In a business as rapidly changing as the entertainment industry, casting news comes and goes spontaneously. Yet every now and then, you see an announcement so big that it can’t help but turn heads.
Take my reaction when I found out about the announced cast for the Murder on the Orient Express remake. For those of you that don’t know, Murder on the Orient Express is a mystery-thriller based on the novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The plot follows detective Hercule Poirot, who is investigating the murder of a business tycoon aboard a train called the Orient Express. The book was originally adapted into a 1971 film by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Network) and had an all-star cast including Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Ingrid Bergmann, who won her third Academy Award from that film.
The remake looks to be another all-star. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Thor), this adaptation stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Michael Pena, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress Daisy Ridley. The film is slated for a 2017 release date.
Normally, I’m not one to be enthusiastic for Hollywood remakes of classic films (as evidenced by my reaction to Jon Favreau’s Lion King remake). But I’m actually intrigued by this one. For one thing, I haven’t heard of The Orient Express before this casting announcement (which shows I need to brush up on my film history, darn it), so this remake isn’t affected by any preconceived notions I may have had towards it. Secondly, even if I had seen the previous film and were as passionate about it as I was about The Lion King, I still would have been excited about this movie.
I mean, look at the cast. It’s big enough that I’m willing to overlook the fact that it’s a remake.
Branagh, however, has a shifty track record when it comes to filmmaking. His adaptations for Henry V and Hamlet were met with critical acclaim, and audiences responded very well with his interpretations of Thor and Cinderella. On the other hand, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was weird, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was boring, and Love’s Labour’s Lost was completely horrendous. For Branagh, his directing skills ranges from masterful to disastrous. If there’s anything to be concerned about with this film, it’s his involvement as director.
What do you guys think? Are you excited to board the Orient Express, or are you going to wait for the next stop? Comment below, let me know.
– David Dunn
SOURCE: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter