Actor/director Kenneth Branagh is back in familiar territory. This would be Agatha Christie territory. Branagh first found Christie in 2017 with Murder on the Orient Express, a movie in which he not only starred in but directed as well. Now, Branagh returns both in front and behind the camera in the sequel to Orient Express with Death on the Nile.
Here’s everything we know about Death on the Nile so far.
Death on the Nile’s official trailer can be seen below…
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S TWO STORIES
So what Death on the Nile story are we talking about? There are actually two Agatha Christie version of Death on the Nile. And then of course there is the upcoming Branagh directed movie, penned by Michael Green.
Christie’s first version of Death on the Nile started as a short story, which didn’t feature the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot at all but another one of Christie’s famous detective character creations, Parker Pyne, star of Parker Pyne Investigates and the short stories Problem at Pollensa Bay and The Regatta Mystery.
The initial Death on the Nile short introduced the same, familiar settings and a couple of the same characters but the plot details differed widely from Christie’s follow-up novel of the same name. In Christie’s second version of Death on the Nile, one of the main differences was that she removed Pyne in favor of Poirot. The setting of the novel remained in Egypt, with most of the action taking place on the River Nile aboard the luxury cruise ship Karnak.
Christie’s full Death on the Nile story then follows Poirot, as he is on holiday aboard the Karnak. His holiday is interrupted when a socialite approaches him to help stop a former friend from stalking her. The socialite offers Poirot a commission, but he refuses, even though he does what he can to deter the former friend. As the story progresses, the socialite narrowly avoids being crushed by a boulder when the Karnak stops to visit the city of Abu Simbel. Not to give much more of the story away, murder ensues. Poirot goes from passenger to detective. The suspects are many and Poirot must sift through clues, people, and attempts to stop him from figuring out who did what.
As far as the Death on the Nile movie’s plot goes, look for many of the familiar plot points. It remains to be seen just how close Branagh and Green will follow Christie’s novel and how much they decide to tweak the story. Branagh took a few liberties with the Orient Express story but largely remained faithful to Christie.
THE PEOPLE MAKING DEATH ON THE NILE
We know that Kenneth Branagh is back as Poirot for Death on the Nile. Kenneth Branagh returns to the directors chair for Death on the Nile, something he has done in the past not only with Orient Express, but in many other films such as the wonderful thriller Dead Again, Much Ado About Nothing, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sleuth, Marvel’s Thor, Disney’s Cinderella, and Disney’s Artemis Fowl.
Branagh has brought back screenwriter Green, with whom he collaborated on Orient Express, for Death on the Nile. Green also has writing credits on Green Lantern, Logan, Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049, The Call of the Wild, and the upcoming Dwayne Johnson Disney flick The Jungle Cruise.
THE CAST OF DEATH ON THE NILE
We know that Kenneth Branagh is back as Hercule Poirot for Death on the Nile.
Back for a second go-around is Tom Bateman, who played Poirot’s friend Bouc in Orient Express and returns in the same role.
Joining Branagh and Bateman are quite a few heavy hitters. Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) leads this list, boarding the Karnak as Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, newly married.
Her husband, Simon Doyle, is played by Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger, Hotel Mumbai, Call Me By Your Name).
Also joining the all-star Death on the Nile cast are Sophie Okonedo (The Slap, Christopher Robin), Annette Bening (The American President, 20th Century Women), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek).
Also in the cast are Rose Leslie (Downton Abbey, The Last Witch Hunter), and Emma Mackey (The Winter Lake, Sex Education).
THE FIRST DEATH ON THE NILE MOVIE
This is not the first time Death on the Nile has been brought to film. The first time was the 1978 Paramount Pictures movie that starred Peter Ustinov as Poirot but also starred screen legends Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, Maggie Smith, and George Kennedy. It was definitely an all-star cast.
It was also brought to TV, British TV at that, in the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series. This one starred David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.
DEATH ON THE NILE’S RELEASE DATE
The COVID curse strikes again. It has affected many movies and their release dates and Death on the Nile has not been immune to the long tentacles of COVID. It will be released about one year from its initial release date, which was December 20, 2019. No longer.
As COVID began to take control, 20th Century Studios (the movie’s producers) decided to move it back to October 9, 2020. It was then pushed back another two weeks to October 23, 2020, before finally settling on its new, and hopefully final, the release date of December 18, 2020.
At this point, it is hard to say if this is set in stone as movie theaters are still slow to reopen, but there is a good chance this date remains firm.
Could there be more Poirot coming? Murder on the Orient Express had a successful run and if Death on the Nile follows suit, the chances of seeing more of Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot remain good.
When Orient Express was announced, Agatha Christie’s great-grandson and Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd., James Pritchard remarked via Variety, “The extraordinary thing about my great grandmother’s stories is just how timeless they are and how perfectly they lend themselves to the cinematic experience. Eighty years after the publication of the novel, Fox and its creative team will bring ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ a classic Christie tale, to new audiences across the world. We are genuinely excited about this partnership and with 33 Poirot stories to be told, we look forward to this being the first of many collaborations.”
Hilary Strong is the CEO at Christie production agreed, “We have been working with the fantastic team at Fox for some time now and could not be happier with the creative talent that they have brought together for this wonderful project.” So it stands to reason that a successful holiday run will bring fans more of Christie’s Poirot.