With a release date just over a year from now, the clock is ticking on Kenneth Branagh‘s “Murder On The Orient Express,” and at the moment he has everything in place except for one major thing: a cast. Previously set to star Angelina Jolie, the actress dropped out of the project over the summer, and while Charlize Theron was eyed as a possible replacement, not much has been heard about that. However, a couple more names have surfaced as possible additions to what’s expected to be a star-studded ensemble.
THR reveals that Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer (who previously starred together in Tim Burton‘s “Dark Shadows“) are “names of interest” for ‘Express,’ although they are not officially attached at the moment. It would be Branagh’s first time working with either star, but they would certainly bring some shine to his film (and it seems Depp’s career is having no ill effects from the allegations of domestic abuse that came up earlier this year). And as for the reason why we need a new ‘Express’ (and “Witness For The Prosecution,” with Ben Affleck directing and starring) considering there’s already Sidney Lumet‘s acclaimed 1974 version, Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, says contemporary audiences won’t look them up.
“One of the criticisms that I keep getting levied at me is that [the previous film adaptations] were so amazing. ‘How can you remake ‘Murder on the Orient Express’?’ ” she told THR. “They’re iconic films, but they are of their time, and there is a new cinema audience that won’t watch films that were made in 1957 or 1974, and we want them to hear her stories.”
I certainly hope that’s not the case, and I always want to give movie watchers more credit, but for every cinephile eager to do a deep dive, there are probably a few more who just want to watch what’s new.
“Murder On The Orient Express” opens on November 22, 2017.
Update 9/29: THR reveals Johnny Depp is now in talks for “Murder On The Orient Express.”