The first images of the all-star ensemble for the remake of Murder on the Orient Express have been released online. The train is definitely on the right tracks for Sir Kenneth Branagh’s big screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous novel. Due for release this November, Branagh’s film will look to live up to the legacy of the 1974 feature that won one Oscar and was nominated for five others. Directed by Sidney Lumet, that version featured the talents of Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, and Ingrid Bergman (who received an Academy Award for her performance). Branagh has assembled his own high-profile cast hoping to leave a similar mark.
It is all aboard for the star-studded murder mystery, as the likes of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Penélope Cruz come together. Elsewhere, Daisy Ridley, Dame Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, and of course Branagh himself as Detective Hercule Poirot, are looking more glamorous than ever as they prepare to possibly get their tickets stamped for a one-way trip.
The cast gathered at London’s Longcross Studios to shoot a scene set at Istanbul train station and EW has given an exclusive look at how the cast will look for 20th Century Fox’s thriller. You can take a look at the images in the gallery below:
There is no denying that Branagh has captured the look of the era, which may have something to do with the costume designer being the Oscar-winner Alexandra Byrne (Elizabeth). You may also notice Branagh’s almost comical mustache, showing that he will be sporting classic Poirot and something which has rather impressed Daisy Ridley:
“When I saw it I was like, Holy moly! But this is a larger-than-life story, so why not make the mustache larger, too?”
First published in 1934, the U.S. release of Murder underwent a name change, so as not to confuse Christie’s novel with 1932’s Stamboul Train, aka Orient Express, it was renamed Murder in the Calais Coach. Thankfully, Branagh’s adaptation will return to its intended title and hopefully do Christie’s work justice. Based on the author’s actual travels on the Orient Express, the story comes from a time when the luxury train traveled between Istanbul and Paris.
The plot follows a meticulous Poirot as the train finds itself stuck in a freak blizzard. With a body found stabbed, it is up to the Belgian detective to interview over a dozen suspects while knowing that the killer is still onboard. With many of the parts being relatively small, Branagh said that it allowed him to cast some huge stars without taking up too much of their time. However, even this was no mean feat for the director to pull off:
“It was a ton of planning, I’ll tell you. A delicate web of availability.”
For those who don’t know the big twist, Murder on the Orient Express is one of the best whodunnits out there and Branagh is certainly aiming high with his galaxy of actors.