Now free from any obligations with the "Thor" franchise, director Kenneth Branagh, having dipped his toes in the tentpole world, is doing something on the total opposite end of the spectrum. First announced very early this year, Branagh it looking to bring an adaptation of Henning Mankell's "Italian Shoes" to the big screen and with Anthony Hopkins already eyed for a lead role, he's got another distinguished thesp looking to join as well.
Variety reports that Dame Judi Dench is in talks for the picture as well, with Branagh willing to flex and shift his schedule in order to land the two actors. Branagh is no stranger to the works of Mankell, having successfully adapted the author's popular books centered around policeman Kurt Wallander for British television, but this is completely different terrain. Penned by "Wallander" scribe Richard Cottan, the lower key story centers a retired surgeon living on a remote island in Sweden, who is forced to confront his past mistake of amputing the wrong arm of a patient, when he's reunited with an old flame.
"The nuance, delicacy and flavor is so based on the perfect casting," Branagh told the trade about his pursuit of both Hopkins and Dench, and it's hard to deny that the pair would be a formidable choice. "Italian Shoes" would also be a reunion of sorts for everybody involved. For Dench and Hopkins, it will mark their second film together following "84 Charing Cross Road" more than two decades ago. And for Dench and Branagh, it continues a frutiful relationship between the pair as they have collaborated on screen with "Henry V," "Hamlet" and "Ghosts" and on stage where the actress directed the Shakespeare vet in "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Look Back In Anger."
But this will be a way off just yet. Filming isn't exepcted to start until late 2012 at the earliest or possibly 2013 depending on how scheduling shakes out.