News Archive: January 2016 - June 2016

Hello Ken-Friends - back with a small update. There is another review for Romeo and Juliet and also photos from the press night after-party.

There has also been a first article about Dunkirk, accompanied by some photos.

Alas, that is it for today. My plans to catch up are consistently thwarted, but I WILL eventually have more time, at the very latest at the end of September! Hopefully before...
(26 June, thanks Jane, Lyn)

Greetings keen Kenners! There have been a load of articles related to Wallander and a bunch of them are here: Kenneth Branagh Battles Doubt As Actor  |  Kenneth Branagh Offers a Bittersweet Goodbye to ‘Wallander’  |  Kenneth Branagh Has Done an Admirable Job of Portraying the Sense of Despair Creeping Into the Soul of the Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander  |  Kenneth Branagh Is a Fading Inspector In ‘Wallandar’ Series  |  Kenneth Branagh: Dementia Scenes Were a Privilege to Play in Wallander  |  How My Missus Made Wallander Less Miserable: Returning As the Swedish Detective, Sir Kenneth Branagh Reveals His Wife Had to Visit Him On Set to Lift His Gloom  |  Kenneth Branagh's Wallander Can't Catch a Break  |  Kenneth Branagh Talks About Final Season of Wallander  |  Wallander Is a Good Drama Series Made Sublime By the Brilliance of Branagh and Kenneth Branagh On Waving Goodbye to Wallander and Creator Henning Mankell.

There are also a few more photos from the third Wallander series here. And a lovely photo of Ken with Henning Mankell.

Yesterday was the official opening night of Romeo and Juliet and Kenneth recorded the prologue which you can hear here. (Hear, hear!) There is also a short article to read. There are also reviews which will be here soon.

This event is happening tomorrow:

Shakespeare on Film - Kenneth Branagh Satellite Q&A + 'Henry V'
Fri 27 May 18:15
Screened live from Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

Join us for a live on-stage event (being broadcast from Queen's Film Theatre, Belfast) that is being beamed out simultaneously to over 70 cinemas across the UK.

Taking place in Kenneth’s home city of Belfast, actor Kenneth Branagh will discuss his career as a director within the context of his Shakespeare films with Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission.

The conversation will focus on Branagh as one of Britain’s leading Shakespearean actor/directors, and will explore Shakespeare as an inspiration for filmmaking, covering his immeasurable cultural impact and why he remains so relevant today.

The discussion will be followed by a screening of Kenneth Branagh’s first Shakespeare film, 'Henry V', released in 1989. Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, 'Henry V' is a gritty adaptation of Shakespeare’s epic and brutal play. The BAFTA and Academy Award-winning film is widely considered one of the best Shakespeare film adaptations ever made, commended for the performances and direction as well as the accessibility of its Shakespearean language.

Part of BFI presents Shakespeare on Film programme.

I hope we will hear from someone lucky enough to attend!

That's it for today. I have discovered a lot of older articles and photos I missed - one day I will catch up (really!). More soon, I hope.
(26 May, thanks Jane, Renie, Emma, Pennie)

Hello 2B-or-not-2Bers! Wallander has arrived in the United States and will be shown the UK (hopefully) soon, and here are a couple of articles: Facing Dementia Together: Kenneth Branagh Learned About Alzheimer’s For Wallander Role and Kenneth Branagh: I Don’t Think You Can Take Belfast Out of the Boy. There are many more and they will be up soon.

There is also a small gallery of images from the third Wallander series.

The Painkiller has ended and Romeo and Juliet opens in three days. You can read a short article and see rehersal photos of this new production.

And, finally, jumping ahead - and hot off the presses - here is an article about The Entertainer.

I have tons more but what I don't seem to have is enough time! I'll try to remedy that soon!
(9 May, thanks Jane, Renie, Emma)

Hi Ken-iacs - a quickie today with a whole load of reviews for The Painkiller which had its press night on 17 March:

Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon — A Farcical Encounter With the Odd Couple   |   The Painkiller (Garrick Theatre)   |   West End Review: Kenneth Branagh in ‘The Painkiller’   |   Play of the Week: Rob Brydon and a Drugged-up Kenneth Branagh Have a Ball in 'The Painkiller'   |   'The Painkiller' Sees Branagh and Brydon At Their Comic Best   |   The Painkiller Review – Branagh and Brydon Are Perfect Pair In Furious Farce   |   'The Painkiller' – Garrick Theatre, London   |   'The Painkiller' Review – Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon Star at the Garrick Theatre, London   |   Review: 'The Painkiller', Garrick Theatre   |   'The Painkiller' at the Garrick Theatre   |   Sir Ken and Co Are a Riot With Their Trousers Down But 'The Painkiller' Is Not Quite Needle Sharp   |   'The Painkiller': Theater Review   |   'The Painkiller'   |   Review Roundup: Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon's 'The Painkiller'  and  'The Painkiller', Garrick Theatre.

Next time there will be photos!
(30 March, thanks Jane)

Hello keen Ken-ners! Back with a few more things. I've just been trying to sift through the virtual "piles of news" - aka links - and it's rather daunting, but here are a few for today...

From the what they are saying desk, these snippets...

From Eoin Colfer Has Set New Iron Man Novel in Ireland, at RTÉ.ie, 16 January 2016:

One of Colfer's stories that is getting the big screen treatment is the hugely popular fantasy series, Artemis Fowl, which has been translated into 44 languages around the globe. Kenneth Branagh is on board to direct the movie and Colfer revealed that he is not the only big name behind the project.

"I was over to meet Kenneth Branagh a couple of months ago in London and they are all gung ho to get going. I'm hoping they will do it over here which will be amazing. Robert De Niro is one of the producers as well as Harvey Weinstein – that's pretty much a force in Hollywood."

From an article about Ken Dodd in the Bournemouth Echo, 11 March 2016:

Kenneth Branagh roped him into his four-hour film of 'Hamlet'. “Kenneth All-Bran, he rang me up one day and said would I take part in his film of Hamlet? I said ‘Oh well I’ve got the legs for it, I’ll look good in tights’.”

And from an interview with Adrian Lester in the Evening Standard, 14 January 2016:

Lester says his own understanding of the role [in 'Red Velvet'] has deepened over the years. In between productions of 'Red Velvet', he played his own stunningly martial Othello at the National Theatre, which brought another Evening Standard Theatre Award into the Lester-Chakrabarti home.

The two performances informed each other — “I feel like I’ve been playing Othello for five years” — and the play itself has gained new relevance. There were lines in it from the very start about “immigration, letting people in, borders … but in this day and age an audience is going to hear them a lot more clearly”.

The play fits neatly into Branagh’s season. It shares with Rattigan’s Harlequinade and Branagh’s own forthcoming rendition of John Osborne’s The Entertainer, a fascination with the mercurial nature of theatre, and nestles neatly alongside both the Shakespeare plays and the new work Branagh has programmed.

Lester says the deal to bring the show into the Garrick was done in a week. They’ve known Branagh for years: “When Lolita wrote an early 15-page treatment in 1990-something, she asked Ken if he’d look at it and tell her if it had legs. He came to the house and gave her very, very detailed notes as a friend, just helping a mate out.”

And finally, an article in which Billy Crystal talks about rehearsing for his part in Hamlet

To balance things out, here is Kenneth Branagh's tribute to Alan Rickman.

The Winter's Tale, Judi Dench, Neil Austin, Michael Pennington, Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh have all received Olivier nominations for 2015 - read an article and see all the nominations here.

There are also other articles: Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, And Mark Rylance To Star In Christopher Nolan's 65mm Shot 'Dunkirk' (Oooh, new work! unconfirmed for the moment!);   John Hurt Joins Kenneth Branagh in 'The Entertainer';   In Rehearsal: The Painkiller;   Olivier-Nominated Kenneth Branagh to Star With John Hurt  and Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon — A Farcical Encounter With the Odd Couple.

There is a great photo from the latest article and a wonderful Painkiller rehearsal gallery.

That's today's update - more to come, including the new Painkiller reviews.
(16 March, thanks Lyn, Jane, Emma, Pennie, John)

Greetings Ken Fans! As many of you will know, over the years the Ken-Friends (Branagh fans from all over the world) have been doing fundraising for a number of charities supported by Kenneth Branagh. In recent years we have focused our efforts to create and support The William & Frances Branagh Memorial Award at RADA, which is offered to students from Northern Ireland studying at the Academy. In Beginning (p. 50, 51) you will find a lovely mention of Kenneth's parents giving him an envelope with a card and some cash to sustain him while away from home... the William & Frances Branagh Memorial Award commemorates this and endeavours to support the training of students from Northern Ireland. Read about last year's gift here.

In other news, a fun snippet, posted by Warren Mauger, on Spike Productions Blog:

Filming with Sir Kenneth Branagh

Going through our files this morning I realised it was four years ago yesterday (25th January 2012) that we had the pleasure of filming with actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Sir Kenneth Branagh.

It was awful weather and we were filming on the Pleinmont headland in Guernsey, at points we could barely keep the camera steady on the tripod. Myself (Warren Mauger) and our cameraman were fairly apprehensive of working with such an experienced and successful film maker but were put at ease straight away.

Our task was to film a number of pieces with Ken Branagh talking to the camera.

We only worked together for that morning and the footage was edited together for the film studios which they seemed to be happy with. Later that morning we were just finishing off and I was taking the mic off Sir Ken when he got the news that he was nominated for an Oscar for 'My Week with Marilyn'. It's probably the closest i’d get to an Oscar but i resisted the temptation to ruffle his hair and say “well done you”.

Very nice photos on the blog - do visit! Too bad the film has not happened...

From a while back, a snip from Mark Lawson's Top 10 Theatre of 2015 in the Guardian, 23 December 2015:

10. The Winter's Tale, Garrick, London

The opening show in the West End residency of Kenneth Branagh’s new company builds high hopes of even greater highlights next year. Branagh’s Leontes, with its newly illuminating line- stresses and convincing psychological collapse, is matched by the peerless stage presence and verse-speaking of Judi Dench, doubling the roles of Paulina and Time. As is the case with all the best productions of this dramatist, Branagh and co-director Rob Ashford prompted an emergency reshuffle of my top 10 favourite Shakespeare plays.

As well, 'The Winter's Tale' won the Falstaff Award for Best Play or Musical at

Photo finish: Kenneth and Lindsay attending the Press Night after-party for Red Velvet.

That's it for today, more soon!
(21 February, thanks Jude, Jane, Emma)

Hello Ken-keeners! Sign of life (in the form of a few articles and photos): The live-cinema presentation of The Winter's Tale opened in Australia and you can read two reviews : here and here.

The third production of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season is playing now and you can read a short article about Red Velvet, with a link to rehearsal photos.

At the Critics Circle Awards Kenneth commented on the diversity issue related to the Academy Awards nominations and you can read about that here.

Anticipation is building for the next Wallander (coming to the US in May) and there have been two short articles related to the Masterpiece Theatre panel at the 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour: here and here. You can see a few photos from the panel here.

That's today's mini-update. More soon!
(14 February, thanks Lynne, Jane)

Happy New Year Ken-fans! Only 24 days into the new year and I'm already (still) way behind, but hey!, hope springs eternal. Anyway, we have the few most important things here: Kenneth started the year on the right foot, accepting the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film at the 36th Critics Circle Awards in London on 17 January. You can read an announcement article here and an account of the evening here... and there are photos here. You listen to Ken's acceptance speech here and there are interviews here.

And then two days later Ken and Lindsay were spotted at Los Angeles international airport, to the delight of the Daily Mail and us. You can read an article here and see the photos here.

Final bit of news (for today): Sandy Powell has been nominated for the Best Costume Oscar for Cinderella! She's also up against herself in the category, for Carol. :-)

This will be it for today but I will be back!
(24 January, thanks Jane, Patricia)