Film star and flamboyant Shakespearian actor Sir Kenneth Branagh embodies many of the larger-than-life Sagittarian characteristics. Born on 10th December 1960 in Belfast, he rose from a disadvantaged and impoverished background to become a towering talent and creative force. Known for many impressive roles, one of his most colourful was as the gaudy con-man Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002. However, this actor may well wish to be remembered by his more serious performances in Valkyrie, for instance, and as Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn.
Branagh experienced upheavals as a child. Born the middle son of working class parents, at the age of nine he re-located from Belfast to Reading, Berkshire, to escape the Troubles. The actor has the volatile planet Uranus at the root of his chart, indicating instability at home and the likelihood of radical and sudden house-moves. Because of his Irish accent, he was bullied at his new school, but his adaptable and resourceful Sagittarian nature came to his aid.
Branagh has Mercury in this fiery sign as well as the Sun. Mercury rules communication of all types, and the boy was able to switch to a classic English way of pronouncing his words, so fitting for his forthcoming career as Shakespearian leads. His acting success started early, with school productions such as Toad of Toad Hall, after which he went on to train at RADA.
However, as Branagh says, ‘You can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can’t take Belfast out of the boy.’ The conjunction of the Moon, celestial symbol of emotions, instincts and personal rhythms, forms a close conjunction with Pluto, planet of psychological depths and unconscious forces. This man feels things very deeply, and he goes on feeling them, as they transform his way of being. Such a conjunction is very potent, and it has shaped Branagh’s life. As director of many plays there is no doubt that he demands the highest standards, both of himself and others.
Accolades have showered this star. In 1989 he was nominated for an Academy Award as actor and director of Henry V, and for Best Adapted Screenplay for Hamlet in 1996. In total he has been nominated for five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and has won an Emmy and three BAFTAs. The position of Jupiter, exactly conjunct the western horizon at his birth, has given him the ability to impress both individuals and the public at large, gifting him with an imposing and charismatic persona. This year Branagh participated in a segment of the London Olympics London Opening Ceremony, portraying Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and giving a speech from The Tempest. He was also knighted in the Birthday Honours List, bringing his career to a pinnacle.
Currently, Branagh is occupied directing such greats as Chris Pine, Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner in Jack Ryan, a film about a CIA analyst who uncovers a Russian plot, due for release in 2013. Will his success continue? With Pluto in harmonious trine aspect with his own Moon and Pluto, he can look forward not only to professional achievement but also to some profound personal satisfaction.
Do you also share your birthday in December? Find out what the stars have in store for you here!