Gingerbread Man press run!! It's everybody's favorite time of year again, that blissful week or two when Ken makes the talk show/interview rounds, radiating charismatic charm and coolness (unless he's in one of his dorky-geeky moods :), to promote his latest film. In this case, filmS, as The Gingerbread Man and Shakespeare's Sister are scheduled to open within a week of each other (in New York and Los Angeles, at least). So far, we know he'll be joshin' with David Letterman on Thursday, January 15th and appears on The Rosie O'Donnell Show on Friday, January 16th. This hardly scratches the surface, one hopes, so keep your eyes peeled! Ken will be appearing on a late night-, early morning-, mid-day talk show near you, along with spending some time with the print media. Anyway, mail me if you hear/see anything! (January 6)

Set those VCRs! The cable channel Showtime will be airing Hamlet on the 12th, 25th, and 29th of this month.
(January 6)

The New York Daily News has Shakespeare's Sister listed to open January 30th. Unknown whether this is a limited or wide release, although my guess would be it's the former. (January 6, info thanks to Kim Moss)

The film industry's leading trade paper, Variety, has just named Ken one of the TOP 5 DIRECTORS OF 1997 in its current International Film Guide!! Also honored were Ang Lee ("The Ice Storm", "Sense and Sensibility"), Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element", "The Professional"), Peter Greenaway ("Prospero's Books") and the Coen brothers ("Fargo"). (December 23, info thanks to Marion Aston)

Buzz for the Gingerbread Man turning around?? First Variety reported that word of mouth was "okay" despite the disaster-indicating editing tug-of-war between Polygram and Altman. Now comes a favorable review from a recent screening of the film by Roger Friedland of Cinemania Online:

"After all the head-scratching about the tedious and disappointing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil comes this perplexing revelation: While Clint Eastwood was supposed to be making the Savannah murder mystery into a hit, veteran director Robert Altman was outfoxing him with his own Savannah murder mystery. The Gingerbread Man won't be released until February 1998, but an advance screening recently showed that Altman knew what he was doing, while Eastwood clearly did not have a clue. Starring Kenneth Branagh and Embeth Davidtz (Schindler's List), The Gingerbread Man is a taut, dramatic thriller that will surprise everyone but Altman's diehard fans. The old guy still has it (we never doubted it). Audience members included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who joined with the 20 or so in attendance in giving the movie two thumbs up." (December 23)

Hey! It was Ken's 37th birthday on December 10th! While I of course sent mental birthday shouts out to him last week, I was unfortunately too busy with studying-for-exams (or rather, pretending-to-study-for-exams) silliness to note it on this page. So here it is, duly noted. HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY, KEN!!!!! May that birthday wish of filming on-location on the Berkeley campus for 8 weeks come true. (December 19)

RELEASE DATES!!! The latest from Eric Carter's excellent film release schedule site. Of course, they're subject to change (as Polygram can well document).

The Gingerbread Man: limited, New York and Los Angeles--January 23, 1998 (NO WAY! That is SO outta control. And whoever heard of a mainstream commercial film getting an early limited release for non-Oscar purposes?); Wide: February 6, 1998. By the way, if New Yorkers and Los Angeleans get the movie first I'm going to go insane. Or I'll have to stay away from the net for 2 weeks...:) It's soooooooo frustrating hearing/reading about a Ken film not having yet seen it! We had like 6 weeks of that during Hamlet...sucked. Anyway, Ngoc votes against an early release date on the coasts. :)

Tempting Fate: January 1998 (While I'm glad this is, uhm, sooner than the aforementioned February launch date, the lack of publicity for this thing with only a month to go gives me the heebie-jeebies.)

The Theory of Flight: June 1998 (Ken in a summer film...who'da thunk?) Other ToF notes: North American distribution rights were bought by Fine Line Features for an astonishing $4+ million after a rather nasty bidding war with Miramax (gotta love those Weinstein brothers--one of whom, reports the industry trade paper Variety, called Helena Bonham Carter on the phone to complain.) Which is actually a pity, 'cause I would have loved to see that incredible Miramax marketing and Oscar machine at work for Ken...

And of course, the Woody Allen film Celebrity will have the usual winter release date. New info: Ken apparently plays a director (whatta stretch) who has just broken up with someone (that someone being played by Judy Davis). The film follows their different paths in life after the split.
(December 19)

From the Rush & Molloy column over at the New York Daily News ( [ ] = my annoying commentary):

September 17, 1997

Branagh's Leading Lady?

When Kenneth Branagh was still married to Emma Thompson, young actress Helena Bonham Carter used to visit Branagh on location in Europe. Bonham Carter's spokeswoman at the time explained to us that she was just getting her hair cut by the stylist working on Branagh's movie.

Now, Branagh and Thompson are no more, and on Sunday, Branagh and Bonham Carter were hanging out at an upper East Side cafe, drinking red wine and smoking cigarettes [GRRRRR!!!!] and laughing with a friend. Bonham Carter's hair is very short, our witness said.

November 11, 1997

SPOTTED...Kenneth Branagh, escorting Elena Bonham Carter, mother of his girlfriend Helena, around the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday. [Friggin cute...although modern art is so not my thing]. Getting cheese points with his future mother-in-law? [Uh, no, he was just being friggin cute, which he has a tendency to be...] . . . (December 19)

Golden Globe noms: Congrat-t-t-ulations...(Frankie! From Dead Again! If you got that, you win a cookie. ;)) to those Branagh babes Helena Bonham Carter (Elizabeth in Frankenstein), Kate Winslet (Ophelia in Hamlet) and Dame Judi Dench (director of the Renaissance theater production of Much Ado About Nothing, Mistress Quickly in Henry V, Hecuba in Hamlet) for their nominations in the Best Actress category. The Golden Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and while I usually despise these awards (the only worse set being the People's Choice Awards), they're usually a good indicator of Oscar picks. Which makes sense, 'cause Oscar voters have a tendency to smoke crack as well. The Golden Globe Awards will be televised live by NBC on January 18, 1998.

Ms. Bonham Carter has also been named Best Actress by the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Society of Critics, the Boston Critics, and the Broadcast Critics Association. A guaranteed Oscar nominee for her stunning work in The Wings of the Dove, let's hope Ken accompanies her to the awards ceremony. :) (December 19)

Hamlet will be available for rental only in widescreen format on February 18, 1998 in Australia. (December 19)

The Woody Allen film Celebrity wrapped over the weekend, so I guess Ken is heading back to the UK. He said at Yale that he "has nothing in view" in terms of film projects at the moment, though there's a bit of writing he'd like to do. (Nov 20th)

A transcript of the Yale session is now available. (Nov 20th)

Ken made an appearance at Yale University Saturday night, giving an introduction to a screening of Much Ado About Nothing for the Yale Film Society, which was followed by a question-and-answer session. Ken was his usual witty, smart, funny, adorable self, back to chubby bunny form but cute and sweet as ever. :) Want super-cool, hee haw-funny, blow-by-blow detailed reports of this event from actual attendees? Click here! A complete transcript of the introduction and Q & A session is also available. Photos coming soon! (Nov 9th, my thanks to the awesome Ken list members for sending in posts describing their encounter with the Divine)

Patrick Doyle, Ken's film composer, cameo-king and longtime friend, has been recently diagnosed with leukemia. Fortunately, his assistant tells us that he is responding well to treatment and doctors are hoping for a full recovery. You can leave a get-well message at Also on the site is a snail mail address where cards and letters can be sent. Our prayers and thoughts are with Patrick for a speedy and full recovery!! (Nov 9th, info thanks to Sarah Hatchuel and Ellen Edgerton)

Helena Bonham Carter's been on the campaign trail to promote her latest film, the critically acclaimed adaptation of Henry James' The Wings of the Dove. Ken is usually mentioned in the billion print interviews she's done (including one in which HBC's mum says that Ken is "marvellous"), you can check 'em out at David Averill-Pence's HBC Homepage. (Nov 9th)

From the Hollywood Reporter:

(LOS ANGELES) - Somewhere out there Orson Welles must be laughing. The late director, whose trials and tribulations in getting his films made were legend, would find his real-life problems echoed over at Scott Free, which just can't seem to get ``RKO 281'' off the ground no matter how hard it tries. First Ridley Scott was meant to direct. Then Philip Kaufman briefly was attached to the picture. After that, Richard Loncraine's name surfaced, only to fade away. The latest to come and go is Kenneth Branagh, who expressed interest in the project last month. According to sources, Branagh and Scott Free could not agree on a fee _ and so Branagh is looking for another flick. In addition to finding a director, the film still must find a home. Though Fine Line Features has been in talks to back the film, budgeted in the $20 million range, no green light has been given. Branagh most recently starred in John Grisham's legal thriller ``The Gingerbread Man'' for director Robert Altman. No news on what he'll direct next. (Nov 9th, thanks to Vicky Schroeder)

Entertainment Weekly's special issue on the independent film industry reports that Tempting Fate is set to be released in February. (Nov 9th)

Production entry in the Hollywood Reporter Oct.28-Nov.3:

The Road to El Dorado (Animated)
Dreamworks Feature Animation
Principal Animation in Los Angeles (Start July 14, 1997)
Voices: Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Armand Assante, Edwards James Olmos, Cheech Marin
(Nov 9th, info thanks to Paula Verderame)

Ken's screenplay for Henry V has been re-issued by the folks at Norton--yippee!! From Amazon comes the following:

"Henry V : By William Shakespeare" by
Kenneth Branagh, William Shakespeare
List: $15.95 -- Our Price: $12.76 -- You Save: $3.19 (20%)
Subjects: Movie/TV Tie-Ins; PLAYS/DRAMA; British & Irish - Shakespeare
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Binding: Paperback
Expected publication date: November 1, 1997
ISBN: 0393316777
(Nov 9th, info thanks to Jude Tessel)

New tentative release date for The Gingerbread Man: February 6, 1998 (10/19/97)

LONDON (Variety) - Ever keen on one-upping rival Miramax Films, Fine Line Features has stolen away the North American rights to the Kenneth Branagh/Helena Bonham Carter starrer The Theory of Flight with a preemptive sight-unseen bid. Paul Greengrass made his helming debut with the picture, in which Bonham Carter plays a wheelchair-bound woman who suffers from a neuro-muscular disorder. Branagh plays a petty criminal who must perform community service in the woman's home. (Reuters/Variety, 10/19/97)

Title of the Woody Allen fall project, currently shooting in New York, is Celebrity (10/19/97)

Photos from the Woody Allen film shoot in New York have appeared in various magazines: Ken and Winona Ryder (People, 9/29/97, info thanks to Catherine Wise), Ken and Melanie Griffith (National Enquirer 9/30/97, thanks to Kim Moss), Ken and Saffron Burrows (New York Post). These photos will be available for viewing the next time I get around to updating the photo archive. :) And Ken will be in New York until November. --9/24/97

Polygram has pushed back the release date of The Gingerbread Man from October 3rd to January 1998. GRRRRR!!! It's been decided that Robert Altman's cut will be used, as the version turned in by Polygram's hand-picked editor did not do any better in test screenings. Tempting Fate will also be released by Interscope Pictures (a division of Polygram) in early '98. And one of the producers of the Ken/Helena pic The Theory of Flight has confirmed that the film will have a theatrical release first (hooray!!) and the BBC will NOT be airing it during its fall season, as advertised. (Info thanks to Jude Tessel, 9/24/97)

New York Post (8/20/97)

Is Woody Allen planning to skewer the fashion industry? As always, Woody's projects are kept so super-secret that plot lines aren't revealed to actors. However, his latest, which will star Judy Davis and Kenneth Branagh, has fashion types wondering if Woody will try to succeed where Robert Altman's thread-bare "Ready to Wear" flopped. "There's been about five or six female models who have been to see Woody on a casting call," said our source. "At least one of them has already gotten a role." And Melissa Eng, who designs evening wear, has already been cast to play a lingerie designer. It would explain why Woody and Soon-Yi were so conspicuous at such un-Upper West-sidy places as the women's fashion shows last season.

Robert Altman is petitioning the Directors Guild to allow him to remove his name from The Gingerbread Man if Polygram uses the new cut of the movie, which will be ready in less than two weeks. Whether or not Polygram execs liked Altman's cut is in dispute, according to an article that was printed in the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. *sigh* Soooooo...who's looking forward to Tempting Fate? (8/15)

Magazine spottings: small pic from GBMan in the September issue of Movieline, which has the movie pegged as one of the hot tickets of the fall (fashion-wise, anyway). September issue of Premiere has a short blurb on GBMan as part of their fall movie preview. Entertainment Weekly's Fall Movie Guide issue also has a short section on GBMan and a photo of Robert Downey, Jr. from the movie. Small color photo of Ken and Helena from The Theory of Flight in August issue of UK Premiere. (8/14)

More trouble on the Gingerbread Man front. What else is new? A wire report that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and People On-line reports that director Robert Altman held a screening of his cut of the film in New York last Tuesday. He told the audience he has been fired from the movie and has lost complete control over the final cut. At a party afterward, he said that the removal was the worst thing that's ever happened to him and when asked about what it says about the movie industry, he responded, "It appears that the inmates are running the asylum." Polygram, for their part, denied Altman's claim he'd been fired or that he's been "professionally mistreated." It's worth mentioning that Altman adores Ken, calling him "my new best friend", "the absolutely best actor I've ever worked with" and other similar gushings. Ken hasn't publicly taken sides in this increasingly ugly situation, but this is unsurprising considering the ever-diplomatic nature of our sweet boy. So don't expect him to go off anytime soon. ;) (8/11/97)

New Release Date for The Gingerbread Man!: Daily Variety reports that GBMan is scheduled for release October 3rd. (Apparently, someone forgot to tell the folks at Polygram that the original release date--Sept 26th)-- is MY birthday! *sniff* Sheesh.) (8/07/97)

Altman's Gingerbread Man in Pieces -- Mr. Showbiz (8/01/97)

There's big trouble cooking over the final cut of The Gingerbread Man, the Robert Altman-directed John Grisham thriller. Polygram Filmed Entertainment has brought in its own editor to recut the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters on September 26. According to the Hollywood Reporter, execs at Polygram wanted something commercial, in the vein of other Grisham adaptations such as The Firm and A Time To Kill. But Altman, known for edgy pics such as The Player and Nashville, delivered something more eclectic. The studio is apparently concerned about the length, tone, pacing, and musical score of the film, which stars Kenneth Branagh. In other words, they don't like anything about it. Altman has contacted the Directors Guild's general counsel about the situation. But producer Jeremy Tannebaum downplays the controversy. "This is the usual push-and-pull between the director and the studio," he told the Reporter. "I'm sure everybody will be happy in the end."

Polygram wants a commercial film that it can open on upwards of 1,500 screens, but has a director whose track record consists of more eclectic pics. Neither party is talking, but Altman's said to be not at all happy with having an editor he didn't choose cut his film. He's not currently involved in the editing process. Studio sources said Altman agreed to use Cambern, while others said he had little choice. In either case, Cambern turns in a new cut in two weeks. If Altman and the studio are in disagreement over the new cut, Altman won't likely accept it quietly, since he doesn't do anything quietly. It would be interesting how a rift with the director would affect the film's star, Kenneth Branagh, who is also a director. Sources at Polygram said the situation is hardly that dramatic, the normal give and take between financier and director. We'll see."

Winona Ryder is currently in talks to replace Drew Barrymore in the Woody Allen fall project, which starts shooting in New York at the end of August. Barrymore has a scheduling conflict. Winona would join a cast that includes, in addition to our Ken, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joe Mantegna and Kim Basinger. (7/30/97)

Hamlet was released on video (widescreen version) in the United Kingdom on July 7th and in pan and scan version (GRRRR!!) in the States on July 22nd.

Shakespeare's Sister, the steamy thriller due out in the fall and starring Ken as a priest in 1930's Boston, has a new title: Tempting Fate. A release date has not yet been set because the film is still in post-production. (7/15/97, info thanks to Juli and Marilyn Mosher) Several people who've attended preview screenings of the movie have been enthusiastic. :)
It also stars Madeleine Stowe, William Hurt and Doogie How--er, Neil Patrick Harris and was shot in Boston last October-November.

The John Grisham-scripted, Robert Altman-directed The Gingerbread Man is also waiting a confirmed release date, though some movie sites are listing September 26th. That's a tentative date at best, as the film is still in post-production and a trailer has yet to be released. Rumors are flying that early test screenings have been disastrous, but there have been conflicting reports on that as well. You can check out a teaser poster and read the plot summary for the movie at its Polygram site. Ken stars as a southern lawyer who gets seduced (yummy :), has his children kidnapped and gets thrown in the path of a hurricane. Filming took place in Savannah, Georgia from January-March. Fans lucky enough to be in the area at the time took some spiffy photos with our boy, check 'em out in the Photo Gallery.

Ken has joined Helena Bonham Carter in The Theory of Flight, which is currently shooting in London and Wales. HBC plays a woman with Motor Neurone's Syndrome who longs to make love before she dies. Early reports had Ken playing a young man who takes care of and eventually falls in love with her, but a spokeswoman for the film recently announced, "This is NOT a love story, I want to stress that." Bummer. On another bummy note, how the film will be released--whether it'll be shown as part of the BBC season or released as a feature film first--hasn't been determined. The BBC and Distant Horizon, the producers of the movie, are duking it out over that issue right now. Personally, I think the only correct way to see Ken is on a 30-foot screen in Dolby Digital sound. :) Unless of course, you're lucky enough to meet him in person...

Speaking o' Helena, she confirmed in a much-publicized interview with the London Evening Standard that she and Ken are indeed a couple. Not that it was particularly new news to anyone. :) You can read more on that under the NEWS section of the Helena Bonham Carter Homepage. If you're a Helena fan, give it a looksee--good stuff. (7/24/97)

The August issue of Movieline Magazine has a small photo of Ken with the blurb "What is possessing insanely desireable (sic) sexpot actors to play nuns, priests and saints?" Hmmm. Maybe I'll stop boycotting Movieline, which has been an active Branagh-basher since...forever.

The masterpiece of the year, Hamlet, got a twenty-minute ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was noted by the industry trade paper Daily Variety as being one of the few highlights of the Festival and has since gone on to dazzle audiences around the globe. The four-hour version was the #2 movie in Italy for a number of weeks, and was brought back to Australia after a determined boycott of the two-hour version--"Back by overwhelming popular demand"...the film is still playing to packed, enthusiastic crowds at the Astor theatre in Melbourne. Hamlet is scheduled to premiere in Japan in January 1998 with Ken in attendance. (Info thanks to Sarah Smith, Ralphe Neill and Marilyn Mosher)

| News Archive |