Is an Agatha Christie revival going on? If not, 20th Century Fox appears to be trying to spearhead one. Not only is the distributor on board for a remake of the famed mystery writer’s classic Murder on the Orient Express (with Kenneth Branagh attached to direct and star) but now the studio is looking to team with Ben Affleck on an update on Christie’s short story and stage play Witness for the Prosecution. If that title sounds familiar to movie fans, that’s likely due to the 1957 Billy Wilder film (also based on Christie’s material) – Wilder’s version featured an all-star cast including Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester and earned six Oscar nominations in its day, including a nod for Best Picture.
The story involves the trial man charged with murder a woman who conveniently happened to leave him her estate shortly before her death. The case unfolds with typical Christie-ian twists and turns, including a surprise witness for the prosecution in the form of the man’s wife, a woman with secrets of her own.
Affleck’s participation looks to involve directing, producing and starring in the project. As a director, Affleck debuted with the critically admired Dennis Lehane adaptation Gone Baby Gone (2007), followed that film up with the high-grossing yarn The Town (2010) and lastly directed the Oscar winning Argo (2012). Affleck also has two other directorial jobs in the works – likely before Witness for the Prosecution – in the wrapped Live By Night and the upcoming Batman standalone film. For Witness for the Prosecution, The actor will next be seen on screen in Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant. Affleck looks to be producing alongside buddy Matt Damon while Christopher Keyser (Highland Park) will pen the screenplay.
We will stay tuned to the following regarding Witness for the Prosecution as more details become known.