Exclusive: Kenneth Branagh on planned follow-ups to In The Bleak Midwinter (aka A Midwinter’s Tale)

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Kenneth Branagh tells us that he has follow-ups in mind for his Christmas film, In The Bleak Midwinter (also known as A Midwinter’s Tale).


In 1995, Kenneth Branagh wrote and directed a low budget Christmas comedy by the name of In The Bleak Midwinter. An ensemble piece that he tackled between the giant productions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and his screen take on Hamlet, it’s such a charming movie, and a very, very funny one.

After years of trying, we managed to put on a very special screening of the film in London this month, and afterwards were delighted to be joined by Kenneth Branagh for a Q&A. Not just Branagh: cast members Julia Sawalha, Michael Maloney, Nicholas Farrell, Gerard Horan and Mark Hadfield were surprise guests on the evening.

Towards the end of the conversation, I asked Branagh to give us the exclusive on a possible sequel. Thing is, to my surprise, he pretty much did.

“We thought about it before you know”, Branagh told me, before saying at one point he thought it might be a quartet of films. “We had the titles for them: In The Bleak Midwinter, Spring Breaks, Summer Stormes and Autumn Leaves”.

“It’d be interesting to put all these people together … it’d be great fun”. You can hear that around the 45 minute mark in the audio below. But then I go back for clarification a little bit further on…

“You think I’m not being serious about this!” he smiled. “Nick and Mark will tell you. We often go to the football together, and I remember we had an afternoon where we started putting it together. They looked at me like, ‘you’re not serious’, but you know, maybe we don’t get three more pictures out of it, but I like portmanteau films … so there’s this, and maybe there’s a picture with those three titles. If we can all keep taking our medication, we can maybe get to part deux!”

Outside of the conversation, I asked him again after the screening if he was serious, and he confirmed that what he’d told us on the stage was indeed right. That he doesn’t necessarily think the original plan of four films would come together, but potentially the next three films in one portmanteau feature? Well, it’s clearly in his mind.

Profits from the evening are going to Centrepoint, incidentally, and if you want to support the charity, you can do so here.

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