John Malkovich and “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint have signed on for “The ABC Murders,” an Agatha Christie adaptation for the BBC in Britain and Amazon in the U.S. Shooting gets underway in June and will see Malkovich become the latest actor to take on the role of the famously mustachioed Belgian detective.
Kenneth Branagh played the sleuth in the 2017 film adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express” and is reprising the role in a remake of “Death on the Nile.” David Suchet and Alfred Molina are among those to have played the part on the small screen.
Grint has signed on to play Inspector Crome. The cast also includes Andrew Buchan (“Broadchurch”), Eamon Farren (“Twin Peaks”), Tara Fitzgerald (“Game of Thrones”), Bronwyn James (“Harlots”), and Freya Mavor (“The Sense of an Ending”).
Based on the classic 1936 Christie novel, the series will run to three parts. British pubcaster the BBC has aired a series of adaptations of Christie’s work in recent years, including “And Then There Were None,” “Witness for the Prosecution” and, most recently, “Ordeal by Innocence.” “The ABC Murders” stands out for featuring Poirot; many Christie fans consider the long-running portrayal by Suchet on the BBC’s chief broadcasting rival, ITV, to be the definitive version.
ITV-backed Mammoth Screen is producing “The ABC Murders” with Agatha Christie Limited. It is the latest Christie adaptation in a series commissioned by the BBC, with six more to come. Endeavor Content handles international sales. Alex Gabassi (“The Frankenstein Chronicles”) will direct and Farah Abushwesha (“The Party”) produce.
“‘The ABC Murders’ is one of my great-grandmother’s most unsettling and intense stories and Hercule Poirot one of her most intriguing characters,” said James Prichard, series executive producer and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited. “I am most excited to experience the unique approach John Malkovich will bring to the role in this thrilling one-off television adaptation.”
BAFTA-nominated writer Sarah Phelps will pen the 1930s-set drama. With Britain divided, and suspicion and hatred on the rise, the series follows Poirot as he faces a serial killer known only as A.B.C. First the killer strikes in Andover, then Bexhill, then Churston. As the murder count rises, the only clue is the copy of The ABC Railway Guide at each crime scene.
Phelps said: “‘The ABC Murders’ is a brutal story of violence and lies, the long shadow of the past and the slaughter to come. At its center [is] one of the most familiar, famous characters in crime fiction. We may all think we know Poirot, but do we really know Hercule?”
The novel was made into a film, “The Alphabet Murders,” in 1965, with Tony Randall playing the fastidious Belgian detective.