After escorting Disney’s lavish Cinderella to the ball (and a box office haul of $532.7 million), Kenneth Branagh may have found his next project. The helmer is in talks to direct Fox’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express, for which the studio is hoping to recruit an A-list cast.
Fox has been developing the redo since late 2013, bringing Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg and Mark Gordon on board to produce. It was rumored for a time that Scott might take the reins on the pic, but Branagh is a terrific get for the project. He’s proven himself capable of handling complex, dialogue-heavy plots in his numerous Shakespeare adaptations, and Cinderella showed he could construct the magnificent visuals that Fox will likely employ in bringing the legendary Orient Express to life.
The story, based on a novel by prolific mystery writer Agatha Christie that was first published in 1934, is considered to be one of detective fiction’s finest. It follows a detective named Hercule Poirot (one of Christie’s most beloved creations) whose ride on the Orient Express is halted by deep snow. Trapped on board, he’s summoned to discover the culprit of a murder committed in his car the night before.
Michael Green, who co-wrote Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Blade Runner sequel and also penned Green Lantern, is scribing this latest adaptation of the work. It was most famously made into a film back in 1974 by Sidney Lumet. That version was a huge success, racking up six Oscar nods and winning one (for Ingrid Bergman’s supporting performance). Albert Finney starred as Poirot, leading an all-star cast that included Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Jacqueline Bisset, Colin Blakely, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York.
Who will play the iconic detective in Murder on the Orient Express this time around is still, ahem, a mystery. David Suchet has portrayed the detective on ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot since 1989, but he won’t be on board for this big screen take. Expect Fox to tread carefully with who it chooses as a replacement.