Empire Awards 2000 transcript
Empire Awards, February 17 2000
*transcribed by Catherine Kerrigan
Mariella Frostrup: We now move onto the Empire Inspiration
Award which recognises true mavericks of the movies, the people
who change the rules, the people who innovate and indeed invigorate
the cinema-going experience. This year's Empire Inspiration Award
goes to a terrifyingly talented man. He's a luminary of the theatre
who's equally at home with film. He speaks Shakespearean like
it's his mother tongue and makes it thrilling for the multiplex
generation. As an actor, he's worked with Woody Allen, Robert
Altman, Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Denzel Washington
and Will Smith. As a director, he was daring enough to successfully
take on Hitchcock at his own game, and has turned his hand to
comedy, horror, and now even a musical - a Shakespearean musical
of course - in the wonderful Love's Labour's Lost. He's made
a better version of Henry V than Laurence Olivier and knew that
it was essential for history to have a definitive version of
Hamlet on film, which he duly delivered, in 70mm, for four hours.
He had the balls to write his autobiography at 27, knows just
about everything there is to know about dinosaurs and apparently
his mum is Julie Christie. In every respect he is a true renaissance
man. Shall we see why?
[Cut to clip from Love's Labour's
Lost - Berowne and Rosaline talking about dancing at Brabant,
followed by I Won't Dance.]
[KB comes up to the stage to
receive award from MF to huge noisy applause.]
Kenneth Branagh: Thank you, thank you very much. [Points
to screen]. March 24th, at cinemas all over the country. [More
applause - KB points to LLL table]. Ah, inspirational table over
there. Ah, erm [looks at award], it's impossible to know what
to say. Um, ah, [brushes award with sleeve] I'm astonished and,
um, I'm very very touched and I'm very very grateful. Thank you
Empire. [Leaves stage to more applause]
Cut to studio.
Mariella Frostrup: Now, to me, it seemed that the Inspiration
Award should have gone to you for managing to get a studio to
let you make another Shakespeare film but this time set as a
thirties musical with Love's Labour's Lost. Now surely they must
have all been scratching their heads when you turned up with
Kenneth Branagh: Yeah, tough sell. Because (a) no-one
had even heard of the play and then I made the mistake of saying
"you know, it was the only play in the entire canon of Shakespeare
that wasn't performed for 200 years after he died, because people
didn't think it was very good." Faces dropped and then,
Mariella Frostrup: That doesn't help your cause.
Kenneth Branagh: No, it doesn't help, no. I realise
that I was digging my own grave, but I said, "but, you know,
the thing is, we're going to do it as a musical". Oh, the
genre in film that hasn't worked for the last 30 years. Right.
So. Obscure Shakespeare comedy, romantic film musical...
Mariella Frostrup: Have a cheque.
Kenneth Branagh: Yeah! You must do this.
Mariella Frostrup: What about the juggling act, the perennial
juggling act between directing, raising the money for films,
appeaering in them, etc? Does it ever get a mite confusing?
Kenneth Branagh: It was on this one. It was more Tonto
barking mad on this one than ever before. The biggest being remembering
these fucking dance steps! But I started about a month before
the rest of the company and I cunningly gave myself less to do.
Mariella Frostrup: And extra rehearsal time! That's very
unfair! [Shakes her finger at him.]
Kenneth Branagh: Yeah, well, they were getting time
when we started because they were all practising every time I
was doing acting scenes with them, so they got my time that way.
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