Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh
is a British actor and director.
He is probably most widely known for his film versions of Shakespeare's
plays, which include Henry V
(1989), Much Ado About Nothing
(1996), Love's Labour's Lost
(2000) and As You Like It
(2006). Branagh adapted and directed all five, and starred in all but As You Like It
is notable for including every single line of the play, running slightly over four hours.
Other films in which Branagh has directed himself include Dead Again
, Peter's Friends
, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
, and the upcoming Jack Ryan
. Films in which other people have directed Branagh include Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West
, Frank Pierson's Conspiracy
, Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence
, Chris Columbus
's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
, Woody Allen
, Bryan Singer
, Oliver Parker's Othello
, Joseph Sargent's Warm Springs
, and Simon Curtis's My Week With Marilyn
. (Oh, and Dreamworks
's The Road to El Dorado
.)Films Branagh has directed and not starred in include In The Bleak Midwinter
, The Magic Flute
, the remake of Sleuth
, and Thor
His television credits include an award-winning performance
as Kurt Wallander in the Wallander
series (2008-2012) based on the novels of Henning Mankell. He was also the narrator of the Walking with Dinosaurs
Granted knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II
in June 2012.
He played Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 2012 London Olympic Games
Tropes associated with Kenneth Branagh include:
- Black Vikings: Practically a trademark of his style. In Much Ado About Nothing, he cast Denzel Washington as the Prince of Castile; in Thor, it was Idris Elba as the Norse god Heimdall; and in Hamlet, there was a black soldier in the Swedish army.
- Common Knowledge: A lot of people assume Branagh directed Othello, since it's the only Shakespeare adaptation he's starred in that he didn't direct.
- Fake American: Fairly convincingly, in Celebrity, Warm Springs, and Dead Again; somewhat less so in Wild Wild West.
- Large Ham
- Nice Hat: His Olympic Games role.
- Production Posse: Branagh's posse includes BRIAN BLESSED, Richard Briers, Derek Jacobi, Jimmy Yuill and (while they were married) Emma Thompson, as well as composer Patrick Doyle.
- Promoted Fanboy: Branagh, reportedly, is a big-time Thor geek, and has been since childhood. One suspects his ear for Shakespeare was honed by the faux-Elizabethan dialogue of Marvel's Asgardians.
- Also William Shakespeare: Fell in love with the bard at an early age is now arguably concidered the greatest translator of his works to the Big Screen.
- Had become such a fan of the Wallander novels, that he personally approached Henning Mankell at a Ingmar Bergman film festival in 2007, and asked if he could play the Swedish detective in The BBC's adaptation.
- Branagh is also a fan of Laurence Olivier, and many have compared the two's career paths (as they both have successfully directed several Shakespeare adaptations). So, this made things humorous when Branagh was cast AS Olivier in My Week With Marilyn, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
- Real-Life Relative:
- Branagh was married to Emma Thompson from 1989 to 1995. Count how many of his films feature her as his wife or love interest during that period. Interestingly, his one role in Harry Potter (Chamber of Secrets) was right before her debut (Prisoner of Azkaban).
- He was also with Helena Bonham-Carter from 1995 to 1999 (they supposedly first got together when working on Frankenstein in 1994) and subsequently cast her as well.
- Race Lift: He casts actors so blindly of their race that one suspects it's a deliberate habit.
- His most blatant example of this took part early in his career. In his Much Ado About Nothing he has Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves play brothers. Okay, half-brothers. Fair enough. One of them is the noble Duke that everyone respects and follows. The other is his bastard half-brother who is insulted over how everyone hates him because of his parentage and uses this as an justification to be the villain of the piece. The film is set in 19th century europe. So who do you think plays the Duke and who plays the Bastard? Wrong.
- Walk and Talk: He did it first.
- What Could Have Been: Was rumored to be a front-runner to play a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels.
References to Kenneth Branagh in fiction: