News Archive: January 2012 - June 2012

Finally back! I've added a small collection of articles, partly relating to the knighthood and partly to the upcoming third series of Wallander. First of all, one example of the many, many articles announcing the honour, this one from the Huffington Post.

There was a short, but sweet, congratulatory article in the Belfast Telegraph.

There was also a wonderful radio interview with Simon Mayo, the salient bits of which you can hear here (hear! hear!). Two articles have cribbed most of the interview, and you can read them here and here.

Moving into Wallander territory: articles from The Guardian and The Independent.

KB's first outing after the announcement was, fittingly, the Cartier Queen's Cup, a polo event. You can read an article here and see some photos here.

In other news, Kenneth will be reading Ian Fleming's James Bond novel The Man With the Golden Gun. Read all about it here.

Finally, for today, there were some photos of Ken sort-of-quaffing Moet & Chandon at the British Independent Film Awards, but he must have had a tipple (or a glass-holding moment) at the Golden Globes... from the Over the Wall website:


At the 2012 Golden Globes ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California, Moet and Chandon offered the attending film stars a donation of $1000 to the charity of their choice if they toasted the charity with a glass of bubbly on the red carpet.

Our Patron, Kenneth Branagh, rose magnificently to the challenge and for his herculean efforts in quaffing a glass of bubbles whilst toasting our good name we today received a cheque for $1000 through the post. Yeehah, cheers Ken.

Oh, if only all fundraising could be like thisůůůůů

You can see the letter announcing the donation on the site.

There is more and it will come. Till soon!
(25 June, thanks Paula, Eva, Vee, Jude, Beth)

Ken Fans! Time to pop the champagne corks and crack open the beers: Congratulations Sir Kenneth!

Kenneth Branagh has been awarded a knighthood! And in the Jubilee Year! (I'm of the generation that sang God Save the Queen every morning in elementary school, even in the colonies, and that leaves a mark, haha.) You can see short video of Kenneth's reaction here. Here are the excerpted comments:

Hollywood actor Kenneth Branagh leads the list of Northern Ireland names on this year's Queens Birthday honours list.

The Belfast-born star is to be given a knighthood for his services to drama.
Branagh, the Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, was also recognised for his services to the community of Northern Ireland.

"My heart's fit to burst. I feel humble, elated, and incredibly lucky," he said.

"When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team.

"I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt."

Branagh moved to Reading when he was still in primary school, but has credited his Irish background for his love of language.

He studied at Rada before learning his trade on the stage where he worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) before going on to form his own theatre company.

More in the next few days, I'm sure.
(15 June, thanks Jude, Douglass)

Believe it or not, I'm already back. First, some catch-up in the Cover Gallery, specifically six new/old covers: 2008 What's On Stage, 2008 Daily Telegraph,2008 The Observer, 2008 Sky TV & Satellite Week, 2009 and 2009 '

And, three random articles: another report from the San Francisco event, a tiny bit of news regarding Kenneth's next project, and a cute article, unfortunately unillustrated.

I have also updated the information on the Ken-Friends birthday projects, which you can read about here.

There will be more (lots to catch up with) - soon I hope!
(28 May, thanks Jude)

Keen Kenians! An update will be coming soon, but today I have a major treat for you. This site has been somewhat crap in the photographs department (entirely my fault!) but there is great news: you can wallow in a ton of fabulous photos at As the porter said in The Painkiller (you can see nice production photos of that play): "Enjoy!"

More soon!
(23 May, thanks Vee)

Greetings Ken-fans! A bit of catch-up... Kenneth received Founder's Directing Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival on Friday 27 April. You can read a lovely gushing article from the SFIFF wesbite here. There are also two other related articles: here and here. And, icing on the cake, you can listen to an hour-long interview with Kenneth Branagh on KQED radio.

Random notes: PBS will be showing the three new episodes of Wallander beginning 1 July 2012 - so a summer treat!

What they are saying....

Here is Tom Hiddleston on Kenneth, from a longer interview at Den of Geek, 25 April 2012:

Do you feel quite lucky to have broken out of the well-spoken, prim British mould by getting the role of Loki? ItĂs certainly not the Jane Austen-y type of role usually given to well-spoken, classically trained Brits.

It was completely different. I hope that the person you see sitting in front of you... IĂm not obvious casting for Loki. I donĂt have long, greasy black hair. It was funny, because I think it took a while for Marvel to come around to the idea, too, because I initially auditioned to play Thor. That was what I was being considered for, because IĂm tall and blonde and classically trained, and that seemed to be the mould for what Thor was, he was to be a classical character. And it was in my auditions. I owe this entirely to Marvel and their open-mindedness, they saw something that they thought was interesting. They saw some temperament that they liked.

It was one of those things where [Kenneth] really couldnĂt have given it to me on a plate, it was just going to cost too much money. So the people who hold the purse strings need to make sure that the money is being spent properly. ItĂs a big movie, itĂs a big blockbuster, thatĂs a lot of responsibility. So I auditioned and auditioned, just like Chris Hemsworth did, both of us. It took us both four months to get the roles.

But I knew I had an advocate in Kenneth Branagh, because we had worked on television together, weĂd worked on stage. And that is really where we got to know each other. When you act with someone on stage, thereĂs no hiding place. You see who somebody is, you see what makes them tick. You see their process, their professionalism. It is a job that we do and Ken and I just really connected.

So I knew that he trusted me and I trusted him, and we had the same taste. WeĂre in this business for the same reasons, because we just love it. Love cinema, love acting, love stories and characters. So when push came to shove, and Marvel were thinking, I hope, that I was an interesting prospect, then Ken was probably able to say Šyou can trust him on thisĂ.

And also from Tom Hiddleston, from an interview, in Metro, 23 April 2012:
How is it reprising a role, but with a new writer and director? How does it compare going from Kenneth Branagh, who directed Thor, to Joss Whedon?

WhatĂs surprising to most people is that they actually have so much in common. Ken is actually a really populist cinephile. Every Friday night, heĂs at the pictures with his wife watching the most genre or populist thing out there. And Joss is a huge Shakespeare buff. They both have this amazing handle on what good drama is, and my good fortune is that Joss saw an early cut of Thor just as we were coming to the end of shooting and he loved it. He just really dug it.

And, this from Jason Solomans, in The Observer, 1 April 2012:
Gift of the Gabin

Watching the crystal-clean restoration of Jean Renoir's 'La Grande Illusion' released in cinemas last week, I was struck by how much the great Jean Gabin looks like Ken Branagh. Or the other way around, I suppose. Gabin is young and dashing as Mar┌chal, the French airman held in the prisoner of war camp, but as he allows his stubble to grow he looks increasingly like the Branagh who was so charming and chatty on the awards carpets this year. Obviously Branagh made much of his admiration for Laurence Olivier, to whom he has often been compared and whom he plays in 'My Week with Marilyn', but even in that film he actually looks more like the later Gabin, in particular in Renoir's sumptuous 'French Cancan' from 1955.

This is not the first time this comparison has been made - so, when they make the bio-pic about Gabin we know who they might call. :-)

That's it for now. Back soon I hope!
(29 April, thanks Renie, Jules, Jude)

Hi Ken-keeners! Sending a few more things your way (alas, only a few despite best intentions!)...

Something I forgot to mention a while back (apologies): another video interview, worth looking at, from the My Week with Marilyn press circuit: Part 1 and Part 2.

And some "Oh poo!" news... The filming of Guernsey has been delayed for a year. You can read one of a zillion articles (all saying the same thing) here.

On the other hand, there is this little bit of speculation... from Zack Parks on IMDB, 27 March 2012:

Kenneth Branagh In Talks to Direct Next Jack Ryan Film

Since director Jack Bender left the production of the next Jack Ryan film, Paramount has been scrambling to get a director for their latest spy adventure, written by David Koepp. Bender reportedly left due to scheduling conflicts, which confounded Paramount, since the film has been in development for the last two years. The film's star, Chris Pine, is currently filming the next 'Star Trek' film with J.J. Abrams, which has kept him busy while Paramount scrambled to find a director. Their latest choice is Kenneth Branagh, director of last year's superhero blockbuster 'Thor'. Branagh chose not to film 'Thor 2' for Walt Disney Pictures, leaving it to 'Game of Thrones' director Alan Taylor. Branagh was previously attached to 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society', but if this news proves true, Branagh joins fellow Jack Ryan film directors such as John McTiernan ('The Hunt For Red October'), Philip Noyce ('Patriot Games', 'Clear and Present Danger'), and Philip Alden Robinson ('The Sum of All Fears').

So perhaps we will have another film first... ?

There is a lot more to post (but not new news, I try to get that up quickly if I can) and I will be back as soon possible.
(9 April, thanks Jude, Jorge)

Hi all - just a quick sign of life (I'm still here, the world is still spinning...unfortunately quite often right around my ears, which accounts for the gaps).

There is news for Ken fans in the San Francisco area. Kenneth will receive the San Francisco Film Society Founder's Directing Award on Thursday 26 April, at the Warfield Theater, as part of the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival. The next evening, at the Castro Theater, he will be part of an on-stage conversation, followed by a screening of 'Dead Again'. More information and tickets here: You can read a couple of articles about the event here and here.

To close, three articles (part of ever ongoing catch-up): Kenneth Branagh Talks 'The Avengers,' Roles He Wanted, Interview: Actor Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), 'My Week With Marilyn' Star Kenneth Branagh On How to Play a Legend.

I hope there will be more soon!
(3 April, thanks Jane, Patricia, Annette)

Hi Kenners! We begin with lotsa, lotsa photos. (I'm not sure I remember a time - lo these 11 years of running the Compendium - when there has been quite such a cornucopia of images of Himself - kinda wonderful!) You can enjoy Ken (and Lindsay and a few others): at the Ermenegildo Zegna Dinner To Support Oxfam America, at the 7th Annual Oscar Wilde: Honoring The Irish In Film event, at the GREAT British Film Reception To Honor The British Nominees Of The 84th Annual Academy Awards and at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. By now you all know that the greater part of the awards KB was nominated for went to Christopher Plummer (although the London Critics Circle recognised our guy) - but there will be a next time!

A snippet related to the British Film Reception mentioned above - from longer BBC News article Oscars 2012: British Nominees Ready for Academy Awards, by Tim Masters:

Kenneth Branagh, who plays Laurence Olivier in 'My Week with Marilyn', was another of the Oscar nominees who was at the reception hosted by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and British Consul General Dame Barbara Hay.

Branagh said: "I'm relieved and delighted that people feel we did a good job with somebody whom I revered and respected, and who inspired much of what I've done."

Branagh's supporting actor nomination this year sets an Oscar record - he is the first person to achieve five different nominations in five categories - supporting actor, actor, director, screenplay and short film. "Each time it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so you value and savour every moment," he said.

And another one - from the transcript of an ITN video:
Kenneth Branagh was also out ahead of his nomination for best supporting actor for his performance in 'My Week With Marilyn'. He and fellow co-star Michelle Williams, nominated for best actress, have both received a nod for the film about the late actress Marilyn Monroe.

"Well, what people tell us is that it's fun to watch," Branagh explained. "It's entertaining and they get that, they get the fun of that, but they also have the film delivering a bit more of the melancholy and tenderness between the lives of, behind the lives of those people, particularly Marilyn and I think people enjoyed the fact that it's an easy watch."

A couple of new things to read: a short article announcing that filming for 'Guernsey' will begin in autumn 2012, and an interview about My Week With Marilyn and other films.

You can now watch a video of the Bafta event "Kenneth Branagh: A Life in Pictures" on the Bafta site here, and you can read the transcript and/or download it as a PDF (you can also pick it up in our Reading Room).

You can see a photo (with Kenneth) from the next series of Wallander here , and a lot more (without Kenneth) here.

And a photo-finish for today: large photo, looking fabulous!

More soon!
(4 March, thanks Jules, Myriam, Kristyna, Annette, Emma, Lyn)

Okay, it's officially out-of-control and I will never be able to sort all the news into some logical order (well, I will, but we might be well into another season of the year)... so I am going to plunk stuff here, randomly plucked from the overloaded virtual desk. The news from July to December 2011 has moved to the News & Notes Archive.

Hot off the digital press (and while UKers are watching the event) hunky Ken and super-lovely Lindsay arriving at The Orange British Academy Film Awards 2012 at The Royal Opera House. Good for the eyes! {You can see some more photos, just of KB, here.)

And since we have started with the photos, there are a bunch more: at the Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards and at the Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon - regarding this, one Matt Whitfield, Yahoo! Staff writer, commented "'My Week with Marilyn's' Kenneth Branagh looked sensational, pairing his piercing blue eyes with similarly hued suit and tie" - tee hee. And at AARP Magazine's Annual Movies for Grownups Awards Gala (smooching/shmoozing with Meryl Streep).

We have six new articles: first, a short online interview (with transcription) which I meant to put up a couple of months ago (sorry!).  Then an account of the Q & A with Kenneth and Michelle Williams after a Los Angeles showing of My Week With Marilyn.  You can see a video of bits of the same event here.  There is a short article on the film Prodigal which has been mentioned before and will get its own page soon.  Next is a short piece about Kenneth looking forward to the next Wallander series and an article about the Billy Plays (currently airing again on BBC NI 2).   Finally, a nice interview about various projects.

The next update will be a bunch of short bits (the notes from the News & Notes, heh heh) and I hope to get to it soon...
(12 February, thanks Maria, Annette, Miriam, Jude)

Greetings Kenians! Abject apologies for always being behind, it is not laziness, and I will eventually get all the info up here. Thankfully these days the news can reach you quickly in many ways, and the Compendium probably serves more than ever as a sort of archive. So, for re-runs and to find all the photos again, this is the place.

First things first: new project!   Kenneth will be directing the film version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The film will be shot in Guernsey and you can read the first announcements here and here. You can read about the first actor hired (a nice reuniting) for the film here. They are also scouting locations and looking for a child actor, which you can read about here. This last article comes with a nice photo

Awards Season: KB has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in My Week With Marilyn. HitFix quotes his reaction:

˘It was a rare honor to play Sir Laurence Olivier. To be recognized by the Academy for doing so is overwhelming. I'm absolutely thrilled.÷

- Kenneth Branagh
Best Supporting Actor, "My Week With Marilyn"

There was also a short article about KB's Oscar experiences.

Kenneth is also shortlisted in the Best Actor category at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2011. The awards will be presented on 6 February.

Meanwhile, although the Critics Choice Award and the Golden Globe did not go to him, Ken did win the Supporting Actor of the Year award at the 32nd London Critics' Circle Film Awards. Congratulations!

And while we are on the awards, here are tons of photos from the various events: At the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, Los Angeles, 12 January 2012, At the BAFTA Los Angeles 18th Annual Awards Season Tea Party, 14 January 2012, Arriving at the at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, 15 January 2012, Arriving at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards, London, 19 January 2012, and With his award at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards, London, 19 January 2012.

And for today's "extra photo finish", a great photo from the recording of Life and Fate, a wonderful portrait from Entertainment Weekly, and another from USA Today.

More soon I hope!
(29 January, thanks Jules, Myriam, Annette, Jude)

Happy New Year Ken fans! May this be as exciting a year for us as 2011 was. I'm still running behind with all the stuff coming in - but here's another little catch-up effort. In random order...

Kenneth was named 2011 Hollywood International Star of the Year by Hollywood News. Here is the blurb, you can see some photos on the site:

Kenneth Branagh PHOTOS: 2011 Hollywood International Star of the Year A lot is being made this awards season of George ClooneyĂs versatility in front of and behind the camera, as the ˘Ides of March÷ director finds himself in the Oscar race for his performance as a bewildered father in Alexander PayneĂs ˘The Descendants.÷

And itĂs true that Clooney is enjoying a productive 2011. But Kenneth Branagh has performed a similar feat this year.

Consider this. Earlier this year, Branagh kicked off the Summer 2011 season with his Shakespeare-by-way-of- Marvel-comics blockbuster, ˘Thor.÷ The smash hit earned a whopping $449 million at the worldwide box office, establishing Chris Hemsworth as a bankable star while also setting the stage for ˘Captain America÷ and, later, Joss WhedonĂs ˘The Avengers.÷ It was a coup for Branagh, but he wasnĂt finished yet.

ItĂs BranaghĂs masterful turn as Sir Laurence Olivier in Simon CurtisĂ charming ˘My Week With Marilyn÷ that has the respected actor in the Oscar race for a Best Supporting Actor trophy. By playing his hero, Branagh lends stability and professionalism to a unique behind-the-scenes drama. For these triumphs, weĂre please to recognize Kenneth Branagh as our 2011 Hollywood International Star of the Year.

Various things about My Week With Marilyn... the film has garnered 16 inclusions in the "longlists" for the 2012 British Academy Film Awards (Baftas): Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Leading Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Leading Actress (Michelle Williams), Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh), Supporting Actress (Judi Dench, Zoe Wanamaker). Of course, this list will be whittled down, but you-know-who might make the cut.  :-)

If you live in Los Angeles you have the chance to see My Week With Marilyn at the Egyptian Theatre on Wednesday 11 January. It says there will be a "Discussion following with Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh". Click here for details and to buy tickets.

There seem to be a million online interviews for My Week With Marilyn. At the risk of repetion here is another one, with a cute beginning. And there are a other new articles: here; here; here and here.

In June there was a small article about Kenneth's sponsorship involvement with the Windsor Fringe Festival. You can now see details on the Windsor Fringe website.

Waaay back catch-up, a video interview with KB about directing Thor.

Wallander, series two, is showing in Australia about now and two articles have appeared (though only one related to the Oz showing): here and here.

Troop rally! You can vote for Kenneth as Best Actor and/or Best Director at the Empire Awards.

And photo finish... Kenneth presented Michelle Williams with the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala and you can see the photos here.

More soon!
(8 January, thanks Emma, Lara, Kate, Jude)