Kenneth Branagh has reached a fairly interesting period in his career, that’s for sure. After spending so many years primarily adapting Shakespeare onto the big screen, starting with “Thor,” Branagh has embarked on a flirtation with mainstream Hollywood fare that doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. He’s currently in talks to helm an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” which from the outset, appears to be right up his alley. But with his last film “Cinderella” making some serious bank in the box office, you’d have to imagine Branagh can pretty much do what he wants.
Of course, “Murder on the Orient Express” has been made into a feature film before. The incomparable Sidney Lumet directed the 1974 version, which was well-received at the time of its release and earned several Academy Award nominations. Considering Lumet’s film featured a knockout ensemble cast which included Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and John Gielgud—it would be interesting to see what kind of cast Branagh could put together if he indeed signs on to direct.
And if he does sign on, Kenneth Branagh would have a pretty solid team backing him up. Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon, and Simon Kinberg are producing the film. Kinberg previously produced Branagh’s “Cinderella,” which grossed more than $530 million worldwide during its theatrical run. So, it’d be understandable if the director decided to continue such a fruitful relationship.
If this ‘Orient Express’ project had one potential drawback though, it could be with the script. Michael Green is adapting Agatha Christie’s novel and his only feature film credit thus far is “The Green Lantern.” We all know how that one turned out. Still, Ridley Scott seems to be fond of Green who, at the moment, is also writing “Prometheus 2” and is collaborating on the script to the “Blade Runner” sequel with Hampton Fancher. Hopefully, this Michael Green fella knows what he’s doing.
It’s heartening to see Kenneth Branagh become more prolific these past few years and it’d be nice to see him take on a Hollywood film that’s not so blockbuster-oriented. Nevertheless, we’re likely to hear more about the project as it continues to develop. Stay tuned. [The Wrap]