Kenneth Branagh On Subverting Audience Expectations With Artemis Fowl
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting the set of Artemis Fowl, the feature film which drops next year on August 9th. Artemis Fowl is the first in a planned series of films, which have been adapted from the ultra popular book series of the same name.
During our visit we took a tour of the Fowl Manor, a location that fans of the series will be quite happy to hear has made a faithful translation to screen. Faithful might be understating it, as the Manor is a full sized mansion, complete down to everything except working plumbing.
Once we entered Fowl library, we had a chance to speak with the director, Kenneth Branagh. Kenneth is well known to fans of the MCU as the director of the first Thor film, and it’s this mindset that he brings to Artemis.
Kenneth said one of the challenges involved in bringing the world of Artemis Fowl to the screen, is merging the fantastical worlds of the Fairies and the realistic world that Artemis comes from.
Quick bit of background, the first novel in the series introduces us to Artemis Fowl, a young man who is raised in a family of master thieves. Once Artemis becomes aware of the existence of a world of magic, he attempts to steal from the Fairy Folk to further his own goals.
Not quite the hero and not a full on anti hero like The Punisher, Artemis must reconcile his upbringing with his own morals to find his own path.
Another challenge or better yet an opportunity came in the casting stages. In the book Artemis’s most trusted friend is Butler, who is played in the film by Nonso Anazie. Butler’s niece Juliet also plays a major part in the story, and the search for an actress to play her involved thousands of young women. Traditionally, Juliet has been portrayed as a blonde haired girl, so the casting of Tamara Strong has opened up the world of Artemis Fowl.
Mr. Branagh spoke about how he has subverted the ideas of race in his past work with the casting of Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington as brothers in Much Ado About Nothing. He hopes that by making casting choices that surprise and subvert the audiences expectations, we can not only be entertained, but also educated by the film.
We will have much more on Artemis Fowl in the coming months including more from the cast and crew, and check out the trailer which just dropped below: