Most of the attention paid to Agatha Christie revolves around eccentric detective Hercule Poirot, but the legendary mystery writer’s second most famous creation, Miss Marple, isn’t exactly a slouch either. She was the subject of a dozen novels, some short stories, a few long-running TV shows and now, apparently an upcoming CBS adaptation with one big change.
Miss Marple is likely best remembered by fans as a sharp old woman with a clever mind and an unassuming demeanor. The clever mind and unassuming demeanor will apparently remain in CBS’ version, but in an effort to appeal to demographics other than the Murder, She Wrote crowd, the show will age her down by quite a bit. In fact, according to Deadline, she’ll play a much younger woman who inherits her grandmother’s old small town book store in California. Along the way, she’ll realize what the villagers really need is an ace private detective and assumedly solve cases in a mystery-of-the-week type format.
It’s a genre CBS has excelled at for a long time (think NCIS, CSI, Elementary, Person Of Interest, etc), and it’s one that works particularly well for a potential series loosely based on Agatha Christie’s work. Long-term character development wasn’t exactly high up on the master sleuth’s list of priorities. Instead, she preferred simplistic, self-contained whodunits with far more moving parts than readers would initially realize. As such, this Miss Marple project should fit in perfectly with the basic tone and formula.
As for whether or not viewers would accept a much younger Miss Marple, however, that’s unclear. Almost five years ago, there were whispers of Jennifer Garner playing a de-aged version of the character for Disney. The Internet didn’t react too kindly, but I think this version may actually go over better. There will be plenty of time to develop the character on TV, and this backstory with the grandmother is a good basic selling point. Besides, there’s always the chance the producers/ writers will decide to make the dead grandmother Miss Jane Marple and her granddaughter a modern future generation relative with many of the same loveable attributes. We shall see.
In the meantime, all things Agatha Christie are picking up steam. Famed standalone novel And Then There Were None is getting its own movie, and Murder On The Orient Express is happening with super producers Ridley Scott and Simon Kinberg, along with director Kenneth Branagh. If that officially makes it to the silver screen, expect one of the all-time great casts. The 1974 adaptation boasted Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Albert Finney, Anthony Perkins, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Vanessa Redgrave and at least four or five more people I should have also named in this sentence.
Marple, as it’s currently being called, will be written by David Wolstencroft. If all goes according to plan, we could be seeing the potential series on CBS in 2016. We’ll keep you updated.