Kenneth Branagh plays Boris Johnson, defends this England Covid drama – Deadline

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Kenneth Branagh defended the upcoming political drama This England, in which he plays former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who many have called “too soon”.

The six-hour series details how the UK government dealt with the chaotic first months of coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown. Critics of the upcoming show say it is too early to portray such a drama, with its huge death toll leaving hundreds of thousands of Britons still bereaved and economically vulnerable.

To those, Branagh says in an interview with The Time“I think these events are unusual and part of what we need to do is acknowledge them. It might allow people to process a bit of what happened. Any way to better understand it is important.

Oscar-winning actor Branagh spent two hours a day putting on makeup, transforming into former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but deliberately chose not to reveal himself to the cast and crew each day until ‘he’s turned into Johnson,’ he told the newspaper.

“When you’re playing Shakespearean kings, the bulk of the performance is given to you by those reacting to you as they would to a king. I found that to be the case in this case. I didn’t really see another actor like myself, so when I came on set, people reacted a bit like their characters might [to the prime minister].”

Branagh also revealed that he had to actively stretch at the end of each day after hours of playing the politician, who was beleaguered on the political and personal front at the time – his first months as the country’s prime minister. and meeting Covid -19 requirements coinciding with his divorce and the impending birth of his child with girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

“He’s got a very heavy physique and going for the world,” Branagh said. The temperaturedescribing Johnson as a “very forward-leaning type of guy”.

This England, like many other British TV series, its debut on Sky Atlantic in the UK was delayed for a week after a period of national mourning was declared for the Queen. It will now air on Sky Atlantic and Now early next month.

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Edward L. Robinett