Josh Gad has signed on for Fox’s star-studded “Murder on the Orient Express,” joining Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Pena, and “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr.
Gad will portray Hector MacQueen, a nervous, skittish man who drinks too much. He’s gifted with languages and works as an assistant/translator to Depp’s Ratchett character.
Kenneth Branagh will direct and also star as detective Hercule Poirot. Angelina Jolie was in negotiations in June to join the cast, but has since passed on the remake.
Branagh, Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon, Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood, and Judy Hofflund will produce. Michael Green wrote the screenplay, with Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.
Agatha Christie’s novel, published in 1934, revolves around a murder on board the famous train. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is tasked with solving the case that has numerous suspects among the passengers.
James Prichard and Hilary Strong, both of Agatha Christie Limited, will executive produce.
Variety reported in 2013 that Fox was developing the project as 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, grossing $35 million in the U.S. It was also nominated for six Academy Awards, earning Bergman, who portrayed a Swedish missionary, her third Oscar.
Fox has already set a Nov. 17, 2017, release date for the remake.
Gad is best known for his work in the musical “The Book of Mormon” and voicing animated roles in “Frozen” and “The Angry Birds Movie.” He stars in Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”
Gad is repped by WME, Lighthouse, and PJ Shapiro.