AceShowbiz - Kenneth Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express" is moving forward by enlisting several A-listers for the movie which production is expected to kick off in London in November. After eying Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer, Fox adds more big names like Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Michael Pena as well as "Hamilton" star Leslie Odom Jr. to its cast ensemble.
Branagh is on board to play the lead character, detective Hercule Poirot, in the adaptation of Agatha Christie's acclaimed mystery novel. Depp will play Ratchett, the man who is murdered in the legendary train. Depp's "Dark Shadows" co-star Pfeiffer will play a glamorous and opinionated passenger with a secret named Mrs. Hubbard, the role which was turned down by Angelina Jolie.
THR has reported that Ridley has been tapped to play Mary Debenham, a working-class woman who is in love with Arbuthnot (Odom Jr.). Meanwhile, Dench is set to play Princess Dragomiroff. As for Pena, he is on board to play a Cuban passenger named Marquez. Other cast members include Derek Jacobi, Lucy Boynton and Tom Bateman who are set to play Masterman, Countess Andrenyi and Poirot's friend Bouc respectively.
Of working with Depp, Pfeiffer, Ridley and other cast members on the film based on Christie's novel of the same name, Branagh says, "I'm honored to have this fantastic group of actors bring these dark materials to life for a new audience." He adds, "Christie's ['Murder on the Orient Express'] is mysterious, compelling and unsettling."
"Murder on the Orient Express" centers on Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who is called into action after an American tycoon is found murdered. The victim's been stabbed multiple times in his locked compartment inside the luxurious Orient Express. With a killer in the midst during a terrible snowstorm, Poirot must identify the murderer before there is another victim.
Branagh will direct the upcoming movie from a script provided by Michael Green (untitled Blade Runner project). The helmer/actor will also produce the movie along with Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon, Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood, with James Prichard and Hilary Strong executive producing. Steve Asbell will oversee the project for Fox.