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Branagh In My Week With Marilyn
First Look: Kenneth as Laurence Olivier

01 September 2011  |  Written by Helen O'Hara  |  Source: Exclusive

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Branagh In My Week With Marilyn

There's already been a lot of internet attention paid to Michelle Williams' take on Marilyn Monroe in upcoming drama My Week With Marilyn, but what about the rest of the cast? Well, here's a little taste of Kenneth Branagh's take on Sir Laurence Olivier, at least - and for our money he's looking good.

Both Shakespearean wunderkinder, (Hamlet, Henry V), both writer/directors who worked on populist entertainment (The Prince And The Showgirl, Thor) as well as the heavy stuff, Olivier and Branagh would appear to be an obvious pairing. And judging by this picture, Branagh's paid his predecessor sufficient attention to nail his facial expression and completely get past the fact that they don't look that much alike (although there's something there around the chin - and the hair's spot-on, of course).

The story focuses on the making of The Prince And The Showgirl, with Olivier directing and starring opposite Marilyn Monroe (one guess who played which role). Seen through the eyes of Olivier's assitant Colin Clarke (Eddie Redmayne) it was certainly a dramatic time. The production was famously stormy: Monroe was then married to playwright Arthur Miller and suffered a miscarriage during shooting; her weight fluctuated and her punctuality problems were even worse than normal. Olivier didn't direct again for 13 years, apparently still traumatised by the experience.

Branagh told us, of the role, "I was incredibly impressed by the screenplay and wanted to play this man – who just happened to be Sir Laurence Olivier – but who was a fascinating human being to play at this point in his life. He was a great actor and director wrestling with the phenomenon that was Marilyn. He was in awe of her screen persona and her sexuality and at the same time infuriated by her off screen behaviour. The script was a fascinating study of a very fine artist coming up against an equally fine one and the fireworks that result”

My Week With Marilyn is out on November 18, also starring Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh (Olivier's wife), Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Emma Watson and Derek Jacobi.


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