In 1990, Kenneth Branagh became one of the three youngest Oscar nominees for Best Director when he scored directing and acting nods for Henry V. More than two decades later, he may finally earn his second acting nomination for playing one of his idols, Laurence Olivier, in My Week With Marilyn. (Here’s an exclusive shot of him in character.) Now that the film’s trailer has just been released, Branagh got on the phone from Belfast to talk about becoming Olivier, his costar Michelle Williams, and his feelings on Thor 2.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What would you say Olivier means to you as an actor?
KENNETH BRANAGH: He’s an inspiration to all actors because he was so creatively ambitious and he was audacious. And he was someone whose comedic sense was very strong. It’s the completeness of his work that is very inspiring. When I was 18 years old at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, I was cast as the ancient doctor Chebutykin in Chekhov’s Three Sisters. I couldn’t have been more miscast. I would use a vast amount of talcum powder to make me look old. In a fit of inspiration I wrote to Sir Laurence Olivier who had played Chebutykin in his film of Three Sisters and said, “How at 18 do I play this much older man whom you played so brilliantly in your film?” And the sweet reply came back: “I have absolutely no idea. Have a bash and hope for the best.” He was kind to throw a crumb of comfort in the direction of a young actor. READ FULL STORY