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Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh is one of the world's most consistently acclaimed filmmakers. As an actor and director, his work is trademarked by quality, truth and passion.

Branagh completed directing the anticipated Marvel action adventure, Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins. At the center of the story is the Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war and, as punishment, is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans. Once there, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Recently, Branagh wrapped production on My Week with Marilyn, in which he stars opposite Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Dame Judi Dench and Julia Ormond. The film is based on the tense interaction between Sir Laurence Olivier (Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Williams) during production of The Prince and the Showgirl, as documented by Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's. It is directed by Simon Curtis.

Branagh's first venture into filmmaking met instant success. His 1989 production of Henry V, which he adapted from the Shakespeare and both starred in and directed, won a score of international awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Director. He was subsequently invited to Hollywood to direct and star in Dead Again, which was a huge international hit, and next directed himself in the ensemble film Peter's Friends, which won the Evening Standard Peter Sellers Award for Comedy.

Branagh's second Shakespearean film success as actor, director, writer and producer was Much Ado About Nothing, which was invited to screen at the Cannes Film Festival; in the same year his short film of the Chekhov play Swan Song received an Academy Award nomination. He went on to direct Robert De Niro in the commercial hit Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and his black and white film A Midwinter's Tale opened the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Osello d'Oro at the Venice Film Festival. Branagh's critically acclaimed full-length version of Hamlet, in 70mm, received four Academy Award nominations. His fourth Shakespeare film adaptation was a 1930's musical version of Love's Labour's Lost. More recently, Branagh directed HBO Films' As You Like It, a film version of Mozart's opera The Magic Flue and Sleuth, written by Harold Pinter and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine.

His other film work includes acting roles in Pat O'Connor's A Month in the Country; Oliver Parker's Othello; Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man; Woody Allen's Celebrity; Danny Boyle's Alien Love Triangle; Paul Greengrass' The Theory of Flight; Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West; Philip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; the Richard Curtis comedy PIRATE RADIO; and Bryan Singer's Valkyrie.

Branagh has appeared in several outstanding television dramas, including a recent turn as Detective Kurt Wallander in the BAFTA-winning series Wallander, which earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He has also starred in the title role of Shackleton for Channel 4; A&E's Conspiracy, for which he won an Emmy for Best Actor and earned a Golden Globe nomination; Warm Springs, in which he played Franklin Roosevelt and for which he received Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.

Branagh's stage work began when he made his West End acting debut in Another Country, which earned him the Society of West End Theater's Award for Most Promising Newcomer. He founded the Renaissance Theatre Company, for whom he either starred in or directed the following works: Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Hamlet, Look Back in Anger, Uncle Vanya, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coriolanus and The Life of Napoleon. He also wrote the plays Public Enemy and Tell Me Honestly.

Numerous stage appearances include the RSC's Henry V, Love's Labour's Lost and Hamlet. His more recent theatrical endeavors include directing the hit stage comedy The What I Wrote, which transferred from London's West End to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination, and five-star performances on the British stage in Richard III, Mamet's Edmond and Ivanov. He will be returning to the stage for the reopening season at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in the new comedy Painkiller.

Branagh is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal. He received the prestigious Michael Balcon Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), for outstanding contribution to cinema.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2011.
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Kenneth Branagh Facts

Birth NameKenneth Charles Branagh
OccupationActor, Director
BirthdayDecember 10, 1960 (63)
BirthplaceBelfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Height5' 10" (1m78)  How tall is Kenneth Branagh compared to you?
Awards2001 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie (for Conspiracy)
1990 BAFTA Awards: Best Direction (for Henry V)

Selected Filmography

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Much Ado About Nothing
Road to El Dorado
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