News Archive: July 2007 - December 2007

And, just under the wire... Round 3... a couple of things...

Another article featuring Kenneth and Michael Caine talking about Sleuth is available here. You can watch a short video interview with Kenneth and Michael, courtesy of the Inside Reel, here.

And, for a picture finish to the year... here are some photos from the charity premiere of The Magic Flute in London, in November 2007.

Happy New Year everyone!
(31 December, thanks Gina, Terry)

Happy Boxing Day! And here's Round 2...

You'll have seen the news about our 2007 Ken-Friends fundraising effort on the home page, you can read more about it and also read Kenneth's thank-you here.

Random news items:

From, by Patrick Walsh:

'Valkyrie' Release Date Pushed Back to October, 2008

The release dates, they are a-changing! Universal just moved the release of the action flick 'Wanted', which stars Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, from March to June 27th, 2008. That June release date was also held by Pixar's new one, 'WALL-E', and the Tom Cruise "Hitler assassination plot" flick -- 'Valkyrie'. According to Coming Soon, 'Valkyrie' has officially budged (though I think it would have absolutely crushed 'Wanted' and it's courting a different audience than 'Wall-E'). United Artists will now release the film on October 3rd of 2008 -- a date also held by less intense competition -- 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' and Guy Ritchie's Gerald[sic] Butler drama 'RocknRolla'.

An item from the always kind and charming Daily Mail, ha ha...
Sitting alone in the stalls (seat F22) at the Wyndham's Theatre for a performance of 'Shadowlands', actor-director Kenneth Branagh was inconsolable during Charles Dance's poignant monologue towards the end of the play, removing his glasses to wipe away tears.

During the interval Branagh, who later went to the stage door to congratulate Dance, had warned fans sitting behind him that he would soon be having "a Kleenex moment".

Cynics at Wednesday night's show were tempted to wonder if Branagh's tears weren't also being shed for his new film 'Sleuth', which has been panned by critics.

Oddly enough, while [some] critics are busy panning, regular folk, particularly young regular folk, are enjoying Sleuth. Might have something to do with open minds and less resistance to anything new.

This is an excerpt from a longer article entitled The Great Shakespeare Revival, by the always gentlemanly Michael Billington, The Guardian, 6 December 2007:

It is a timeless mix. But it is also possible to become a star these days through doing Shakespeare; and the classic example is Kenneth Branagh. In Britain, there is still a miserabilist tendency to want to cut him down to size; but I can vouch for the fact that his movies of "Henry V", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Hamlet" made him an idol to international bobby-soxers. Some years ago I was in Chicago and was asked to chair a panel about Shakespeare on stage. Branagh was in town appearing with the Renaissance Theatre Company in "King Lear" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and was invited to join us. What might have been a low-key event turned into a mass love-in with audiences snaking round the block. What I learned that day was that Branagh, often treated with blasé indifference back home, had become an American idol for giving a popular audience access to Shakespeare.

And today the bandwagon rolls on. Already bloggers are engaged in fierce debate about two upcoming Hamlets: Dr Who's David Tennant at Stratford and Jude Law in a new production at Wyndham's Theatre directed by Branagh. But, while stars sell tickets, one should give some of the credit to Shakespeare himself. One part of his genius was to create roles that offer infinite interpretative scope and against which any actor worth his salt has to measure him or herself.

A snip from a longer article about Stephen Atherton, whose screenplay "The Scissor Slaying of Charlie Chuckle and Billy Bubble" was a runner-up in the British Short Screenplay Competition, 14 December 2007:
"Having people like Kenneth Branagh read your work is quite surreal - at the time he was working on a movie with Tom Cruise. It's also great that people as busy as that are willing to sacrifice their time to be judges in a screenplay writing contest. I guess it goes to show how highly regarded this competition is.

"The feedback from the judges was very positive - they described my entry as 'a very funny piece of writing which made us laugh out loud'.

Here's a paragraph from a longer article entitled Disabled Are Only Discounted in Hollywood: Time for Change, focusing on the actress Teal Sherer, 13 December 2007:
In 2005, the HBO project "Warm Springs," was filming in Atlanta. She earned a part in the film that focused on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was left a paraplegic from polio at 39. The film, starring Kenneth Branagh, followed FDR’s struggle with paralysis and his return to public life and politics.

"I helped Kenneth to understand disabilities. We went swimming together. I showed him how to walk with braces. It was a wonderful opportunity," Sherer said. "I moved to Los Angeles almost three years ago. I can’t live on my acting income because I only have ten auditions a year. There just aren't that many parts that are written for a wheelchair user. My goal is to get into the audition. I can play a teacher or a girlfriend, I can do anything anyone else can do. I don’t only have to play disabled characters. We can play real people because we are real people."

From a long article about Derek Jacobi, Daily Mail, 20 December 2007:
[Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright] were so impressed with Jacobi that Olivier made him his protégé and two years later hired him for his new National Theatre company, where he worked for nine years.

They acted together a great deal and, in turn, as Jacobi learned from Olivier, so Jacobi inspired the schoolboy Kenneth Branagh. "He saw my performance of Hamlet and decided he wanted to act."

Years later, Branagh asked Jacobi to direct him when he first played the role, and Branagh has cast Jacobi in his own productions.

"I adore Kenneth," says Jacobi. "I love his energy, flair and ability to lead from the front."

And excerpts from a Rotten Tomatoes Interview with Patrick Doyle, 19 December 2007:
How did you get started in the industry?

Patrick Doyle: My first job was with Kenneth Branagh in theatre, our relationship started with the Renaissance Theatre Company for their 1987 tour of the UK. I wrote music for their productions like Hamlet, As You Like It, Look Back in Anger. I became his film composer off the back of that. He asked me to write his score for Henry V in 1989 and that's how my career in film music started.

I understand you started off as an actor.

PD: Well, I qualified from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and got a degree in music. A friend of mine at the drama college, which was in the same building, asked me to write music for a play she was putting on and appear in it too, a bit like Dudley Moore I suppose. I studied singing at the Academy of Music and learnt a bit about performance there. After that I was asked to do a play which was very successful and I met Robbie Coltrane on that.

I decided, actually before I met Kenneth Branagh, that I wanted to get back to music. So it was quite coincidental actually, because having decided I wanted to do music we started working together.

Your relationship with him is more prolific than any other working relationship you've had, how is it to work with him?

PD: Oh it's fantastic, hilarious, there's never a dull a moment. He's so sharp, so bright, so intelligent, so kind and so generous. All this annoying press he gets is infuriating because I know him very well and he just doesn't deserve it.

And that's the hits for Boxing Day. I have Sleuth stuff and some photos still to put up, and that should happen before the New Year (while I'm still sober, ha ha ha).
(26 December, thanks Jude, Isabelle, Jane)

Apologies for the AWOL. I actually was supposed to be AWOL while doing something fun (seeing the fabulous Rufus Sewell in Rock 'n Roll in New York), but all the readings of the entrails were full of doom and I had to pull the plug on the trip, and then the weather decided to do its bit, so the AWOL has been a lot of climbing over snowbanks and wiping out on the street - it's sort of the ultimate nostalgia trip, you're 10 again [which seems to be the last time I remember this much snow] - and since you haven't broken any bones, you almost believe you may actually be 10! But I digress....

The virtual desk is such a mess that I am just going to try to catch up on the news by randomly posting stuff over the next days. We'll start with the latest 'sortie' by a Branagh fan who shouldn't really have trouble attracting KB's (and a lot of other guys') attention. You'll remember the splendiferous Bond girl Caterina Murino saying, just over a year ago, that while Daniel Craig was lovely and all, she really wanted to work with Kenneth Branagh. Well, she's either trying to hammer the point home, or some hack read the wrong date and rehashed the story (one of the sites carrying the blurb mentions the "forthcoming" Bond movie, so it appears to be the latter) - but here you go, from Digitalspy, 20 December 2007:

Bond Girl Admits Crush on Branagh
By Beth Hilton

Bond girl Catherine Murino has admitted that she is mad about Kenneth Branagh.
The Italian actress, who stars opposite Daniel Craig in the latest movie in the franchise, said she is attracted to the director's mind.

She said: "Yes, I have to admit I am in love with Kenneth Branagh. From a young age I've been completely mad about him and have loved everything he's done. He's just the sort of man I'm attracted to - intelligent but also very cultured. I have no interest in how men look physically."

Branagh divorced actress Emma Thompson in 1994 after five years of marriage. He was in a relationship with Helena Bonham Carter for the next five years.

As You Like It has garnered two award nominations: Bryce Dallas Howard has been nominated for a Golden Globe award in the 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television' category for her performance as Rosalind; similarly, Kevin Kline has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award in the 'Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries' category for his performance as Jaques. Good luck to both of them!

There is a new, and lovely, review of The Magic Flute.

Kenneth was briefly in Argentina, at the Pantalla Pinamar Encuentro Cinematograico Argentino - Europeo, where he presented The Magic Flute and Sleuth. There were a three articles which you can read here, here and here, if you've got Spanish. There are three photos which accompany the articles, and you can see them here, here, and here.

So that's Round 1... more to come very soon!
(22 December, thanks Isabelle, Joan, Jude, Anna, Terry, Patricia)

And more of what I forgot (or have been alerted to in the interim)...

You can listen to Kenneth talking about his Magic Flute, and Amy Carson (Pamina) talking about making the film and singing a couple of arias on In Tune, available through the Listen Again feature of BBC Radio 3, until 6 December 2007.

I'm slowly (which, with regard to this site, seems to be the word that defines me) trying to create links to audio and video content, where it exists online. You'll find a couple on the Sleuth and Magic Flute pages.

Sleuth news from our correspondents: the film has been getting good reviews in Sweden and it may be released in France on 20 December.

Another article about Kenneth has appeared - the author seems to have dug through Beginning and throws in a fair amount of the stuff we all know from that, but there are some pretty wonderful new bits about Kenneth and his parents (read the second to last paragraph and tell me that it is possible to not love this guy). Read it here.

And the photo finish... Kenneth directing The Magic Flute: one, two, three.

I'll be back with Magic Flute articles and I'm sure there are photos I have forgotten.
(30 November, thanks Glyn, Jude, Pia, Isabelle, Terry, Lena)

Okey dokey, here's some of what I forgot... :-)

From a longer article about opera on film, The Celluloid Sopranos, by Nigel Andrews, 23 November 2007:

Let us come to Branagh's 'The Magic Flute'. Mozart's last opera is, in a way, both Dionysian and Orphean. It begins with violence, danger and threatened death: an attacking serpent, a wicked mother masquerading as a Madonna of the skies, a rape-imperilled girl. Slowly the bacchanal of disaster metamorphoses into an opera seria. By the end, upright youth is obeying aged wisdom in honouring and meeting the challenges set by divinity. 'The Magic Flute' becomes (neo)classical. It becomes almost literally Orphic, with a disguised Orpheus in the shape of the flute-playing Papageno.

If we must have opera on film (and for many it will remain the equivalent of paintings on postcards or novels on CD), then I like the madness of Branagh's approach. He sets the movie in the battlefields of the first world war, with the Queen of Night riding a tank, Tamino and company scurrying through the trenches and Sarastro running a field hospital.

Sometimes it is as if Blackadder III has escaped into the 18th century. But it is full-blooded, vivid and bold. The camera surges; the skies riot; the music blazes. Dionysus would surely rejoice at the spectacular demise - watch out for it - of the Queen of Night. And Orpheus would be satisfied by the technical fluency and virtuosity with which cinema can now harmonise voice, image and orchestral sound in a way that draws attention to Mozart, not to the straining make-believe of movie opera as it used to be.

And this from a longer article about Jude Law:
Yet despite a steadily rising salary, two Oscar nominations and effusive praise from Caine, Pinter and Sleuth director Kenneth Branagh, an upcoming appointment to play one of the most testing roles in the literary canon has left the actor understandably apprehensive.

Talking at the premiere of his new movie Law confirmed that he'll soon be reuniting with Branagh for a potentially career-defining part - that of Hamlet. "We're part of a four-production season at the Wyndhams theatre in conjunction with the Donmar, which starts at the end of 2008 and goes into 2009," he told

When asked if he was fearful of portraying the role widely considered to be the pinnacle of any acting career, he admitted: "You've got to be nervous about it, but it's a great part in a great play. "Fifty per cent of the challenge is finding a good script and finding a good part and that's two of those done." "I felt when Ken [Branagh] asked me, I just felt that I was in good hands. He's experienced Hamlet as a director and an actor, so I was really thrilled that he asked. The timing felt right." Law added: "I don't want to be an old Hamlet, so I thought 'I'd better do it bloody quick!'"

There was also a short follow-up article to KB's Harry Potter history, which you can read here.

And in Family News, a snip from a longer article about possible Christmas gifts...

I was recently sent an abridged version of the infamous directory of 19th-century Parisian courtesans, The Pretty Women of Paris, by Hanbury Press. It's hand-bound in red silk, and selects 24 of the most amusing entries.

I particularly enjoyed Nina Melcy: "The favoured whore of a member of the British Parliament, who, instead of attending to his legislative duties, is nearly always in Paris, chained to his charmer's odoriferous tail." Plus ça change.

The temptresses are illustrated with suitably erotic élan by Lindsay Brunnock, Kenneth Branagh's wife, and it all gains extra frisson from having to slice the uncut pages open with a paperknife. For, as any roué worth his salt knows, the greatest pleasures are those that are deferred.

There is more and I'll be back with it ASAP.
(28 November)

Hi 2bers! There are a bunch of new articles, mostly Sleuth reviews, along with a few interview articles. I'm not going to list them all (you can find them in the Reading Room and on the Sleuth page) but there is a nice one by KB from the Guardian, which - 'twas ever thus - is paired with the usual baroque bashing of the film.

And just so there can't be even a whiff of even-handedness, there is an article jokingly (I assume) entitled "Biographical Dictionary of Film #26", which is stunningly recherché in its ignorance. After kvetching that Ken left Emma (somehow the source of his talent) the author goes on to list the progressively "deteriorating" films, which presumably didn't benefit from her partnership, starting with "Dead Again", "Peter's Friends", and "Much Ado About Nothing". Uuuhhhmmmmm... does he actually know who Emma is? Anyhow, here it is, a worthy addition to the pile of mindless drubbings. And in the best tradition of these it concludes with a compliment after the requisite slapping about. Good times.

There are some interviews: a nice one with KB, and another one with the Sleuthers which appears to have been simply transcribed, no editing or formatting... I have added a bunch of commas, but chunks of it are still rather opaque. :-) There are also interviews with Jude Law and Michael Caine.

There are a couple of friendly articles from Ireland (at least you can count on the Irish papers to be positive), one and two. But the piece de resistance today is a hilarious and happy article by one Hermione Eyre, who ought to become a Ken-Friend. Read and enjoy!

I've added some more photos from the Royal Albert Hall concert - you can see them here.

More to come as I'm sure I've forgotten a number of things!
(26 November, thanks Terry, Virginia, Isabel, Patricia, Virginia V.)

The Magic Flute will have its London premiere at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, on 26 November 2007 at 7:15 pm. The tickets for this fundraiser were £20, but unfortunately (for those who don't have one!) they are sold out. KB will introduce the film. Proceeds will go to Classic FM Music Makers to fund music projects working with disadvantaged children and adults across the UK. The website for the event is here. You can find information about where and when the film will be showing after it opens nationally on 30 November at the UK Website.

Kenneth was on the Michael Parkinson show yesterday (apologies for not giving a heads up in time!) and he will also be on The Culture Show on Saturday 24 November at 7:10 pm.

There have been three new articles: Branagh overview I, Branagh overview II, and an article with fabulous news: the BBC will bring CJ Sansom's mystery novels to the small screen, with Kenneth as Matthew Shardlake.

There will be photos the next time, I promise. And probably some Sleuth reviews (not holding my breath for the UK critics to give it a fair shake...).
(18 November, thanks Anna, Pennie, Jude, Virginia)

Greetings keen Kenians! I am back from a short holiday in London and Brussels (backpack filled with chocolate!). I had the great good fortune of attending the fabulous Music from the Movies: An All Star Celebration concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It was an amazing evening, with - of course - wonderful music, and singers, and so many brilliant and beloved actors speaking about Patrick Doyle and introducing his compositions. You can see some photos here.

Sleuth... there are a bunch more reviews, now that the film has opened more widely (though not really widely enough) in North America. No one seems to agree on this film, which clearly is a good thing, and means it's a good film. I just squeaked into the theatre for the last show in my burgh, where it played for only two weeks (while I was away, natch), even though it had a rating of 8/10. Despite being old enough to have seen the first Sleuth film (but not old enough to remember much except chintz and clipped speech - and that may well be wrong, ha ha), I fell for the current oeuvre hook, line and sinker. Loved it. Thought Jude Law was excellent (and not weak like the unimaginative hacks keep saying). Furniture by Ron Arad!! Did they know I would be watching? See it when/if you can!

In the meantime you can watch a short interview about Sleuth with Kenneth. You can also plan to see Sleuth in the UK as of 23 November and in Greece as of 10 January 2008.

The aforementioned reviews can be found on the Sleuth page and here (article on Jude Law with lots of "Sleuth" mentions), here (article featuring Kenneth), here, here, here, here, and here.

There is a nice interview with Kenneth, dating back to the Toronto Film Festival, which you can read here. And you can read a great interview I forgot earlier (aack!) here.

Valkyrie is starting its marketing build-up. You can see a short promo here, watch a "behind-the-scenes trailer promo" here and you can watch a first trailer here.

Valkyrie bits: there is an interview with Philipp von Schulthess, the grandson of Claus von Stauffenberg, in the October 2007 issue of the German Vanity Fair. A short reference to KB:

VF   How do you feel as a beginner alongside big stars like Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh or Bill Nighy?
P.S.   I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Six months earlier I had been standing on a stage in Zurich.
VF   You play the assistent of Henning von Tresckow. Who was this man?
P.S.   My boss, played by Kenneth Branagh, was one of the most important "string pullers" in the plot against Hitler. The person I play in the film is never called by his name but the historical figure was Fabian von Schlabrendorff, one of the few survivors of the attempt on Hitler's life in 1944. After his liberation by the American troops in 1945 he became a judge of the Federal Constitutional Court. He died in 1980.
On 6 November 2007 the Museum of the Moving Image held a gala salute for Tom Cruise as a benefit for its education department. Kenneth was in attendance and was quoted thus: '"He has a determination that audiences love," said Kenneth Branagh.' You can see a photo of him, and one with Lindsay, from the event, here.

Meanwhile, Rush & Molloy report this nugget:

But Cruise isn't above chopbusting, as Kenneth Branagh can attest. The British actor revealed that when he flubbed a line recently while filming "Valkyrie," about a plot to assassinate Hitler, Cruise joked, "You're not very Shakespearean now, are you?"
And that, my dears, is it for today. I'll probably be back soon to fix up the usual mistakes and add what I forgot.
(11 November, thanks Pierpaolo, Terry, Lena, Anna)

Tiny update, part deux. There are twenty new reviews of Sleuth up on the Sleuth Page. You can also find them in the Reading Room. Basically, start with anything after 8 October (there are "new" flags in the Reading Room).

Maybe a few more soon...
(21 October, thanks Lena, Jude, Lyn)

Tiny update, got tons of reviews still to format, but here are two interview-based articles: one with the three guys and a long one with KB.

A couple of short snips... from the Village Voice, 9 October 2007:

From La Dolce Musto
by Michael Musto

"Sleuth" — based on the movie based on the play — isn't very religious, though there is some flaming stuff in there, and Sir Michael Caine bedecked in ladies' jewelry is just the start of it. At the Kobe Club premiere party, director Kenneth Branagh bravely submitted to my own sleuthing (for the Living section) as follows:
Q: Hey, Ken. Were you happy screenwriter Harold Pinter put in all that queer material?
A: I thought it was an interesting departure to have a third-act development — are one or both guys gay, or is it a prelude to the ultimate humiliation? Keeps you guessing.
Q: Speaking of the ultimate humiliation, was the C-word in the original version?
A: No. It's part of the way Pinter breaks the taboos and both shocks and amuses with language.
Q: Fuck! Was it weird to have Jude Law, who remade Caine's "Alfie", star with Caine in a remake of "Sleuth", which once starred Caine in the Jude Law role?
A: No. They had great camaraderie. Caine is a great raconteur, telling stories about Sinatra and the queen — but not in the same story. There's a line in the film where Jude says "What's it all about?", but we didn't intend that as a reference to "Alfie".
Q: Keeps you guessing.

And this wee clarification... from a news service, 11 October 2007:
Tom In Cruise Control In Germany
By Sally Grover - Celebrity News Service News Writer

Tom Cruise is now welcome in Germany.

The Hollywood superstar has been filming "Valkyrie" in the European nation, which initially caused upset. According to reports, the German government was not impressed that Scientologist Cruise would be playing a colonel who made a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler.

However, co-star Kenneth Branagh has told Entertainmentwise that the man responsible for leading the anti-Cruise plot has since apologized.

He said, "All that nonsense about the Germans not wanting Tom Cruise there was largely exaggerated. A week into our shooting the man that led much of the noise that had been made rang up deeply apologetic and said: 'I'm so sorry, I just read the script, it's fantastic. I did not understand. I'm sorry.'"

Scientology is a monitored religion in Germany. Cruise, who is a loud supporter of the controversial religion, was subsequently banned from filming in certain areas of the country.

However, Branagh said all is now forgiven. He revealed, "We ended up shooting in some of the houses where the bombs had been hidden on their way to try and get rid of Mr. Hitler."

I forgot to mention last time that I added a few photos to the Toronto Film Festival galleries: one of Ken, another of Ken , and Ken and Lindsay.

More when I get my act together!
(18 October, thanks Jude, Lyn)

Tons of reviews coming for Sleuth, a few with interviews, but while I'm formatting them for this venue (no censoring, though one is sometimes tempted!) here are more photos as promised: photos from the Sleuth premiere in New York City, photos from a Sleuth event in New York, and photos from a Sleuth event in Los Angeles. And, a photo snapped as KB left the studio after the Conan O'Brien show, and a great photo of the three Sleuth graces.

More soon!
(13 October, thanks Gina, Emily)

Okay, Big Genius here forgot to mention a really good article about Kenneth which was published in September. Click that link!

Valkyrie is having a first pop of publicity. You can see a "featurette" (featuring quite a lot of KB) here. And you can read a short article here.

And the Sleuth promotion is well underway. Kenneth appeared on the Conan O'Brien show this past can catch a snip on Youtube. There are new articles and reviews: here (this reviewer didn't get it), here (this reviewer sort of did and sort of didn't get it), here, here, and a fun bit about the premiere here .

Here's some (maybe, fingers crossed) good news for Canadian fans, from, 29 August 2007:

Alliance Founder, Producer Robert Lantos Back in Movie Distribution

Movie mogul Robert Lantos, who has helped bring films by some of Canada's best-known directors to the big screen, is dipping back into the film distribution business.Lantos announced Tuesday the formation of two new companies, Maximum Films International and Maximum Film Distribution. Among his direct competition will be the movie distribution arm of Alliance-Atlantis, the Canadian film and television giant that emerged from the merger of Lantos's firm Alliance Communications with Atlantis Communications in 1998.

Following the merger, Lantos — whose producing credits include Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter", Istvan Szabo's "Sunshine" and David Cronenberg's new film "Eastern Promises" — left the corporation and focused on producing films through his independent production company Serendipity Point Films.

Maximum Film International's initial slate will feature several prominent titles to be unveiled during the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, including:
"Fugitive Pieces", the opening night gala film directed by Jeremy Podeswa.
"My Winnipeg", a documentary written and directed by Guy Maddin.
"Adoration", a new Atom Egoyan film to begin shooting in Toronto immediately after this year's edition of TIFF.

The distribution arm's first set of releases includes "Fugitive Pieces", Cannes prize-winner "Jelly Fish" and Kenneth Branagh's "The Magic Flute".

Here's a fun snip from Contact Music:
"I'm not good in small spaces and whenever I go into an elevator I keep my fingers crossed. It's not my idea of fun." Actor/director KENNETH BRANAGH hates riding in an elevator.
Finally, set those recorders to catch Kenneth on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Thursday 19 October. You can see Michael Caine on the same show on Monday 15 October.

I have photos but I have no more brainpower at the moment... so next time (I promise!).
(9 October, thanks Pierpaolo, Terry, Isabelle, Paula, Martha)

So that stuff on the front page about the Compendium running along trying to keep up with articles and news is true again, and this time not because of the slothfulness of Yours Truly... :-)   So here's the latest pickings:

You can hear a short clip of photographer Michael Donald talking about meeting Kenneth while shooting the portraits for the No Mean City photography exhibit in Belfast this year: Click here and choose Slideshow 1.

Articles... Sleuthhere, here, and here.

Articles... As You Like It:  After the showings of the film at the Barbican and at the Curzon cinema we expected reviews in the UK press - you know, reviews that have a beginning, an ending and some commentary in between...

Well, you can read Peter Bradshaw's 121 bland and pleasant words about the film (some of which are a cast listing) from The Guardian. At least he liked it.

Wendy Ide, in The Times, managed 286 words before ending suddenly on a snarky comment - without a thumbs up or down (or perhaps the comment was feckless thumbs down).

In the Daily Mail, one Christopher Tookey spewed out double the words, but most of them are dedicated to telling us that Branagh's career is over, not that he could ever really do anything in the first place. Tookey is very literal-minded when looking at the film (the make-up isn't good enough, the tall girl was cast in the short girl's part, yadda yadda) but less so when it comes to Branagh's career. On first reading you raise your eyebrows, the second time you laugh. He also doesn't seem to have read the same reviews for Sleuth that I have (maybe he read the one he's written in anticipation of the film's release :-)).
And that's it, folks. But maybe it's best that way.

Articles... Valkyrie: You can read about the cast of characters in this film here. There is also a photo (in which KB is looking a bit like a bulldog, a German one, I guess!).

New photos: A series of images from a photoshoot during the Toronto International Film Festival. A series of images from the Screentalk at the Barbican after the screening of As You Like It.

And some photos taken at the Journée des distributeurs of the Fédération nationale des cinémas français in September 2006.

Here's a photo of a flushed young actor, listening intently to a translator in Germany in 1990.

And last, but not least, KB at the top of the heap on the postcard.

There are other photos floating on the virtual desk, so I hope to get them up soon.
(29 September, thanks Jude, Terry, Paula, Lyn, Maureen, Gina, Pennie)

Quick heads up for anyone who is in London but cannot make it to the showing of As You Like It and Screentalk at the Barbican tomorrow evening... you get a second chance:


After the opening night screening of AS YOU LIKE IT on Friday 21st September, we welcome to the stage director Kenneth Branagh, who will take questions from the audience.

Kenneth Branagh returns to directing ? and to Shakespeare ? with one of the most popular of all Shakespearean comedies. Rosalind is the daughter of a banished Duke, being raised in the court of her uncle with her cousin Celia. But no sooner has Rosalind fallen in love with the young Orlando than she is also banished. Disguised as a young man ? and accompanied by Celia and Touchstone, the court?s Fool ? she journeys to the magical forest of Arden, where they encounter Orlando , and a complex and farcical plot of subterfuge and cross-dressing unfolds? Featuring the all-star cast one expects from his productions, Branagh creates a magical, exotic and truly timeless Arden , where all races and cultures mix and it seems literally anything can happen.

Curzon Mayfair
38 Curzon Street
London W1J
Box Office: 0871 7033 989
Friday 21 September at 6.30 pm Cost : £10

We look forward to eye-witness reports!
(18 September, thanks Simon)

Drumroll! Branagh fans! Here is wonderful news, from What's On Stage, 10 September 2007

Branagh & Law Lead Donmar to West End in 2008

As his first five years at the Donmar Warehouse comes to a close, artistic director Michael Grandage has announced, at a press briefing held in London today, his plans to secure the theatre's long-term future, including the purchase of its Covent Garden base and the launch of a year-long West End residency at Wyndham's Theatre where Kenneth Branagh, Jude Law and Derek Jacobi will be amongst those heading the bill.

Donmar West End
The 'Donmar West End' season will run from September 2008 to August 2009. It launches with Grandage's new production of Chekhov's first play, 1887's "Ivanov", in a new version by Tom Stoppard. Kenneth Branagh - who has previously been directed by Grandage in "Richard III" at Sheffield Crucible, where Grandage was previously in charge, and who won the Best Actor Award for his last London stage appearance, David Mamet's Edmond at the National in 2003 - will take the title role.

Branagh was previously due to appear in Ivanov at the Bristol Old Vic this autumn, but when those plans evaporated following the regional theatre's decision to close, he brought the project to the Donmar. Grandage's production will run from 17 September (previews from 12 September) to 29 November 2008.

It will be followed by another Grandage production, of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", from 10 December 2008 (previews from 5 December) to 7 March 2009. Derek Jacobi - who appeared in the Donmar revival of John Mortimer's "A Voyage Round My Father", which transferred to Wyndham's in 2006 - will play Malvolio. Jacobi has also appeared in Grandage's productions of Don Carlos and The Tempest, both originated at Sheffield and transferred to the West End.

Grandage will also direct the third piece in the West End season, Yukio Mishima's 1965 Japanese play "Madame de Sade", translated by Donald Keene and running from 18 March (previews from 13 March) to 23 May 2009. The rarely seen drama centres on five women affected by the debauchery of the Marquis de Sade, including his wife and mother. No casting has yet been announced.

The Wyndham's programme culminates with Kenneth Branagh, who has been named an artistic associate for Donmar West End, taking over directing duties for a "Hamlet" in which British screen star Jude Law will take the title role. Law has had a long association with the Young Vic and its artistic director David Lan, who has directed the actor in his last two stage outings, Doctor Faustus in 2002 and "'Tis Pity She's a Whore" in 1999. He'd previously discussed plans to tackle the prince of Denmark at the Young Vic. Instead, his Hamlet will run at Wyndham's care of the Donmar from 3 June (29 May) to 22 August 2009.

The launch of Donmar West End will coincide with the reopening of Wyndham's following the final phase in the theatre's extensive refurbishment by owner Cameron Mackintosh.

Well, I for one have had my prayers answered: Branagh treading the boards again! Yay!! And then he'll be treading them as a director not all that long after - woo hoo! And the alley between the Wyndham's and the Albery is sort of a favourite after The Play What I Wrote at the former and Ducktastic at the latter. And you can get nice fish and chips at the pub just beyond the back-to-back theatres. Got the piggy bank primed and saving starts today!

Sleuth... was shown in Toronto this past week and will be presented at the September 22 Closing Gala of the Atlantic Film Festival. Here is part of a short article from the, 9 September:

Atlantic Film Festival Changes Closing Film to Sleuth

Organizers of the Atlantic Film Festival have announced a switch in their programming, with the Kenneth Branagh film 'Sleuth' closing the festival instead of 'Michael Clayton', starring George Clooney.

"Simply put, the print is unavailable," festival director Lia Rinaldo told "We have a wonderful film taking its place and we're happy about that."

Sleuth stars Michael Caine as a successful detective novel writer and Jude Law as the struggling actor who is having an affair with Caine's wife. The movie is based on the play by Anthony Shaffer. It was first made into a film in 1972 but with Caine playing the part of the younger man.

Branagh insists his version, adapted by the playwright Harold Pinter, is not a remake. The director has described the confrontation between the two men in his film as "testosterone-fuelled gladiatorial combat."

There are a pack of articles you can read: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Bits and bobs...

You can watch a clip from the Sleuth red carpet here.

From a BBC news snippet:

And Sir Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh and Jude Law received a seven and a half minute standing ovation for Sleuth.

Branagh told me that Sir Michael had timed the ovation, and throughout the screening had been peering at the public to see if they were going to the bathroom - the mark, according to the actor, of a bad film.

From a longer article summing up the Toronto International Film Festival:
And the charm award goes to...

Legendary actor Michael Caine. Although co-star Jude Law was stuck at the airport, the delightful Caine, along with director Kenneth Branagh, made their press conference for "Sleuth" one of the most entertaining and memorable.

From a longer article in which stars at the Toronto International Film Festival were asked what their favourite Beatles song is:
Kenneth Branagh, director of "Sleuth":

"I could pick one for you. 'For No One.' It's a lovely tune. It's just that sad thing, 'The day breaks, your mind aches, you find that all her words of kindness linger on when she no longer needs you.' It's a great, great popular tune that has that melancholic canopy over it."

From another longer article about the Toronto International Film Festival:
Alfie lives!

There's a moment early in 'Sleuth', directed by Kenneth Branagh from a script by Harold Pinter, that always gets a laugh: Jude Law asks Michael Caine, "What's it all about?" and suddenly it's Alfie vs. Alfie. (Caine and Law played the title role in the 1966 and 2004 versions, respectively, of Alfie). "I swear to you, Harold Pinter wrote that line, and none of us thought anything about it until we were at Roy Thomson Hall Monday night," Branagh said yesterday. "When the film played in Venice, nobody picked up on it. It wasn't until I heard the audience laughing here that I thought, 'God, how stupid not to have noticed.'"

Caine, of course, played the younger cad (Law's part in this new version) in the original 1972 'Sleuth', opposite Laurence Olivier. (It was directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.) Asked how his life has changed between iterations, Caine didn't miss a beat: "Journalists used to say to me, 'My daughter will be thrilled I met you,'" he said. "Now they say, 'My mother will be thrilled.'"

Mutual admiration society notes: pertinent excerpts from a longer article (Telegraph, 8 September 2007) on the actor David Oyelowo...
[...]'He has a talent - and he has a talent for his talent. He works hard at it, he maximises everything he has,' observes Kenneth Branagh, who directed Oyelowo in his screen adaptation of "As You Like It", set in 19th-century Japan. Released later this month, the film stars Oyelowo as Orlando de Boys, opposite Bryce Dallas Howard as Rosalind, with Romola Garai (Celia), Adrian Lester (Oliver de Boys) and Kevin Kline as Jacques.

Branagh's first contact with Oyelowo was when he received a heartfelt letter written during his run as "Henry VI", asking if Branagh might come to see the production. Branagh confesses he never made it, but when he came to cast "As You Like It", David Oyelowo's name, surrounded by an increasing buzz, was one of the first to be mentioned.

Oyelowo arrived at his audition fresh from recording a Christmas special of the Dame Judi Dench/ Geoffrey Palmer sitcom "As Time Goes By", with a note for Branagh from Dench. 'He gave a sensational audition,' Branagh says, 'clearly knew the material well and made himself very available to being directed. I had decided I wanted him before I read the note. When I opened it, it just said, "Cast him. Love Jude." '


'Playing Orlando was a phenomenal experience,' Oyelowo says, using his favourite adjective. 'I've always admired Kenneth Branagh. He is the height of thespianism but had this quite American Dream element to him, whereby he just makes things happen.

'I'm very much of the same mind. The film has a lightness of touch but deals with very real things: sibling rivalry, the pursuit of a simpler life, which is very resonant for the West at the moment.'

On set Oyelowo delivered what Branagh had hoped for: Orlando as 'the soldier poet' - dreamy enough to carve 'Rosalind' into the bark of trees, yet man enough to triumph over 'Charles the wrestler', an imposing Sumo expert.

'He's as fit as a butcher's dog, as my mother would say,' Branagh comments of Oyelowo, who maintains a potent physical presence even clad in Sumo gear. 'That was also the day my parents-in-law decided to visit the set,' Oyelowo grimaces. "Hello Sandra, Hello Rob. Yes, I am wearing a purple nappy thong." '

I have added some reviews on the As You Like It page.

Two more articles... an interview with Kenneth in Toronto, and a redux of Branagh-bashing such as we haven't seen for a while, a kind of orgy of slapping and patting which makes you wonder what kind of a life the author's "three pure-bred mongrels" have... :-)   :-)

There are lots of photos from Toronto - I have only had time to gather a few: photos from the Toronto premiere and a photoshoot from the Toronto festival. More to come soon! Along with other stuff I have undoubtedly forgotten!
(16 September, thanks Jude, Lena, Renie, Gina)

Hi Branagholics! Plenty of fodder for the addiction these days. I'm running behind as usual, and in strict accordance with Murphy's Law, there is other stuff going on to make me even later with the updates (specifically, visiting friends involved in this: -- in case there are any stone sculpting afficionados among you, as Branagh fans come in all sizes and stripes!).

Meanwhile Sleuth opened in Venice and you can read a bunch of reviews: here; here; here; here; here; and here.

Here is a little snippet from the Daily Mail, 31 August 2007:

Sleuth Talk at the Dinner Table
By Baz Bamigboye

It was Jude Law who had the wit to ask Michael Caine to be in the bang-up-to-date version of 'Sleuth'.

Movie buffs will already know that two-time Oscar-winner Caine was in the original film, playing the younger of two characters who clash over a woman (the elder man was played by Laurence Olivier). In the new 'Sleuth', Michael takes Olivier's part and Jude, the main producer, tackles Michael's old role. It's a classic confrontation, with the pair using Harold Pinter's masterful, dark dialogue (he wrote the script) as weapons.

Jude told me he's never been prouder of a film, or of a co-star's performance. Certainly both men give masterclass performances, with Michael pouring a lifetime of experience into a part that may well garner him an Oscar nomination.

Phew! It's going to be a crowded British field if folk from 'Sleuth' and 'Atonement' are both nominated. I asked yesterday if the two stars — or lads, as director Kenneth Branagh refers to them — had time for a laugh after shooting each day.

Branagh joked that he and Jude would listen in awe to Caine and Pinter when they went for supper.

Michael added that there wasn't that much time for larks. The original, he explained, took 16-and-a-half weeks to film, while Branagh's version was shot in just four-and-a-half.

You can see photos here: from the press call, from from the premiere, and with Lindsay at the premiere.

If you can read Italian you can check out a review of the film by our Ken-Friend Pierpaolo Festa, who also was at the press conference and reports here.

It is confirmed that Kenneth Branagh and Adrian Lester will be at the Barbican for a Screentalk after the showing of As You Like It on 19 September at 7 pm.

There is also a review of the forthcoming DVD of As You Like It, which you can read here.

There are more reviews of Sleuth coming in which I will put up in the next few days; there is also a Hamlet DVD review and some photos which I have on the pile and haven't got to yet. (Promises, promises - but I will try not to make you wait too long!)
(3 September, thanks Lena, Gina, Pierpaolo, Isabel, Jude)

Super quick: I have added a photo gallery to the Sleuth page.

The screening dates for Sleuth in Venice and Toronto have been announced. You will find them on the Sleuth page.

Further release dates have been announced for the Hamlet DVD: available in Germany on 24 August, available in Italy on 12 September, available in the UK on 24 September, and available in France on 7 November.

More to come I am sure.
(22 August, thanks Lena, Pierpaolo, Céline)

Just a quickie to say that you can see nice photos from the promotion of As You Like It at the Fall TV press tour in Los Angeles in July here, and some stills from the film here. There is also a new review here.

More soon! (20 August)

Hi Kenians! I hope no one out there is really depending on the Compendium for their info because I've just been re-reading some stuff I wrote the last time, and clearly the parental unit's dementia is catching... yeesh. And I need to stop doing this stuff at midnight (when incipient dementia seems to gain in strength). So I'll try to get it right this time...

The showing of As You Like It at the Barbican (the link actually works this time, and is corrected below) was on 19 September 2007 at 7pm (the date and time would have helped last time, sorry). We'll be waiting to see if KB made an appearance...

Further to As You Like It, here's good news for cable-connected Canucks:

Oscar(R)-nominee Kenneth Branagh Adapts and Directs the Classic Tale of Romantic Adventure

Premieres Tuesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. PT on Movie Central and Thursday, August 23 at 9 p.m. ET on The Movie Network

TORONTO, July 30 /CNW/ - Corus Entertainment's Movie Central (western Canada) and Astral Media's The Movie Network (eastern Canada) present HBO Films' 'As You Like It' premiering Tuesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. PT on Movie Central and Thursday, August 23 at 9 p.m. ET on The Movie Network.

Considered one of today's most celebrated actors and filmmakers, and renowned for his film adaptations of Shakespearean classics, Kenneth Branagh ('Hamlet', 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets') brings a beautiful and imaginative twist to one of Shakespeare's most witty romantic adventures, 'As You Like It'. Relocating this story of political rivalry, secret identity and the true face of love to 19th century Japan when Western merchants first opened up the trading route, Branagh's film offers an intriguing new context and stunning visuals to this timeless tale.

The film stars Romola Garai (Vanity Fair) as "Celia", Oscar(R)-winner Kevin Kline ('A Fish Called Wanda') as "Jaques", Alfred Molina ('The Da Vinci Code') as "Touchstone", David Oyelowo ('The Last King Of Scotland') as "Orlando de Boys" and Bryce Dallas Howard ('Spider-Man 3') reprising her New York stage role as "Rosalind".

'As You Like It' tells the story of Rosalind, daughter of the banished Duke Senior (Brian Blessed), who is forced to flee her father's former palace and enter the Forest of Arden. Accompanied by her cousin Celia, Rosalind disguises herself as a man and heads into the forest to join her father. Along her journey, and still concealed as a man, Rosalind tests the devotion of her noble admirer Orlando, another exile and family rival. She teaches him the art of courtship and some important lessons of the heart.

The film marks Branagh's fifth directorial screen adaptation of Shakespeare. He also directed 'Love's Labour's Lost' (2000), 'Hamlet' (1996), 'Much Ado About Nothing'(1993) and 'Henry V' (1989), for which he received Academy Award(R) nominations for Best Director and Best Actor. Known for his ability to reinterpret Shakespeare for new audiences while retaining the dramatic integrity of the source, Branagh decided to set 'As You Like It' in Japan after visiting Kyoto in 1990 and visualising the new and exotic possibilities for the classic Elizabethan comedy.

'As You Like It' will also be available on Movie Central On Demand and The Movie Network OnDemand the Tuesday following its network premieres. The series can also be seen on Movie Central and The Movie Network's HD channels.

Movie Central is a 24-hour-a-day, commercial-free premium pay-TV service available to Western Canadians. Exclusive multi-year output agreements with major Hollywood studios ensure that Movie Central is the preferred destination for box office titles. In addition to being the first window, Canadian home to the best of HBO and Showtime, through its investments, pre-buys and licence fees for Canadian feature films and original series, Movie Central is recognized as a major force in the Canadian independent film and television production industry. The launch of Movie Central On Demand and Movie Central High Definition demonstrates that Movie Central remains committed to being first with innovations that enhance the viewing experience. Visit the Movie Central website at

Meanwhile HBO has all kinds of goodies to its As You Like It page:
Click here for an interview with Kenneth Branagh
Click here for photos and video
Click here for a synopsis of the film
Click here for cast and crew bios

You can listen to an interview with Kenneth and some cast members on on Elizabeth Blair's Weekend Edition, Saturday, August 18, 2007 on National Public Radio.

You can read articles and reviews here, here, here, here, here, and here.

And here's a snip from Alfred Molina, from The National Ledger, 9 August 2007:

Esteemed actor Alfred Molina says he, for one, is "very impressed" with Kenneth Branagh's ambitious reworking of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" debuting on HBO Aug. 21. "Ken's the leading exponent of rendering Shakespeare onto film," says Molina of the actor/director responsible for reduxes of the Bard's plays such as "Much Ado About Nothing," "Hamlet" and "Love's Labour's Lost."

Molina -- who's currently starring with Michael Keaton and Chris O'Donnell in TNT's "The Company" miniseries this Sunday (8/12) and next -- plays Touchstone the clown in Branagh's version of "As You Like It," set in 19th-century Japan of all places. He says the intriguing locale "gave the play a context that I think is much more visually accessible. Placing it in its original period or somewhere in Europe, you can't be as magical somehow. There's this idea of this mythical forest involved in the play, and if you place it in a different culture and country, in a way it makes it easier for it to be more believable, more acceptable to the audience. I think it worked really well, and Kenneth is shamelessly romantic." Branagh has acted in most of his past projects, but is only at the helm of "As You Like It," which also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Kevin Kline and Adrian Lester.

Sleuth will be shown at Aspenfest, as well as in Venice and Toronto. Articles are starting to appear and you can read them here and here. There is now also a page for Sleuth, where you can keep up to date.

Bits and bobs...

Here's something cool - you can download the PDF version of a new guide to Belfast featuring the favourite sites and haunts of "nineteen well-known people with ties to the city". Read all about it and find the download link here.

BBC Four are having a weekend of special programmes to celebrate Stephen Fry turning 50, starting Friday 24 August. According to the TV guide there will be tributes from Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, etc., as well as showings of 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', 'Blackadder', 'QI' and other favourites starring Stephen. Check your listings!

From the Papier ist geduldig, a.k.a. don't believe everything you read in the papers, (a nod to Stephen Fry, who loves to use German [though he often gets it wrong - don't get me started, where are his editors!]) file...

Kenneth Branagh 'Dying' to Be in 'Doctor Who'
8 August 2007
By Tony Delgado

Kenneth Branagh is "dying" to appear in an episode of Doctor Who, according to reports.

The Sun quotes an insider on the series as stating that the 46-year-old actor and director "is a fan and would love a role" and has revealed his aspirations to friends.

Branagh is best known for his cinematic adaptations of the works of William Shakespeare, but has also toyed with the fantasy genre through appearances in 'Wild Wild West' and 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'.

Since returning to the small screen in 2005, 'Doctor Who' has attracted an array of well-known actors and celebrities appearing either as characters or their real-life personas. These include Sir Derek Jacobi, McFly, Simon Callow, Sharon Osbourne and Barbara Windsor.

Kylie Minogue is to appear in the upcoming Christmas Special 'The Voyage of the Damned' as a waitress named Astrid aboard the Titanic. Hugh Grant is also rumoured to be in talks about a role.

A little birdie has hinted that this "dying" may not be quite so ardent as it sounds, so enjoy all the other guest stars while you're waiting for KB.   :-)

Excerpted from, 10 August 2007:

New Endeavor for Branagh, Levy
By Kimberly Nordyke

Kenneth Branagh and Eugene Levy have signed with Endeavor. Branagh is filming the feature "Valkyrie," in which he plays Henning Von Tresckow. He most recently directed "Sleuth," starring Jude Law, which will be released this year by Sony Pictures Classics, and the HBO Films adaptation of William Shakespeare's "As You Like It," which premieres Aug. 21.

His recent acting credits include the films "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" and "Celebrity" along with HBO's "Warm Springs," A&E's "Shackleton" and HBO/BBC's "Conspiracy," which won him an Emmy in 2001 for best actor in a miniseries or TV movie. Branagh also directed "The Magic Flute," "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and "Hamlet," the latter of which earned him an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay. He continues to be repped by manager Judy Hofflund.

So I looked that up in my Funk &..., erm... Wikipedia, and Endeavour in this case is not Shackleton's ship, nor that thing hurtling back from space, but the Endeavor Talent Agency, "a Beverly Hills, California based talent and literary agency".

And a little item from the Sunday Express (19 August 2007) that has me in a tizzy.  According to the paper a film of Pepys' Diaries is in the works with the producers hoping to cast James MacAvoy as Pepys and "British heavyweight" Kenneth Branagh. Seeing KB as Pepys, after hearing him read the diaries, has been an enduring dream (but the BBC gave us Steve Coogan instead...). I can only assume James McAvoy (oh goody goody!!) would be the "young" Pepys and Kenneth the "mature" Pepys - which might mean a mini-series, or, dare I say it and hope, a maxi-series... But we've been burned before, so we'll file this in the "if only" drawer, with that blurb about Kenneth being Oliver Cromwell to Rufus Sewell's Thomas Gainsborough. Sigh.

The Hamlet is in the hot hands of lots of North Americans - and will be released in the UK on 24 September (exclusively to HMV), but in Germany you can get it on 24 August.

I have some photos and a couple of other little things, but it's nearing the witching hour, and I'll probably have to correct all the betises I wrote tonight, so tune in in a couple of days!
(19 August, thanks Jude, Gina, Nancy, Marie, Catherine, Hester, Sandra)

Hey Branagholics! Time to get drunk on press coverage - July has been good! I've been doing some general maintenance on the Compendium (finally removed the link to buy tickets for Edmond - only 4 years later, ha ha ha!). There are now thumbnail galleries for all the stage and film work, and premieres and other events... more to come.

It's the Compendium's 10th Birthday! Pop! Clink! I have refrained from a timeline of hairdos, contracting and expanding body mass, and wrinkle counts of Our Raison d'être (a.k.a. the guy the site revolves around)  --   we'd all have to step up to that plate, and no, I am not ready for my close-up!  But, you can see a timeline of the Master's Work during these ten years of the Compendium here.

Thanks to all the faithful who have sent news and photos during these years - you are the reason the Compendium exists! Gracias, merci, danke, jeszcze mi podzie¸kujesz, grazie, σας ευχαριστούμε, tack själv, ありがとう, tak!!

The news & Notes from January to June 2007 have moved to the News & Notes Archive.

News... As You Like It: The Lionsgate website has added stills from the film. You can see the Production Notes there as well.

Also, there is supposed to be a special screening of As You Like It at the Barbican, followed by a screentalk with Kenneth Branagh... but this has not yet been confirmed and the Barbican advises to check back on its site or call them for information.

For those across the pond, HBO will be releasing As You Like It on region 1 DVD on 25 September 2007, just about a month after it premieres on the cable channel on 21 August.

And finally, the Patrick Doyle score for As You Like It will be released on 14 August 2007.

The Magic Flute: read a review here and read an interview with Kenneth here.

Sleuth! This film will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and apparently also at the Toronto International Film Festival, with Kenneth supposedly in attendance at both festivals (air-miles!). To be confirmed... Meanwhile, here are the pertinent bits of a longer article on the Venice Festival, from The Independent, by Arifa Akbar, 27 July 2007:

British films made by acclaimed directors including Kenneth Branagh, Ken Loach and Peter Greenaway and starring a large contingent of homegrown actors feature heavily in this year's shortlist for the Venice Film Festival's main prize, it was announced yesterday.  ....

Branagh's shortlisted film, which is a remake of the 1972 classic Sleuth, stars Jude Law and Michael Caine, the latter of whom featured in the original film opposite Laurence Olivier. In the film, Caine adopts Olivier's role while Jude Law, who is also co-producing the remake, plays Caine's original character. The film's screenplay was written by Harold Pinter.  ...

Asked about the large number of British and Hollywood films showing this year, the festival's director, Marco Mueller, said: "Our main criterion was originality, and we found that British and US films still manage to offer something new and dare more than others."

You can see a number of photos from the film at the IMDB, and you can see some of the same ones (in very high resolution) at this Russian site.

More soon, I hope!
(29 July, thanks Jude, Anna, Ursula, Lyn, Pierpaolo)

More carrying on...

Still with As You Like It, you can read an amusing short interview with Brian Blessed in conjunction with the Cambridge Film Festival here. And you can read an interview with Kenneth, in the same context, here.

Meanwhile, HBO is starting to gear up for its showing of As You Like It on 21 August at 9 pm. The HBO webpage for the film (with just an announcement so far) is here. You can read an article promoting the film here. And you can read another article here.

An article in the Houston Chronicle about the fall TV press tour in Los Angeles includes this snip:

As usual, the HBO panels (a three-hour session) look mighty tasty. Kenneth Branagh will discuss his direction of Kevin Kline and Bryce Dallas Howard in 'As You Like It'. James (Tony Soprano) Gandolfini will ditch the attitude, we hope, as producer of 'Alive Day Memories', about wounded war veterans. We're guessing that Larry David will be telling us that the sixth season of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' will be his last. And those wacky New Zealanders Jemaine and Bret will deadpan their way through a Q&A about 'Flight of the Conchords'.
Bunch of random notes:

There are 9 interview clips with Kenneth Branagh on the BBC website. Audio and video - entertaining stuff!

Educational random note: Amazon will be selling the the Henry V region 1 DVD packaged with Cliff Notes for the play. Ya gotta love it!

Listening was shown on "Vouli Tileorasi" (Hellenic Parliament TV) in Greece on 3 July. It would be nice if it got more outings like this!

And finally, a blurb about Sleuth (which had trailer on the web - looking mighty fine - which has since been pulled, perhaps bootlegged and posted too early?):

Variety, 11 July 2007

'Sleuth' Finds Premiere in Venice
Branagh film likely to also play Toronto

By Sharon Swart

Michael Caine-Jude Law starrer "Sleuth" will world preem in competition at the Venice Film Festival in early September. Caine, Law and helmer Kenneth Branagh are expected on the Lido. Movie's second fest pit stop will likely be Toronto.

The remake of Joseph Mankiewicz's 1972 thriller concerns a writer who lures his wife's lover into a twisted game. Modern update was scripted by Harold Pinter.

Caine, who played the young lover in the original, moves into Laurence Olivier's role of the writer. Law -- who reprised Caine's "Alfie" (1966) character in 2004 -- will again follow in Caine's footsteps as the lover.

Sony Pictures Classics will release "Sleuth" Stateside and Sony has several overseas territories, including Italy. Paramount has English-speaking territories internationally.

I've still got a review of The Magic Flute but that midnight second-wind thing is kicking in and I must go to bed or be very, very sorry tomorrow morning. :-)   So stay tuned for more within the next few days...
(18 July, thanks Jude, Anna, Joanna, Lena)

Okay, we carry on...

New news in the form of a press release for an event in October: Kenneth Branagh will be presenting a one-off concert which will be a celebration of Patrick Doyle's most famous movie scores and is organised in aid of cancer charity Leukaemia Research. It will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 28 October. Read the press release here and hurry to get your tickets!

And speaking of charity, the Ken-Friends Charity Raffle has ended and a winner has been announced: check if it was you here.

As You Like It at the Cambridge Film Festival...
You can read a nice article from the Cambridge Film Festival Daily here. It includes a photo of Kenneth and Brian Blessed.   An earlier issue, No. 3, 7 July (see page 2), featured a short pre/review of the film:

As You Like It
Kenneth Branagh
By Laura Smith

All the world's a stage. Or so reasons Kenneth Branagh, relocating Shakespeare's most playful comedy to the distant shores of 19th century Japan, and coming up with an ambitisous and inventive take on this most magical of plays. Branagh gets full marks for eschewing the thigh-slapping, cakes and ale school of Shakespeare adaptations in favour of an energetic and light-heart romp through a world that shimmers with a richness and swampy exoticness, despite being filmed in the UK. A world away from the sumptuous grandeur of Branagh's 'Hamlet', 'As You Like It' signals a return to the free-spirited, breezy style of his glorious 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

The cast is uniformly great - luvvie-fest it may be, but the enthusiasm for the text is infectious, these are all clearly thesps in their element. Bryce Dallas Howard is a luminous Rosalind, fluttering between coquette and rake with breathless ease, whilst the always-wonderful Romola Garai achieves just the right balance of petulant indolence and sparky wit as Rosalind's cousin Celia. Long takes meander past, flooded with natural light and crammed with dialogue and characters. Yet the pace remains steady, circling around the various love intrigues while always staying close to Branagh's central vision - a magical, joyous dream of Japan. Still, it's Howard's show, all giddy exuberance, brimming with vitality and deftly navigating us through a plot whose narrative intricacies at times threaten to tie themselves up in knots - but that's all part of the fun, Shakespeare knew exactly what he was doing when he bid you take his play 'as you like it'.

As it turned out, the lucky ones who attended the Saturday night screening of As You Like It were treated to a post-film Question & Answer session with Kenneth and Brian. You can get a vicarious view of this booming event by clicking here. Fun stuff!

There is more, but it will have to wait till tomorrow (must enforce my bed-time, parenting myself as it were, since my inevitable "second wind at midnight" takes its toll!). Back soon!
(17 July, thanks Beth, Jude, Anna)

Woo hoo - it's kind of like the Olden Days, with lots of new news!

First... Sweden and the Bergman Week in Fårö. Here is a short article about Kenneth's appearance, from Variety, 2 July 2007:

The 2007 Bergman Week wrapped this weekend. Guests included thesp-helmer Kenneth Branagh, and regular Bergman cast members Bibi Andersson and his wife, Kabi Laretei.

Branagh screened his film "The Magic Flute" and introduced a screening of Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander."

"My friends sometimes ask me if I am influenced by this film," Branagh said. "My answer is: 'I am not only influenced -- I have stolen from it!"

If you can read Swedish, here are links to articles from the press relating to the event. They all include photos of KB (which you can see gathered together here, for convenience):
Thanks to Pia for this translation of the part of the Gotlandska article whicb concerns Ken:
The international guest of honour of the year, Kenneth Branagh, had located the Swedish premiere of his film "The Magic Flute" at the cinema Roy in Fårösund and was so taken with the harsh landscape of Fårö that he now contemplates locating parts of the set of his next Shakespeare film "A Winter´s Tale" to the island. A funny coincidence occurred at the Bakery in Rute when the experienced Shakespeare-interpreter Branagh met David Dencik (Swedish actor, in the same picture as Ken) who is currently acting in a staging of Hamlet directed by dramatist Lars Norén at the Roma Theatre. The two Hamlets took the chance to exchange experiences of acting this wonderful part.
Leave it to KB to set off another rumour by talking about filming "A Winter´s Tale". From his lips to the financiers' pockets.

And while we're on the topic of The Magic Flute, here is a link to a little blurb from Italian TV for the release of the film in Italian cinemas. There is a nice clip of Ken and Lindsay at the end: You can see a photo of them here.

And still relating to The Magic Flute, there is a new video of the interview with Ken during his visit to Japan tp promote the film. The questions are subtitled in Japanese and KB's answers are in English. Click here and then choose either 56K or 500K.

I have a bunch of other stuff, but that wretched thing called "the end of the day" is approaching and unfortunately I have to get some sleep (for that lovely thing called "the next day"). So I'll post this now and the rest will come relatively soon I hope (some social stuff looms but I'll try to sneak some time).
(11 July, thanks Jude, Lyn, Pia, Ai)