Golden Globes: Kenneth Branagh Says It 'Feels Like Christmas Morning'

Los Angeles Times, 15 December 2011
* Thanks, Patricia

Twenty-four hours ago, Kenneth Branagh was on a ferry in the Baltic Sea, “being blown sideways” on his way to Germany to film a scene for his upcoming detective drama “Wallander.” On Thursday morning, however, he had traveled the globe to Santa Monica, where he was “looking out at the sea, thinking this is a lovely feeling” and relishing in his Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor.

The star, who plays Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn,” is having a good week: He was also nominated for a SAG Award on Wednesday.

“Life is surreal and beautiful,” the 51-year-old said. “My wife nudged me this morning and said ‘Darling, the phone is ringing.’ We’re both fairly jet-lagged, but this feels like Christmas morning.”

“My Week with Marilyn,” which centers around the production of the 1956 film “The Prince and the Showgirl,” was also nominated for best picture in the comedy or musical category -– a move that raised some eyebrows, given the film’s generally dark subject matter. But Branagh said he thought the decision made sense, given that star Michelle Williams sings two songs in the picture. (Williams was nominated for best actress in comedy or musical).

“Michelle gives what you probably can’t deliver Marilyn without, which is her in the in the world of light musical comedy,” he said. “I saw it with an audience in Sweden with a lot of our crew from ‘Wallander,’ and it was quite a surprise how funny it played. Olivier took the business of moviegoing very seriously, but ultimately, it is a comic kind of world. There’s affection for the absurdities of the film business.”

Last week in The Times, we wrote about the fact that many people who knew Monroe questioned the veracity of the story at the heart of the film, whose narrator is 23-year-old Colin Clark, a gofer on the “Showgirl” set. Clark later wrote two memoirs about the experience and claimed he had an intimate relationship with the actress. Both Clark and Monroe are deceased, so it's impossible to know for sure. Still, Branagh believes Clark’s story has the “ring of truth.”

“I think the mysterious question is just how close he got to Marilyn, but he might have got close,” the actor said. “It was this weird moment in time where [Monroe’s husband] Arthur Miller was away, and she was particularly unhappy in her working process. And there was this 23-year-old kid who didn’t need anything from her. He was relatively innocent, if not bewitched by her. He seemed like somebody who would be lovely to get to know amid all that glamour and celebrity, where there was a kind of loneliness and isolation.”

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