BIFAs 2011/The Variety Award: Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh intends to devote more time to film acting in the immediate future — “I had such a delicious time in (‘My Week With Marilyn’), and I want to continue that,” he says — but he’s choosing carefully and has yet to commit to his next role. In the longer term, he’s developing three features as a director.

“Italian Shoes,” adapted by Richard Cottan from the novel by “Wallander” author Henning Mankell, is about a reclusive old surgeon on a Swedish island who hasn’t come to terms with his past mistakes. Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench are attached to star. “Wallander” co-producers Left Bank and Yellowbird are aiming to shoot in late 2012 or 2013.

Fox 2000 is developing “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” adapted by Don Roos from the bestseller by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. It’s a love story set in London and the Channel Islands after WWII that Branagh describes as “a beautiful romance, very touching and uplifting.” Producers are Paula Masur and Mitchell Kaplan, with Branagh’s regular partner David Barron.

“In both cases, the nuance, delicacy and flavor is so based on the perfect casting,” Branagh says. ” ‘Italian Shoes’ is tailormade for Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench. Casting is not fixed yet for the Guernsey film.”

Even further off, Branagh is attached to direct “The Boys in the Boat,” which the Weinstein Co. is developing based on Daniel James Brown’s book about the Washington U. rowing squad in the 1930s.

On stage, “The Painkiller,” in which he starred at Belfast’s Lyric Theater this summer, is under discussion to transfer to London or New York. Branagh says a decision will be made after he has finished shooting the latest episodes of “Wallander,” which he is in the midst of filming in Sweden.

British Independent Film Awards 2011
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The Variety Award: Kenneth Branagh
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