Branagh Back on Firm Ground
Daily Mirror, November 30 1995
by Garth Pearce
Kenneth Branagh has money, fame
and talent - but the plot has gone wrong somewhere along the
His marriage to Emma Thompson
is over and his last film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was hammered.
The critics are gloating, because
Branagh is a working-class guy who dared to succeed in a business
littered with sneering theatre snobs.
Even as he was delivering successful
films such as Henry V, Dead Again, Peter's Friends and Much Ado
About Nothing, he was portrayed as precious.
In fact, the down-to-earth joiner's
son does not spend wildly on houses, cars, clothes or holidays.
He says: "Once I have paid
the mortgage and have a comfortable lifestyle, what else is there?
I don't plough money into insurance or pension schemes. I do
not have a pension, because I think it is a con.""
The best thing about money, he
says, was being able to buy his parents a three -bedroom semi
in Reading. They had been renting it since they moved from Belfast,
when he was 12.
He says: "It was in a complete
state of disrepair and the whole of my adolescent years seemed
to be spent with Dad doing up the house.
"The day I did that for
them was one of the most magical in my life."
A less happy memory is his failed
movie Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He hopes his latest film,
In The Bleak Midwinter, will help revive his career fortunes.
In contrast to Frankenstein, which had a pounds 30m budget, the
new movie is a small-scale, very English movie in black and white,
about a group of struggling actors. He put in much of his pounds
850,000 fee to make it.
While his career has taken a
bashing, his private life has fared no better.
Emma said just before the break-up
of their six-year marriage that if Branagh wanted to do a Hugh
Grant and have sex with a prostitute, that would be fine by her.
But Branagh refuses to criticise.
He says: "She is a remarkable girl and says what she thinks."
As far as he's concerned, his
private life is staying just that - private. "No one will
ever get me to give a full account."
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