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Sir Alistair Dormandy
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Kenneth Branagh (Sir Alistair Dormandy) made his West End acting debut in Another Country, for which he won the Society of West End Theatres Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Numerous other stage appearances followed, including Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Hamlet.
In 1985, he founded the Renaissance Theatre Company. Among their productions which Mr. Branagh either starred in or directed were ones of Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Look Back in Anger, Uncle Vanya, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Coriolanus. His own plays, staged with the company, included Public Enemy and The Life of Napoleon.
He directed the hit stage comedy The Play What I Wrote, which transferred from London’s West End to Broadway, where it received a Tony Award nomination. His recent stage performances include the title roles in Richard III, at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield; in Edmond, at the National Theatre; and, returning to London’s West End, in Ivanov.
Mr. Branagh’s first venture into filmmaking was with 1989’s Henry V, which he adapted, directed, and starred in. He received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Director, and won the BAFTA Award for Best Director, among other accolades for the film.
His next features as director and actor were the sleeper hit thriller Dead Again; the ensemble comedy Peter’s Friends, which he also produced; and the star-studded Much Ado About Nothing, which he also produced and adapted. Mr. Branagh was again nominated for an Academy Award, as director of the Best Short Film (Live Action) nominee Swan Song, which starred John Gielgud and Richard Briers.
He went on to direct the features Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which he starred opposite Robert De Niro and which he co-produced; In the Bleak Midwinter (a.k.a. A Midwinter’s Tale), from his original screenplay, which opened the Sundance Film Festival and for which he was named Best Director at the Venice International Film Festival; and the full-length screen version of Hamlet, filmed in 70MM, and in which he starred. The latter film received 4 Academy Award nominations, including one for Mr. Branagh’s screenplay adaptation.
Among his other films as director are the musical Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It, both of which he also adapted, produced, and starred in; the short Listening, which he also wrote; The Magic Flute, which he adapted from Mozart’s opera; and Sleuth, which he also produced and which was adapted by Harold Pinter and starred Michael Caine opposite Jude Law.
Among his other films as actor are Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, for which Mr. Branagh won the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor; Pat O’Connor’s A Month in the Country; Oliver Parker’s Othello; Robert Altman’s The Gingerbread Man; Woody Allen’s Celebrity; Paul Greengrass’ The Theory of Flight; Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence; and Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie.
Also as actor, he has starred in several notable telefilms and miniseries. These include Frank Pierson’s Conspiracy, for which he won an Emmy Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award; Charles Sturridge’s Shackleton, for which he was again an Emmy Award nominee; Joseph Sargent’s Warm Springs, receiving Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his portrayal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and, most recently, Wallander, which won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series and for which he was once more an Emmy Award nominee. Mr. Branagh executive-produced the latter trio of telefilms, directed by Philip Martin and Niall MacCormick, respectively, and adapted from Henning Mankell’s novels.
Mr. Branagh is currently at work as director of the much-anticipated adventure film Thor, for Marvel Enterprises and Paramount Pictures.