Branagh’s bleak out­look

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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

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