When it comes to adapting classic material there is always a chance that purists are going to get mad. Despite the fact that the Murder on the Orient Express is a classic, director Kenneth Brangh still felt he had some freedom when it comes to expanding or changing characters. While speaking to Cinema Blend Banagh talked about some of the few things he did change. One of them was showing detective Hercule Poirot solve the case in Jerusalem instead of just a character saying that he did good work like in the book.
I was pleased to find out anecdotally that more people claim they read this book and know what the ending was than reads… ‘Oh yeah, what was it?’ And then they couldn’t remember. I read a lot of crime fiction, and I often forget who did it shortly afterwards – so I like to reread things. You wouldn’t be surprised: I like to go back to classic stories. We just were following intuition about… for instance, in Michael Green’s hands introducing Poirot in action, in Jerusalem. Seeing him not just merely report what he’s doing, but consider, ‘Why is he sticking his cane into a hole in the Wailing Wall?’ A couple minutes later you find out exactly why, and it starts to make you think, ‘Boy, when he’s on that train, those passengers are going to have to think twice. That mind works in mysterious ways.
It was also a way to show the audience that this man was not someone who missed small details and that the person who committed the crime on the train later in the story is going to be in trouble.
There were a few character changes as well. Branagh, for example, decided not to include the character of Greta Ohlsson but instead swapped her out for a different character, Pilar Estravados played by Penelope Cruz, who was featured in another Poirot story Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. They also added another character as well.
So we were able to do that; changed some characters. Pilar Estravados appears, not Greta Ohlsson, the Swede. And in the hands of Penelope Cruz I think she intrigues in a different way. Same goes for Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who plays a new character, Biniamino Marquez.
Christie’s novels have a fanbase but nothing like the people who loved the Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings when it comes to making sure everything is perfect. Branagh had some room to make changes while making a mostly faithful adaptation.
A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
Murder on the Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh, stars Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Leslie Odom, Jr., Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, and Johnny Depp. It rolls into theaters on November 10th.