First look at star-studded cast of Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Just half the cast of ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ L-R Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh, Leslie Odom Jr, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp (credit: 20th Century Fox/Entertainment Weekly)

They’re calling it ‘the most star-studded thriller of the year’ – and it’s hard to envisage any other film in 2017 challenging that title.

The latest Entertainment Weekly cover gives us the first look at the cast of heavy hitters on board for the latest big screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel, ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’

Director Kenneth Branagh – currently riding high in Hollywood, following the success of ‘Thor,’ ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ and ‘Cinderella’ – takes the helm, as well as taking on the central role (and impressively oversized facial hair) of detective Hercule Poirot.

And, as a cursory glance at the EW cover will show, Branagh is by no means the only big name in the mix, as the 20th Century Fox production has gathered an ensemble which the director says took “a ton of planning, I’ll tell you… a delicate web of availability.”

Entertainment Weekly’s cover in full (credit: 20th Century Fox/Entertainment Weekly)

This cast includes seasoned Hollywood superstars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and Willem Defoe, plus British acting royalty Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi (the latter a frequent collaborator of Branagh’s, on films including ‘Henry V,’ ‘Dead Again,’ ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Cinderella’).

Also appearing are the younger up-and-comers Olivia Colman, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Tom Bateman, and Daisy Ridley of ‘Star Wars.’

L-R: Olivia Colman, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Willem Defoe, Daisy Ridley, Tom Bateman (credit: 20th Century Fox/Entertainment Weekly)

Still, despite all these big names, at present the whole movie looks likely to be stolen by Branagh’s astonishing moustache. Daisy Ridley has remarked of her director/co-star’s facial hair, “When I saw it I was like, Holy moly! But this is a larger-than-life story, so why not make the moustache larger, too?”

There’ll be no danger of viewers mistaking Branagh for David Suchet, at any rate.

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 24 November.

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