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Kenneth Branagh has had a long and storied career both on stage and on screen. From Hamlet to Jack Ryan to Harry Potter, the man has had his hand in numerous franchises – always bringing his own distinct style to the proceedings. Now he is set to bring that stylistic sensibility to a beloved Agatha Christie story for an upcoming retelling of the iconic novel Murder on the Orient Express, and he'll be pulling double duties.
20th Century Fox has just announced that they have tapped Branagh to direct as well as star in the upcoming adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Branagh has developed quite the reputation as a modern auteur in the world of film and theater. His work in theatrical dramas laid the foundation for his distinctive style, and has carried him all the way through even his recent hit Cinderella. CinemaBlend readers will arguably recognize him best for his notable work on the first Thor film, in which he injected his own Shakespearean sensibilities into the world of the Norse Marvel god. They may also recognize him as Gilderoy Lockhart from the 2002 film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Murder on the Orient Express is based upon the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. Generally considered a landmark story in the world of modern fiction, the narrative centers upon a murder aboard the iconic train, as well as the Belgian investigator – Hercule Poirot – who must sift through the clues in order to determine which of the train’s numerous passengers is the culprit. In the years since its publication, the story has gone on to become one of the most iconic "whodunits" in modern history.
This is not the first time the story has been adapted for the screen; another version was released in 1974 which featured an all-star cast for the era, including Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, and Albert Finney as central protagonist Hercule Poirot. Check out the trailer for the 1974 version of the film below to get a sense of the proceedings:
In addition to Branagh, the project has some powerful creative forces behind it, with Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, and Mark Gordon expected to assist in producing duties. Michael Green – screenwriter for the upcoming Blade Runner sequel – is penning the script for Fox. We will keep you updated on any and all details associated with Murder on the Orient Express as they become available.