Branagh not worried by potential backlash over ‘bold’ Artemis Fowl film

Sir Kenneth Branagh has said he is not worried by a potential fan backlash over his film adaption of popular young adult novel Artemis Fowl.

The acclaimed filmmaker and actor’s latest directing project is the science fantasy adventure, which will arrive on Disney+ this week after its planned theatrical release was scuppered by coronavirus.

The book the film is based on was released in 2001 and the series has a dedicated following.

Sir Kenneth – no stranger to franchises with passionate fan bases, having directed Marvel’s Thor – said he views Artemis Fowl’s popularity as “incredibly positive”.

Sir Kenneth Branagh
Sir Kenneth Branagh (Yui Mok/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “It’s so hard making films where you have to start from scratch; you’ve got to build up awareness in people’s busy lives, with their valuable time, you’ve got to draw them to your project, so if they’re already there – although maybe ready to be hyper-critical – I still think that’s better than them not being there.

“I discovered, as you say, across many versions of this same thing, that impassioned fan response is a beautiful thing. And also if you’re going to be bold enough to do one of these things, you’ve got to be able to take it on the chin.”

Sir Kenneth, 59, said he made “bold decisions” for the film, which stars Ferdia Shaw as the titular character, a 12-year old criminal mastermind.

He said: “I made some bold decisions creatively about what to do and I expect to take a few for the team as the debate rages about whether we got it right. I know that even the people who screamed about things they didn’t like in our film of Thor were still glad it was made so they could scream about them.”

Artemis Fowl will begin streaming on Disney+ on June 12.

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