43 years after the Albert Finney-led Murder on the Orient Express movie was released in theaters, the Agatha Christie tale is heading back to the big screen from 20th Century Fox under the direction of Kenneth Branagh. Most of the remake's main cast was announced in September and October of last year, but there have been a few actors that have trickled in since then. Today brings the news that Willem Dafoe is among the many notable folks boarding the re-telling.
According to Deadline, Willem Dafoe will play undercover detective Gerard Hardman in Murder on the Orient Express. Although there is no one who went by that exact name in the original novel, there was a Cyrus Hardman, who was a private detective traveling on the train because...well, I shouldn't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read the novel or seen any of the live action adaptations. Presumably Dafoe's Gerard Hardman is a twist on Cyrus, but it remains to be seen how else he'll be different besides having an alternate first name. It's also safe to assume he'll still be one of the many suspects that detective Hercule Poirot investigates when an unusual murder is committed on the famous fictional train.
Those of you reading this probably don't need to be told who Willem Dafoe is. Active in Hollywood for nearly 40 years, some of his notable projects include Platoon, The English Patient, Shadow of the Vampire, Finding Nemo and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. More recently he's been seen (or heard) in The Fault in Our Stars, John Carter, The Grand Budapest Hotel and John Wick, and he'll next be seen as Ballard in The Great Wall. Dafoe's other upcoming projects include playing Atlantean advisor Vulko in Justice League and Aquaman, as well as voicing the demonic Ryuk in Death Note.
The new Murder on the Orient Express is expected to stay mostly faithful to the 1934 novel, though with minor alterations, as is the case with remakes. Along with his directing duties, Kenneth Branagh will play detective Hercule Poirot, while the rest of the main cast includes Johnny Depp as Ratchett; Michelle Pfeiffer as Mrs. Hubbard; Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff; Josh Gad as Hector MacQueen; Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham; Leslie Odom Jr. as Dr. Constantine; Derek Jacobi as Edward Masterman; Michael Peña as Marquez; Marwan Kenzari as Pierre Michel; Tom Bateman as M. Bouc; and Lucy Boynton as Countess Andrenyi. Penelope Cruz and Sergei Polunin have also been added in undisclosed roles. The screenplay was written by Michael Green.
Murder on the Orient Express will make its stop in theaters on November 22, 2017. Let us know what you think of Willem Dafoe's casting in the comments below.