Earlier this year, I got to travel to London with a group of other journalists to see filming on Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl. For those who are unfamiliar with the hit YA novel, it follows the title character (played by newcomer Ferdia Shaw), a criminal mastermind who is drawn into a world of fairies an running afoul of fairy authorities. However, there have been some changes from the book as you’ll see from the official synopsis:
Disney’s “Artemis Fowl,” based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, is a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father who has mysteriously disappeared. With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization—the amazingly advanced world of fairies. Deducing that his father’s disappearance is somehow connected to the secretive, reclusive fairy world, cunning Artemis concocts a dangerous plan—so dangerous that he ultimately finds himself in a perilous war of wits with the all-powerful fairies.
While the details of my full set visit are still under embargo, I’m pleased that I can share our interview with director Kenneth Branagh.
During our conversation, we talked about what attracted to him to the books, how Artemis’ journey is similar to The Godfather’s Michael Corleone, casting the young actors, reteaming with Nonso Anozie, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench, filming in Ireland, and much more.
Check out the interview below, and click here for the teaser trailer. Artemis Fowl opens August 9, 2019.
What attracted you to the books?
KENNETH BRANAGH: The imagination. It felt very original. I loved its Irishness. Frankly, I love that part of that country. The collision sometimes with the proximity of worlds, very few worlds. I like that creatively. It always feels like it’s a good, risky place to be. I’ve had some experience with it making the film Thor, where a very contemporary feeling, still heightened world of science is right next door to a world of magic. So, it was very fascinating to me. It means you can be very poetic. It means you can have a size that does invite an audience to go to the movies to go to a big screen with a lot of other people, because somehow the subject matter expands away from the norms. The combinations of tones, and they’re not just the worlds, and the looks, and the textures, or the different kind of visual techniques you might use. Just, tonally, very funny, often very, very funny. I’ve always found myself drawn to a sort of balance between that and emotional content, which we’ve chosen to really try and emphasize in the books.
There’s such a lot to learn, frankly. It’s been really fantastic thing to do. The same with Thor. Anything I do is an invitation to delve into things you don’t know, read, and expose yourself to experience, and stuff that is new. So, that’s been fantastically rewarding.