30 Incredible Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Kenneth Branagh


Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh, a Northern Irish actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, is world renowned for his work in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including the 1989's "Henry V," the 1993's "Much Ado About Nothing ," the 1995's "Othello," the 1996's "Hamlet," and so on. Here are 30 interesting facts to know about the actor:

  1. He is the first man in the history of Academy Awards to have been nominated for five different categories - Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Director for his work in "Henry V," Best Live Action Short Film for "Swan Song," Best Adapted Screenplay for "Hamlet," and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "My Week with Marilyn."
  2. Branagh is the Honorary President of NICVA - the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action.
  3. In the year 2000, he became the youngest actor to receive the Golden Quill or the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts.
  4. He was one of the guests at Prince Charles's and Camilla Parker-Bowles' wedding, held on April 9, 2005.
  5. His trademark as a director is to use very long uninterrupted takes at certain points during his films. One such scene is the first hypnosis scene in the 1991 “Dead Again,” set at the Laughing Duke, which actually features an extremely complicated camera shot in 360 degrees. It is said that it took nearly 15 takes and a whole day to get the scene right.
  6. On November 9, 2012, Branagh was appointed a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 Birthday Honours at Buckingham Palace for his services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland.
  7. His role as Berowne in the "Love's Labour's Lost" movie, is believed to have been performed by the legend William Shakespeare himself, when the play was performed for the very first time in the late 1500s.
  8. Branagh was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the RomaFictionFest on July 10, 2009.
  9. He is one among the only seven men in the Oscar history to have Oscar nominations for both Best Actor and Best Director for the same movie.
  10. He participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, where he portrayed Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the Industrial Revolution segment. He gave the speech from "The Tempest" which was originally read by the character Caliban.
  11. The 1995 movie "Othello," marks his only appearance in a Shakespearean theatrical film, which he did not direct himself. The movie was directed by Oliver Parker.
  12. Branagh is one of the only two non-American actors, the other being Roberto Benigni, to have been nominated for Academy Awards for acting, writing, and directing.
  13. He offered Gérard Depardieu, a minor role as Reynaldo in the 1996 "Hamlet," out of gratitude for Depardieu's active support during the release of "Henry V" in 1989. Depardieu was the one who dubbed Branagh's voice in the French version of "Henry V," and was also the main distributor of the movie in France.
  14. He was appointed an honorary Doctor of Literature at the Shakespeare Institute of The University of Birmingham in the year 2001.
  15. Before casting him in the lead role in "Celebrity," director Woody Allen was unsure whether Branagh can pull off an American accent, though Allen was very much interested in hiring him. However, as it was Robert Altman who screened most of the scenes in "The Gingerbread Man," Branagh easily got the part.
  16. Branagh is one among the eight actors in the history of Academy Awards to have been nominated in the acting, writing and directing categories. The other seven include Orson Welles, Warren Beatty, Woody Allen, John Huston, George Clooney, Roberto Benigni and John Cassavetes.
  17. For his performance as the title character in "Edmond," he was awarded with the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor at the Royal National Theatre in 2004.
  18. The movie "Love's Labour's Lost" was shot over a period of just 8 weeks. In preparation for their roles, every actor underwent a three week boot camp with exclusive trained in singing and dancing.
  19. The Shakespeare Institute Library keeps the archive of the movies produced under the Renaissance Theatre Company, which he co-founded with David Parfitt, with Prince Charles as a royal patron.
  20. He is one of the only 13 actors in the Oscar history to have an Academy Award nomination to their name for portraying a real-life king.
  21. His performance in the TV series "Wallander," was praised by many. Even most Swedish critics consider this particular series to be the best film or TV adaptation of the Wallander canon because of his performance.
  22. Branagh was appointed as the new President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), succeeding the late Lord Attenborough, in October 2015.
  23. In the movie "Wild Wild West," while filming the particular scene in which he is in an articulated metal platform as Dr. Loveless, he was actually in a kneeling position in the device. Every few minutes, he would have to get up and walk around to get the circulation back in his legs, as they went numb constantly from being in that position for an extended period of time.
  24. As of 2017, he is the last actor to have received an Oscar nomination for his role in a Shakespearean film. He was nominated for his titular role in the 1989 "Henry V."
  25. He was honored with the London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Special Award in the year 1988.
  26. He has also played the title role in BBC radio broadcasts of "Hamlet" and "Cyrano de Bergerac," and the role of Edmund in "King Lear."
  27. In the year 1983, Branagh was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in "Another Country."
  28. He became the youngest actor in the history of Royal Shakespeare Company to play the lead role in Shakespeare's "Henry V," as he was just 23 years old that time.
  29. His 2008 movie "Valkyrie" grossed a total of 200 million dollars worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing World War II film of all-time.
  30. He is one of the only three actors, other being Charles Chaplin and Delia Smith, to have their named mentioned by a character in the "Blackadder" series. His name is mentioned by Blackadder while talking to William Shakespeare on the topic of "Hamlet," in the 1999 "Blackadder Back & Forth."
  31. Kenneth Branagh Net Worth: $60 Million

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