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hot dog Kenneth Branagh reveals the only time his granny saw him perform he was naked

When playing the role of St Francis of Assisi and had to be ‘reborn’ naked

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Kenneth Branagh says the only time his granny saw him perform he was naked. Photo: Gareth Cattermole

Kenneth Branagh says the only time his granny saw him perform he was naked. Photo: Gareth Cattermole

Kenneth Branagh says the only time his granny saw him perform he was naked. Photo: Gareth Cattermole

Actor and director Kenneth Branagh has revealed that the only time his grandmother saw him perform - he was naked.

The 61-year-old appeared on The Graham Norton Show to discuss his new film Belfast when he shared the hilarious tale.

“It took a lot to get her to leave Ireland, but we finally persuaded her. I was playing St Francis of Assisi and had to be ‘reborn’ naked.

“My granny was in the front row with opera glasses, but I really went for it.

“When someone at the back shouted, ‘I’ve seen more meat on a dirty fork,’ my grandmother stood up, turned around and said to him, ‘Use the binoculars – it’s like a hot dog!’ she was always protecting me!”

Opening up about his new movie, starring Jamie Doran and Catriona Balfe, he shared how the film was conceived.

“During lockdown everything became about re-establishing human connection.

"That sent me right back to my childhood at a very uncertain time in Northern Ireland and the need for human contact, for laughter and dance, and all the daftness we could grab at a dark time, and I tried to write it as truthfully as I could.”

When asked about working with Judi Dench again, he said: “We have worked together 12 times now. We’ve practically done everything; we’ve been married, I’ve been her son, she’s now my grandmother in this film, it’s like the incest theatre company!

“I did a complete read through for her before she agreed to do the part and about halfway through, I got very emotional and got choked up.

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“She held the pause while I composed myself and then said, ‘I would be delighted to do it.’”

Belfast is semi-biographical film and tells the story of life for a nine-year-old, played by Jude Hill, just as the Troubles were getting underway in 1969.

Belfast is in cinemas across Ireland now.

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