Spotlight on Sir Kenneth Branagh

BAFTA winning actor and director Kenneth Branagh is about to take on the world’s most iconic moustachioed detective and direct a big screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. Find out what makes him the perfect choice to bring one of the Queen of Crime’s most-loved sleuths and stories to life.

The Stamp of Approval

Kenneth Branagh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. His acting and directing achievements are held in critical acclaim: he has been nominated for five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, has won three BAFTAs and an Emmy, and became popular with genre fans when he played teacher Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He was knighted in 2012 for his services to drama.

In Safe Hands

Branagh is no stranger to adapting and starring in classic tales. Synonymous with Shakespeare, his ambitious cinematic interpretations from the late 1980s to the early 2000s brought the Bard’s work into an accessible limelight for the mass market. His epic take on Henry V earned him Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Director, and a BAFTA for Best Director.

Directed by Branagh, 2015’s Cinderella - a critically-acclaimed box office success - perhaps holds the most parallels to interpreting Murder on the Orient Express. At the time of Cinderella’s release, he spoke about having a strange feeling at the preview screening that everyone in the room knew what should happen next - but that with a classic tale, it’s how it’s going to happen that’s exciting; that somehow the suspense still kicks in, and though it may seem familiar, you are thrilled to relive it.

Previously, Branagh took on a well-known canon when he entered the Marvel universe and directed Thor in 2011, which became one of the biggest blockbusters of that year.

Careful Consideration

It seems that choosing well-known stories – like Murder on the Orient Express - for adaptation is a particular passion for Branagh. He’s directed over 15 films, and only three of them are not based on previous works. Retaining authenticity and respecting the origins of a story whilst telling it in a fresh way is a challenge that Branagh is familiar with.

This pedigree is reinforced by his widespread work in the theatre too, mainly with Shakespeare but also interpreting many classic playwrights. His 2016 takeover season at the Garrick Theatre in London included The Entertainer, The Painkiller, Red Velvet and Harlequinade.

Talented Network

Kenneth Branagh has worked with some of the very best talent, from fellow actors to production crew and costume designers to his long-time composer collaborator Patrick Doyle, and Murder On The Orient Express is no exception. Mixing a fresh cast with production talent is what, he says, gives a familiar project “a new energy”.

We can’t wait to see Kenneth Branagh’s take on Hercule Poirot and Murder on the Orient Express. Discover more about the new adaptation.

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