Kenneth Branagh to Direct, Star in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Remake

Kenneth Branaugh Starring, Directing 'Murder on

Kenneth Branagh will star as Hercule Poirot and direct Fox’s reboot of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Producers are Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon and Branagh. Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood will also produce in some capacity.

Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2”) is writing the screenplay, with Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.

Christie’s novel, published in 1934, revolves around a murder onboard the famous train and Belgian detective Poirot solving the case – in which a number of passengers could potentially be the murderer.

Variety reported in 2013 that Fox was developing the project for a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1974 movie, which starred Albert Finney as the genius detective investigating the murder of an American tycoon aboard the train. The all-star cast of suspects included Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Colin Blakely, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York.

“Orient Express” was a commercial success with $35 million in U.S. grosses. It was also nominated for six Academy Awards, with Bergman — portraying a Swedish missionary — winning her third Oscar, her first in the supporting category.

Christie’s novel was adapted again for a 2001 TV version that aired on CBS and starred Alfred Molina and Leslie Caron.

Branagh’s directing credits include “Henry V,” “Thor” and “Cinderella.”

James Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd. and Christie’s great grandson, said, “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.”

Hilary Strong, CEO at the Christie production and rights management business Agatha Christie Ltd., said, “We have been working with the fantastic team at Fox for some time now and could not be happier with the creative talent that they have brought together for this wonderful project.”

James Prichard and Hilary Strong will executive produce. Strong brokered the deal for Agatha Christie Ltd.

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  1. Dennis says:

    Pathetic attempt to be unoriginal and mangle yet another great writer, Agatha Christie. For anyone with sense, you will know why David Suchet was Poirot for 25 year. Because he simply was and always will be THE best Poirot for Ms.Christie’s books. Kenneth Branaugh? Are you kidding me? Johnny Depp? Pathetic again! Maybe he will look like…….A pirate !!!

    I will save my time and money and watch David Suchet as the master of Hercule Poirot.

  2. buzzphillips says:

    Can’t imagine them coming up with a film approaching the quality of the 1974 Albert Finney and the
    all-star cast. David Suchet 2001 version was his worst Periot, and I have seen them all and
    generally liked them, except this one!

  3. I just cannot see Branagh as Poirot. But then I’m pretty sure no Poirot will ever beat David Suchet.

  4. Bill B. says:

    I dislike remakes, but the original was just a good enough move, nothing great, so a remake is not so offensive, though it’s highly unlikely that they’ll get a cast of the magnitude of the first. Bergman’s Oscar still is not a deserved award and even she thought that then.

    • therealeverton says:

      It’s also not a remake. They are’t remaking the “Finney” version, nor are they remaking any of the other versions, they are adapting a book that happens to have been adapted before Just like the numerous versions of Hamlet, or Romeo and Juliet are simply new adaptations of those plays.

  5. You mention the version with Molina, but no mention at all of the definitive Poirot, David Suchet?

  6. therealeverton says:

    Not a remake though is it? It’s just a new adaptation of the book, not a redo of the script from one of the numerous film or TV adaptations.

    Excellent news.

  7. Stephen Hirsekorn says:

    Albert Finney the original Poroit could play the ganster Rachet,Jackie Bisset could now play the Lauren Bacall part,Michael York could play the butler and Sean Connery could come out of retirement and play the Martin Balsam part. Nuff said!

  8. Truth Teller says:

    The 1974 version is one of the best films ever made. The sort of Lindbergh baby kidnapping sequences were brilliantly done, and scary.

  9. cadavra says:

    Great to see Branagh back doing something that doesn’t involve capes and tights–or singing mice.

    • therealeverton says:

      ?? Like the Jack Ryan film he made in between the two pretty good films you’re referring to?

      • therealeverton says:

        You’re wrong about Thor. It worked as well as it did because of Branagh. Without him we wouldn’t have have Hiddlestone, Portman or Hopkins. We wouldn’t have had the amazing look of that film and the Asgard building blocks. So much of what followed has its roots in that film and it was made as it was purely because of Branagh’s involvement, his talent and his gathering and use of other talented people. You only need to look at Green Lantern (which was looked at in a similar way and expected to be the far bigger success) to see how easy these things can truly go wrong and what a good job was done, with a difficult film. The Shakespearean elements are a big part of what made that film and it is why he was chosen. The success of that choice made The Avengers and brought Branagh’s film career back (or truly) into the “big time”. Now he is making beautiful commercial films and gets to choose to make films like this, which we hope will straddle that line of commercial hit and awards contender.

      • cadavra says:

        Wow. Speaks volumes that I’d totally forgotten that. Especially as I thought it was rather good.

        And actually, yes, the Marvel and Disney films were okay, too. It’s just that pretty much anyone could have directed them, whereas Shakespeare and unique properties like DEAD AGAIN require a more skillful hand. It’s like having Scorsese direct the next Godzilla movie–he could do it, but wouldn’t you rather see him do something more Scorsese-ish?

  10. Garrett says:

    They’ll never get a cast with the star quality of the original…because it no longer exists.

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