Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express may not be a great movie, but it’s not a terribly offensive one either. And hey, here’s to more literary adaptations for grown-ups with all-star casts if the alternative is yet another superhero epic. At its conclusion (teeny tiny spoiler alert, I guess?), Hercule Poiriot is brought his next case, an assignment that will take him to the Nile – a broad wink to the Christie fans in the audience, who chuckle knowingly at this broad reference to Death on the Nile. Well, turns out that was more than an in-joke.
THR reports that 20th Century Fox, pleased with the quick profitability of Orient Express (closing in on $150 million worldwide, on a $55 million budget), has engaged its screenwriter Michael Green to adapt Death on the Nile as the next big-screen Poirot mystery. There is a precedent for this; when Sidney Lumet’s Orient Express was an Oscar-winning commercial smash in 1974, producers John Brabourne and Richard B. Goodwin got to work on a film version of Nile, which hit theatres four years later. That film wasn’t as successful as its predecessor, perhaps due to director Lumet and star Albert Finney bowing out; however, per THR, Mr. Branagh (who filled both roles on the new Orient Express) is “expected to return.” No word yet on if his mustache will be back as well.