Trivia / Kenneth Branagh

  • Career Resurrection: Thor seems to have rejuvinated his directing career. He followed that up with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Cinderella (2015). All three have been financial successes, and Cinderella in particular was a great critical success.
  • Creator Killer: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein nearly did this to Branagh's directing career. The film was such a huge bomb it was a while before Hollywood would trust him to helm another blockbuster (and made finding funding for Hamlet difficult). But he was still easily able to get plenty of acting jobs as well as directing the indie films he usually prefers
  • Fake Nationality: Plays a Third Reich German in Valkyrie and Conspiracy. Other examples:
  • 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: He fell in love with the bard at an early age and is now arguably considered 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. Olivier is also responsible in part for Branagh's conversion to Christianity.
    • The Shakespeare play Branagh saw when he was 15 that changed his life was Derek Jacobi in Hamlet. Cut to 1989 and Branagh's cast his idol in Henry V (1989), and like half the films Branagh directed after that. In 1990 Jacobi directed Branagh in a production of Hamlet inspired by Jacobi's version in the 1970s. Branagh's film version of Hamlet (1996) where Jacobi plays Claudius capitalises on the physical resemblance between them (their hair was dyed the same shade of Nordic blonde) and the theme of displacing a powerful father figure (obviously the antagonism is just in the film, they are friends in real life).
  • 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.
  • What Could Have Been: Was rumored to be a front-runner to play a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels.

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