From Hamlet to Victor Frankenstein, Kenneth Branagh's acting past is littered with all manner of tragic characters, but he is now set to play the most tragic character of all, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. After being revealed to be taking on the role last month for Sky series This Sceptred Isle, we now have our first look at Branagh in costume, ruffled bleached blonde hair and all.
"No, you're not seeing things. That's Kenneth Branagh as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the first day of filming This Sceptred Isle."
The hair and make-up team have truly outdone themselves turning Branagh's familiar face into that of Boris Johnson, with their work rendering the actor completely unrecognizable. Putting him the same kind of over-sized, crumpled suit, with a determined yet vacant look in his eyes, finishes off the remarkable transformation perfectly. Though it's interesting to observe that even all the evident work from industry experts cannot match the "combed his hair with a balloon" look that Johnson is so well-known for.
Branagh will star as Boris Johnson in the upcoming Sky series This Sceptred Isle, a five-episode miniseries which will detail the nation's muddled response to the ongoing global situation, charting the events surrounding Johnson and his government as they struggle to gain control over the situation, and specifically the first wave. A situation which Johnson and his government continue to struggle with even now, almost a year later.
This Sceptred Isle is being directed by The Trip's Michael Winterbottom, who has also co-written the Sky series alongside Kieron Quirke. This Sceptred Isle is the first project to emerge from a multi-year first look deal for scripted drama series struck by Fremantle and Passenger with Revolution Films. This Sceptred Isle promises to "tell the tale of some of the most devastating events to ever befall the United Kingdom, and of a Prime Minister leading in these unprecedented times," and will be based on first-hand testimony from members of the government, the Department of Health, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and hospitals and care homes across the country.
While there will be many who feel that detailing the crisis in the United Kingdom in this format is coming way, way too soon, Michael Winterbottom has defended the series' timing saying, "The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered forever. A time when the country came together to battle an invisible enemy. A time when people were more aware than ever of the importance of community. Winterbottom has also revealed what audiences can expect from This Sceptred Isle and emphasised the show's importance. "Our series weaves together countless true stories - from Boris Johnson in Number 10 to front line workers around the country - chronicling the efforts of scientists, doctors, care home workers and policy makers to protect us from the virus," he added.
Though turning such recent events into a serialized drama may understandably be too soon for some, seeing an actor of Branagh's calibre bring the bumbling British Prime Minster to life surely can't come soon enough. This Sceptred Isle will launch on Sky in fall 2022. Shooting will begin early this year, with the series expected to premiere on Sky Atlantic across all Sky territories. This comes to us courtesy of the official Twitter account for Sky TV.