- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: St Martins Pr; First US Printing Thus edition (April 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312058225
- ISBN-13: 978-0312058227
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,536,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beginning Paperback – April 1, 1991
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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From Publishers Weekly
Critically acclaimed Branagh, 28, details his career, which has so far included a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company, television stardom and direction of his own role in a film version of Henry V . "His book has charm because of the delight he takes in the theater and in working with such great actors as Derek Jacobi and Paul Scofield," said PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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I liked all the British expressions Branagh uses in the book and found myself looking up some fun British slang I had not heard of before. "Cobblers" for example, which means "rubbish" or "nonsense."
It was delightful to read about Branagh's experiences with the macho, vulgar director in Australia, the kind of man who opens beer cans with his teeth. Funny stuff. Plus, there were many embarrassing moments throughout his acting studies and career that put a smile on my face as he described them. One could FEEL the egg on his face!
Along with other reviewers, I detect how fiercely private he is. One can understand why, but he certainly downplays the enormous camaraderie and passion he must have felt with Emma Thompson when they first started working together. She is hardly mentioned in the book, yet she is an important part of the final two years covered before it was finished--kind of a disappointment.
That's about the only disappointment, though. It's witty and inordinately entertaining. He has a Woody Allen-like quality of self deprecation that is very endearing, yet an outrageous amount of confidence, drive, and willingness to take risks. These somehow comfortably coexist with his humility. He constantly shares his glories with others, sometimes household names, generously handing out credit for their part in any success he has. From start to finish, this bio makes it is impossible to dislike him.
To sum up, if you like to read compelling "rags to riches" stories or to read about what it is like to be young and relentless in pursuing your dreams, this book is for you. I hope Kenneth Branagh will write another book someday. He was criticized for this one, being so young when he wrote it, but I thought he disarmed the critics when he announced on the first page that he really needed the money to get his theatre company going. That's why he wrote it! Love his honesty.
It's always interesting to find out where people come from and how they got to where they are now--whether they be a businessman, entertainer, teacher, whoever. Here you have a kid from extremely lower working class Belfast who realized he wasn't exactly meant for the business world, and after appearing in a school play (as for most entertainers), realized that was what they wanted to do.
Mr. Branagh takes you on a tour of his childhood, from its very humble beginnings, to his applying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the struggle to reach the level of perfection he wanted both as an artist and as a person, the conviction and belief he had in himself of wanting to play "Hamlet" (which has since become one of his signature roles), and from the development of his own theatre company, Renaissance.
Mr. Branagh's writing style is very wry, witty, and I find his experience of learning to ride a horse extremely humorous. This book will be a great addition to anyone who appreciates literature, theatre, the classics, and the makings of a person following their dreams and ambitions.
Very well written and interesting as he goes through his childhood and growth as an actor. During that time he overcame the strong bias against his Belfast and lower class upbringing.
There were two things that I missed in the story: 1) The story ended just after Henry V filming, which is just the start of his wonderful film career.
2) There was very little about Ken and Emma. Even though they met when filming Fortunes of War, which was during the book there was little discussion of the budding romance. I expected to see flames of passion between those two. Ken as the womanizer he is reported to be and Emma with the passion she has shown in her movies.