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Kenneth Branagh on 'Wallander'

May 9, 2009 |  3:00 am
KennethKenneth Branagh has come full circle. In 1988, PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre" audience watched the fresh-faced young talent from Northern Ireland in the World War II drama "The Fortunes of War," which also starred his first wife, Emma Thompson. The 48-year-old Branagh is now back on PBS in the three-part "Masterpiece Mystery!" series "Wallander," which premieres Sunday.

Based on the internationally bestselling novels by Henning Mankell, the series revolves around the brilliant -- and brilliantly flawed -- Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander, who solves complex, often brutal cases in the seaside town of Ystad, Sweden.

"I read crime fiction for pleasure," said the Oscar-nominated actor-director ("Henry V") during a recent interview in Universal City.

He decided to see whether he could get the rights to the stories. "Most of my experiences of development and trying to get the rights [to projects] are fairly sort of knotty and thorny," he said. "I didn't have high hopes."

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(Photo by Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times)