How The Murder On The Orient Express Remake Will Go Darker, According To Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh in Murder on the Orient Express

The overall premise of Murder on the Orient Express is simple: someone has been killed on a stalled train, and detective Hercule Poirot has to interview a group of suspects to determine who carried out the murder. Agatha Christie's story has already been adapted once before on the big screen, and on TV only a few years ago, so Kenneth Branagh's upcoming remake had to make select changes to distinguish itself from its predecessors. Today's trailer showed that there's a distinctively more modern feel to the 1930s mystery tale, but Branagh has also revealed that he decided to emphasize the horror elements from the novel. As Branagh put it:

I think what I found in the book again, and in the screenplay, was that it unleashed something very primal, very kind of grisly. I realized that we could find a way to have the fun of Agatha Christie, but have the absolutely deadly intention behind it, and the danger. I think we're making a scarier film than people might imagine. We're not trying to turn it into something it isn't, but I think we're away from the drawing room mystery, and we're into something [else]. Because the book is also a dark psychological revenge drama.

Assuring Murder on the Orient Express enthusiasts that he hasn't drastically changed the source material, Kenneth Branagh, who is both directing the new movie and playing Hercule Poirot, informed EW that the remake is toning down the "drawing room mystery" aspect of the tale in favor of highlight the scarier elements. Given that the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express movie directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Albert Finney was a straightforward adaptation with only a few minor differences, emphasizing the darkness is a smart approach. After all, this is a story about one or more killers aboard a train hidden in plain sight. That's tinged with horror, and as the story progresses, the unknown slowly dissipates as both Poriot and the audience start to see the full picture.

Despite its tonal differences, Murder on the Orient Express will still follow Hercule Poirot, one of the world's greatest detectives, as he solves a murder aboard the Orient Express train. Besides Kenneth Branagh, the main cast include Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Derek Jacobi, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Olivia Colman and Lucy Boynton.

If you haven't seen the Murder on the Orient Express trailer yet, watch it below to get a taste of what Kenneth Branagh's version will have to offer.

Murder on the Orient Express pulls into theaters on November 10. Read through our 2017 movie schedule to find out what other features are coming for the rest of the year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.