Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench to star as Shakespeare and wife in Oscar-tipped film

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A late contender to next year’s Oscar race was announced on Wednesday, as Sony Pictures confirmed their purchase of All Is True, Kenneth Branagh’s latest Shakespearean enterprise.

The film, which will have a one-week awards-qualifying run in the US before the end of this year, before being released more widely in 2019, stars Branagh as Shakespeare and Dench as his wife, Anne Hathaway. The plot involves Shakespeare’s return to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613 after a devastating fire destroys the Globe theatre.

The film reportedly examines their by-then troubled marriage, and their grief at the death of their only son, Hamnet. Shakespeare died three years later, aged 52; Hathaway in 1623, aged 67.

Branagh directs, from a script by Ben Elton. Ian McKellen co-stars as the Earl of Southampton, to whom Shakespeare dedicated his two narrative poems, and who has frequently been identified as the “Fair Youth” of his sonnets.

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