‘Thor’ Director Kenneth Branagh is Now Sir Kenneth Branagh
Since he burst onto the Shakespearean scene thirty-some-odd years ago, actor/director Kenneth Branagh has been called the second coming of Sir Laurence Olivier by those who know their Shakespeare. Now, they both have something else in common in addition to that whole "capable of performing tricky dialogue from the greatest writer of all time" thing: Branagh is now a Knight of the British Empire. So, next time you run into him, remember that it's Sir Kenneth, thank you very much.
Although he recently dipped his beak into blockbuster filmmaking with Marvel's 'Thor' (and will continue to do so when he reboots Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character with Chris Pine), Branagh built his career on the stage before making the move to cinema. His 1989 directorial debut of William Shakespeare's 'Henry V' is considered by many to be the definitive adaptation of the play. He would later bring 'Much Ado About Nothing,' 'Hamlet,' 'Love's Labours Lost' and 'As You Like It' to the screen, cementing his reputation as that guy who generally makes pretty solid Shakespeare adaptations. His other credits include 'Dead Again,' 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' and the recent remake of 'Sleuth.'
Branagh was one of over 1200 people to receive honors from the Queen of England herself this weekend. Also on the list was Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet, who was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Now you are free to imagine Branagh and Winslet donning armor and defending the British isles from barbarian invaders.
Others to have received knighthoods for their "contributions to the arts" include Ben Kingsley, Richard Attenborough, Ian McKellen, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Lee, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Alfred Hitchcock, Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg (who received an honorary knighthood but can't take the "Sir" title since he's an American).
The clue to getting a knighthood? Be old. Be British. Be awesome.
Oh, and directing 'Thor' probably won't hurt.