Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart in
                Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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The Guardian, 4 November 2002
Lizzie Rusbridger

"Soon (Radcliffe) might match up to the standard of Kenneth Branagh, who steals the show as hilariously smarmy Gilderoy Lockhart."

The Evening Standard, 4 November 2002
Alexander Walker

"My little companion loved Kenneth Branagh, as the pompous, preening Gilderoy Lockhart, teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, who screws up every magic spell he tries to cast."

BBC News, 8 November 2002
Helen Bushby

"Branagh strikes a perfect balance as the idiotic teacher Gilderoy Lockhart, who manages to make women swoon every time he flashes them a smile, while immensely irritating the men around him, not least Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman)."


Photos from the London Premiere
More Gilderoy photos


Casting Announcements

Excerpt from the first 'Harry Potter' review by "Walkabouter"

Kenneth Branagh Revels in Playing Conceited Fop - Reuters, 26 October 2002

Top of the Fops - Total Film, November 2002

Harry Potter's Chamber of Hormones - New York Post, 2 November 2002

Branagh Conjures His Magic for Potter Film - Daily Breeze, 16 November 2002

His Gilderoy Lockhart Character Steals Harry Potter Film -, 19 November 2002

Kenneth Branagh: A Shakespeare in Their Engine - Tachydromos, 23 November 2002

Making Light of the Dark Arts -, 26 November 2002

Roles That Are Poles Apart - National Post, 29 November 2002

In the Company of Ken - The Examiner, 2 December 2002

Kenneth Branagh snippets from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Reviews

From Entertainment Weekly
The most notable addition to the franchise's troupe of British thespians is Kenneth Branagh, who plays Hogwarts' newest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Though Hugh Grant, star of Columbus' "Nine Months," was considered for the role, the director believed Branagh would mesh better with the other professors. "Ken seems to disappear into any role," says Columbus. "I didn't want people to see Gilderoy and say, 'Oh my God! That's Hugh Grant.'"

Daily Mail, 31 October 2002
Baz Bamigboye
There's a flying Ford Anglia , a giant snake, a host of super-sized spiders - and a very familair schoolboy in wire rimmed spectacles. But it's Kenneth Branagh, the former Royal Shakespeare Company actor whose film career (we thought) had been sputtering on the back burner for several years now, who steals the show in the new Harry Potter film.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Branagh plays Gilderoy Lockhart the flash-harry wizard with matinee idol good looks and an ego to match.

Lockhart is an Order of Merlin (third class) wizard with a first class degree in vanity and an outrageously flamboyant hairstyle - like a blond wand-waving Elvis- who's a superstar in the magic community. Women are nearly as obsessed with him as he is with himself.

But he's all hokum and very little hocus-pocus as students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry soon discover when he takes up the post of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts.

Branagh's just what the new movie needs because, at 2 hours and 40 minutes, there's only so much hogwash at Hogwarts an audience -or at least a grown-up audience - can handle. He's a breath of fresh air and very funny to boot.
(Thanks, Bernie)

From Times Online, 26 October 2002
Sam Lister

"The scarier moments in The Chamber of Secrets are offset by a star turn from Kenneth Branagh, another of the host of British actors appearing in the film. As Gilderoy Lockhart, a narcissistic wizard with matinee-idol looks, Branagh steals scenes with as much abandon as the hearts of his many female admirers."

From Time Europe Online
Making their Potter debut in Chamber of Secrets are Dobby, a funny, forlorn, computer-animated elf, Miriam Margolyes as Professor Sprout and Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, the vain Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher a role that was much sought after by British actors last year. "It's rather winning," says Branagh of the character, "his combination of total confidence with an absolute absence of talent." Designing his wardrobe, costume designer Lindy Hemming departed from the book, which described Lockhart as wearing pastel colors. "None of us thought that would work," she says. "The film is quite dark, rich and glowing, and to put in modern sharp colors would be horrible."
(Thanks, Jude)

Daily Mirror, 2 November 2002
Alan Palmer

"But the show is well and truly stolen by Kenneth Branagh as new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. Smug, vain and as arrorgant as a peacock, Gilderoy slimes through the school leaving the girls swooning and the boys, including nasty Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), less than impressed. Announcing his arrival to his new pupils, Lockhart reels off his achievements, including three times winner of best smile by Witch Weekly magazine, before winking smarmily at his own portrait. The portrait, of course, winks back. Kenneth Branagh revels in playing the cowardly Lockhart and displays hitherto unseen comic ability."
(Thanks, Christine)

The Insider, Hotdog, December 2002
"And just as the twists and turns begin to unravel ... Kenneth bloody Branagh keeps turning up! As the new teacher for Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons, his flamboyant Gilderoy Lockhart initially strikes you as the kind of part Owen Wilson should have played, but when you realise he's basicially playing it as Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn would have done, you begin to give in and laugh. Branagh the comedian... And no, we're not talking about Love's Labour lost (sic)."
(Thanks, Catherine)

Daily Express, 4 November 2002
Ruth Hilton

"The most dazzling performance is by Kenneth Branagh, who shows a startling return to form after a number years in the movie wilderness. His portrayal of the posturing, pompous and preening Defence Against the Dark Arts Profession Gilderoy Lockhart demonstrates the kind of comic precision that will earn him numerous nominations."

LAM, November 2002
"Kenneth Branagh is also on board as Gilderoy Lockhart. Every one of his scenes is hilarious, but you wonder what Hugh Grant would have made of the role..."

The Independent, 4 November 2002
John Walsh

"Kenneth Branagh plays a bumptious narcissist called Gilderoy Lockhart, teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, a preening, bouffanted fake (Mr Branagh may be sending up his own persona here; or someone is playing a cruel joke)."

"Harry Potter: Your Views" BBC News, 8 November 2002
Stacey, England

The Chamber of Secrets is fab. Better than the first film, but that is inevitable as the Philosopher's Stone is really setting the scene for the rest of the series. Kenneth Brannagh was superb and turned what was an irritating character in the book into the comic linch pin of the whole film.
(All the above - thanks, Catherine)

Daily Express, 9 November 2002
Judy Finnegan

"The acting of the whole cast is perfect but I have to single one person out. When I heard that Hugh Grant would play the foppish and terminally vain Gilderoy Lockhart, the golden-haired wizard who writes books aimed at middle-aged witches who would swoon at the sight of him, I thought he would be absolutely perfect. Then I read that Kenneth Branagh had got the role instead. 'Noooo,' I whispered (yes, sorry, that's how pathetic we Harry Potter aficionados are). When Branagh appeared I got quite tense - I couldn't see him in the part at all. But he is superb, perfect, incredibly funny and just right. He should get an Oscar. Hugh Grant? I should coco."
The Times, 9 November 2002
Edith Johnson, aged 10

"Gilderoy Lockhart was wonderful, with all the girls and women fighting for a piece of his clothing."

Sunday Express, 10 November 2002
Henry Fitzherbert

"The humour is a welcome addition, especially in film running to two hours and 40 minutes, and for much of it there is Kenneth Branagh to thank. He is a hoot as the major new character of note, Gilderoy Lockhart, a vainglorious and self-seeking professor whose talents are not quite as he claims. With his mop of blonde hair he cuts a Douglas Fairbanks-style dash with an ego to match. He ropes Harry into helping him with his fan mail, spouting the vacuous aphorims, 'celebrity is as celebrity does'. Branagh should play the rogue more often."

Sunday Times, 10 November 2002
Cosmo Landesman

"For grown-ups, there's the pleasure of watching polished performances from Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman - and the addition of Kenneth Branagh as the wonderfully foppish celebrity narcissist Gilderoy Lockhart."

"Performance of the Week: In Harry Potter, Kenneth Branagh shows a gang of great British thespians how to steal a movie without even trying.", 15 November 2002
Stephanie Zacharek

Kenneth Branagh is perfectly cast as Gilderoy Lockhart, the school's new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. You might call Lockhart the Cornel West of Hogwarts; he's the perfect embodiment of the glamour academic, the fellow who's happy to sign copies of his books for his adoring admirers, but who doesn't know (or care) enough about his specialty subject to be any good at teaching it to his students. [Ouch! Nonetheless, Cornel West is one of the most mesmerizing speakers I've had the pleasure of listening to - talking about architecture, not his specialty subject... the ed.]

Branagh plays Lockhart with lots of grand, funny flourishes -- his lines seem meticulously articulated to match his artfully coiffed hair. The performance is a great in joke that riffs on the way Branagh is so intensely disliked at home in England (apparently, he's viewed as a grammar schoolboy who's just too keen), and Branagh rides that joke like a motorized broomstick. He's great fun to watch.


SunSpot, 15 November 2002
Michael Sragow

"Kenneth Branagh is the comic wild card in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Each time the moviemakers flip him into a scene as blowhard wizard Gilderoy Lockhart, he rouses mirth with everything from his dippity-do hairstyle to his gleefully smug tone of voice.

Lockhart turns his new position as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry into an opportunity to promote his already best-selling books, including his new autobiography, Magical Me. And when Lockhart realizes that his students will include the celebrated Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), the cauldron of his ego bubbleth over.

He's author J.K. Rowling's comic-nightmare image of a celebrity with feet of clay - no, he's more slick and malleable, even plasticene. And Branagh energizes this madcap creation with an ebullient unctuousness that doesn't cease to generate a smile, a titter or a belly laugh. Although Branagh too wrote a premature autobiography called Beginning, he always fought against becoming a mere matinee idol. So it's uproariously satisfying that as Lockhart he reveals boundless depths of inner glitz. Branagh imbues Lockhart with a narcissistic delirium: He knows that his fans love him partly for his vanity.

The actor is having the time of his life - and he's the life of the movie. His performance has precisely what the Harry Potter movie series so far lacks: style, interpretation and attack, the essential ingredients of inspired adaptations."

The Age, 24 November 2002
Phillip McCarthy

The scarier moments in The Chamber of Secrets are, at any rate, offset by a star turn from Kenneth Branagh who, along with Jason Isaacs as one of the less-endearing members of the Hogwarts faculty, is the most notable addition to the still largely British cast of the movie. Branagh plays Gilderoy Lockhart, Hogwarts' foppish and narcissistic teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, as a kind of 1930s Hollywood swashbuckler in tights: athletic, affable and effete.