Exclusive Interview With Kenneth Branagh- “Cinderella” Director #CinderellaEvent

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15344″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]A lot of you may not know but I struggle a lot with interview posts. When I do these posts I have an “OMG, it has to be perfect so I will get another one.” I really want to be able to make them fancy or more of an article, but I guess my brain doesn’t work that way.

I was telling a friend this and she said “I like your interview posts. You let them tell the story.” That one phrase “You let them tell the story.” struck me. Not because of it making me feel good but because that is exactly what Kenneth Branagh did with with Cinderella. He let Cinderella tell the story. Her actions, her words, and most of all her gentle kindness told the story. I know the screen writers wrote the movie but the way it was directed let Cinderella fill the screen and tell the story. Her story.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”About Kenneth Branagh” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”15345″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Full Name- Kenneth Charles Branagh
Birthdate- December 10, 1960
Birth Place- Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

In 1983 Kenneth joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in “Henry V” and Romeo and Juliet. After leaving the RSC he founded his own theater company, the Renaissance Theatre company. He directed and starred in the film “Henry V” which costarred his then wife, Emma Thompson. Over the years he has acted in a variety of films including- Victor Frankenstein, The Gingerbread Man, My Week with Marilyn, Valkyrie and also in the TV Series, Wallander as Kurt Wallander. He has also directed several films including Hamlet, A Midwinter’s Tale, Sleuth, Thor, and Jack Ryan.
He is married to Lindsay Brunnock.

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Tell us about the casting process.

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I had an idea of how Cinderella should be. In my experience, it was gonna be like I made a film, Thor, which took a long time to find the beautiful and sexy Chris Hemsworth, now officially the sexiest man in the world. So, I thought, well, I have good taste then clearly. No, no. We knew that it would take a while and that you had to really feel that the– the character– the actor would, in this case, you just want to be with them. You know, you want to be in their company. She had to be likeable. You needed to want to spend those 90 minutes with her. Because of the way we were slightly reimagining the character’s personaliyt, she needed to have a good sense of humor, kind what we are calling a kind of an approachable beauty, kindnes, passion, and strength. Someone that cound stand up in a scene with Ms. Blanchett or Miss Bonham-Carter. Who also just had a kind of simplicity without being sappy. She had to tick a lot of boxes. So it was going to take a long time. I heard Lily James’ voice first. I thought “God, what a beautiful voice.” Then, well she was a beautiful girl. She was patient across a lot of auditions and things. Eventually it just became clear that she was the one.[/ebs_well]

What was the most difficult scene to direct?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think probably the ballroom sequence because you know that there would be so much expectation on it. You knew that practically speaking you were going to have 500 people, half of whom were going to be in corsets. That would be a bit tricky. You know, you’re going to have 500 people to the loo ( editor’s note- loo=bathroom) as we well during the course of the day and then get them back to the set before wasting to much time. Getting a sense of the staging, glamour, and flamboyance was important. I wanted to take people to the ball but I also knew that for me the scene was just as much about his hand on the small of her back in the beginning of that dance. So it was trying to keep that big large-scale ambitions with just wanting the human dynamic of the boy meets girl moment.[/ebs_well]

What brought you to this project?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think it was the surprise of being asked. I hadn’t long ago done thor and I did a film called Jack Ryan. So a couple of quite boy-sy films and being asked to do a girl’s film, if that’s not a stupid way of putting it. Doing a fairytale and such a famous one. I remembered a couple of things from Cinderella. I loved the chase back from the palace at midnight. I really remember in the original animated filme the stepmother coming out of the dark with two blazing gree eyes, when she is lying in bed and Cinderella brings her tea. So I remember it being a bit scary but very exciting and fin. I was very aware also if you do a Disney film then you have a big responsibility. There’s gonna be a lot of kids seeing it for the first time. And they all know the story as well. I’ve never made a film where the lights go down and you realize that everybody from five to 95 knows what’s gonna happen next. So it’s not about what happens next. It’s about how you do what happens next. So, that was very exciting.[/ebs_well]

Were there sound bites from the original animation?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]Well you know what we did? It sounds a bit daft but we scripted the entire mice story throughout the movie. Chris Weitz and I sat down, and we wrote words, dialogue for all four of the mice in every scene in which they appeared. Then we recorded them with actors a couple of different ways. then we recorded them with actors a couple of different ways. Sometimes we made the actors say it very, very, very slowly so that when we then speeded it up to be in sort of mice squeak mode, you could just get a half a hint of what they were trying to say.[/ebs_well]

It was refreshing to see Nonso Anozie in the movie.

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]Nonso is an actor who I worked with about 12 years ago in the theatre. He’d just come out of drama school. He’s a man mountain. He’s actually enormous, but a darling bloke. He is also a wonderful actor and was in my last film Jack Ryan. I knew he would play the kind of oak tree of a guy with a real twinkle in his eye. Also, there’s very few people who can stand up to Cate Blanchett and say, I’ll tell you what to do or I forbid it. Cate Blanchett actually turns around and looks rather scared. So I knew that Nonso would be able to do that. He’s a big, good-hearted guy.[/ebs_well]

How did you choose the locations?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]
I’ve done a few pictures with palaces in them and I have my contacts as it were. The forest where the prince and Cinderella meet is in the Windsor Great Park, which is essentially the Queen’s back garden. She lives in Windsor Castle part of the them, so part of that park involves that group of oak trees. They are over 600 years old. So it was very nice to say to Lily and Richard you’re going to do this magical scene in a magical place because those oak trees were here when Shakespeare was alive. [/ebs_well]

Can you talk about Cinderella’s proactivity?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think that we start with her in a family that’s functioning, loving, and supportive. We see where it begins, the death of her mother. I think the passing on of a kind of generous outlook is important. I think a question anybody asks of a modern Cinderella, why doesn’t she leave? Well, she may leave there. And she certainly has a passionate response to it and a passionate response to the prince that she encounters. But as she talks about later on, she stays there partly because she honors her mother and father. That’s a positive and proactive decision I think to stay there. But the challege was to try and keep her there, find the way to express a strength that made us believe as we did going into it that this was Cinderella who ultimately believed would be fine if a prince didn’t come along and save her. [/ebs_well]

What was your favorite iconic image?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]We felt quite a pressure with the slippers because, you know, you’ve got ruby slippers. You also have other slippers in film history. It was going to be a big moment. Cinderella at the top of the stairs coming into the ball was a favorite moment of mine. Or actually even just walking from the coach up the steps and into the palace I think the sort of moment where she comes into her own.[/ebs_well]

Why Cinderella?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]It specifically came my way and for me the surprise was being asked to do this specific one. Partly I think people feel an incredible ownership of the story. I think it’s very personal to a lot of people. I think that there’s a relationship to the underdog, or the outsider, however we chose to categorize her that seems to represent us, our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. There was a chanceto do that but sort of recalibrate them. So in the scene between the sisters and Cinderella says “What about the prince. What do you think he will be like” and they say “It doesn’t matter, he’s a prince.” The idea of working out whether it’s possible to, you know, present the Cinderella who may feel differently about that I think was important.[/ebs_well]

What brought you to cast Richard?

[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I thought that he had , apart from the very blue eyes, intellgience and wit. Also, he relished the idea of how you might sort of play a gentleman. He wasn’t striving hard to be a certain modern kind of cool. I think both of these actors were prepared to be uncynical in the film and I loved that idea. The just sort of respond directly to each other and that gallantry, courtship, the desire to woo, to serve, to listen were things that he felt could be played very positively. There is a very touching and wonderful chemistry between Lily and Richard. He was somebody I felt could do this thing we needed to do of having a man who earned Cinderella’s respect and love. He didn’t get it just because he had a big car.[/ebs_well] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Cinderella: The Movie Information” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][vc_column_text]

CINDERELLA

Cinderella will be in theaters March 13, 2015

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Trailer:

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