Branagh Portrays FDR in TV Movie
'Warm Springs' Starts Filming in Late September
Ledger-Equirer, 23 August 2004
British actor Kenneth Branagh will portray Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a TV movie about his involvement with Warm Springs before he became president of the United States.
Filming of a movie tentatively titled "Warm Springs" is expected to begin in Meriwether County in late September. The movie, being produced for Home Box Office, is expected to be shown in 2005 and is in the casting stage. HBO spokeswoman Angela Tarantino said Branagh is the only confirmed actor. Among the roles to be filled are Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR's wife, and Sarah Roosevelt, his mother. The state film division is continuing a search for shooting locations in Georgia that began more than six months ago, a spokeswoman said.
Since 1981, Branagh, 43, has landed acting roles in 44 movies or TV productions, including "Mission: Impossible 3," which is in pre-production and should be released next year. He also was in "Alien Love Triangle" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," both released in 2002.
Branagh, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is well known for his roles in Shakespearean plays, including "Hamlet," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Henry V." He has been director of 11 movies, producer or co-producer in five others and played himself or narrated in 29 other movie or TV productions.
Branagh and members of the production team have been to Warm Springs several times since spring looking for potential shooting locations and doing research. Branagh recently reviewed photographs and films of FDR at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation library.
The movie focuses on a period from 1924, three years after FDR contracted polio, to 1932 when he was elected president. It is based on a script written by Margaret Nagle, an actress and writer who has made a number of TV guest appearances. She helped write the film "The Lost Boys of the Sudan," which has been scheduled for release this year.
"Warm Springs" will be directed by Joseph Sargent, 79, a Jersey City, N.J., native who has directed 76 movies and TV programs such as "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke" since the late 1950s. Co-producers are Celia D. Costas and Mark Gordon, 47. Costas has been a producer of 10 motion pictures or TV productions, including "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story," a TV movie released in 2000 for which she shared an Emmy, according to IMDb.com. Gordon has been a producer in 50 films, including "Saving Private Ryan" in 1998.
Neither Tarantino nor Susan Nowak, who will be publicist for "Warm Springs," could provide further details about the filming, including how long the cast and crew will be in the Warm Springs area and how many and what type of extras will be needed.