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Overview for Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 10, 1960 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: Cast ...


Branagh received the 1991 William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (the "Will Award") presented by The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.

In September 2001, Branagh received an honorary degree from the University of Birmingham.

On his band The Fishmongers: " ... we're literally a garage band, that's where we play. It's fantastic relaxation--there's about seven of us in the group now and we're always having guest people in; it's a case of if you play the triangle, you're in The Fishmongers." --Kenneth Branagh quoted in Empire, May 2000.

"I feel more Irish than English. I feel freer than British, more visceral, with a love of language. Shot through with fire in some way. That's why I resist being appropriated as the current repository of Shakespeare on the planet. That would mean I'm part of the English cultural elite, and I am utterly ill-fitted to be." --Branagh in The New York Times, November 9, 1994.

About working with Branagh on "Othello": "I haven't met that many people who are as talented as Ken and still manage to be really humble. I was freaking out about one of the speeches I had to do and saying, 'Maybe you should cut it out. Do we really need it?' And Ken looked at me and said, 'Look, man, I'm a pug Irish kid from Belfast, and I'm not supposed to be able to do this stuff either.' That kind of generosity, that kind of humility--that's who Ken Branagh is." --Laurence Fishburne to The Advocate, February 20, 1996.

On the breakup of his marriage to Emma Thompson: "Unhappiness, like gray hair, is part of life. And there's definitely a period [after divorce] where you pause for thought and deal with the sadness.

"The whole thing is still immensely sad and painful, but I'm truly grateful for the time we had together.

"Later on, you lose the sharper pains of a break up, realizing that the wonderful times can't be diminished. So, for me, to have a record of our most wonderful time--'Much Ado'--is a rather marvelous thing." --Branagh to the New York Post, November 18, 1998.

Regarding his variation on Woody Allen's screen alter ego in Allen's "Celebrity": "There was no question that it read like Woody on the page, complete with his classic hesitations and stutters, but I didn't want to do an impersonation.

"There was actually a telling moment in a debate about whether my character would wear jeans. I said this guy might wear them with a jacket, and Woody immediately said, 'But I would never wear jeans.' So I had my answer." --Branagh quoted in New York Post, November 18, 1998.

"People assume that anyone who'd do a four-hour film of 'Hamlet' must be a heavyweight intellectual, incapable of enjoying life. In fact, the thing I showed the greatest facility for in drama school was comedy, and when I left school I felt unless I made an effort, I'd spend the rest of my life in sitcoms." --Branagh to Los Angeles Times, February 8, 1998

"Bottom line, we made a film ["Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"] that a lot of people didn't like. And sometimes when critics don't like things, it gives them access to a fantastic eloquence because of the intensity of their feeling. At least they had some passion about it.

"'Wild Wild West' has been enormous fun, and I think it's very hard to do something brilliantly silly brilliantly--in a way, much harder than the already faintly intimidated respect you might get for doing a Shakespeare play, which you might do terribly. I don't want to be a movie star, but I love the choice of work that I have so far been able to maintain. I don't want to make Shakespeare films for a small coterie or group of my friends. I want them to be utterly available. I want to get Barry Sonnefeld's audience for 'Wild Wild West' into 'Love's Labour's Lost'. And I'm not suggesting that one's better than another." --Branagh in The New York Times, November 15, 1998.

"I hear actors talk about hard times, but I am loathe to complain ... I think I've had a very pleasant, priveleged time. My notion of hard times would make many people laugh. So prefaced with that, I would say my toughest time was in the wake of making 'Henry V'. I felt I arrived at a position in the business where there was a level of attention that I had not remotely anticipated.

"The years that followed were hard. It was not like it was any kind of burning tragic part of me, but I found it difficult to adjust myself to what seemed to be expected of me. Honestly, I did not feel myself worthy of the attention or the praise.

" ... now the fame sits much easier with me. At first, I thought this is ridiculous that I'm the subject of this much attention, having made one film. I thought people who are regarded as proper artists, well, this must be driving them mad. I was a slip of a boy when I made 'Henry V' ..." --Branagh to Chicago Sun-Times, January 17, 1999.

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