Five-time Oscar nominee Kenneth Branagh has made his way to the San Francisco International Film Festival to accept the Founder’s Directing Award (last night) and participate in a Q&A screening of his 1991 film Dead Again (tonight).

Branagh told San Francisco Chronicle regular contributor Pam Grady that after the success of Henry V, he had hoped to convince Hollywood to let him adapt Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native. Instead, Paramount pointed him in the direction of Scott Frank’s long-in-development tale of a modern-day Los Angeles private detective juxtaposed with a 1940s-era German composer. Which led to this spring 1990 moment:

At the time, Branagh was playing Edgar in King Lear at the Mark Taper Forum in LA. While waiting for the curtain to go up that night, he read the first page of Dead Again aloud to then-wife Emma Thompson, vowing to put the script aside if it didn’t grab their attention immediately. He kept reading through the night, stopping only to step onstage.

Read more