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Branagh bows out of Law's Hamlet

15 October 08 08:13 GMT

Kenneth Branagh will no longer direct Jude Law in his West End production of Hamlet next year, the Donmar Warehouse has announced.

Instead the play will be overseen by Michael Grandage, the artistic director of the London venue.

Branagh has been forced to withdraw due to commitments to a new film based on the Marvel comic book character Thor.

"We have arrived at this arrangement very amicably," said Grandage. Hamlet will open as scheduled in June 2009.

The play will be the last production in the Donmar's year-long residency at the Wyndham's Theatre.

The season began last month with the Chekhov play Ivanov, in which Branagh took the title role.

"I feel privileged to be part of the Donmar West End season and to be directed by the company's artistic director Michael Grandage," said Law.

"It was Ken who brought me to this project," continued the actor, currently playing Watson in Guy Ritchie's new Sherlock Holmes film.

"With his support and guidance, as one of the greatest Hamlets of all time, and with Michael directing, I can't imagine a better scenario for me, as an actor, to undertake the role."

Grandage said he was "thrilled and flattered" to be working with "one of the leading actors of his generation as he takes on one of the most important roles of his career".

"From the outset Ken has been a huge support and inspiration for the Donmar West End season, a project that we could not have realised without his input."

The Donmar is offering a full refund to ticket holders who no longer wish to see the production because of the change of director.

Hamlet begins previews at the end of May and runs until 22 August.

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