7 Things to Know About the New ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Adaptation

Posted on November 7, 2017 by

The new Murder on the Orient Express movie is premiering November 10, and Agatha Christie fans across the globe are excited to see what this latest adaptation brings. Since the novel’s publication in 1934, critics and readers have revered it as one of the greatest mystery novels of our time. While several adaptations have been made over the years, this new cast promises to deliver one of the most memorable versions yet. From plot details to changes made from the book, here’s everything you need to know before seeing the new Murder on the Orient Express movie.


1. Kenneth Branagh is both starring and directing.

The leading role of Hercule Poirot, Christie’s much-revered detective, is played by Branagh, who is also at the helm of the movie as its director. Just take a look at that amazing, iconic mustache! Branagh joked to Vanity Fair that is “a nice bit of face furniture.”


2. The supporting cast is just as star-studded.

The impressive list of actors includes Johnny Depp (Edward Ratchett), Josh Gad (Hector MacQueen), Dame Judi Dench (Princess Dragomiroff), Michelle Pfeiffer (Caroline Hubbard), Penélope Cruz (Pilar Estravados), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Dr. Arbuthnot),  Willem Dafoe (Gerhard Hardman), Daisy Ridley (Mary Debenham), Tom Bateman (Bouc), Olivia Colman (Hildegarde Schmidt), Lucy Boynton (Countess Elena Andrenyi), Derek Jacobi (Edward Henry Masterman), Marwan Kenzari (Pierre Michel), Sergei Polunin (Count Rudolph Andrenyi), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Biniamino Marquez), and Miranda Raison (Sonia Armstrong). Phew! That’s a lot of A-listers in one film.


3. The new remake is darker than the 1974 film.

The 1974 adaptation, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Albert Finney as Poirot, was a box office success and is still a fan favorite today. By comparison, though, Branagh says his new film will be “scarier” than expected. He told Entertainment Weekly:

“I think we’re making a scarier film than people might imagine. We’re not trying to turn it into something it isn’t, but I think we’re away from the drawing room mystery, and we’re into something [else]. Because the book is also a dark psychological revenge drama.”


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4. Costume design plays a large role in the film.

Oscar award-winner Alexandra Bryne helmed the costume design for Murder on the Orient Express. In an interview with Clothes on Film, she discusses the importance the costumes have to the source material:

“I read the book (for the first time) in one sitting. [Christie] gives a lot away about the clothes. We tried to adhere to that; what she was saying and what she wanted and whether this would be relevant to the costumes and the story we were telling. Ken wanted me to do a ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ backstory for each persona because these people are not who they say they are.”


5. The train set was so realistic that it gave some actors motion sickness.

A real, operating train was built for the set at a studio in Surrey, England, and it actually traveled. Branagh said:

“[I]t was through the magic of cinema and a great deal of actual rail track that we were able to do it. And once you did that it transported you, and in fact quite a lot of us got motion sickness just through being on the train in Surrey.”


6. Details about the train, including its name and why it’s stopped, have been changed.

Fans of the book know that the Orient Express — called the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in the film — gets stopped in Yugoslavia due to a large snowbank on the tracks. The new film, though, takes a more dramatic approach — an avalanche is the impetus for the train’s stalling.


7. Moviegoers can expect several character deviations from the original.

In the film, Dr. Arbuthnot is a blend of two characters from the book — Colonel Arbuthnot and Dr. Constantine. Additionally, Dafoe’s German professor, Gerhard Hardman, has taken the place of the book’s Cyrus Hardman, and Cruz’s character, Pilar Estravados, is a Spanish missionary version of the book’s Swede, Greta Ohlsson. Finally, Garcia-Rulfo plays Marquez, a Cuban version of Italian car salesman Antonio Foscarelli.



Do you plan on seeing the new Murder on the Orient Express movie? Tell us in the comments!


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