Hot on the precarious and non-utilitarian glass heels of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh is in talks to direct Murder On The Orient Express, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s iconic 1934 mystery novel that helpfully explains its entire premise in the title. But fine, here’s more: The tome follows Christie’s signature detective Hercule Poirot, who’s just minding his own goddamn business on a train to Istanbul, using it for its express transportation-related purpose, when the train gets stuck in some snow, somebody gets murdered, and Poirot’s asked to solve the murder using his “little grey cells” (he owns several small iPhones). The topsy-turvy plot—Christie at her best, really—unfolds from there, and includes everything from kidnapping to child murder to normal murder (adults) to suicide to false identities to vigilante justice to a person whose chosen name is “Ratchett.” It also includes the line “I do not like your face,” which is reason enough for its existence.
Sidney Lumet adapted Murder On The Orient Express into an Oscar-nominated film in 1974 starring Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Richard Widmark, and Ingrid Bergman, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; there was also a by-all-accounts-shitty made-for-TV version starring Alfred Molina as Poirot in 2001, which transplanted the story to a modern setting and let Poirot smooch around a bit, because unforeseen detective work is very tiring. A 2010 episode of the TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot also drew from the book, casting David Suchet in the main role and a murderer’s row (hint: this is a hint) of English and American talent in supporting roles: Jessica Chastain, Barbara Hershey, Toby Jones, and Hugh Bonneville, a man whom I want grab by the face and squeeze every time I see him on screen.
Fox picked up the rights to the remake in 2013, with Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, and Mark Gordon on board (choo-choo! no, I’m not sorry) to produce and Michael Green (Green Lantern, Prometheus 2) as the screenwriter. THR adds that “it’s not clear if Fox and the producers plan on making a period movie or a contemporary movie,” and helpfully points out that “The Orient Express doesn’t operate anymore,” in case you were hoping to go get murdered on it.