A Labour of Love With No Losers
OK!, March 28 2000
*thanks to Jane Land
In this week's Oscars special
edition of OK! On Air Kenneth Branagh and Timothy Spall talk
of their all-singing, all-dancing musical adaptation of William
Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
You might have thought that the
glamour of classic Hollywood had gone for good with a swish of
stole and a turn of a shoulder pad, but Kenneth Branagh has brought
it all back with his musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Love's
Labour's Lost. The lavish sets, chorus girls and musical numbers
of Hollywood's heyday, that made powdered egg and rationing more
bearable have been resurrected by Kenneth, who not only stars,
sings and dances in the film, but was also director and producer.
When OK! On Air caught up with
Kenneth and his Love's Labour's Lost co-star Timothy Spall, both
were naturally a little worn out from endless pirouettes and
pas de deux, but Kenneth confesses being on both sides of the
camera was particularly gruelling. "It was tiring,"
he says, "but I have no complaints - no one asked me to
do it, it was my own stupid fault. It was by far the hardest
thing I've ever had to do."
Timothy, meanwhile, found that
his part was enough to put him off dancing for good. "I
really hadn't done any apart from the days when I used to jump
around in my tights at RADA and doing a bit of drunken falling
and dancing at various parties," he explains. "So there'd
be a 20-year gap before I'd put the leg warmers on again. Luckily,
the cracks of the bones and the groans were drowned out by the
music. In retrospect, I'm not a great lover of jumping around
and sweating. I think sitting down and acting is much better,"
he pauses and then laughs, "So if they want to do Ironside
again I'm your man!"
Despite the aches and pains both
stars feel, it was all worth it. Although Kenneth admits there
were times when he doubted himself and had to convince his cast
- which also included Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone,
Adrian Lester and Matthew Lillard - that the exertion would pay
"You should have seen their
faces on the first morning," says Kenneth. "We read
through the play on the first day of rehearsal and I said, 'Right
then, so tights on and we will start by doing There's No Business
Like Show Business.'
"By the end of the first
day the actors were like, 'How were we going to do this? We've
spent one day on one number and none of us can do it. And we've
got another ten numbers to do and then we've got the play as
well.' So I said to them, 'Yeah, but it's fun, it's great! It
will be better tomorrow.' Then I would go home and ring the producer
and say, 'What are we going to do? We're never going to be able
to do this.' When it did come together it was a mixture of camaradarie,
exhilaration and sheer terror. It was great fun."
After such a busy schedule Kenneth
plans to take things easy for a while. "For the moment I'm
going to try and persuade people that it's a good idea to see
Love's Labour's Lost," he says, "It's 93 minutes where
you won't be able to take the smile off your face."
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