Willem Dafoe (Finding Dory) is set to join 20th Century Fox’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express, which already boasts the star-studded cast of Penelope Cruz (The Queen of Spain), Johnny Depp (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Michelle Pfeiffer (The Family), Michael Pena (Collateral Beauty), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Derek Jacobi (TV’s Vicious), Josh Gad (The Angry Birds Movie), Academy Award winner Dame Judi Dench (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Red Tails). Four-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) is set to direct as well as take the starring role of Detective Hercule Poirot in the picture.
Agatha Christie’s 1934 murder mystery novel was made into a film in 1974, directed by Sidney Lumet, with an all-star cast including Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Jacqueline Bissett, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, and Ingrid Bergman who won on Academy Award for her supporting role.
In the story, the famous detective investigates the murder by multiple stab wounds of a wealthy American on board the Orient Express, with a long list of possible suspects among the train’s passengers who all have connections to the dead businessman. Dafoe is set to play undercover detective Gerhard Hardman.
Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) will adapt the screenplay. Executive produces are James Prichard, the author’s great grandson and chariman of Agathy Christie Ltd., and Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Ltd. Branagh, Ridley Scott and his production banner Scott Free, Mark Gordon of Mark Gordon Company and Simon Kinberg of Genre Films will produce. Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood will also produce in some capacity. Steve Asbell will oversee the production for Fox.
Dafoe has two Best Supporting Oscar noms under his belt, for 1987’s Platoon and 2001’s Shadow of the Vampire. His more recent work includes films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Fault in Our Stars, and John Wick. He voiced Gill in last year’s highly successful Pixar sequel Finding Dory and will also be a voice actor on Death Note. He has roles lined up in The Great Wall and Justice League.
Murder on the Orient Express is scheduled for release on November 22nd.