Kenneth Branagh to Direct and Star in 'Murder on the Orient Express'

Kenneth Branagh - H 2015
AP Images

Kenneth Branagh - H 2015

The director will play detective Hercule Poirot.

Kenneth Branagh will do double duty on Fox’s new adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. The studio said today that it’s official: Branagh will direct the feature. TCF president Emma Watts also made the surprise announcement that Branagh will step in front of the camera as well in the role of detective Hercule Poirot.

Poirot, the fastidious Belgian detective, is one of Christie's most enduring characters, appearing in 33 of her novels, which lends the new film franchise potential. Poirot was played by Albert Finney, who was nominated for a best actor Oscar, in the 1974 film version of Orient Express. David Suchet played the character on British TV for more than 20 years. In Orient Express, Poirot is called upon to solve a murder aboard the famous train.

Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon and Branagh will produce the film, along with Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) is writing the screenplay. Steve Asbell is overseeing the production for Fox.

Branagh, repped by WME and Berwick & Kovacik, last appeared onscreen in 2014's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and  directed this year's Cinderella.