THE STARRIEST WHO DUNIT? EVER! Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh Are ALL on the Passenger List for a First-Class Take on Agatha Christie's Orient Express. but as the Cast Reveal, It Was Murder Just Trying to Compete with Poirot's Moustache

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), October 15, 2017 | Go to article overview

THE STARRIEST WHO DUNIT? EVER! Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh Are ALL on the Passenger List for a First-Class Take on Agatha Christie's Orient Express. but as the Cast Reveal, It Was Murder Just Trying to Compete with Poirot's Moustache


All aboard! And we mean all aboard! Some of Earth's most famous residents have gathered today at Longcross Studios in Surrey to shoot a scene set at Stamboul (now Istanbul) train station for Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express.

Branagh, who also plays Christie's famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, is present and properly dressed in Thirtiesera attire. So, too, are Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Star Wars heroine Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe and Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr.

In one corner of the soundstage, Josh Gad and Broadchurch's Olivia Colman are discussing the Police Academy franchise; Penelope Cruz is gliding past the recreation of a vintage train while talking on her phone in Spanish; and Johnny Depp is ruminating to a reporter about the likelihood of his character's long brown coat being made out of leather.

'I'm feeling like it's fake,' he says - incorrectly, as the film's Oscar-winning costume designer, Alexandra Byrne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), will later attest. But the most eye-catching sight is not a person but a thing: the fake moustache sported by Branagh. The item is so extravagantly outsized it almost seems more alien face-hugger than facial fuzz. 'When I saw it I was like, holy moly!' says Ridley. 'But this is a larger-than-life story, so why not make the moustache larger, too?' Poirot is always well groomed, whether on the page or the screen. The Belgian's care over his appea rance reflects an obsessively meticulous nature, which enables him to investigate the most complex and horrific of crimes, including the brutal attack at the centre of Murder On The Orient Express. First published in 1934 and inspired by Christie's journeys on the Agatha Christie Right: David Hercule real-life luxury locomotive, which then ran between Istanbul and Paris, the book finds Poirot investigating a fatal stabbing.

With the Orient Express marooned in a snowdrift and the murderer trapped on the train, Poirot interrogates a dozen or so suspects before gathering them together to hear him solve the case.

The book's large number of supporting characters allowed Branagh to cast stars keen to take roles that were chunkier than cameos but did not demand too much of their time. Even so, putting together a schedule capable of catering to the collective calendars of Depp, Pfeiffer, Cruz et al was no easy feat.

'It was a ton of planning,' the director concedes. 'A delicate web of availability.' A period murder mystery feels unusual in this era of comic-book heroes and giant robots, but the film industry has enjoyed a long history with Poirot, dating from 1931's Alibi, released just 11 years after Christie debuted the character in her very first novel, The Mysterious Affair At Styles.

Most famous is director Sidney Lumet's 1974 version, which starred Albert Finney as Poirot and won Ingrid Bergman her third Oscar. It is true, however, that over the past 25 years, the detective has exercised his 'little grey cells' mostly on the small screen. Agatha Christie's Poirot, starring David Suchet, ran for 13 series until November 2013. The month after it ended, it was announced that 20th Century Fox had acquired the rights to adapt Orient Express as a film to be produced by Simon Kinberg (the X-Men franchise), Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and Ridley Scott.

'It's proved its worth in years past and it's a worldwide brand,' says Fox's Emma Watts.

Meanwhile, Branagh had graduated from directing Shakespeare to big-budget hits (Thor and Cinderella) in recent years. He was attracted by the script, written by Michael Green (Logan), which he says captures both the fun and the fear of Christie's novel. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

THE STARRIEST WHO DUNIT? EVER! Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kenneth Branagh Are ALL on the Passenger List for a First-Class Take on Agatha Christie's Orient Express. but as the Cast Reveal, It Was Murder Just Trying to Compete with Poirot's Moustache
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.