Much Ado About Nothing: London premiere reports
August 27 1993
STARS MAKE MUCH ADO ABOUT
BRANAGH (Evening Standard)
by Tom Leonard
BRITAIN'S acting aristocracy
turned out in droves to salute Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh
at the charity premiere of Much Ado About Nothing.
Branagh, who stars in, directed
and produced the film, has another big screen Shakespeare success
and the future of British film-making in his pocket.
Outside the Empire, Leicester
Square, some of the 300-strong crowd even felt stirred enough
to shout such unheard of things as: 'Up the British film industry,'
a sentiment naturally echoed by the unusually long line of celebrities
Rubbing shoulders last night
were Sir Richard Attenborough; Sir John Mills; Helena Bonham
Carter; Hugh Laurie; Stephen Fry; Amanda Donohoe; Geraldine McEwan;
Tony Slattery; Anthony Andrews and Boy George.
The film, which has the likes
of Richard Briers slapping thighs along with Keanu Reeves and
Denzil Washington, is a colourful romp through the Bard's merry
At a post-premiere party at Planet
Hollywood, Thompson presented the dress she wore as Shakespeare's
feisty heroine Beatrice to the restaurant for its memorabilia
Echoing the same sort of sentiment
people have about Nigel Kennedy and classical music, everyone
agreed how great it was that Branagh was taking Shakespeare to
Stephen Fry, who co-starred with
Branagh and Thompson in their last film together, Peter's Friends,
said he thought Much Ado would be an instant classic.
'After about 30 seconds, you
forget you are listening to Shakespeare,' he said. 'You can't
believe the text hasn't been rewritten because it sounds so up
Branagh said: 'I do feel there
are significant possibilities for the British film industry at
the moment but I don't feel I am the one at the helm. If I somehow
felt I was leading it I would be sunk as a film-maker.'
Thompson, who won a best actress
Oscar for Howards End, said she was proud of her husband, but
laughed off their 'showbusiness royalty' label. 'I haven't got
time for all that, you just have to get on with the work.'
CHEERING CROWDS DELIGHT BRANAGH (Press Association)
by Martin Devlin
Kenneth Branagh said he was delighted
by the cheers from packed crowds outside the cinema showing the
charity premiere of his latest film. "A lot of people were
shouting 'Up the British film industry'. It was such a great
atmosphere. I was quite touched by that," said the man who
starred in, directed and produced the Shakespearean romp Much
Ado About Nothing. Branagh was stopped by crowds packed outside
the Empire Cinema in London's Leicester Square, where Jurassic
Park had its UK premiere six weeks earlier.
But twice as many people queued
up to cheer Branagh and his wife and co-star Emma Thompson as
had turned out for the dinosaur blockbuster. "I do feel
there are significant possibilities for the British film industry
at the moment but I don't feel I am the one at the helm. If I
somehow felt I was leading it I would be sunk as a film-maker,"
Thompson, who won a best actress
Oscar for Howards End, said she was proud of her husband for
the films he was making. But she laughed off their "showbusiness
royalty" label. "I haven't got time for all that, you
just have to get on with the work," she said. "Keep
your head down. It's a mistake to think of yourself as more important
than you are."
Guests at the premiere included
the couple's great friend, comic Stephen Fry, who brought along
his mother Marianne and father Alan. He said: "I am terribly
disappointed not to be in the film but I was doing other things
and there was nothing suitable in it for me." Fry, who co-starred
with Branagh and Thompson in their last film, Peter's Friends,
said he thought Branagh had an instant classic on his hands.
"After about 30 seconds, you forget you are listening to
Shakespeare. You can't actually believe he hasn't re-written
the text because it sounds so up to date."
None of the American stars, who
included Keanu Reeves as the baddie and Denzel Washington, went
to the premiere of the film, which opens today. But British co-star
Richard Briers turned up and joked: "This is a lovely film
but it will never be able to compete with Jurassic Park. Nothing
could do that - not even Gone With The Wind."
At a party later in London's
trendiest burger bar, Planet Hollywood, Thompson presented the
dress she wore as Shakespeare's feisty heroine Beatrice to the
restaurant for its memorabilia collection.
BRANAGH FILM KEEPS THE LUVVIES
HAPPY (London Times)
by Joe Joseph
A STANDING ovation at last night's
charity premiere of Kenneth Branagh's film of Much Ado About
Nothing was followed by a raucous celebrity party. It provided
London with its third theatrical hullabaloo in as many months.
The glitz and success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Sunset
Boulevard, Steven Spielberg's film Jurassic Park, and now Much
Ado is reviving London's name as the capital of Luvvie Razzmatazz.
Most critics were kind to the
film. Nigel Andrews in the Financial Times called it ''a travesty,
but oh what a lovely one''. In The Guardian, Derek Malcolm thought
it ''fresh, unaffected and rumbustious'', although The Times's
Geoff Brown mostly preferred Clint Eastwood's latest.
Branagh himself said last night:
''It was a very special and extraordinary experience for us.''
Among the premiere crowd at the
Planet Hollywood restaurant in Leicester Square were Lord and
Lady Attenborough, Sir Peter Hall, Michael Winner, Richard Briers,
Sir John Mills, Geraldine McEwan, Hugh Laurie, Boy George and
Lord Attenborough, clutching
his champagne in the party throng, said: ''It was an evening
of absolute joy. Complete ecstasy. Some of those critics need
their backsides smacked.
''There's blood, sweat and tears,
and some condescending bastard is ready to condemn it all. Ken
and Emma are bitter about the attacks. Like hundreds of others,
they'll go to Hollywood.''
MUCH ADO OVER FILM OPENING (The Herald - Glasgow)
MORE than twice as many people
packed London's Leicester Square last night for a glimpse of
showbiz couple Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh as had turned
out for the opening of the highly publicised dinosaur film Jurassic
Thompson and Branagh were in
London for the premiere of their version of Shakespeare's Much
Ado About Nothing.
The venue, the Empire, was the
same cinema which had hosted the opening of Jurassic Park just
six weeks earlier.
One of the stars of Much Ado
About Nothing, Richard Briers, joked: "This is a lovely
film but it will never be able to compete with Jurassic Park."
Leading lady Thompson, 33, said:
"I hope all those people waiting outside actually come and
see the film because that way it's sure to be a hit."
Thompson won an Oscar this year
as best actress for Howards End. But she was not looking to make
it a double with the film Branagh produced, directed, and starred
"This isn't an Oscar-winning
performance -- and besides it's not a competition," she
The crowds gave her a huge ovation
as she arrived, dressed in a pale green trouser suit. She and
Branagh, 32, paused to speak to fans who had been queuing for
several hours to see them.
Celebrity guests at the charity
premiere in aid of the Family Service Unit included model Marie
Helvin, actor Anthony Andrews, and comic Stephen Fry, who brought
his mother Marianne and father Alan.
Fry, who co-starred with Branagh
and Thompson in their last film, Peter's Friends, said he thought
Branagh had an instant classic on his hands, adding: "After
about 30 seconds, you forget you are listening to Shakespeare,
you can't actually believe he hasn't re-written the text because
it sounds so up to date."
Branagh said of the film: "The
play is one of the greatest romantic comedies ever written --
comic, lusty, and full-blooded."
Lord Attenborough, one of the
stars of Jurassic Park, said he hoped Much Ado About Nothing
would take as much money at the box office as the dinosaur epic.
"This is not stodgy, stuffy,
dusty Shakespeare. It's modern and exciting. In fact, I think
I've just described Jurassic Park."
Afterwards, guests were going
to a party at Planet Hollywood, the restaurant owned by actors
Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
'MUCH ADO' SET FOR BOX OFFICE
SUCCESS (Press Association)
by Martin Devlin
Kenneth Branagh has a smash hit
on his hands with Much Ado About Nothing if audience reaction
to tonight's premiere was anything to go by. A standing ovation
at the Empire cinema, Leicester Square, greeted the end of the
film he produced, directed and starred in. Well-wishers forced
Branagh, 32, and his 33-year-old wife Emma Thompson to take a
succession of bows at the charity screening before escaping to
a celebrity party at London's Planet Hollywood restaurant.
Before the film was shown Branagh
said: "We filmed this in a sunny part of Tuscany, the heart
of Chianti producing region - or the heart of the Chianti drinking
region as it was while we were there." He thanked his investors,
some of whom had backed him from the days of his first Shakespeare
film, Henry V. "They supported me way back then and their
continued support allowed me to be in a position where I could
even contemplate making a second Shakespeare film," he said.
Co-producer Stephen Evans told
the audience, which included Lord Attenborough and Sir John Mills:
"This film is certainly no Jurassic Park. But it was started
in the 1600s so it is certainly the longest pre-production in
Much Ado About Nothing, a light-hearted
battle of the sexes, was filmed in just seven weeks. Jokes were
flying at the premiere about how all the cast all on weight because
they ate so much pasta - and that one or two actors almost needed
liver transplants because they indulged in so much of the region's
Afterwards, British actress Amanda
Donohoe, star of LA Law, said: "I think it's very difficult
to do Shakespeare for the punter. But this really kept people
awake and listening and that's a major achievement. It was extremely
A cameo role in the film, in
which Branagh and Thompson play bickering lovers, was taken by
alternative comedian and author Ben Elton. He was teamed with
Michael Keaton for a brief appearance as the film's comic double
act. Keaton's female fans would not have recognised the debonair
actor, however. Greasy hair, stained teeth and dirty finger nails
disguised the American star.
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