Ken's In Love With Shakespeare
Teletext (UK), April 4 1999
Actor/director Kenneth Branagh has again turned to William Shakespeare
for his new film - a musical version of Love's Labour's Lost
set in the 1930s. The project will be the bard-loving board-treader's
fourth movie adaptation of a Shakespeare play.
His '30s musical version of Love's
Labour's Lost will feature songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin,
George Gershwin and other top tunesmiths of the era.
"Love's Labour's Lost seems
to lend itself quite effortlessly to 1930s musical comedy,"
says Branagh, whose production is currently filming at Shepperton
"The musical numbers add
energy, style and glamour to the existing romance and create
what I hope will be a very entertaining film," he explains.
Branagh, once called the new
Laurence Olivier, has used his professional pulling power to
bring Shakespeare to a new audience. Movie lovers turned out
in droves to see favourites Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington
in his excellent version of Much Ado About Nothing.
And now Alicia Silverstone, Truman
Show star Natascha McElhone and Timothy Spall hope to have the
same effect in Love's Labour's Lost.
With the mega-success of Shakespeare
In Love and the Leo DiCaprio Romeo And Juliet before it, Shakespeare
is now as hip as he was in Elizabethan times. Branagh, who has
done more than anyone to bring the baldy bard into vogue, thinks
his Love's Labour's Lost will be just as effective.
"The ups and downs of the
plot - with four couples in love but unable to admit it - is
funny, charming, sexy and also surprisingly moving," he
In love with Shakespeare
Kenneth Branagh and William Shakespeare
seem destined to go together. Branagh joined the Royal Shakespeare
Company at 23, did more of the bard's plays for his own Renaissance
Theatre Company and adapted, directed and starred in the film
Henry V in 1989.
When his monster flop Frankenstein
brought his first notable professional setback, the all-rounder
re-established his reputation with a fine screen version of Hamlet.
Even after a career-long association
with the Stratford stagemaster, Branagh can't get enough Shakespeare.
He has formed The Shakespeare Film Company with producer David
Barron and designer Tim Harvey to "formalise our passionate
commitment to producing Shakespeare on film".
With a man of Branagh's classical
pedigree at the helm, it's no holds bard for the forseeable future.
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