Five-time Oscar-nominated actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh will be playing U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson.
Branagh has signed up to star in This Sceptred Isle, a Sky Original five-part limited series that will chart the events surrounding the U.K. Prime Minister, the government, and the country in the face of the first wave of the global pandemic.
According to the synopsis in the press release:
The drama will trace the impact on Britain from this once in a generation pandemic, and the response of scientists, nurses, and doctors as they worked tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome the virus. It is based on the first-hand testimony of people from all walks of life; from Number 10 Downing Street, the Department of Health, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and from hospitals and care homes across the country.
The series is to be directed by Michael Winterbottom, the eclectic English filmmaker whose many credits include A Mighty Heart, The Killer Inside Me, Code 46 and Goal. Winterbottom has also co-written the screenplay alongside Kieron Quirke, known for comedy shows such as Defending the Guilty and Cuckoo.
“The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered forever. A time when the country came together to battle an invisible enemy,” Winterbottom said in a statement. “A time when people were more aware than ever of the importance of community. Our series weaves together countless true stories – from Boris Johnson in Number 10 to front line workers around the country – chronicling the efforts of scientists, doctors, care home workers and policy makers to protect us from the virus.”
Said executive producer Richard Brown: “Michael is a master of weaving compelling drama from factual stories and he has an undeniable, distinct vision for this project. He and Kieron have written remarkable and meticulously researched scripts which powerfully dramatise these extraordinary events that continue to affect us all.”
Winterbottom will also be an executive producer on This Sceptred Isle, with Melissa Parmenter producing (via Revolution Films) alongside Josh Hyams and Anthony Wilcox. Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times, is on board as a consultant.
Branagh, who recently had a role as the villain in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, will next be seen reprising his role as detective Hercule Poirot in delayed Murder on the Orient Express sequel Death on the Nile, which he also directed. Branagh is also in post-production on his following directorial effort, Belfast, a Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench-starring drama about a young boy and his working class family in the tumultuous late 1960s.
Great to speak to President @JoeBiden this evening. I look forward to deepening the longstanding alliance between our two countries as we drive a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/Y4P3G74PPz
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 23, 2021