After making Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh has supported the idea of possibly creating a shared movie universe with more Agatha Christie characters. Already attached to a sequel continuing the investigations of the mustached sleuth Hercule Poirot, the director and actor has reflected on the positive reception and box office that greeted his adaptation of the classic murder mystery, and would support the opportunity to contribute to that universe if 20th Century Fox were willing.
Murder on the Orient Express opened at theaters in early November and has since clocked up a worldwide box office of over $311 million, from a budget of $55 million. It combined a finely-tuned performance from Branagh as Poirot with an all-star cast, including the likes of Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, and many more. Branagh kept close to the well-known source material, but peppered it with some sumptuous visuals and performances. The success of the film has led to a sequel being green-lit, and Death on the Nile is currently in pre-production.
Branagh has since teased his future portrayals of the detective in various interviews. As reported by AP News, he is also endorsing the interesting idea of a shared movie universe, where various Agatha Christie characters could crossover. He said;
“I think there are possibilities, aren’t there? With 66 books and short stories and plays, she — and she often brings people together in her own books actually, so innately — she enjoyed that. You feel as though there is a world — just like with Dickens, there’s a complete world that she’s created — certain kinds of characters who live in her world — that I think has real possibilities.”
Although 20th Century Fox have certainly not indicated any future plans for it, Branagh did add the final comment; “I bet they’ve been thinking about it though.”
Christie has many literary creations that could feasibly appear in further movie adaptations. The most well known is the elderly Miss Marple, who has been played by actresses such as Margaret Rutherford and Angela Lansbury. But there are also many others like Tommy and Tuppence or Parker Pyne, that appear in shorter stories. UK TV channels in particular have had great success with shows about these characters. So with Poirot re-introduced to the general public and Death on the Nile coming up, there's no reason that one of those lesser-known sleuths couldn't play a part in that film or any future follow-ups.
Although it has to be said that - outside of Marvel - shared movie universes are difficult to pull off in a valid and innovative way, with the current problems with the Dark Universe possibly causing some studios to shy away from the concept. It's likely that outside of Poirot and Marple, most of Christie's other characters won't be as familiar to audiences and will need careful introductions. Nonetheless it does remain a possibility that could be explored in future productions, and would obviously depend on the reaction to Death on the Nile. With Branagh currently working on Artemis Fowl, the next Poirot film is some time away, but we look forward to further Christie movies being updated for the big screen.
Source: AP News