EXCLUSIVE: Andrea Riseborough has signed on to play the role of Romaine in the BBC’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution. The two-parter will be a Christmas special for the broadcaster. Penned by Sarah Phelps, a longtime writer on popular soap Eastenders, the story is based on one of Agatha Christie’s better known short stories. Leonard Vole is arrested for the murder of Emily French, a wealthy older woman who was unaware that he was involved with another woman, Romaine. Emily made Leonard her principle heir, casting suspicion on him. John Mayhew, lawyer, down on his luck – comes to his rescue when Romaine agrees to testify not in his defense but as a witness for the prosecution.
One of the most versatile actresses of her generation, Riseborough’s stock has continued to rise since her turn in Alejandra Gonzalez Inarittu’s Birdman. Riseborough will next be seen in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals and recently wrapped production on Battle of the Sexes opposite Steve Carell and Emma Stone, where she plays Marilyn Barnett, a hairdresser and lover of Billie Jean King. The talented actress can also be seen in Netflix’s Bloodline. Riseborough is repped by CAA, Independent Talent Group and Untitled.
Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited) is directing with Colin Wratten producing. Mammoth Screen is producing for the BBC and A&E, with the Agatha Christie Estate also on-board as exec producers. Agatha Christie’s bibliography has long been a fertile source for film and TV adaptations. Kenneth Branagh is currently readying a feature adaptation of her classic novel Murder on the Orient Express for Fox.