Kenneth Branagh’s first foray into the rich world of Agatha Christie murder mysteries, the 2017 surprise hit “Murder on the Orient Express,” boasted a starry cast of big names, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Lucy Boynton, and Daisy Ridley, so it’s no surprise that his imminent sequel is just as star-studded. As production commences on “Death on the Nile,” based on Christie’s novel of the same name, the full cast has been announced, and it’s a doozy.
Branagh returns as both director and star, slipping back into the famed mustache that makes his hairy Belgian detective Hercule Poirot so hard to miss. He’ll be joined by a motley assortment of potential murderers, including Tom Bateman (who reprises the role of Bouc from “Murder on the Orient Express”), Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright. For fans of both superhero films, awards-worthy dramas, and “Absolutely Fabulous,” this is a cast for everyone.
The screenplay for the film, adapted from Christie’s 1937 novel, is once again written by Michael Green. Per the film’s official synopsis, the film will follow “Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian adventure aboard a glamorous river steamer [as it] descends into a terrifying search for a murderer when an idyllic honeymoon is shattered by violent deaths. This sinister tale of obsessive love and its murderous consequences plays out in an epic landscape of danger and foreboding, with enough shocking twists and turns to leave audiences unsettled and guessing until the final, shocking denouement.”
“Crimes of passion are dangerously sexy,” said Branagh in an official statement. “Agatha Christie has written a riveting story of emotional chaos and violent criminality and Michael Green has once again written a screenplay to match. With a cherished group of long-time artistic collaborators and a brilliant international cast, it is truly a pleasure to join Disney, Fox and Agatha Christie, Ltd. in bringing this daring thriller to the big screen. There are significant new twists, an awe-inspiring desert landscape and a chance to celebrate big screen entertainment in glorious 65 millimetre celluloid!”
Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon, Simon Kinberg, Kenneth Branagh, and Judy Hofflund are all returning as producers. Matthew Jenkins and James Prichard return as executive producers. The film will shoot at Longcross Studios outside London and on location in Egypt.
Twentieth Century Fox will release “Death on the Nile” on October 9, 2020.