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Howard, Kline and Molina Star in Branagh's "As You Like It" on HBO, Playbill, 25 June 2007
 
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Screendaily, 22 April 2005
by Tim Dams

Branagh Cranks up 'As You Like It'

Principal photography begins today on the feature film adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'As You Like It', directed by Kenneth Branagh.

'As You Like It', which is Branagh's fifth Shakespearean screen adaptation, features a cast that includes Kevin Kline, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrian Lester, David Oyelowo, Alfred Molina, Janet McTeer and Romola Garai.

With a setting inspired by 19th Century Japan, As You Like It will shoot on location near London and at Shepperton Film Studios. 'As You Like It' is a romantic adventure in which Rosalind and Orlando's courtship is played out against a backdrop of political rivalry, banishment and exile in the Forest of Arden.

Branagh commented: "I visited Kyoto, Japan for the first time fifteen years ago and felt the sublime landscape and fascinating culture could be an inspired setting for this quintessential romantic comedy. With sumo, martial arts and cherry blossom we hope that the drama and the joy can combine to produce a wonderfully enjoyable film."

'As You Like It' is a production of The Shakespeare Film Company, financed by HBO Films. It is produced by Branagh, Judy Hofflund and Simon Moseley. Also on board are composer Patrick Doyle and production designer Tim Harvey, director of photography Roger Lanser, editor Neil Farrell, costume designer Susannah Buxton and make-up designer Jenny Shircore.


The Guardian, 15 March 2005

Kenneth the Fifth

Kenneth Branagh is returning to Shakespeare, with his fifth big-screen adaptation of the Bard's work.

Branagh, who made his name with a film version of 'Henry V', is to direct Kevin Kline and The Village's Bryce Dallas Howard in a new version of the Shakespearian comedy 'As You Like It' for which filming is set to start in April.

Variety's Michael Fleming reports that the adaptation will be set in the late 19th century and that it is being financed by HBO. Branagh himself is likely to take a small role - possibly that of the court jester, Touchstone - and Adrian Lester (who appeared in Branagh's musical version of Love's Labours Lost), Brian Blessed and Jimmy Yuill are also said to be taking supporting roles.

The casting of Bryce Dallas Howard in the plum role of Rosalind is perhaps not so surprising. The actor was discovered by The Village director M Night Shyamalan when she appeared in a New York stage production of As You Like It.


Empire, 15 March 2005

As Kenneth Likes It
Branagh Returns to Shakespeare

As the Bard of Avon so memorably said, "All the world’s a film,
And all the men and women merely actors;
They have their agents and their managers,
And one man in his time plays many Shakespearean characters. . ."

OK, it’s possible that we’re paraphrasing slightly, but you get the gist. Northern Ireland’s foremost Shakespearean actor and director, Kenneth Branagh, is to tackle another of Big Willy’s plays. Following 'Henry V', 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Hamlet' and 'Love’s Labour Lost', Branagh will direct 'As You Like It' for HBO Films, for a cinema release before being shown on the American cable channel.

Kevin Kline, America’s foremost Shakespearean actor (well, close enough – it’s not like there’s a lot of competition), will take the lead in the film, while 'The Village’s' Bryce Dallas Howard will take the female lead, building on her stage experience in the film version.

Also starring will be Adrian Lester, who also worked with Branagh in 'Love’s Labour Lost'; 'Spooks’' David Oyelowo, Jimmy Yuill (who’s had small parts in all Branagh’s Shakespearean films) and the always-welcome Brian Blessed, who we’re guessing will play whatever part requires a person with a deep voice and a large beard. Branagh himself does not plan on taking a lead role this time, but may play Touchstone, the play’s comic relief (if you remember seeing part of 'As You Like It' at the beginning of Shakespeare In Love, think the bit with the dog). As anyone who saw his turn in 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' will know, Branagh can bring the funny when he wants to.

The play will be set in the late 1800s, so think top hats and bonnets this time rather than the spiffy spats of 'Love’s Labour Lost' or vaguely post-Napoleonic stylings of 'Hamlet'. Filming starts in April.


Variety, 15 March 2005

Branagh Boards Bard
Thesp to direct Kline, Howard in 'As You Like It'

By Michael Fleming

Kenneth Branagh will direct Kevin Kline and Bryce Dallas Howard in a film adaptation of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" to be set in the late 1800s. HBO Films is financing the pic, which will be released theatrically before hitting the pay web.

Branagh may play the small role of Touchstone, the comic relief in the film. Jimmy Yuill, David Oyelowo, Adrian Lester and Brian Blessed are set for supporting roles.

Branagh produces the pic with Judy Hofflund and Simon Moseley. Shooting starts April 21 in England. HBO has an output deal for its theatricals with Fine Line, but it isn't clear yet who will distribute theatrically.

Effort marks the fifth Shakespeare adaptation Branagh has done for the screen, including his directing debut "Twelfth Night." He also directed "Much Ado About Nothing," "Love's Labour's Lost," "Hamlet" and "Henry V."

Howard will play Rosalind, a part she played at the Public Theater in New York. She'll next be seen in "Manderlay," Lars Von Trier's follow-up to "Dogville." Kline co-stars with Steve Martin in upcoming pic "The Pink Panther."


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