Sir Kenneth Branagh and his co-director Rob Ashford have assembled a staggering cast for their production of Romeo and Juliet in the West End that includes Downton Abbey’s Lily James, Game of Thrones Richard Madden, Mee ra Syal and Derek Jacobi.

And that quality extends to the man charged with bringing the stage show to cinema screens across the country on July 7.

Looking for a director who would not only cover what happened on stage but transform it into something new and unique, he enlisted the man who directed him in the latest series of the acclaimed Wallander, Benjamin Caron.

As well as the Scandi-noir drama, Caron also worked with Branagh on last year’s cinema screening of his version of The Winter’s Tale and his other projects include Jay Z’s intro film at Glastonbury and numerous Derren Brown shows.

High profile upcoming gigs including Netflix’s £100-million series The Crown and the last episode in the new run of Sherlock.

Caron told us: “I’ve just been working with Ken on Wallander for the last year.

“Off the back of that he came to me and said ‘would you be interested in working with me and the company over the next year and doing these three projects: Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet and the Entertainer.”

Caron said working with five-time Oscar nominee and triple Bafta winner Branagh was ‘a director’s dream’.

He said: “All the way back when he was in his 20s doing Hamlet and more recently Cinderella (in which Branagh first cast both Madden and James) and Thor, he has many heads – the acting head, the directing head, even the producing head.

“For me, it’s amazing. He is just an amazing resource to tap into and learn from. He understands where you’re coming from.”

He added: “To work with, I would say he is every director’s dream. He wants you to come in and bring your unique take on it.”

As he prepared to take on the project, however, it was important to Caron that he captured the essence of the play.

He said: “One of my things is that when I have been to see them (plays broadcast at the cinema) before was some, not all, productions had not quite understood the rhythm, some of the complexities of the play.”

Broadcasting show live on the big screen is relatively new but big businesses for cinemas and Caron is focussed on making the experience significantly more than a taping of a show.

He said: “What we’re trying to do is follow on from that.

“What are we trying to do here? We’re not just necessarily presenting the play to the screen but to find a new form somehow – to find that middle ground between film and theatre, to allow the cinema audience the best seat in the house and for the film production to understand and be in partnership with what the production is doing.”

Branagh and Ashford’s production – which has won rave reviews – has a 1950s Italian look to it and Caron will riff on that with the broadcast, using black-and-white cinematography a la legendary director Federico Fellini.

“For us, it is not just about covering it, it is about trying to understand what Rob and Ken have put in the production and for us to sit in that sweet spot and give a flavour of that on screen.”

As well as the style of shooting, the screenings include exclusive pre-show and interval content and Caron has been working with the cast and crew since the first rehearsal and filming previous performances to establish the best way of covering Shakespeare’s famous romance.

As Caron told us ‘love and money make the world go round’, which makes Romeo and Juliet always timely.

He said: “Romeo and Juliet is one of the more famous Shakespeare plays and it is a story that no matter how many times it is told people are always interested in seeing other people’s interpretations.

What Ken and Rob have done is quite different from anything else I have seen and I think audiences in the theatre and the cinema will be impressed.”

On the horizon for Caron post-Romeo and Juliet is the mega-budget Netflix series The Crown, written by The Queen’s Peter Morgan, which is about the monarchy post Second World War and will debut in November and a certain BBC drama that you may have heard of.

He said: “I’ve just started on Sherlock. The last episode of Sherlock.

It’s a big gig. I’m spinning lots of plates. I only literally started that last week. We start shooting in about five weeks. I literally cannot say one word about it. I’ve signed so many NDAs it’s ridiculous.

“It’s an exciting time.”

Branagh Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet is broadcast live to cinemas across the country and internationally on July 7. Go to

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