In Murder on the Orient Express (out Nov. 10), Kenneth Branagh’s brilliant detective Hercule Poirot is obsessed with finding who among the passengers on the titular train has committed a murder. But away from the U.K. set, a number of cast members became obsessed with their own whodunnit — or whoisit — as they gathered weekly to compete in a certain game. Below, Penélope Cruz, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley recall playing Werewolf in London.
PENÉLOPE CRUZ: Who told you? [Laughs]
LESLIE ODOM JR.: We played Werewolf every single Friday night.
JOSH GAD: Penélope Cruz and her lovely husband Javier Bardem came to set one day and they said, “You have to play the game called The Werewolves.” And I said, “It sounds very kinky, what is this?” And she went on to explain that it’s essentially a murder-mystery game. I was like, “Oh, how appropriate for what we’re doing.”
CRUZ: I have a group of people that I play with in L.A. and one in Madrid.
GAD: Basically, a bunch of people sit around in a circle, and two of those people are werewolves, and one by one they’re killing off the villagers, and it is up to the village to figure out who it is that’s masquerading as one of them, and ultimately kill them before they wind up killing everybody else.
DAISY RIDLEY: It’s a version of Mafia. Essentially, it’s kind of like a whodunnit in itself. It’s weirdly, insanely, addictive and hours seem to just pass you by when you’re doing it. We used to just get together every weekend, and eat, and drink, and play Werewolves.
ODOM JR.: It was me, Josh, Daisy, Tom, Marwan [Kenzari]. Penélope came every week, Willem came every week, we got Michelle.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER: We’d get a room, one of those like private conference rooms or something like that. It was a lot of fun.
ODOM JR.: Well, it was always hosted at Josh’s hotel, so we stuck Josh Gad with many a bill, many a food and beverage bill.
GAD: I was the ringleader, for about five weekends in a row, and it just got more and more insane and epic. They came over to my hotel, which became the base, which was lovely, because everybody had an opportunity to stiff me for all the food and liquor that I provided, which was great. And we played this incredible game. It is definitely art imitating life imitating art. It wound up being very useful, and also very expensive for me, because people like Daisy kept stiffing me.
ODOM JR.: It was this thing that we were all maybe a little bit embarrassed to be doing. It was like, there has to be a better way for us to spend a Friday night. But there really was no better way. It was a chance for us to drink, and eat, and hang out together, have a laugh. Invariably, we would have pop-ins. One week, we had Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and JJ Abrams were our guests. Those were the people that came to play, who happened to be in town, that came to play our ridiculous game. But every week, there were pop-ins. People would bring friends along with them. And so it was just a chance to hang out, and we would always have a story or six that we would be laughing about all week.
RIDLEY: Olivia [Colman] came late to the game [but] was really good.
GAD: Man, I’d have to say that Penélope is as shrewd as they come. She is so manipulative and so good, and she’s got those doe eyes, and she just makes you fall in love with her, and she can’t possibly be a killer. But she was the most experienced.
ODOM JR.: Willem Dafoe came grumbling every Friday night. From the very first one, he told us, “I have a voiceover thing tomorrow, I’m probably not going to be able to come. If I come, I’m not going to be able to stay.” And Willem would be the first one there and the last one to leave. He was a master at the game.
GAD: I have to say that, of all of the people who had never played before, Leslie Odom was the best player. He really just did an amazing job of manipulating all of us into thinking he was our friend and over and over again kept killing us. The worst player was Daisy. Daisy was hands-down the worst player I’ve ever played with. She was just sloppy. She was terrible at it. You could tell that Daisy was a werewolf the second she opened her mouth. You could tell she wasn’t a werewolf the second she opened her mouth.
RIDLEY: By the end of the game, every time I was a werewolf, I just laughed and everyone was like, “Daisy, please would you leave.”
GAD: She’s not very good at keeping secrets other than Star Wars secrets, apparently.
Watch the trailer for Murder on the Orient Express above.