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I thought to myself: This is the bleakest thing I have ever read . . . – اخر اخبار العولمة
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غير مصنف

I thought to myself: This is the bleakest thing I have ever read . . .

 

Fresh from the news of his knighthood, Kenneth Branagh has a lot more to smile about than his Swedish alter-ego Wallander, as Lisa Williams finds out

KENNETH BRANAGH works the room like a true luvvie, greeting his Wallander co- stars and crew with kisses, waves and handshakes.

He’s scrubbed up well in a charcoal suit and purple shirt, but that’s not the only reason he’s glowing.

Rather, the preview screening of the new series of his detective show – based on the books by Swedish author Henning Mankell – comes just two days after the boy from Belfast was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Kenneth (we don’t need the “Sir” until he visits the Palace) said on the day of the announcement that his heart was “fit to burst”, and he seems no less excited about it today.

“I’ve had a weekend of loveliness,” he says in a voice which is much quieter than you’d expect from such a thespian.

“The response has been overwhelming from people I haven’t seen for a trillion years: old school friends, people from all over the world . . . I’ve been touched.”

Kenneth, 51, turned down a CBE in 1994, but there was no such hesitation over the knighthood.

“You think of all the people in your 30-year career who you’ve worked with, and you know they would be so made up, as indeed they have been at the acknowledgment of that work, so it seemed the right thing to say, ‘I appreciate that’,” says the actor.

Although much of his career has been played out on the stage and big screen, it’s his recent small screen role which has earned him a surprising amount of praise.

In contrast to his bombastic Henry V or his clownish Benedick in Much Ado, Kenneth’s Wallander is alarmingly aloof.

Despite living and breathing the character on and off since 2008, Kenneth admits even he was taken aback by the new series, which opens with a 90-minute film in which Wallander investigates a crime very close to home.

“This particular one is a very raw 90 minutes. When I read it I thought it was the bleakest thing I had ever read. I remember standing on the side of the road during filming and my producer said, ‘Can we really put this out on Sunday night?’ And yet there’s something so compelling about it,” he says.

Wallander faces several personal challenges in this opening episode. Not only is one of the crimes a bit too close for comfort, but he finds the semblance of happiness he’s allowed himself (he’s moved to a country house with his new partner, her son and a dog) is threatened by his all-consuming approach to solving crime.

“What’s touching about this episode is he is embracing the chance for a relationship, but the old dog can’t be taught new tricks,” explains Kenneth. It’s something he shares with fellow Scandinavian detective Sarah Lund from The Killing, another character who fascinates Branagh.

“Who knew Scandi crime would turn out to be a genre?”, he nods. “People seem to like battered, thinking, feeling people coming up against crime and everything that it embodies.”

Wallander starts on BBC One tomorrow, 9pm.




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