Kenneth Branagh
Irish actor and film director
Kenneth Branagh
Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from Northern Ireland. He has directed and/or starred in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including Henry V (for which he was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Director), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Othello (1995), Hamlet (1996) (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), Love's Labour's Lost (2000), and As You Like It (2006).
Biography
Kenneth Branagh's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Kenneth Branagh from around the web
Emma Watson Turned Down 'Cinderella' Before Becoming Role Model Belle
Huffington Post - about 1 month
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Huffington Post article
First Nighter: Kenneth Branagh in John Osborne's "The Entertainer," Kemp Powers's Thrilling "One Night in Miami...," Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" Undone," "How to Hide a Lion" for Kids
Huffington Post - 4 months
London--Comparisons might be odious, but Kenneth Branagh invites them. Over several decades he's assumed classic roles associated with Laurence Olivier. His Henry V and Hamlet were unquestionably Olivier-worthy. Now, however, he's playing Archie Rice (for another two weeks) in John Osborne's The Entertainer, at the Garrick and as the conclusion to his Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company year. It could be argued that Archie Rice was the great performance of Olivier's later career. I'd certainly make that argument vigorously. As the aging music hall performer, Olivier--frequently at his best when playing a ham (watch him in Sleuth, for instance--pulled out every last stop. His Archie Rice was someone far past his prime, a prime that probably was not much of a prime anyway. His on-setting desperation was visible in the song-and-dance routine that began the play. Branagh starts with a deft tap routine executed in Neil Austin's hazy lighting and augmented by four dancing cuties. Im ...
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Huffington Post article
Romeo and Juliet review – Branagh gives tragedy a touch of la dolce vita
Guardian (UK) - 9 months
Garrick theatre, London Lily James’s Juliet has a boozy balcony scene, Richard Madden’s Romeo seems genuinely inflamed by love and Derek Jacobi is a lounge-lizard Mercutio There are many ways of approaching Shakespeare’s youthful tragedy: Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh take the scenic route in this new production. We are plunged into a vividly imagined 1950s Italy of dark-suited men, petticoated women, bicycling friars, patriarchal oppression and frantic partying. You feel Fellini is due any moment to film it with a movie camera and, even if the result has its oddities, the production certainly has a pulsating energy. The big draw is the casting of Lily James and Richard Madden, who played opposite each other in the Branagh movie of Cinderella, as the doomed lovers. They acquit themselves very well: they have youth, looks and passion on their side. I was puzzled, however, by some of the directorial decisions that mean we miss Juliet’s rapid maturation from inexperienced child to m ...
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Guardian (UK) article
The Man in the Wheelchair
Huffington Post - about 1 year
It was there, as I sat clutching my ear in pain, in a rundown hospital in Madrid, that I met the man in the wheelchair. The pain started around 2 in the morning, the day I was suppose to fly back home. I had come to Spain three weeks earlier in an attempt to clear my head from the complex thoughts that had been plaguing my mind. I thought that a daring solo adventure in Europe would rid me of the loneliness and confusion that I had been feeling. I had spent many years feeling lonely, with only the movies of my fictional boyfriends to keep me company. However, much to my surprise, there came a point when even Ralph Fiennes, Kenneth Branagh, and Gary Oldman could not fill that special gap in my heart; the gap that yearned for adventure and passion. So, at 17 years old, I convinced my parents to let me spend a month in Spain to study literature. I arrived excited to take advantage of my newfound freedom and ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Perhaps I expected a bit too muc ...
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Huffington Post article
Live Shakespeare tops British cinema box office - for a day
Reuters.com - about 1 year
LONDON (Reuters) - A live broadcast of Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh starring in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" was the biggest cinema box office draw in Britain on the night of the screening, the show's publicists said on Friday.
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Reuters.com article
Google Apps get their "Star Wars" on!
CNN - over 1 year
"The Force Awakens" in your Google apps, Kenneth Branagh jumps aboard the "Orient Express," and how Eddie Redmayne became "The Danish Girl"
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CNN article
Theater Review: Review: ‘The Winter’s Tale,’ ‘Harlequinade’ and ‘The Moderate Soprano’
NYTimes - over 1 year
Kenneth Branagh presents “The Winter’s Tale” and Rattigan’s “Harlequinade” at the Garrick Theater in London. “The Moderate Soprano” takes on stage life.
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NYTimes article
Kenneth Branagh Returns to the Stage, With More Roles
NYTimes - over 1 year
The Kenneth Branagh Theater Company began previews of “The Winter’s Tale,” the first in a seven-play season by this new ensemble.
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NYTimes article
Kenneth Branagh: how to make it in theatre – video
Guardian (UK) - over 1 year
At a Guardian Live event in London, Kenneth Branagh and members of his new theatre company – Rob Ashford, Benjamin Caron, Jessie Buckley and Michael Pennington – talk to Mark Lawson about drama school, starting out in the industry and the role of serendipity Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
ArtsBeat: Kenneth Branagh Starting London Theater Company
NYTimes - almost 2 years
The troupe will include Judi Dench and put on a season of plays.
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NYTimes article
New “Cinderella” enchants
- almost 2 years
Cinderella has been recreated countless times: There was the 1997 Brandy version, “Ella Enchanted” with Anne Hathaway, “A Cinderella Story” with Hilary Duff and many other remakes. However, the formula of simplicity seems to work best, as the newest take on “Cinderella” proves. Director Kenneth Branagh brought the classic fairytale to life with a Cinderella, played by Lily James, with much more personality than the original animated film’s and a few slight changes in the story. Each character had more of his or her history shown, so motivations and actions were supported by the past. Thankfully, the classics that make the story so charming are faithfully kept in the script. Cinderella’s mice friends make frequent appearances, her fairy godmother expectedly works magic on a pumpkin and Cinderella’s gorgeously impractical glass slippers remain. Including the iconic slippers, the costumes in the film were beautifully whimsical. Cinderella’s stepsisters burst onto the screen in coor ...
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article
Film of the Week: Cinderella (U) ****
Hayling Islander - almost 2 years
Slavishly adapted from Disney’s classic 1950 animated musical, Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of the fairy-tale romance doesn’t skimp on the period detail.
Article Link:
Hayling Islander article
Veteran actors who can follow the Tom Cruise/Liam Neeson action hero path
Hollywood News - almost 2 years
Between last week’s Liam Neeson release Run All Night marking one of the final times that Neeson will play an action hero and yesterday’s debut of Tom Cruise defying age in the new Mission: Impossible trailer, I got to thinking about who could take their places going forward. Obviously, Neeson is almost done and Cruise won’t be kicking ass forever, so there must be an heir apparent or two out there, right? Well, no one who is out and out gunning for that gig, but there’s plenty of middle aged actors who have at least dipped their toes in the water. As such, I came up with a list of actors who could certainly take the mantle from these two, perhaps even pushing this sub genre of action to a slightly new level. It’s mostly a list in good fun, but there’s certainly some truths contained within. Hey, maybe in a few years I’ll have been proven prescient about a couple of career arcs! Below you’ll see the ten gentlemen I’ve selected, listed alphabetically: Javier Bardem – Most people acknowl ...
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Hollywood News article
How Modern Cinderella Adaptations Have Given The Tale's Outdated Feminism A Makeover
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Even with Egyptian and European roots, Cinderella is one of American culture's most famous folktales. Decades after Mary Pickford portrayed the hapless scullery maid in 1914's silent film and Disney popularized the story in 1950's celebrated singalong, the latest adaptation topped the box office last weekend, collecting a fancy $70.1 million across North America. But in the years since "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" became a rite of passage for 4-year-olds everywhere, stories based on the Cinderella archetype have had to determine whether to redraft the fairytale for an increasingly feminist audience. The new movie, "Cinderella," written by Chris Weitz ("About a Boy," "The Golden Compass") and directed by Kenneth Branagh ("Hamlet," "Thor"), borrows a note that certain other adaptations have played: the prince (Richard Madden, aka Robb Stark on "Game of Thrones") first encounters Cinderella (Lily James, aka Rose on "Downton Abbey") in everyday garb before the ball has even been announced. “She ...
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Huffington Post article
Shakespearean Master Kenneth Branagh Picks The Bard's Most Mysterious Play
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
While discussing his new film with HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, Kenneth Branagh paused to marvel at the layered nature of Shakespeare's work. He's thrilled, he says, by the "mystery in the web of it all." "I like the fact that it's an open question mark," he said. "The thing I find with Shakespeare is you never get to the end of it. So you answer some piece satisfactorily, you think you find the clue to the character or you found a great way to stage it on film or on stage, and then some other question opens up, which I think is what happens when you have great poetry." Branagh also shared his pick for the most mysterious Shakespearean play and explored some of the questions it raises that scholars and dramaturges still can't completely answer centuries later. Find out Branagh's choice in the video above, and click here to watch his full HuffPost Live conversation. Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmaker ...
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Huffington Post article
BERLINALE 2015 EVENT: Quantum Entanglement and the James Franco Epic
Huffington Post - about 2 years
The James Franco Phenomenon Projected in Multiples for Serendipitous Effects: With a new triple play that made him ubiquitous at the 65. Berlinale, Franco proclaimed his Berlin experience as EPIC. (Photo by LPS) The quantum wave cresting for the past two years in Berlin collapsed in the EVENT that was the 65th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. Jafar Panahi won the Golden Bear for his cinematic exercise utlizing filmmaking as a tool for quantum entanglement. (Photo of the absent Panahi's Golden Bear by LPS) The choices of festival director Dieter Kosslick were bold, adventurous and outright (r)evolutionary for daring to take film into exciting new directions. Serendipity and multiplicity* rebirthed the Berlinale after last year's weight of the Clooney "Monuments Men" star baggage diverting attention from the real objective of the Kosslick curation: identifying and encouraging cinematic breakthroughs. This year they came in multiples from around the globe. Yet, ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kenneth Branagh
    FIFTIES
  • 2015
    Age 54
    In October 2015, it was announced that Branagh would be the new President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, succeeding the late Lord Attenborough.
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    Kenneth Branagh Season In September 2015 was announced that The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer will be broadcast in cinemas, in partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment.
    More Details Hide Details Branagh is known for his film adaptations of William Shakespeare, beginning with Henry V (1989), followed by Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Hamlet (1996), Love's Labour's Lost (2000) and As You Like It (2006). As You Like It premiered in theatres in Europe, but was sent directly to television in the U.S., where it aired on HBO in August 2007. He was rumored to have been under consideration for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Notable non-Shakespeare films in which Branagh has appeared include Dead Again (1991) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), both of which he also directed, Wild Wild West (1999), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) and Valkyrie (2008). He starred as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). He also played the Minister, Dormandy (a parody of PMG Tony Benn), in the film The Boat That Rocked (2009).
    With the company, he announced he will present a season of five shows at London's Garrick Theatre from October 2015 - November 2016.
    More Details Hide Details The shows will be The Winter's Tale, a double bill of Harlequinade and All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer. Branagh will direct all but The Entertainer, in which he will star. Branagh will also star in The Winter's Tale, Harlequinade and The Painkiller. Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company also includes Judi Dench (The Winter's Tale), Zoë Wanamaker (Harlequinade/All On Her Own), Derek Jacobi, Lily James and Richard Madden (Romeo and Juliet) and Rob Brydon (The Painkiller).
    In April 2015, Branagh announced his formation of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, in which he would appear as actor-manager.
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  • 2012
    Age 51
    He received the accolade at Buckingham Palace on 9 November 2012; afterwards, Branagh told a BBC reporter that he was "humble, elated, and incredibly lucky" to be knighted.
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    He was appointed a knight bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland.
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    Branagh participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony portraying Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the Industrial Revolution segment, giving the speech from The Tempest originally read by the character Caliban.
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    He was appointed a knight bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours and was knighted on 9 November 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Branagh, the middle of three children, was born and raised in Belfast, the son of working-class Protestant parents Frances (née Harper) and William Branagh, a plumber and joiner who ran a company that specialised in fitting partitions and suspended ceilings. At the age of nine, he relocated with his family to Reading, Berkshire, to escape the Troubles. He was educated at Grove Primary School, Whiteknights Primary School, then Meadway School, Tilehurst, where he appeared in school productions such as Toad of Toad Hall and Oh, What a Lovely War! At school, he acquired an English accent to avoid bullying. On his identity today he has said, "I feel Irish. I don't think you can take Belfast out of the boy," and he attributes his "love of words" to his Irish heritage. He is known to have attended the (amateur) Reading Cine & Video Society (now called Reading Film & Video Makers) as a member and was a keen member of Progress Theatre for whom he is now the patron. Branagh went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
  • FORTIES
  • 2009
    Age 48
    On 10 July 2009, Branagh was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the RomaFictionFest.
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  • 2003
    Age 42
    In 2003, he married film art director Lindsay Brunnock, whom he met during the shooting of Shackleton.
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  • 2001
    Age 40
    In 2001 he was appointed an honorary Doctor of Literature at the Shakespeare Institute of The University of Birmingham; the Shakespeare Institute Library keeps the archive of his Renaissance Theatre Company and Renaissance Films.
    More Details Hide Details Alongside Roberto Benigni, he is one of only two non-American actors to be nominated for Oscars for acting, writing, and directing, and one of eight actors to have achieved this honour. The other six are Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, George Clooney, John Huston and John Cassavetes.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2000
    Age 39
    Branagh was the youngest actor to receive the Golden Quill (also known as the Gielgud Award) in 2000.
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  • 1994
    Age 33
    In 1994, Branagh declined an appointment as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1990
    Age 29
    He is Honorary President of NICVA (the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action). He received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from Queen's University of Belfast in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details He is also a patron for the charity Over The Wall.
  • 1989
    Age 28
    Branagh has co-starred several times with actress Emma Thompson, to whom he was married from 1989 to 1995.
    More Details Hide Details They appeared together in Look Back in Anger, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Dead Again, and Peter's Friends. More recently, they both appeared in The Boat That Rocked, though with no shared scenes.
    From 1989 to 1995, Branagh was married to actress Emma Thompson, with whom he starred in Fortunes of War among other projects.
    More Details Hide Details During their marriage, and while directing and co-starring with Helena Bonham Carter in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, he began an affair with her. After Thompson divorced him, he and Bonham-Carter were in a well-publicised relationship for several years.
    From 1989 to 1996, Branagh mostly directed his own films, including Peter's Friends with an outstanding cast including former schoolmates Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery and Stephen Fry, as well as Imelda Staunton and Rita Rudner; but the commercial and critical failure of Love's Labour's Lost ended his directorial career for a time.
    More Details Hide Details In 2006, the same year that Branagh's film version of As You Like It was released, he also directed a film version of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, which has yet to be released in the U.S., where it has not even been shown on cable television or released on a Region 1 DVD. Branagh has also directed the thriller Sleuth (2007), a remake of the 1972 film. At a film promotion for Valkyrie in 2008, Branagh confirmed that he would be directing Thor, a film based on the Marvel superhero. Thor, Branagh's return to big-budget directing, was released on 6 May 2011. In 2011, Branagh portrayed Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn. Branagh directed Disney's live-action version of Cinderella (2015). Branagh is to star in Christopher Nolan's 2017 action-thriller Dunkirk based on the British military evacuation of the French city of Dunkirk in 1940 during World War II. He will appear alongside Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles. Branagh is to direct and star in a film adaptation of Agatha Christie's detective novel Murder on the Orient Express. Production begins in London in November 2016, and will also star Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley and Johnny Depp.
    A year later in 1989 Branagh co-starred with Emma Thompson in the Renaissance revival of Look Back in Anger.
    More Details Hide Details Judi Dench directed both the theatre and television productions, presented first in Belfast then at the London Coliseum and Lyric Theatre. In 2002, Branagh starred at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield as Richard III. In 2003 he starred in the Royal National Theatre's production of David Mamet's Edmond. Branagh directed The Play What I Wrote in England in 2001 and directed a Broadway production in 2003. From September to November 2008, Branagh appeared at Wyndham's Theatre as the title character in the Donmar West End revival of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov in a new version by Tom Stoppard. His performance was lauded as the "performance of the year" by several critics. It won him the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Male Performance but did not get him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination, to the surprise of critics. In July 2013 he co-directed Macbeth at Manchester International Festival with Rob Ashford. With Branagh in the title role, Alex Kingston played Lady Macbeth and Ray Fearon featured as Macduff. The final performance of the completely sold out run, was broadcast to cinemas on 20 July as part of National Theatre Live. He repeated his performance and directorial duties opposite Ashford and Kingston when the production moved to New York City's Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. The production marked his New York stage debut.
  • 1988
    Age 27
    Branagh became a major presence in the media and on the British stage when Renaissance collaborated with Birmingham Rep for a 1988 touring season of three Shakespeare plays under the umbrella title of Renaissance Shakespeare on the Road, which also played a repertory season at the Phoenix Theatre in London.
    More Details Hide Details It featured directorial debuts for Judi Dench with Much Ado About Nothing (starring Branagh and Samantha Bond as Benedick and Beatrice), Geraldine McEwan with As You Like It, and Derek Jacobi directing Branagh in the title role in Hamlet, with Sophie Thompson as Ophelia. Critic Milton Shulman of the London Evening Standard wrote: "On the positive side Branagh has the vitality of Olivier, the passion of Gielgud, the assurance of Guinness, to mention but three famous actors who have essayed the role. On the negative side, he has not got the magnetism of Olivier, nor the mellifluous voice quality of Gielgud nor the intelligence of Guinness."
  • 1987
    Age 26
    The first major Renaissance production was Branagh's Christmas 1987 staging of Twelfth Night at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, starring Richard Briers as Malvolio and Frances Barber as Viola, and with an original score by actor, musician and composer Patrick Doyle, who two years later was to compose the music for Branagh's film adaptation of Henry V.
    More Details Hide Details This Twelfth Night was later adapted for television.
    He and David Parfitt founded the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987, following success with several productions on the London 'Fringe', including Branagh's full-scale production of Romeo and Juliet at the Lyric Studio, co-starring with Samantha Bond.
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  • 1984
    Age 23
    In 1984 he appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Henry V, directed by Adrian Noble.
    More Details Hide Details The production played to full houses, especially at the Barbican in London. It was this production that he adapted for the film version of the play in 1989.
  • 1982
    Age 21
    He received acclaim in the UK for his stage performances, first winning the 1982 SWET Award for Best Newcomer, for his role as Judd in Julian Mitchell's Another Country, immediately after leaving RADA.
    More Details Hide Details Branagh was part of the 'new wave’ of actors to emerge from the Academy. Others included Jonathan Pryce, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Anton Lesser, Bruce Payne and Fiona Shaw.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1960
    Born
    Born in 1960.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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