Saturday, May 6, 2017


On the Stamboul Station set of Murder on the Orient Express
    I recently spent a day on the set of the new Murder on the Orient Express movie and another day seeing an extended clip from the film and talking with the director and star Kenneth Branagh and some of the cast.
   It is the first of a series of Agatha Christie works being given a fresh lease of life now her estate has signed off on new TV and film adaptations 40 years after her death. 
   Murder on the Orient Express was previously filmed in 1974 and starred Albert Finney as the famed detective Hercule Poirot. But Kenneth Branagh, sporting a huge moustache as Poirot, has given the story some new characters and fresh twists. 
  The Oscar-nominated actor describes Christie's work as "dark, mysterious and compelling."
  He says of his dual roles as director and star: "What I found with this was that there was absolutely relentless, remorseless demand every day. Every time you did something difficult, there was something else difficult to come along, although it’s not brain surgery difficult, it’s pretty labor intensive, and boy did I feel it."
  But, he adds, "I'd love it if we could make some more films based on her books."
  The movie has a star-studded cast which, as well as Branagh, includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley and Derek Jacobi. 

A multi-million pound deal with Agatha Christie's estate has created the opportunity for younger audiences to see her work, with four films in the pipeline
 There will also be a seven-programme series on the BBC and another adaptation of Hercule Poirot.
Previously Christie's estate have closely guarded the author's work, keen only to consider the 'right' offers.
 However, Hilary Strong, chief executive of Agatha Christie Limited, said it was the 'natural time for these stories to be retold for a new generation of people.'
 The Miss Marple author, who died aged 85 in 1976, wrote 66 crime novels with her play the Mousetrap is famously the world's longest running play.
  Film and TV versions of her work may be forthcoming, but a biographical film is another matter.
Christie's estate are not interested in placing her life on screen and have declined to commission biopics.
Both Alicia Vikander and Emma Stone had been rumoured to be in the running to play the author at different stages of her life, but it seems fans may have to wait until they see her story played out. 

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