The work of Agatha Christie has had an enduring impact on TV, film and literature over the last 90-plus years and it’s about to get even more attention with the upcoming release of Murder On The Orient Express (2017). It’s one of the Christie’s most famous books and it’s been covered on both the small screen and the silver screen in the past, but 20th Century Fox appear to be throwing the kitchen sink at the latest interpretation with a massive all-star cast.
Where the 1974 film adaptation had Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and John Gielgud in the cast, the 2017 update features Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk) as Hercule Poirot, along with other big names like Penélope Cruz (Zoolander 2), Willem Dafoe (Justice League), Judy Dench (Miss Peregrin’s Home For Peculiar Children), Johnny Depp (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them 2), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns) and Olivia Colman (The Lobster). It’s also got Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair, following on from his previous work on Thor, As You Like It, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing with the last two Shakespeare films being similar actor and director roles.
The trailer looks ostentatious, much like the train and journey itself, but there’s also clearly something going with each of the characters involved. Kenneth Branagh looks hilarious as Poirot, with his enormous moustache, although we’re pretty sure he was going for more of a serious vibe. You can check it out for yourself in the video at the bottom of the page.
Murder On The Orient Express has been confirmed for UK release date of the 3rd November 2017, which will put it in competition with Bad Mom’s Christmas, which is out in cinemas on the same weekend. While that gives it a pretty easy run at the box office, it will have to face Paddington 2, which is out a week later, so it doesn’t have an entirely free reign on the big screen for very long.
The US release date has been confirmed for the 10th November 2017, so it will be arriving in the UK the weekend here, which is a refreshing change.
The plot sees a wintery journey on the famous and opulent Orient Express railway with a group of thirteen strangers coming under the intense and watch stare of the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, following a murder en route. The group is a random mix that includes a professor (Willem Dafoe), a missionary (Penelope Cruz), a widow (Michelle Pfeiffer), a maid (Olivia Colman), a princess (Judi Dench) and a governess (Daisy Ridley), and one of them is the killer.
Luckily, Hercule Poirot is on the case, but it’s clearly going to be a dark and mysterious ride before the revelation of who’s done it brings the film to a close.
Kenneth Branagh takes the lead as Hercule Poirot, with Penelope Cruz as missionary Pilar Estravados, Willem Dafoe as professor Gerhard Hardman, Judy Dench as Princess Natalie Dragomiroff, Johnny Depp as the mysterious Edward Ratchett, Daisy Ridley as governess Mary Debenham, Michelle Pfeiffer as widow Caroline Hubbard and Olivia Coleman as the Princess’s maid Hildegarde Schmidt.
The cast also includes Josh Gad (Beauty And The Beast (2017)), Derek Jacobi (My Week With Marilyn), Leslie Odom Jr. (Red Tales), Marwan Kenzari (The Mummy), Lucy Boynton (Miss Potter), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven) and Maranda Raison (My Week With Marilyn).
Kenneth Branagh will be directing himself and the rest of the cast from a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel by Agatha Christie. Producers include Ridley Scott (Alien: Covenant), Mark Gordon (2012), Simon Kinberg (Logan), Kenneth Branagh, Michael Schaefer (Alien: Covenant) and Judy Hofflund (As You Like It).
Murder On The Orient Express (2017) looks like it’s going to be a lavish production with an exceptionally talented big-name cast behind it. Despite Kenneth Branagh’s hilarious appearance in the trailer below, we’re still expecting him to put together an impressive performance for the film itself based on his previous acting credits alone. He’s also done a pretty good job of story again and directing some impressive films in the past so there’s no reason to assume that this will be any different.
The wintry release date works well with the Alpine setting of much of the film, so it should be a lot of fun with it at the big screen in November. It’s bound to get a lot of interest from the Agatha Christie faithful, but it also looks like a film that could cut across genres with more universal appeal. There are minor flecks of Sherlock about the trailer, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they go on to be a part of the movie too.