which you can see here. There is also a page for Tenet. More to come!

(30 August, thanks Jude, Isabel, Renie, Ngoc)

 Hello Ken-keeners! Have added some new articles, Tenet is arriving! Find them here, marked with .

(21 June, thanks Jude, Jane, Renie, Ngoc)

 Hello Ken-fans! Still not dead! Hoping to get back into the swing of things, but no promises. For now : some articles about Artemis Fowl, as well as a bunch of others from 2019 - here, marked with .

Lots more to come!
(21 June, thanks Jude, Jane, Renie, Ngoc)

 Keen Ken-ners! Random stuff I have come across in the last while.... Click here to see a fun pick of Josh Gad with KB.

And here to see a photo from the set of Tenet... and a chance to marvel at Mr. B's amazing calves. :-D

On 30 January 2018, when Ken was awarded the Freedom of Belfast, BBC Northern Ireland put up this short tribute.

From an interview with Tony Slattery in July 2019 (Review: Great Yorkshire Fringe, Tony Slattery, July 24):

Tony Slattery sat down with comedy chronicler Robert Ross to discuss his life and times.

Having read the Guardian interview with Slattery in March, I attended the talk with a pre-conceived notion that Ross would be acting like a baby sitter – or to put it more respectfully, a guide – in case Slattery broke down or got lost in his fascinating and bewildering stream of consciousness.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a plethora of hilarious anecdotes as he divulged on-set secrets that included calling Kenneth Branagh “the campest and yet most ferocious director he had ever worked with” and Emma Thompson’s “pretentiousness” (perhaps her birth as a Hollywood star) on the set of 'Peter’s Friends'.

Another mention... from an article on the seemingly-never-going-to-happen film of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society :
"...Driving us through the same countryside I visited yesterday - past streets that form an integral part of the story - Girard adds that the producers and actors expended a great deal of time and effort to get it right. She knows, because she personally spent hours showing them arounleads Lily James and Michiel Huisman, and even the great Kenneth Branagh, who was, for a time, attached as director. “When I had him in my car, I just smiled to myself the whole time,” she remembers."

A video interview on Yahoo Entertainment : Kenneth Branagh on Shakespeare in the Age of Trump

I have added another load of articles but won't list them all here. You'll find them with the flag.

I'm hoping to get firmly on the path to catching up (with fingers crossed but no promises as to speed or efficiency). I won't give up!
(21 February, thanks, Jude, Renie)

 Dear Ken-Friends, not going to go on about not being dead yet (though I'm not). No more promises - can't seem to keep them - but updates as I manage to get them together.

So today, the main news is the lovely thank you from Kenneth Branagh in response to the Ken-Friends annual fundraising effort. You can see the message here and read about the 21 years of fundraising our gang has done.

There are also some "new" (to the Compendium) articles here (flagged as "New").

I hope to be back soon!
(7 January, thanks Jude, Jane)