News Archive: January 2008 - June 2008

Back with a few goodies, Kenians... the cast list for Ivanov has been announced. You can see it here (oh goody! Gina McKee!)

Here's a wee snip relating to Wallander, from Teletext, Exclusive by Jonathan Donald:

Skins Star Joins Branagh

- Former Skins heartthrob Nicholas Hoult has joined forces with Kenneth Branagh for his latest TV venture. Hoult, who previously starred in the film "About A Boy" with Hugh Grant, has been working with the acclaimed actor in Sweden on new three-part BBC1 police drama "Wallander".

"I was nervous when I first went out, but Kenneth's such a down to earth guy," Hoult, 18, told Teletext.

And then there is this bit about Valkyrie sitting in the black hole of postponed-release, which is old but which I never got round to posting (in denial perhaps). From the Sunday Times, Richard Brooks, Arts Editor, 11 May 2008:
Tom Cruise's Adolf Hitler film put back into Hollywood bunker

The fortunes of Hollywood actor Tom Cruise have suffered a blow with the news that his next big film has been postponed until 2009. The release of 'Valkyrie', which tells the story of the 1944 assassination plot against Hitler, was first postponed from this summer to the autumn and is now not expected to appear until next year.

"We were originally expecting the film to be released in June," said a senior executive at one of Britain's leading cinema chains. "I know there have been all sorts of problems with this production and we will not be screening it at all this year."

The film is not only a blow to Cruise as an actor but in his more recent incarnation as a movie mogul at United Artists (UA), the studio which made the film. One critic in Hollywood has declared "Valkyrie is dead", with another arguing that the film's problems could also wreck the revival of UA. Cruise, whose earlier career saw hit after hit with 'Top Gun', 'Rain Man' and 'Jerry Maguire', is a stakeholder in UA, which was originally founded by Charlie Chaplin and other stars. It has since passed through several different owners until Cruise relaunched it as a major studio in 2006.

Cruise, who is married to the actress Katie Holmes, has a minority stake with his business partner Paula Wagner, but the pair have almost total control over which films are made. UA's first major film, 'Lions for Lambs', a story about the Iraq war with Cruise and Meryl Streep starring and Robert Redford directing, flopped.

'Valkyrie' has been directed by Bryan Singer, who is best known for 'The Usual Suspects' and 'X-Men'. The new film, which was mostly shot last year at a cost of £45m, has so far left test audiences unimpressed. The quality of Cruise's German accent was widely commented on. The film has also had to have reshoots after footage was damaged in labs.

Cruise plays the German officer Claus von Stauffenberg, who led the plot. Other German parts are played by British actors, including Bill Nighy and Kenneth Branagh.

A flop would not be good news either for Branagh, who directed three films last year - 'The Magic Flute', 'As You Like It' and 'Sleuth' - all of which had mixed reviews. However, Branagh has usually fared better as an actor. He won awards for the film 'Conspiracy' in 2001, where he played the Nazi bureaucrat Reinhard Heydrich, who chaired the conference during the second world war at which the policy of exterminating Jews was decided upon.

Roger Friedman, who has a widely read film blog and a column on, recently advised Cruise, who was formerly married to Nicole Kidman, to "do another Jerry Maguire-like comedy" to get his acting career back on track.

Some visuals today: you'll have noticed the new pic on the splash page (or not). You can see it a bit bigger here, taken while directing As You Like It.

Then we have a book cover: a French edition of Much Ado About Nothing, and three magazine covers: from 1997, from 1999 and from 2005.

I have a few more random bits and pieces which I will post next time (earth-shattering and even mildly important stuff gets posted right away, no fear :-)).
(28 June, thanks, Paula, Lyn, Susie)

Hey Branagh-beans! The Wallander press encounter continues to deliver! You can read a couple of new articles on the Wallander page (scroll down a bit, they have a "new" flag) and there are a couple of new photos in the Wallander gallery. And - ah the joy of web media - you can watch a short video clip from the event here.

And this just in: What's On Stage is advertising an "outing" to Ivanov on Tuesday 7 October 2008 at 7.30 pm. The cost is £35 and includes a free program and a Q & A. The tickets will go on sale mid-June (isn't that now?) so check the site daily or have them send you an alert.

More soon, I hope (she says, staggering to bed after two weekends getting the community garden, a.k.a. allotment, into shape... in the sweltering humid heat which always seems to grace the weekends, while it's dry and sunny and fab during the week when you are sitting under the fluorescents at the salt mine, hahahaha).
(14 June, thanks Jonas, Virginia)

Hi 2B-ers. They finally let the journalists into the Wallander zone and there have been some new articles, in Swedish and Norwegian, and a number of photos. You can read a couple of the translated articles and see the photos here.

Random notes:
From a longer article about the late actor Richard Harris comes this anecdote:

Following the huge success of the Harry Potter movie in 2001, it was with great satisfaction that Harris turned up for work on the sequel the following year. But on the set people noted his weariness and how thin he suddenly looked.

The old lion was still there, however, not hesitating to call for a re-take or question the lighting.

But when his colleagues did the same he'd rant: "Look, there's a war in the Middle East and bombs being thrown all over the world. There's real life going on out there. This is all just make-believe c**p."

One evening, he teamed up with Alan Rickman and Kenneth Branagh on a pub assault and the trio were still drinking come four o'clock the next morning.

"Richard was regaling us with stories about his life," recalled Rickman. "We just sat there with our mouths wide open." The old magic was still there, but for how long?

And from the "they'd love to cast him but never seem to get it together" file, this blurb from Dark Horizons (reported earlier in the Spanish press):
Branagh, Malkovich Make A "Mark"
By Garth Franklin
Thursday, June 5th 2008

Uruloki reports that Alex de la Iglesia ("The Oxford Murders") is currently seeking three key actors for his next project - "The Yellow Mark".

Based on the comic, the story is a mystery set in 1950's London in which Captain Francis Blake and science professor Philip Mortimer look to identify a shadowy criminal known as The Yellow Mark.

The list of sought after thesps apparently includes Kenneth Branagh as Blake, David Thewlis as Mortimer and John Malkovich as Colonel Orlik.

Further details as this develops. Filming on the $33 million project will soon kick off in Spain for release next year.

The poor old Marque Jaune (Yellow Mark) was already cast - in print - with (my adored) Rufus Sewell, Hugh Bonneville and Gong Li back in 2002. Not holding my breath on how soon this new attempt will get off the ground. Not to mention that "sought after" is easily applied. I will spare you the list of "sought after" gentleman whom I'd love to have knock at my door, hahahaha.

That kind of seems to be it for the moment. Hopefully more soon.
(8 June, thanks Lyn, Jonas, Wenda, Patricia, Terry)

Branaghians - you might be wondering if the Compendium has gone off to Sweden with KB, seeing as it's been "absent" for a month, but no.... the only one who has disappeared in Sweden is Himself. Which is why there has been no real news and hence a lazy Compendium-manager (with the extra excuse of having too much daily life/daily grind going on).

But just to keep your spirits up, you can read a short article on the Wallander filming here. If you click the link for the original article you can see three photos of the filming - no real sign of Branagh in them, alas.

Sleuth opened in Austria on 1 May and has received mainly good reviews, with several critics calling Kenneth's direction "brilliant".

The BBC's Culture Show is launching a campaign promoting its new series and celebrities and ordinary people have been asked to answer the question: "What is culture?". You can read an article about the campaign here, and you can see/hear KB's answer here.

I think there are a few more random bits of news floating about on the virtual desk, and there are definitely some photos, which I will try to get to soon. Must revive the synapses with some sleep now!
(20 May, thanks Jonas, Susie, Terry)

Hello 2B-eans - just a quick update today.

Good news! The full 10 minute Ten Days to War episode starring KB as Col. Tim Collins has now been posted on Youtube. It sounds a bit like it came out of a tin can, but for anyone outside the UK it's probably the only way to see this - and it is worth it!

You can read a couple of articles relating to the filming of Wallander, which began in Ystad, Sweden on 14 April here. You can see a slide show of "Wallander's Ystad" (featuring a couple of shots of the Swedish actor Christer Henriksson, a previous Wallander) here.

Last thing for today - you can see a bunch of photos from the Coming Through presskit here. This will take you waaaaaaay back to when KB was a slip of a lad (and more so since he "lost two stone [...] determined to lose the look of a cubist cherub and produce the gaunt Lawrentian cheeks." Beginning).

That's it for today's quickie!
(17 April, thanks Jude, Wenda)

Hi keen Kenians... so Col. Tim Collins has come and gone (but not completely, read on) and so has Cyrano.

You can read a review of Kenneth's stint in 10 Days to War here. If you live in the UK you can watch the episode on the BBC 10 Days to War website. If you live elsewhere, you can see "the big speech" (at least) here on Youtube.

You can read a review of Cyrano de Bergerac here. It's one of those weird articles that seems to be dissing KB most of the way through and then ends sort of postively... sort of, the last sentence may actually be dripping with irony, but I can't tell. As far as I'm concerned the verbal gymnastics were pure pleasure.

Going back a bit, here are a couple of anecdotes picked up during Kenneth's trip to the Broadford Film Festival, from the Yorkshire Post:

Kenneth Branagh was in chirpy, unguarded and garrulous mood this week at the Bradford International Film Festival. The actor, producer, director and writer was at the festival to collect his fellowship award. Interviewed on stage by the festival's artistic director Tony Earnshaw, Branagh told a number of stories about the people he had worked with during his career and a couple of our favourites include this one about Judi Dench. "In America for 'Hamlet' (the 1996 film version Branagh directed and starred in) the company wanted to put these names on the poster. There was mine, and Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Charlton Heston, Jack Lemmon. When I got the poster, I said that there were two names missing. The first was William Shakespeare, who I thought deserved a credit. And I also said, 'I hope you don't mind if we put one other name on. She's an English actress and I would be ever so grateful if you could include her'." And so it was that Judi Dench appeared on the billing.

Another story from the Branagh interview reminds us of the importance of humility. On the set of 'Henry V', which Branagh produced, directed and starred in when he was just 28, there was a one-eyed focus puller.

Cue the audience waiting for the punchline. Branagh explains there is no punchline. That's the story. The man in charge of making sure the focus on the camera is sharp, had one eye. "Makes you realise that you can be doing all the great performing you like, if it's not in focus it doesn't matter. I always made sure he was watching the scene with his good eye."

And going further back, you can read a really lovely Sleuth-related article here

And going even further back, you can hear a great BBC interview with KB, on the occasion of Richard III in Sheffield here.

And for the moment that's all folks! More soon, I hope!
(2 April, thanks Gina, Jude, Anna, Renie)

Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. Montréal managed to clear away all the snow and slush *and* paint the green line down the middle of the street, in order for the 184th parade (the oldest continuous one in North America) to be held. It was nice to see green, even if only for a day. :-)

But, on to business. You can see Kenneth as Tim Collins on BBC2 this Wednesday. In the meantime you can see a "separated-at-birth" thing that The Mirror has posted here.

You can also see a video on the "making of" 10 Days to War here (couple of KB clips). It also appears that episodes will be available at this site after they have run on television. Wooo hooo!

There were two nice articles relating to Kenneth receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bradford International Film Festival: read them here and here.

And after some people getting lucky and seeing the 70mm Hamlet in Bradford, other people will get lucky on the other side of the pond. This is from a longer article on the 10th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival, a.k.a. Ebertfest:

Ebert has rarely made public appearances in recent years due to thyroid cancer, which has robbed him of his voice. He is still selecting this year's lineup, culled from films he has reviewed and has deemed overlooked in some form, but he has definitely announced a rare 70mm screening of Kenneth Branagh's magnificent 4-hour "Hamlet" (1996)...
The Ebertfest is 23-27 April, at the Virginia Theater in Champaign, Illinois.

The Boat That Rocked has started filming and an article has appeared with a better cast listing than the earlier press releases. Here is the important bit:

Bill Nighy plays a different kind of pirate as Quentin, the ringleader of the radio charlatans taking over the airwaves. Nighy is set against Hoffman, who plays the formidable American DJ the Count, and Rhys Ifans, who portrays the UK's favorite DJ, Gavin, who is trying to reclaim his throne. Nick Frost (the aforementioned Ed) plays Dave, the hilarious co-broadcaster, and Kenneth Branagh plays British Minister Dormandy, who tries to keep their music off the airwaves. Also appearing in the film are Tom Sturridge, Jack Davenport, Ralph Brown, Chris O'Dowd and January Jones.
So despite some early speculation about KB playing a DJ, he appears to have fallen on the wrong side of cool (not the first time, hahahaha) and gets a moustache which is not quite as elegant as the one in Love's Labours Lost. But he will undoubtedly give the minister his due!

The closing of the 'La Charrette' cinema, as documented by The Culture Show, has found its way to Youtube: here and here.

You can read a nice article about Kenneth's sister Joyce here. Here are the couple of references to big bro Ken:

[...]  Joyce, who has had a successful career as director, has the theatre in her blood and is the sister of stage legend Kenneth Branagh.  [...]  Theatre has been a passion of hers from a young age. Her brother is an actor and often took her to see plays.
And that is it for the moment... here's a new photo from 10 Days to War to close.
(16 March, thanks Catherine, Isabelle, Jude, Virginia)

So KB in a desert-toned camouflage-y outfit, with a warm-looking landscape behind him is a welcome change from the endless white expanses that meet the eye everywhere here! The snow is higher than me in a lot of places, including my garden (not a stretch as I'm a depressing 5'2") and the walk to work tomorrow promises to be exciting (read: scrambling over piles, slipping on hidden icy patches and landing on my backside, etc.). But back to the appealing sandy-tan theme: you can see some photos of Kenneth as Colonel Tim Collins here and read a wonderful article here. The series begins tomorrow and you can see Ken as Colonel Collins on 19 March at 10:30 pm on BBC2.

Sleuth's distribution in France was to four theatres in Paris. Crikey - in comparison the three or four cities in Canada qualifies as "blanketing the country".  :-). Meanwhile, the film is working its [discreet] way around the world - you can read a a review from the Philippines here.

Little photo finish: a great photo from the set of The Magic Flute.

More soon I hope!
(9 March, thanks Jude, Terry, Lyn, Isabelle)

Hi gang, you can see photos and read articles about the gala closing of the "La Charrette" cinema here. has announced its Falstaff Awards for 2007:

"The Falstaff Awards honor the DVD release of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet as the Best Film/DVD of 2007. This long-awaited special edition release gave Shakespeare aficionados what they'd long clamored for, and more."
You can check out the other winners at

Here's a cute bit from an interview with Kate Beckinsale in the March 2008 issue of Allure magazine:

It is this British appearance that won the teen a role in Kenneth Branagh’s "Much Ado About Nothing". The film was based on Shakespeare’s play and starred actors Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Branagh’s then wife, Emma Thompson.

At 19, Beckinsale found herself sharing a Tuscan castle with some of Hollywood’s finest. She says: "[It was] the most miraculous first job. And no one had a trailer - no one. Denzel didn’t have a trailer."

Each morning movie hunk Reeves drove her to the set because Beckinsale couldn't - and still can't - drive. "We had a great script and lovely people, and I fell in love with everyone," she says.

Finally, here is a link to a nice audio interview about Sleuth with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.

If the news comes the way the snow does here these days (regularly!) I'll be back soon.
(3 March, thanks Jude, Terry, Virginia, Anna)

Hi again - so here's the rest...

You can read longish article about the actor Jonathan Broadbent here, from which come these comments on Kenneth:

But it is another British actor and director whom Broadbent admires most.

"Kenneth Branagh's a bit of a hero of mine," admits the actor. "I played Mozart in Amadeus opposite Matthew Kelly, who played Salieri, a couple of years ago and he came along to see it. He met me afterwards and he was very effusive and complimentary.

"Six months later his assistant called and asked if I was available for "As You Like It". It was only a small role, I was one of Brian Blessed's henchmen, but Branagh is brilliant to work for. He's very talented and he brings out the best in everyone around him."

Later in 2006, Broadbent also appeared in Branagh's big-screen version of Mozart's "The Magic Flute", the filming of which had its drawbacks.

"We filmed it at a country house in Surrey near Gatwick airport," he recalls. "We had to stop filming every time a plane flew overhead."

And speaking of As You Like It, the Ealing Times (we read 'em all) is having a contest in which you can win a DVD of the film. The competitions closes on 3 March.

Meanwhile, another actor - more of a part-time one - is mentioned in an article about Shakespeare in the clink, which notes that KB has participated in the program:

The California Men's Colony, nestled in the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo, is nicknamed Camp Snoopy because its slant-roofed wooden dormitories resemble Snoopy's dog house -- but life here is no cartoon. Big, blond, bearded inmate Robert Flory, 41, says, "I've got one guy 2 1/2 feet to my right and another guy 2 1/2 feet to my left" in the prison housing, but he might as well be a million miles away from the 12-year-old son he rarely gets to see. Sometimes he'd like to forget that for a while.

That's why Flory is doing Shakespeare.

Flory, along with about 25 other inmates, is participating in the nonprofit London Shakespeare Workout Prison Project, a program established in 1997 that has produced Shakespeare with casts pairing distinguished professional actors with convicts and ex-convicts -- pros and cons, you might say -- in prisons and theater venues throughout Britain, Europe and North America. Pros who have participated include Al Pacino, Richard Dreyfuss and Kenneth Branagh.

Sleuth news: the film will be released in Japan on 8 March and you can see the official Japanese website here.

Meanwhile, if you are in North America and missed the film in the cinema (which would be pretty much anyone not in NYC, LA, TO or MTL) the DVD will be released in the USA on 11 March. Word is it will include a commentary with Kenneth and Michael Caine and a separate one with Jude Law. There will also be a "making of" documentary.

Here is notice from announcing the annual British Short Screenplay Competition:

The 2008 British Short Screenplay Competition Is Now Open for Entries
By Abigail Harrison
Sunday, 17 February 2008

In its seventh year, the British Short Screenplay Competition (BSSC) is now open for entries. As film-producer and director, Stephen Woolley has said, "Without a great script youre nowhere, this is the backbone of a film and I think we ignore and misrepresent how important screenwriters are." In the absence of a platform for young screenwriters, Arif Hussein, chairman and CEO of Kaos Films ( launched the BSSC in 2001.

Seven years on the BSSC has built a fantastic reputation around the globe and is regarded internationally as "the best and the most prestigious short screenplay competition in the world" - Kenneth Branagh.

The BSSC is the only place that offers writers' access to the A-list of the British Film Industry. Film makers such as Kenneth Branagh, Sir Alan Parker and Stephen Woolley are all on the eminent judging panel, and each personally reads the final scripts.

Previous winners, including Jane Hamer author of 'Room to Let' whose work was recognised by the BSSC in 2007, benefit from Kaos Films rule of inclusion, regardless of age, location or status. A strict policy of anonymity is respected throughout the process. Winners have ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old, and have come from across the world.

Not only is there a commitment to writers, but through Kaos Films' association with the National Film and Television School, a bridge into industry has been forged for their top graduates of the Directing School. The chosen graduate director is invited to direct one of the winning screenplays as their first professional engagement.

Kenneth Branagh recently commented: "The British Short Screenplay Competition is a fantastic platform for screenwriters from across the globe. Over the last seven years it has fast become the most prestigious short screenplay competition in the world. It is the only international short screenplay competition that guarantees to produce the winning script. I'm delighted to be on the judging panel."

Photo finish: Two photos of KB, in what used be known as 'chubby bunny' mode (do a site search on that for a nostalgia trip - hi Ngoc/Nockie!), from the 2007 trip to Argentina.

And you can see two cute photos at the Ben Davis (of The Magic Flute) website: photo 1 and photo 2.

And that's it for now!
(20 February, thanks Ai, Paula, Jude, Lyn, Virginia)

Hello Branagholics! Catch-up time... I had a quick escape from the mum-with-dementia-cellblock to the Big Apple to see my fabulous Rufus Sewell and the divine Sinead Cuscack, just once more before it's over, in the brilliant Rock 'n Roll, which covers a big arc of my conscious life and kills me every time I see it.

New project news! (Once you wind up that Kenergizer bunny you cain't stop it no more, and no, we ain't complaining!). You can read a bunch of (repetitive) press releases about The Boat That Rocked here. A quick synopsis:

Kenneth Branagh and January Jones have joined Rhys Ifans in the cast of Richard Curtis' pirate radio movie 'The Boat That Rocked'.

The film tells the story of Radio Caroline, which started life on a boat off the coast of Felixstowe, Suffolk in 1964 and is believed by many to have been the precursor of BBC Radio 1. Branagh and Ifans will play DJs for the station, while Jones (Mad Men) plays an American woman who falls for Ifans' character, reports Variety.

Richard Curtis will write and direct the Universal project through Working Title, the production company behind his previous films 'Love Actually', 'Notting Hill' and 'Four Weddings And A Funeral'. The film will start shooting in London on March 3.

In line with that 'arc of experience' mentioned above, I have fond early adolescent memories of summer visits in Germany, twisting the radio and its dials with my cousin, glueing our ears to the speakers, to catch - when the weather was right - a bit of the 'real' music from England. So I am going to LOVE this....

Meanwhile, peering into the Old Films Vault, someone suddenly decided that it was time to give Alien Love Triangle an airing, erm...viewing. Say what?

Yup. Here is a short article, from Metro, 18 February:

Branagh to Jet In As Curtain Falls On Cinema

Kenneth Branagh is jetting into a tiny back garden cinema for a film premiere on the day the venue closes for good. He flies into Wales at the weekend to take his place in a 23-seat former railway wagon in Gorseinon, near Swansea. The venue, La Charette, is closing after 55 years because its crumbling structure is too costly to maintain.

But the curtain goes down on Wales's smallest cinema with its highest profile screening. "Alien Love Triangle", a science-fiction comedy directed by Danny Boyle, gets its first screening ever on Saturday.

The premiere has been put together by film critic Mark Kermode for BBC Two's 'The Culture Show'.

Wayne John, who runs La Charette, which means wagon in French, said it would be "a fitting tribute to the cinema". He added: "After all these years it will go out on a high. "Alien Love Triangle" has never been seen by an audience - it has never been released."

"I understand Kenneth Branagh is flying down for the screening. There is a lot of interest for a whole series of reasons," he said. The 2002 film sees Branagh play a physics lecturer who tells his wife, played by Courteney Cox, he's perfected his dream of teleportation. Then she reveals she's really a male alien disguised as a female human. It was made as one of three 30-minute shorts planned to be shown as a trio. When its companion pieces were extended into features it was cancelled.

That headline conjours visions of KB in a super-hero costume, with a jet back-pack, arriving just in time to stop an iron curtain slicing the theatre in half. Anyway, you can read a longer article about the event, by the organiser, here, and another article here. And, one of my most favourite magazines, The Architects' Journal mentions the event (and even Himself) en passant... so any archi-freaks among you can click here.

There is more stuff but it will have to be tomorrow as I'm endeavouring to stick to an 'adult' bedtime (hahahahahaha) - mostly because I have to stick to an adult alarm clock time. But just to finish, a photo of Honourary Doctor Kenneth from the Centenary book of Queen's University Belfast.
(19 February, thanks Anna, casmiuk, Terry, Jude)

If you can possibly get to Bradford on 9 March 2008 you will be richly rewarded: there will be a screening of Hamlet in 70mm at the Bradford International Film Festival. Kenneth Branagh will also be there on that day taking part in an onstage interview and introducing the film, but he'll be facing stiff competition from the Blond Dane for the minds and hearts of the assembled viewers, ha ha. If you have never seen Hamlet on the big screen, let alone in 70 mm as it was intended to be viewed, walk, run, bike, train, bus, drive, rollerskate or crawl to Bradford - you won't regret it. They will also be showing "11 Branagh films, plus several shorts and TV programmes which either feature him as an actor or director". The program is not yet up on the site, but stay tuned here for more info.

That's all for now - I'm trying to post the news as it comes in rather than letting it pile up on the virtual desk, where it gets lost in the ether. We'll see how long I manage to keep this up... :-)
(30 January, thanks Ben)

Kenites - a quick update. The Ivanov tix go on sale tomorrow and the poster for the play has gone up on the Donmar West site. If you didn't come in through the front door you can do so now and see the image. It's clear that this play will not be a walk in the (birch and cherry tree-filled) park, ha ha.

You can also read numerous repetitive press releases about 10 Days to War here. If you miss it on BBC 2 (not much chance if you are a UKer and visit here, what with me nagging y'all to watch) you be able to catch it on one of the BBC's "digital outputs, including iPlayer and BBC4".

And this just in - Kevin Klein has won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor in a Television Drama for his performance in As You Like It. Congratulations!

That's it for now - more soon, perhaps.
(27 January, thanks Terry, Jude, Emily)

So we'll all be wanting to get the same batteries as the Kenergizer... as they say, he's baaaack.

You know about Ivanov, you know about Wallender - say hi to Cyrano (read about him here) and Tim Collins (read about him here). Tune your television to BBC 2 on 19 March to enjoy another troop-rousing speech and tune your radio to BBC 3 on Easter Sunday, 23 March to share Cyrano's emotions (and it's safe to say you will). And rejoice that once more it is raining Ken!

Thanks to Isabelle for translating articles from the Argentinian press coverage of KB's trip to the Pantalla Pinamar film festival, mentioned earlier. You can read them here.

Snippet: from a longer article about Woody Allen and his latest film...

"I think he has very, very good taste in terms of judging the reality and pitch of a performance," said Kenneth Branagh, who starred in Allen's "Celebrity." "People are so respectful of him that they really do their homework before they start a Woody Allen film, so I think everybody is just on their mettle when they're working for him."
I have finally got all the "photoshoot" photos into thumbnail galleries. You can find them in the Photo Gallery. One day I will even get all the new additions, still hidden in the various News & Notes files, in there... gotta get me some of them Kenergizer batteries...
(20 January, thanks Terry, Jude, Patricia, Isabelle)

Yeah, yeah - I forgot something: a Sleuth interview... and here is something new: another nice interview. Till soon!
(15 January)

Greetings Branaghans! Happy New Year, two weeks in! The news from 2007 has moved to the News & Notes Archive.

So, the new news is that Matthew Shardlake, and the announced BBC filming of Dissolution, will be left lurking back in the 16th century for the moment, while a more comtemporary Swedish detective is brought to BBC screens. Kenneth Branagh will become Kurt Wallander for a BBC series tentatively titled Wallander. You can read the BBC press release and a bunch of articles (more or less all saying the same thing) here.

Here is a photo of Ken, thinking about the role, heh heh, from a Swedish news site.

A heads up that the tickets for Ivanov go on sale on 28 January 2008. I have created an Ivanov page with the bits of info available; you will find links to the Donmar West there.

Other news bits:

From the Richmond and Twickenham Times, 8 January 2008

School Kids to Get Acting Masterclass from Kenneth Branagh
By Nancy Groves

Hollywood heavyweight Kenneth Branagh is to run a masterclass for local school children at Richmond Theatre this Friday.

The multi award-winning actor, director and producer will work with pupils from 10 schools, each of which has nominated one Year 10 or Year 11 drama student to take part. The schools participating are Grey Court School, Hampton Community College, Orleans Park, Shene School, Whitton School, Clarendon School, Strathmore School, Waldegrave School, Teddington School, Christ's School and Richmond-Upon-Thames College.

"Experience of the arts in education is immensely important," said Mr Branagh, whose most recent project was a feature film of Mozart's "The Magic Flute". "This is a great opportunity to have a dialogue between theatre professionals, teachers and young people. I know it's just a small part of what's going on with drama and education in the borough, but I'm proud to be a part of it."

Friday's two-hour session has been made possible through a generous Richmond resident, who won the masterclass in a charity auction for Thames Hospice care, only to donate it to the education department of Richmond Theatre.

An excited Karin Gartzke, chief executive of Richmond Theatre, said: "This fantastic opportunity to invite students to our venue to participate in a masterclass with such a leading theatrical figure as Kenneth Branagh is a real coup and we hope he will help to inspire not just the students directly involved but their teachers and their peers."

Visit for more on its education programme.

You can read a very similar article, but with a fuzzy photo of the kids with Ken, here.

And a little optimistic balloon for the Canucks out there... the Edmonton Journal lists 22 February as a release date for The Magic Flute... we'll see....

And good news for Kenites in France: Sleuth will be released in France on 13 February 2008!

From the "how KB started the year" department, this snip from a The Stage:

But last night equilibrium was finally restored when I went to the opening night of Michael Feinstein's week-long season at the Shaw, inaugurating a hugely welcome regular cabaret season there. I've profiled Michael in the current (January 4) issue of The Stage, and as someone who loves the "Great American Songbook" tradition with an undisguised passion that he has also selflessly translated into an archivist's zeal, he is not just a fine interpreter of it but also one of its leading preservers. And over the many years he has now been putting himself in front of the mike (as well as behind the sheet music), he's developed in confidence and charm, too, without ever putting himself ahead of the material itself.

When I saw his annual holiday season residency at the club that bears his own name in New York, Feinstein's, I reported here that Woody Allen and partner Soon-Yi were at the next table. Last night at the Shaw was nearly as star-studded: Derek Jacobi was there with Kenneth Branagh, and Lorna Luft was on her night off from her current run in a stage version of White Christmas (running in Cardiff to January 12).

And a lovely article about Branagh as an interpreter of Shakespeare on film.

I have done a couple of thumbnail galleries for some of the myriad photos in the "Photoshoots & Miscellaneous" section of the Photo Gallery, you can see them here and here.

And, that for the moment, is all (or all that I have remembered!).
(13 January, thanks Anna, Jude, Lyn, Terry, Pennie)