Northern Irish actor, director, and producer. He co-founded the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987. His first film as both actor and director was Henry V (1989); he returned to Shakespeare with lavish film versions of Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Hamlet (1996), Love's Labours Lost (2000), and As You Like It (2006). He later starred as the eponymous police detective in the award-winning television series Wallander (2008–10).
Branagh's first Hollywood film was Dead Again (1992), a stylish film noir in which he played two roles. He also demonstrated a deft comic touch with Peter's Friends (1992) and In the Bleak Midwinter (1995), although his extravagant interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) was coolly received. However, his return to theatre direction in 2001, with the play The Play What I Wrote, was widely acclaimed. He directed a film adaptation of the theatrical thriller Sleuth in 2007.
Branagh was born in Belfast. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began his career with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He came to wider attention in 1987 in a television series based on Olivia Manning's Fortunes of War novels, in which he played opposite his regular co-star Emma Thompson, to whom he was married 1989–95. Also in 1987 he started the Renaissance Theatre Company with David Parfitt, earning comparisons with Laurence Olivier for his performances, notably in Hamlet (1988) and (1992) and Much Ado About Nothing (1988). He also staged his own play Public Enemy (1988).
As a performer Branagh has appeared in High Season (1987), A Month in the Country (1987), Swing Kids (1993), Oliver Parker's reworking of Othello (1995), in which he gave an accomplished performance as Iago, Robert Altman's adaptation of the John Grisham thriller The Gingerbread Man, Woody Allen's Celebrity (both 1998), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), Valkyrie (2008), and The Boat That Rocked (2009). He was also the narrator, with Glenn Close, of the Academy Award-winning documentary Anne Frank Remembered (1995).
Branagh, Kenneth (Charles)
Kenneth Branagh Compendium
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