Belfast native and Oscar winner Kenneth Branagh spent time behind the camera and in front of it during the shooting of Murder on the Orient Express, which hits theaters in November. Branagh starred and directed in this latest movie version of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel, featuring her beloved detective Hercules Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express tells the story of train passengers who end up riding the rails with a dead body. Poirot must put all of the clues together to figure out who the killer is. The star-studded cast Branagh directed includes Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer. This is at least the fourth film version of Christie’s novel, and Branagh recently told Entertainment Weekly he wouldn’t mind turning Murder on the Orient Express into a franchise.
“I would be thrilled, I must say,” said Branagh. “I have enjoyed it enormously, to delve into the nature of the character, to read more of the books, to understand, to admire with greater intensity what Agatha Christie’s talents were. That’s been really a great, great creative treat. So, I’d be absolutely delighted to do more, yeah.”
In other Branagh news, Disney reportedly has begun casting for “Irish looking actors” for a movie based on Eoin Colfer’s Irish fantasy book series Artemis Fowl. Branagh – along with Irish playwright Conor McPherson – has been attached to the Artemis Fowl project for years. For nearly as long, however, the movie has been languishing in Hollywood’s notorious “development hell.” The reports that Disney has finally begun holding auditions means the Artemis Fowl movie might finally begin shooting sometime next year. ♦