INTERVIEW WITH: Kenneth Branagh
Q. Congratulations! I am not a critic, but I really love the
A. Thank you.
Q. Can you talk about -- do you still have pains and emotions and
issues stemming from what you experienced as a child growing up
And, also, I wanted to ask you, were you a fan of the
film Roma that seemed to be a film that was also about another
director's childhood memories growing up?
A. I have not seen Roma because when I first -- Alfonso Cuarón is
a master filmmaker. When I knew it that it was a childhood
piece, I didn't want to see it because I didn't want to be
either, you know, influenced or stopped, frankly, because he is
a master, so I didn't want to see that.
The film is really about the beginnings of understanding how to
deal with the darkness of those days, which everybody had their
own experience of, and as a 9-year-old and with a family that
were trying to sort of shield us from it, it was to find as
much joy and humor quickly. Typical of the Irish, even in the
darkest of situations.
I think the thing that stayed with me was just the sense of how
-- how much at that time I felt as though I knew who I was. I
had a very strong sense of who I was. Making the film allowed
me to return to that.
My sister who is here tonight said, "This film has really outed
you, hasn't it, as a kind of a working-class Belfast boy."
And, yes, it has. My brother is here as well. That's where we
come from. And this was a way of not just acknowledging, but
embracing everything about it, the dark and the light.
Q. Hi. Thank you.
Q. Ken, congratulations!
Q. What does this mean to you? I mean, I've been following you
for more years than I care to say.
A. Well, you know, we've grown up together. It's as simple as
that. You were there in all the places lots of other people
weren't in, you know, fringe theatres and the Birmingham Rep
Studio when there's 100 people in. And we had our first
preview of "Much Ado About Nothing." And Judi Dench came
around after and said, "Watching you perform tonight is like
watching a slow-motion car wreck, Ken." I said, "Do you think
I could do better?" She said, "I think so. I think so."
People were kind enough to point out we were having ago.
You know, it means -- it's -- it's very, very meaningful to me
that as somebody who was in a small house watching a black and
white television projecting images of academy awards to this
working class family in the depth of Belfast to come -- to come
and be here at the other end of that is really -- it is very
meaningful. It is very meaningful. And, yeah, it's just
great. My family is here. And that's a beautiful thing. So
yeah, it's really lovely.
Q. Will there be some cracks tonight, Ken?
A. Yes, there will be because Jamie Dornan -- the only thing we
are going to really have to be careful about -- apologies in
advance if this happens. If Jamie Dornan sees a microphone and
and if a fridge door opens, he is singing, Everlasting Love.
It's as simple as that.
Q. How are you?
A. I'm good. Good to see you.
Q. I'm thrilled for you. Congratulations!
A. Thank you.
Q. We were back last fall when the movie premiered. We were
talking about how this is the ultimate immigration movie and,
you know, that a family has to make a decision about leaving
their home and leaving their loved ones behind because there
was terror going on around them. We didn't realize back in
November we would be in that exact situation now.
Have you thought about Belfast in terms of the Ukraine
and the people who have had to leave?
A. What I've thought about is the -- is the -- what I would
describe is the sort of miracle of what has happened in the
north of Ireland over the lifetime of my generation. So from
30 years of dark and tragic trouble through 25 years of this
very hard-earned very fragile piece which began with what we
are struggling to see at the moment, which is the very, very
difficult thing of trying to begin the process of
understanding, first of all listening to, people with whom you
profoundly disagree and finding a way to listen, understand,
respect and possibly accept on the road to progress. It's
incredibly easy to say. It is unbelievably hard to do. And,
yet, that is where progress is made.
In the whole of Ireland there was a generation of people ready
to do that. And the example of the last 25 years as fragile as
it remains is still a shining light in the darkness. And it's
one I would say we want to see shining as quickly as possible
in other situations in the world where what seems to be the
impossible can be possible. And it is -- it is unbelievably
difficult and unbelievably necessary and what I see across my
lifetime is an incredible effort made that has been worth it,
but please, God, situations in other parts of the world do not
cost that amount of time to come to the same painful
understanding that we need to talk, not fight.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Oh, sorry.
Q. Hi, Ken. Sorry to keep you from the party.
I wanted to ask, it's a beautiful film about a memory. You
know, but a half a lifetime ago in 1990, you were first here as
a nominee for directing and acting. Do you have any memories
from that night? And have you thought about them at all this
A. A man in a suit in a pair of dark glasses came up to me in the
wings and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around, and he
said, "Hi, I'm Jack." And I said, "You don't need to introduce
yourself, Mr. Nicholson." That is what I remember. I remember
being in the loo and sorting myself out, as it were, and
looking to the left and right. And Steve Martin was here, and
Cuba Gooding, Jr. was there and realizing that it was an
evening like tonight has that surreal quality to it. I've had
a lovely evening sitting next to Bradley Cooper, and we have
had a lovely chat. I had a chance to see Mr. Ford Copolla, who
was a producer on our Frankenstein film 25 years ago. The
camaraderie that these evenings produced in unusual is very
special. So I remember that at that time, and I've had
versions of that already happening again tonight, and that has
been very lovely.
Q. Congratulations, sir.
A. Thank you very much.
Q. I will say congratulations.
A. Thank you, Mike.
Q. I was just wondering, how has it been to see young Jude Hill,
you know, winning an award, enjoying the process and the awards
season, and, you know, what can you say about him and the
performance of you and just how it was to work with him?
A. He is a very special young fellow. His parents are here
tonight, Darryl and Shauneen. They've done an amazing job with
him and the two younger siblings. They are a very, very nice
family. They encourage their kids to be open, funny, ask
The single beef I have with him is, you know, he supports
Liverpool Football Club, and that meant directing him as an
actor who had to play a role in supporting the Tottenham
Hotspur Football Club was a challenge. Although, I did say to
him tonight, "Listen, if I can do this, then surely Tottenham
Hotspur Football Club can be fourth place this season place and
be in Europe next. He disagreed with me, but I am backing me.