Heir to Olivier? Kenneth Branagh
Heir to Olivier? Kenneth Branagh
© Dan Wooller

Anthony Hopkins has revealed in an interview that his 'dear friend' Kenneth Branagh has been offered the job of artistic director of the National Theatre.

Hopkins told the Daily Mail: "He [Branagh] wrote me an email and told me he'd been offered the directorship. I said do it, because he's the only actor who could replace Olivier today. I told him he must accept. You see, Ken has got the teeth and the guts to do it."

The information throws into doubt previous assumptions that Rufus Norris is the frontrunner to succeed Nicholas Hytner.

Other names linked with the role include Sam Mendes, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Daniel Evans. An announcement will be made tomorrow morning (15 October 2013).

A spokesman for the National said that Branagh, who has also been tipped to takeover from Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic, "has neither applied for nor has been offered the job of artistic director at the National Theatre".

Who else is in the running? See our Big List of favourites for the National Theatre job