Irish actor, director, and screenwriter Sir Kenneth Branagh has proven he can do mostly anything in television, stage, and film, always with a seal of quality attached. From Shakespearean roles, to one of the most dangerous inventors in literature (Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), to a celebrity wizard who turns out to be a fraud (Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) - Branagh has done a bit of everything in a career that spans 34 years.
Branagh has served as both actor and director in eight films so far, with this year's Cinderella being his latest take as director and 2014's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit marking his most recent acting role in a feature film. Now Branagh is coming back as both director and actor in a new take on an Agatha Christie classic: Murder on the Orient Express.
Variety reports that yesterday, at TFC, 20th Century Fox announced a new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, with Kenneth Branagh on board to direct and star as detective Hercule Poirot. Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon, and Branagh himself will serve as producers along with Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood. Blade Runner 2 writer Michael Green is in charge of penning the script.
Murder on the Orient Express centers on Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who, stranded on the famous Orient Express train during a snowstorm, must solve the murder of a fellow passenger. That's easier said than done, since Poirot discovers a great number of passengers could potentially be the murderer. Murder on the Orient Express is considered Christie's definitive mystery novel, and is mostly famous for its complex plot and unconventional solution.
Hercule Poirot appeared in 33 of Christie's novels, which gives this new cinematic adaptation the potential for a film franchise if it proves to be a hit with audiences. James Prichard, Christie's great grandson and the current chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd., said in a statement:
"The extraordinary thing about my great grandmother’s stories is just how timeless they are and how perfectly they lend themselves to the cinematic experience. Eighty years after the publication of the novel, Fox and its creative team will bring Murder on the Orient Express, a classic Christie tale, to new audiences across the world. We are genuinely excited about this partnership and with 33 Poirot stories to be told, we look forward to this being the first of many collaborations."
Branagh is no stranger to the crime and mystery genre; from 2008 to this year, he starred as Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in the BBC's television adaptation of Wallander, based on the late Henning Mankell's novels. With Branagh's wide experience as both actor and director, and a rich story like Murder on the Orient Express, mystery enthusiasts as well as Christie's fans can rest assured that this adaptation is in good hands and has the potential to be one of the best.
We will bring you more news about Murder on the Orient Express as this project develops.