Novelist Agatha Christie passed away in 1976, but that’s not getting in the way of her recent resurgence in popularity. November 1o saw the release of the latest adaptation of Christie’s classic Murder on the Orient Express, which was originally published in 1934, and famously made into a feature film 40 years later. This new version – starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh – wasn’t spectacular, but has managed to bring in about $150 million dollars during its first 10 days in theaters, and doing so on a budget of $55 million. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the controlling studio, Twentieth Century Fox, is jumping all-in with ol’ Agatha, and adding Death on the Nile to their docket.
Branagh isn’t signed on yet, but he is expected to return for the sequel as Hercule Poirot, who was the subject of 45 different stories from Agatha Christie. That’s some impressive longevity for a character that most people in 2017 are largely unfamiliar with. First debuting in 1920’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Poirot wouldn’t board the Orient Express till his tenth outing, and Death on the Nile would be number 17 for the famous Belgian detective. The lasting power of the character is remarkable given that more than 20 years after Christie passed on, old short stories she wrote were still being published with Poirot in the lead.
Death on the Nile sees the famous detective on vacation in Egypt and enjoying a luxurious steamboat cruise down the Nile when a love-triangle goes bad, and Poirot is again forced to solve a murder. You should probably not travel with Hercule, the guy is a murder magnet. Like Murder on the Orient Express before it, Death on the Nile was also adapted into a film full of stars back in the 1970s. Albert Finney – who played the lead in 1974’s Orient Express – was replaced by Peter Ustinov, who would go on to play Poirot seven more times after this. The film also featured Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, George Kennedy, David Niven, Maggie Smith, Jack Warden, and Ms. Murder She Wrote herself, Angela Lansbury.
Michael Green, who just adapted the screenplay for Orient Express, is also reportedly set to pen this script as well. More impressively, Green also recently penned both Blade Runner 2049 and Logan. Hopefully, he can give us a more evenly balanced Poirot this time around than he did with Orient Express, having a movie now under his belt to get a better feel for the character.
Seeing as this was just announced, it’s probably safe to assume we won’t be seeing Death on the Nile until 2019 at the earliest, with a 2020 slot more likely.
Images: Collins Crime Club,
Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures