Kenneth Branagh talks Murder On The Orient Express
The Orient Express rolled into town today, one bloody corpse and a whole pile of high-profile suspects in tow. Director/star/moustacheod crime-solver Kenneth Branagh introduced his starry Murder On The Orient Express cast, as well as a chunk of footage, at a London screening, providing a world-first look at this newest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s loco-mystery.
So, what to expect? In short, a sumptuous-looking, claustrophobic potboiler that bubbles with intrigue and duplicity. “When you come back to a tale like Agatha Christie’s, you have great entertainment,” explained Branagh, “but also something that touches quite deeply on loss, grief and revenge”.
Having moved from Thor to Jack Ryan to Cinderella in recent years, Branagh said it was the combination of opulent setting and gilded cast that drew him to Christie’s famous yarn. “The chance to combine a vicarious ride in the golden age of travel [aboard] the Orient Express with the characters embodied by these actors, who can bring detail and emotional depth, was what was exciting to me.”
Equally exciting for everyone else is Branagh’s epic Hercule Poirot ‘tache, a facial topiary that would look extravagant on an Edwardian walrus. “The moustache is, at one and the same time, a protection and a provocation,” said Branagh, noting that the Belgian’s look is true to the “immense” moustache Christie describes in her books. “He can hide behind it, but also when people mock it they underestimate him and his job as a detective becomes simpler.”
When Agatha Christie published Murder On The Orient Express in 1934, the biggest stars of the day included Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, William Powell and Myrna Loy. Branagh has mustered enough star wattage to give those silver screen icons a run for their money. On board his death train are — deep breath — Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Defoe, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Derek Jacobi, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Hamilton veteran Leslie Odom Jr., Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Lucy Boynton, and one Johnny Depp. The latter plays the ill-fated Edward Ratchett. Everyone else, as the tagline runs, is a suspect. Apart from Poirot, obviously.
Murder On The Orient Express arrives in UK cinemas on 10 November. Like Southern Rail’s 08.17 to Victoria, the trailer should be along any day now.