In case you’ve been thinking there aren’t enough cinematic universes already in the works, Kenneth Branagh has a suggestion for a new one that could just be a blast from the past.
Following the success of Murder on the Orient Express, which he directed and starred in as detective Hercule Poirot, Branagh has begun pre-production on a sequel based on Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. Branagh says he could envision an entire cinematic universe based on the iconic mystery writer’s work.
“I think there are possibilities, aren’t there? With 66 books and short stories and plays, she — and she often brings people together in her own books actually, so innately — she enjoyed that,” Branagh said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “You feel as though there is a world — just like with Dickens, there’s a complete world that she’s created — certain kinds of characters who live in her world — that I think has real possibilities.”
Though Branagh has yet to discuss the idea of a Christie movie universe with top brass at 20th Century Fox, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched, especially now that the property may shortly be owned by Disney, the undisputed king of cinematic franchising.
As for Death on the Nile, Branagh teased to the AP that the film might bring back some “old friends” as they plumb “primal human emotions” such as “obsessive love and jealousy and sex,” resulting in a “very dangerous atmosphere.” Old friends, obsession, and jealousy? Perchance we can hope for an Emma Thompson cameo? After all, Branagh’s real-life “old friends” include many of Britain’s most talented and revered actors.
Branagh also said he is most excited to return to the possibility of Poirot’s feelings being mired in the mysteries he solves. “One of the things that I liked — really loved doing here that the audience responded to was that Hercule Poirot, for all his intellectual power, got dragged into it, got dragged into feeling it. And I think it’s a hell of a trip, that trip down the Nile. So I think it would be great to see how he, how his heart, responds to that kind of intensity,” he said.
Murder on the Orient Express will be available on home video in the spring.