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Join in the delights and disasters in this classic tale of the English riverbank with Mole and his new friends in Wild Wood – sensible Ratty, wise Badger, fun-loving Toad – and their arch adversaries, dastardly Stoats and Weasles.
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Sir Kenneth Branagh, Actor, Director, Producer and Screenwriter | IMDb: Kenneth Branagh; Renaissance Theatre Company: archive held at the Shakespeare Institute Library, University of Birmingham
Born in Belfast, Sir Kenneth is famous for being an actor, director and writer – for stage and screen – perhaps best known for adapting Shakespearean plays .
Moving from Northern Ireland to London at age 9 with his family, Kenneth shone at acting in school plays. He graduated from RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in 1981 and soon made his professional stage debut. In 1984 he joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), where he received acclaim for his performances in Hamlet and Henry V. In 1987 he left the RSC to co-found the Renaissance Theatre Company, for which he served as actor, writer and director until the venture dissolved in 1992.
In 1989 Sir Kenneth brought Henry V (Amazon: UK | USA) to the screen. The movie received critical acclaim, and Kenneth was nominated for one Academy Award for best director and another for best actor. Credited with making Shakespeare accessible to the masses, Sir Kenneth also wrote and directed In the Bleak Midwinter (1995: Amazon: UK | USA) – US title, A Midwinter’s Tale – about a production of Hamlet staged in a local church, as well as film versions of Much Ado About Nothing (1993: Amazon: UK | USA), Hamlet (1996: (Amazon: UK | USA), and Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000: Amazon: UK | USA). In 1995 he appeared as Iago in the film Othello (Amazon: UK | USA), and in 2006 he directed the film As You Like It (Amazon: UK | USA) He also directed and acted in the motion pictures Dead Again (1991: Amazon: UK | USA) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994: Amazon: UK | USA).
Early in his career Sir Kenneth appeared in several television productions, including The Lady’s Not for Burning (1987: Amazon: play UK | play USA) and Look Back in Anger (1989: Amazon: UK | USA), both movies adapted from plays, and the mini-series Fortunes of War (1987: (Amazon: UK | USA), based on novels by Olivia Manning. He subsequently starred as Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton in the miniseries Shackleton (2002: Amazon: UK | USA) and as Franklin D Roosevelt in the mini-series Warm Springs (2005: Amazon: UK | USA). In the crime series Wallander (2008–15: Amazon: UK | USA), adapted from Henning Mankell’s novels (Amazon: UK | USA), Branagh played the title role.
Sir Kenneth’s later film roles included supporting turns in Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002: Amazon: UK | USA) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002: Amazon: UK | USA), a film adaptation of JK Rowling’s popular children’s book. His appearance as Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn (2011: Amazon: UK | USA), which dramatised events behind the scenes of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl (Amazon: UK | USA), earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. During this time Sir Kenneth continued to direct, and his credits include Sleuth (2007: Amazon: UK | USA), a remake of the 1972 film (Amazon: UK | USA) about a mystery author who gets revenge on his wife’s younger lover, and Thor (2011: (Amazon: UK | USA), an adaptation of a comic book about the eponymous Norse god. In 2014 he helmed the action thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Amazon: UK | USA), in which he also appeared as a vicious Russian banker. Kenneth then directed Cinderella (2015: Amazon: UK | USA), an adaptation of the classic fairy tale. In 2017 he portrayed a British naval commander in the World War II drama Dunkirk (Amazon: UK | USA), about the evacuation of Allied troops from France. That same year he directed and starred as the renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express (Amazon: UK | USA), based on Agatha Christie’s 1933 novel (Amazon: UK | USA). In 2018, Kenneth starred in All is True (Amazon: UK), a movie about William Shakespeare’s final days, and voiced a minor role in Avengers: Infinity Wars (Amazon: UK | USA). He will re-appear as Poirot in the forthcoming adaptation of Death on the Nile (2020), another iconic Agatha Christie whodunit (book: Amazon: UK | USA).