Branagh’s bleak outlook
KENNETH Branagh has been plumbing the depths of darkness for his lead role in TV drama Wallander.
The man who has lit up the screen in movie adaptations of Henry V, Hamlet and Othello, says Wallander— whose tasks have included investigating the deaths of young prostitutes — has been ‘‘ the bleakest thing I have ever read’’.
The director/actor plays police Inspector Kurt Wallander in the hit crime drama, adapted from Swedish novelist Henning Mankell’s books.
Branagh contacted Mankell before filming the most demanding scenes.
‘‘ I wanted to know how he was when he was writing this sort of stuff for months on end,’’ Branagh says.
‘‘ He said he had to stop writing some books because it got too much. I asked if people thought he went too far sometimes, but he said nothing he has written goes anywhere near the extremes of his re- search in terms of human trafficking, paedophilia and the appalling things people do.
‘‘ The darker the episodes get, the more people seem to like them. I don’t know whether people look at them and think, ‘ My life will never get that bad’. When I read the script, I said to the producer, ‘ This is the bleakest thing I have ever read’.’’
The empathy Wallander displays takes a toll on his personal life. He has a troubled relationship with his wife and difficulty communicating with his daughter.
‘‘ The world Wallander lives in is a raw world where people have to deal with terrible news and with the death of loved ones in terrible circumstances. Wallander is very self-aware and perceptive and intelligent about human behaviour,’’ Branagh says.
AAP/WENN Wallander, ABC1, Sunday, 8.30pm