Kenneth Branagh and his absolutely ludicrous moustache will return to the big screen (plague dependent) later this year as Agatha Christie’s iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Death on the Nile, Branagh’s follow up to the box office-raiding Murder on the Orient Express, is eyeing an October 9 release date, but Branagh has already witnessed the path of his latest movie, Artemis Fowl, veer off towards the streaming service pastures of Disney+ thanks to the current state of things, so we shall wait to see if Poirot’s next case is theater-bound.
Branagh summoned a big cast for his new spin on Death on the Nile. Gal Gadot, Letitia Wright, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Sophie Okonedo, Tom Bateman, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Saunders and, um, Russell Brand all star in the upcoming whodunnit, and the director has once again worked with Logan, Blade Runner 2049 and Murder on the Orient Express screenwriter Michael Green on the film, this time creating an adaptation that’s apparently a lot darker and sexier than we’re expecting.
“Agatha Christie really believed in what she wrote,” explained Branagh on The Fourth Wall podcast (via The Playlist). “I think it was born out of personal experience being in bruising love relationships. She says in the introduction to the paperback version that she believes it has something of life in it and it really does. I think it’s universality, the recognition for anyone who’s been dangerously in love or as Poirot says in the book, in any relationship, there’s always the one that loves too much and it can hurt terribly.”
In Death on the Nile, Branagh‘s Poirot is trapped on a luxury steamer in 1930’s Egypt, as socialite Linnet Ridgeway Doyle’s stalking case-turned-murder mystery puts his detective skills to the test. Will he figure it all out before the ship reaches port? Absolutely. Will this version of the old tale make us feel uncomfortable before he does? Yes, according to Branagh.
“Love, as he says, is not safe and it’s certainly not safe in this version,” he said. “Michael Green [ the screenwriter] really has deepened the connection with the character [Poirot]. Going off of Agatha Christie’s personal treatment of it, his deepening of what Poirot goes through in relation to the story and then the power and sexiness of lust and love as it runs through the story is very strong. It’s a very dark, very sexy, unsettling kind of film. It certainly delivers on the travel log as it takes you to big and exciting different places, but it’s very uncomfortable in ways people will really understand because it has to do with love, possession, lust, jealousy, big primal emotions that really get in people’s way.”