Kenneth Branagh At 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Was Branagh Dressed As Abe Lincoln?

on July 27 2012 9:59 PM
Kenneth Branagh
Sir Kenneth Branagh dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the 2012 Olympics in London and read Caliban's speech from "The Tempest," but Americans who are unfamiliar with Isambard Kingdom Brunel got him confused with one of the most famous of U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Twitter

Sir Kenneth Branagh dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the 2012 Olympics in London and read Caliban's speech from "The Tempest," but Americans who are unfamiliar with Isambard Kingdom Brunel got him confused with one of the most famous of U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

The famed actor Sir Kenneth Branagh is best known for playing Shakespearean characters and for playing Gilderoy Lockhart in the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." On Friday, he played a new role at the London Summer Olympics.

Branagh clenched a book and spoke to others dressed in similar garb on a rural set that was thought up by award-winning movie director Danny Boyle.

American Twitter users who are clearly unfamiliar with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the man who was responsible for England's Industrial Revolution, thought Branagh was dressed as "Abe Lincoln."

@figgy999 asked: "I am on tape delay. ... Can someone tell me why Kenneth Brannah was playing Abe Lincoln in London?"

‏@nprscottsimon also questioned: "I love this opening ceremony. But why is Kenneth Branaugh dressed like Abe Lincoln?"

@Brunette__Mafia knew that the scene centered on the Industrial Revolution, but then questioned who Branagh was dressed like, asking, "Why is Abe Lincoln walking around the industrial revolution?"

@JuliaMasera noted that there was more than one Lincoln impersonator, "This excessive amount of Abe Lincoln look-a-likes is a bit creepy. #olympics."

British Twitter users were quick to correct them, though.

@EnglishFolkfan scoffed: "Reading twitter US folks just watching the #openingceremony is hilarious, not understanding UK history, some think Branagh was Abe Lincoln!"

@colugo laughed: "OMG. Reading the American's tweet about the #olympicceremony is hilarious!! Abe Lincoln??? Really? #NeedAHistoryLesson #ProudToBeBritish"

Others also questioned what Branagh was reading at first, but SB Nation joked that the actor wasn't reading "The Tempest" at all, and instead joked that it was a book one would read when in the bathroom. Read its take here.

Americans also took to Twitter to sort out their confusion when "God Save The Queen" was played, considering it is to the same tune as "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee."

Unsure whether this was a joke, but some Americans tweeted posts similar to that of @theisb, who wrote, "I don't want to embarrass my British pals, but you guys are getting like every single word of "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" wrong." 

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