LONDON — The Agatha Christie renaissance continues.
Principal photography has started in Britain on a big-screen adaptation of the mystery author’s 1940s novel “Crooked House,” a whodunit centering on the murder of a rich, cantankerous old patriarch. The movie stars Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks, Max Irons and Stefanie Martini, among others.
The project is the latest Christie story set for translation to the screen. Last month, the BBC announced that it had green-lit a slate of seven Christie adaptations following the critical and ratings success of “And Then There Were None,” which aired in Britain last December. Big-screen treatments of “Witness for the Prosecution” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” both by Fox, are also being developed.
The first of the coming BBC series, “Ordeal by Innocence,” was rated by Christie as one of two personal favorites out of her considerable body of work. The other favorite was “Crooked House.”
In the movie adaptation, Irons (“Woman in Gold,” “The Riot Club”) will play Charles Hayward, a private detective trying to solve a murder whose suspects include Sophia, his former lover, played by Martini. The cast also includes Terence Stamp as a chief inspector and Honor Kneafsey (“Miss You Already,” “Our Zoo”), Hendricks, Close, and Anderson as members of the dead man’s household.
The film is to be directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (“Sarah’s Key”) and written by Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park,” “Downton Abbey”), Tim Rose Price, and Paquet-Brenner. Producers are Joe Abrams of Brilliant Films, James Spring of Fred Films, and Sally Wood.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Agatha Christie’s ‘Crooked House’ – one of her own personal favorites, and one that has never been filmed before – to the big screen,” Abrams said in a statement.
The movie has actually been long in gestation. In 2011, Brilliant Films and Germany’s Tele Muenchen Group announced that they were co-producing “Crooked House” and that it was to be directed by Neil LaBute, with a cast including Matthew Goode, Julie Andrews, Gemma Arterton, and Gabriel Byrne. But that did not come to fruition.
“Crooked House” is fully financed by Hindsight/Prescience. Metro International has pre-sold it to Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions in North America, Latin America, South Africa, and Eastern Europe, and to distributors in Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Israel.