Angelina Jolie isn’t typically associated with a cozy Agatha Christie classic mystery. But, now, Jolie is in talks to star in one of Christie’s classic tales, Murder On The Orient Express, with Kenneth Branagh steering the movie as well as taking on the lead role as Hercule Poirot, reports Variety.
Produced by Branagh, Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, and Mark Gordon, with Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood also on board the production team, the screenplay will be drawn from the mystery novel. Michael Green of Blade Runner 2 is penning the screenplay.
Murder On The Orient Express has thrilled readers since its publication in 1934. The wise and wonderful Belgian detective, Poirot, must solve a baffling murder on the train. But with a variety of passengers as the potential killer, can even Hercule solve the crime and nab the murderer before it’s too late?
Steve Asbell is managing the movie production for Fox, but this isn’t the first time that the Christie classic has been transformed into a film. In 1974, Sidney Lumet helmed a version with Albert Finney playing Poirot, and the cast at the time included Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman.
The history of success for that version of Murder On the Orient Express includes six Academy Award nominations and box office success, with a gross of $35 million in the United States. Bergman took home her third Oscar for her role in the film, marking her first award as a supporting actress.
While Jolie is getting the buzz for engaging in talks to join Kenneth Branagh’s movie adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, it is the actor/director who must take on the challenging task of transforming himself into the always-questioning detective, Hercule Poirot, points out Deadline.
The plot calls for Branagh, as Poirot, to identify a killer before another murder happens, following terror on board when a wealthy American is discovered dead, stabbed repeatedly, within a locked compartment. The passengers are alone on the stranded train, isolated by a blizzard, as Poirot seeks to solve the puzzle of who is guilty.
Although it may not sound like a relaxing project, Murder On The Orient Express would constitute an easier movie for Angelina. Jolie has recently focused on a series of emotional, deep films. Playing the star role opposite her husband Brad Pitt, Angelina also helmed By the Sea.
The actress’ latest effort, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, is currently in post-production. It is a movie that portrays a human rights activist and Cambodian writer Loung Ung, who describes the depths of her suffering because of the Khmer Rouge.
UTA and Media Talent Group rep Angelina. But, which suspicious passenger on board the luxury train would Jolie play?
Angelina is currently discussing her interest in taking on the character of the wealthy American Mrs. Harriet Hubbard, on Agatha Christie’s Orient Express, reports the Daily Mail.
Taking on that role would give Jolie the opportunity to attempt to outdo Lauren Bacall, who starred in the 1974 version. With Angelina Jolie potentially playing against Branagh, as well as taking his direction, it is not yet known which other stars the actor will choose to climb on board his fictional train.
Jolie and Branagh have met to discuss her interest in joining his cast of mysterious characters. With the caveat that she needs to figure out her schedule to make room for the movie, Angelina is described as “keen to work with the film-maker and theater star.”
In addition to planning this film, Branagh has been focused on his theater company in London. Currently showcasing the Romeo And Juliet, the schedule calls for a revival of John Osborne’s The Entertainer next. Previews begin August 20.
Although Branagh has not lost focus on the theater, he has been expanding his interests and gradually returning to film making. Now filming, for example, is his appearance in the new movie Dunkirk.
[Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images]