UPDATE: Studio has announced that Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Michael Pena and Judi Dench will join the picture in supporting roles. Studio’s release is included under Deadline’s original scoop on Johnny Depp.
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp is in talks to star for director Kenneth Branagh in the Murder On The Orient Express remake. This comes after Angelina Jolie stepped out. The pic is moving fast: Depp will star with Branagh, who’ll play detective Hercule Poirot in a script that Blade Runner 2 scribe Michael Green adapted from Agatha Christie’s novel. Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.
The film is based on one of Christie’s best-known books. First published in 1934, the novel tells of the intrigue that begins after an American businessman is murdered aboard the famed train. Poirot tries to unravel the whodunit. Branagh will produce with Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg and Mark Gordon. Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood will also produce in some capacity. James Prichard, the author’s great grandson and chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd., and Hilary Strong, CEO at Agatha Christie Ltd., will executive produce.
UTA reps Depp.
An all-star cast, led by Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley, is joining director Kenneth Branagh on 20th Century Fox’s new feature film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s acclaimed mystery Murder on the Orient Express, it was announced today by TCF president Emma Watts.
In addition to directing the film, Branagh, a five-time Academy Award®-nominee, will star as detective Hercule Poirot. Depp portrays Ratchett; Pfeiffer is Mrs. Hubbard and Ridley plays Mary Debenham.
Oscar winner Judi Dench portrays Princess Dragomiroff, while Lucy Boynton is Countess Andrenyi. Tom Bateman plays Bouc, acclaimed stage actor and Tony winner Derek Jacobi portrays Masterman, Michael Peņa is Marquez, and Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. plays Doctor Arbuthnot. The ensemble is nearly complete, but there are still a few key roles left to cast.
Murder on the Orient Express begins production in November, in London.
Commented Kenneth Branagh: “Christie’s ‘Murder’ is mysterious, compelling and unsettling. I’m honoured to have this fantastic group of actors bring these dark materials to life for a new audience”.
Ridley Scott (The Martian), Simon Kinberg (The Martian, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Mark Gordon (Steve Jobs) and Branagh will produce the film. Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood and Judy Hofflund will also produce. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) wrote the screenplay, with Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.
Agatha Christie’s novel, published in 1934, is considered one of the most ingenious stories ever devised. It revolves around a murder onboard the famous train, and Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must solve the case – but there are a number of passengers who could potentially be the murderer.
James Prichard and Hilary Strong, both of Agatha Christie Ltd., will executive produce.
Prichard commented: “It is always thrilling for us to see the stellar casting that Agatha Christie film adaptations attract. It is fantastic to have Kenneth Branagh at the helm of this new adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express and we are extremely excited about the cast he is bringing aboard”