Angelina Jolie No Longer Boarding ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Angelina Jolie Pitt
Pictures/REX/Shutterstock

Angelina Jolie Pitt will not star in Kenneth Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express” remake, Variety has learned.

The Oscar-winning actress never signed a deal to appear in the film, although she was reported as being in early talks and was in negotiations to join the cast, according to knowledgeable individuals. With Jolie Pitt passing, the studio is now trying to interest a number of other big name stars, with Charlize Theron among the actresses being considered.

In addition to directing, Branagh will star as detective Hercule Poirot. Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2”) is writing the screenplay based on Agatha Christie’s novel, with Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.

The film is based on one of Christie’s best known books. First published in 1934 it revolves around a murder of an American businessman onboard the famous train. The film follows Poirot as he tries to figure out which passenger is the murderer.

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Sidney Lumet previously made a version of Christie’s novel in 1974 with Albert Finney as Poirot. The all-star list of suspects included Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Colin Blakely, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, earning Bergman, who portrayed a Swedish missionary, an Oscar. It was also a commercial success.

Branagh will produce the film with Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg and Mark Gordon. Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood will also produce in some capacity. James Prichard, the author’s great grandson and chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd., and Hilary Strong, CEO at Agatha Christie Ltd., will executive produce.

Jolie Pitt is slated to appear in “Maleficent 2” and will direct “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers” for Netflix. Theron’s recent starring roles include “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.”

Fox declined to comment.

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  1. JianWilson says:

    Sucks Angelina’s out. She’s got that very period piece look to her and it would have been cool to see her working with Charlize. What’s the betting they wanted Angelina to play Ms Hubbard or Mary Debenham? But I actually think Cate Blanchett would be way better in the Ms Hubbard role anyway and there’s a strong chance we’ll see Blanchett in the cast too actually, given she’s worked with Branagh before.
    My guess for Charlize would be either Countess Andrenyi and Greta Ohlsson if they cast younger for her. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for playing Greta in the 1974 version, so that’s potentially exciting.

  2. openskies says:

    Charlize Theron would be absolutely perfect. Angie is swell but she’s never been a particularly strong dramatic actor. Theron, on the other hand, is a powerhouse. If they’re looking to fill this thing with some heavy-weight acting talent she’s definitely the way to go.

    It’s been a while we’ve seen her in this kind of role too. I wonder if she’ll be playing the Greta Ohlsson character – “a Swedish missionary returning to Europe on a fund-raising trip for her mission in Africa”.
    Sounds like a perfect fit!

    • openskies says:

      I should say I’m a big fan of Angie’s work in action movies and she’s a really promising director, so I guess I’m just happier that she’s going to be focusing on that. Hollywood needs more female directors and I want her to direct the new Tomb Raider franchise, so better she doesn’t commit to anything like this.

  3. Bill B. says:

    I don’t care who is in it. Are that many people interested in this old cornball thing?!

    • openskies says:

      I would probably imagine it will be looking for some Oscar attention. The 1974 version picked up so many award nominations and wins.

      • JianWilson says:

        It’ll definitely be looking for some Oscar attention. It’s going to be released in November, when most of the awards hopeful stuff comes out. The original got so many awards too and I’m sure it’s something the academy is going to eat up if its done well.

  4. Guest says:

    She is a failed director and an actress due to being egomaniac, control freak, crazy land and insane. Nobody wants to hire her flat butt.

    • That’s a lot of hate for one person. Especially since that person has never done anything to earn that hate.

      • openskies says:

        I love that you say that’s a lot of hate for one person and someone who’s done nothing to earn that hate, then you post a really spiteful comment about Theron yourself. Kind of hypocritical isn’t it?
        Angelina is a wonderful and compassionate person, but you’re clearly not living up to your idol’s example.

  5. Leonard Nimoy is alive and well and living in my basement says:

    Don’t listen to the haters, Angelina. You’re obviously pursuing directing and writing instead of filling your time doing derivative stuff like this. More power to you.

  6. Anna Kinnarath says:

    Charlize theron is a much better actress then Angelina Jolie.

    • Charlize is very pretty, she’s looking different since her cosmetic “touch ups”, but still pretty. Her acting, not that good. Monster is her ONLY decent performance, and that was more about her physical transformation than her actual “acting”.

      I’m glad Angie is not doing this film, it has flop written all over it. Let Charlize do it, she needs the work, all her films flop, even Mad Max didn’t make a profit. Doubtful Charlize is getting many offers.

      Angie can do any project she chooses to do, or not do.

      • openskies says:

        If you’re going to come here specifically to hate maliciously on an actress because you’re clearly a big fan of another and have some odd misplaced jealousy over it, at least try and be subtle about it?
        Angie and Charlize are both lovely and aren’t in competition you know, you don’t need to be awful to one woman to try and ‘defend’ another. Charlize is great, Angelina is great.

        See, you say Charlize needs the work, but she really doesn’t and you know that’s not true. She’s been filming 3 movies back to back every year for the last 3 years including at least one blockbusters every year. Anglina hasn’t been acting at all (accept for By The Sea, which we wont mention) to focus on her directing. And that’s great for her, she’s a very good director.
        But Mad Max was one of the most critically acclaimed movies in years and Charlize’s character considered an iconic redefining of the female action hero. So much so she was considered a snub at the Oscars herself, although Mad Max picked up the most Oscars of the whole night.
        Theron’s also already signed on for another project with acclaimed writer Diablo Cody, is staring in Cold War thriller Cold City next year, is producing an adaptation of Brain on Fire, having an action movie originally written for Brad Pitt rewritten for her, and staring as the villain in next year’s Fast 8, directed by Straight Outta Compton’s F Gary Grey. Sooo, no she’s definitely not wanting for work.

        And there’s nothing different about her. She gave a speech at the international AIDs conference the other day and she looks exactly the same. Some nasty gossip magazine getting hold of some bad photos is what happened.

        Also the original 1974 Murder on the Orient Express won a ton of Academy awards, including Best Actress for the role I suspect Theron is being eyed for. So I think this might be a project to watch, especially with Branagh directing, it’s going to look absolutely stunning.

  7. IT--II--IT says:

    The INTEL RUN Hollywood franchise slum – – –is – – –NOWHERE !

  8. stevenkovacs says:

    If Angelina’s out of the picture, I’d love to see Bérénice Bejo play Mrs. Hubbard.

    • louisegann says:

      Bérénice Bejo is a fresh faced 40 who looks about 34. She’s not old enough to play Mrs. Hubbard. Countess Andrenyi maybe?

    • jenniferburton says:

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    • stevenkovacs says:

      Or Marion Cotillard
      Or Bérénice Marlohe
      🙏

  9. Guest says:

    Sorry but she didn’t get the job and never passed on anything lmao.this is a woman who has been jobless since 2011 as an actress and recently made maleficent so she is desperate for work.

    • openskies says:

      I’m pretty sure Angelina was never on board. “In talks” can mean anything, and in this case it probably just means that the studio making it would have asked her agency if she’d be interested. She obviously declined.
      It seems like she’s far more interested in directing these days and who knows, maybe she’s being eyed to direct the new Tomb Raider movies and wants to keep her schedule open. That’s be cool!

    • She had the job IF she wanted it. If she chooses to do other things than a movie that held little appeal to most people, so be it. That means she’d rather be with her husband and their children than spend time working on a mediocre film.

  10. Chris Darling says:

    “I don’t know how yas dun it, but I KNOW YAS DUN IT.”

  11. Alex Meyer says:

    Aw, that’s too bad. She would have been great in it.

  12. EricJ says:

    Kenneth wants to play Hercule, for the, ahem….OTHER reasons he’s been playing his recent roles lately (“Sleuth”, just sayin’), but there are other Poirot stories.
    Nobody knew the ending of Appointment with Death, and that was the third of Peter Ustinov’s Poirot movies.

    • Greggan says:

      There’s cryptic and then there’s impenetrable. Guess which one your “OTHER reasons” falls under.

      • EricJ says:

        It was a polite way of saying Branagh turned the Jude Law “Sleuth” movie into a gay pickup, and now he hopes that Hercule Poirot is a bit fruity. Uh-uh. Sorry, Kenneth.

  13. nobody important says:

    If only David Suchet could do it (again).

  14. Dunstan says:

    Yet another remake and another bad idea.

    • Greggan says:

      Exactly. Where is the audience for this?

      • PenManShip says:

        It’ll probably be like a lavish, star-filled Coen Brothers movie. So the same people who loved Hail! Caesar and the audience that misses well acted mid-level budget movies will eat it up I’m sure

      • JianWilson says:

        I would imagine the same people that turn out for all Woody Allen’s movies. And probably the Academy, if it’s good.

      • Angie always shares the screen with great actors, maybe she knew more about the casting than we did. Or maybe she knew Branagh didn’t actually have the “go ahead” to do this film and she didn’t want to waste her time.

  15. cadavra says:

    I’m guessing she read the book and realized she’d have to share the screen with 14 other stars.

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