Hercule Poirot is coming to the small screen again, this time in the form of John Malkovich in Amazon’s upcoming adaptation of The ABC Murders. The famed Belgian detective and creation of author Agatha Christie has been a staple of film and television for decades, though he recently made a return to the big screen in last year’s Murder on the Orient Express, which not only starred Kenneth Branagh in the role, but was also directed by him as well. Though the film received mixed reviews, it performed well enough at the box office that Branagh’s Poirot will return in an adaptation of Death On the Nile, which is expected in 2019.
In the meantime, it seems as though interest in Christie’s work has increased enough that another big name star has been brought in to bring him to life. This time, it will be in the form of Christie’s 1936 novel The ABC Murders, which pits Poirot against a serial killer who manages to elude capture and baffle authorities, as the only clue as left behind by the killer is a peculiar calling card left behind at the scene of each crime: a copy of the ABC Railway Guide. The adaptation will consist of three hour-long episodes.
As reported by Variety the series is one of six planned adaptations of Christie’s work planned by the BBC, though no word on how many will potentially feature the character of Poirot. With Malkovich in the lead role, however, it would be reasonable to assume that the production would be interested in future adaptations with the actor. Moreover, the production has lined up strong supporting cast that also includes former Harry Potter star Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome, as well as Eamon Farren, Tara Fitzgerald, Andrew Buchan, Freya Mavor, and Bronwyn James.
As with most things in the entertainment industry, studios continue to look for pre-existing IP to mine and, hopefully, translate into successful offerings either on television or in theaters. Going back to Christie’s work is similar to recent efforts to see the work of spymaster John le Carré turned into a string of television miniseries. Like The ABC Murders, upcoming adaptations of le Carré’s books are co-productions, with the BBC being involved on the UK side of things and AMC handling the series in the US.
Similarly, the productions tend to attract top-notch talent both in front of and behind the camera. The upcoming le Carré adaptation Little Drummer Girl features Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård in lead roles and all six episodes will be directed by Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. With any luck, The ABC Murders will be the start of a new string of Poirot adaptations featuring Malkovich that will be able to attract a similarly impressive level of talent.