As Hollywood presses forward with the renaissance of bringing Agatha Christie's work to a new generation, veteran actor Kenneth Branagh must start to do the same. The English actor and director has been tapped to helm a new adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express. And if that wasn't enough to get you pumped, Branagh is pulling no punches in making sure he assembles the best of the best for his newest directorial effort.
A Remake With An All-Star Cast
Murder On The Orient Express was already made into a film back in the mid-seventies. It went on to win six Oscars during that time and many are questioning just how Branagh plans to remake such an iconic film.
The first step is putting together a cast like no other. Alongside Branagh himself, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, and Michael Pena have recently joined the stellar cast. When the film was first announced, Angelina Jolie was said to be interested in the role originally played by Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall. Although the Oscar winner dropped out of the film awhile back now, Michelle Pfeiffer has stepped in to fill that massive vacuum.
Casting Pfeiffer instead would be making quite the statement in Hollywood, considering the age differences between herself and Jolie, which comes to a 17-year difference at a time in which actresses over 40 are becoming increasingly devalued.
Michelle has been cast as Mrs. Hubbard, the role Lauren Bacall played in the original film. The character is a glamorous beauty with a hidden secret, a role Michelle tackled quite well in White Oleander.
Depp will be starring as Ratchett, the man murdered on the Express. Daisy Ridley will play Mary Debenham, a working class woman in love with another passenger. Dench will portray the Princess Dragomiroff and Pena will take on the role of a Cuban passenger named Marquez.
The original 1974 cast consisted of such Hollywood heavyweights as Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Perkins, and Jaqueline Bisset. So, as you can see, that leaves plenty of room for stars like Depp, Pfeiffer, and Dench to all have a moment to shine without eclipsing the rest of the cast.
Why Remake Such A Classic Film?
Hillary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, recently released a statement regarding all the forthcoming adaptations of the late author's work. She spoke about how contemporary audiences may be more inclined to watch something new instead of searching for something considered out of date.
“One of the criticisms that I keep getting levied at me is that [the previous film adaptations] were so amazing. ‘How can you remake ‘Murder on the Orient Express’?’ They’re iconic films, but they are of their time, and there is a new cinema audience that won’t watch films that were made in 1957 or 1974, and we want them to hear her stories.”
When Will The Production Train Finally Get Moving?
The release date for Branagh's remake is set for just over a year from now. Branagh has already stated that he wishes to finish his English theater work before returning to film the crime drama. The production start date has been teased as somewhere around early to mid-December.
As Branagh finally settles into both the highly coveted director's chair and role of Hercule Poirot to bring Christie's great Belgian detective to life once more, we movie fans revel in the anticipation and excitement for a film that's almost surely set for golden Oscar glory.
Murder On The Orient Express is slated to hit theaters on November 22, 2017.
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Will you be stepping aboard the Orient Express next November?