Living Privately in Public
Calgary Sun, January 3, 1999
by Louis B. Hobson
Kenneth Branagh and Helena
Bonham Carter are lovers in real life and in The Theory of Flight
HOLLYWOOD -- For the past three
years, Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter have tried to
be a very private public couple.
Though they share a home in London,
they have tried to spend minimal time together in public and
have generally refused to discuss their relationship.
Branagh and Bonham Carter
are starring together in the bittersweet drama The Theory of
Flight that opens Friday.
Branagh plays an artist
who has a nervous breakdown. Bonham Carter is a young woman in
the final stages of Lou Gehrig's disease.
They fall in love when
he is assigned to be her caregiver.
Both actors realized that
if they agreed to star as screen lovers they would be forced
to talk about their off-screen romance.
"Kenneth and I were
both excited about The Theory of Flight but we were concerned
that there would be more interest in us as a couple than in the
film," admits Bonham Carter.
"Ultimately the material
was too special for us to worry about a little added intrusion
into our private lives."
Branagh and Bonham Carter
met when he directed her in 1994 in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
At the time, he was married to Emma Thompson, but the marriage
ended shortly after the film was released.
"A third party doesn't
break up a relationship. It just means that you weren't meant
to be," says Bonham Carter.
"It was very difficult
for Ken and I at first. The British press was so invasive. With
this project we really gave them the opportunity to be more invasive
but they weren't.
"We were surprised
and gratified," says Bonham Carter.
Branagh feels that "the
British press has finally realized that people around the world
don't wake up every morning wondering what I'm doing in my private
"I've never really
felt victimized. True I've suffered my share of slings and arrows
but it goes with the territory of being in the public eye.
you deal with wanted and unwanted attention.
"It's important for
Helena and I to let people know that we weren't searching for
a project to do together but that we were both moved by the eccentricity
and quirkiness of The Theory of Flight.
"Helena and I both
have very politically incorrect senses of humour. I think that's
what drew us together in the first place."
Bonham Carter recalls that
making The Theory of Flight "was unbelievably harmonious
and easy. I think our own love and warmth informed the characters
we're playing. It seemed so natural and effortless."
Everything except the love
scenes that is.
"Love scenes are so
technical that it doesn't even help to be emotionally involved
with the person. It's all acting. Your emotions are never present
Though they spent the Christmas
holidays at their home in London, Branagh and Bonham Carter will
soon be going their separate ways.
Branagh will return to
Los Angeles to begin work on his musical version of Shakespeare's
romantic comedy Love's Labor's Lost while Bonham Carter will
fly to Scotland to begin filming the comedy Women Talking Dirty.
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