Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express is coming back to the big screen this November — with plenty of stars as suspects.
Kenneth Branagh, who directed, also stars as Christie’s famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who investigates after a passenger is stabbed to death aboard a luxurious sleeper train heading from Istanbul to Paris. Any of his fellow passengers, from a Russian princess (Judi Dench) to a Spanish missionary (Penélope Cruz), could be the killer.
Much of the cast, which includes Oscar winners and rising stars alike, recently reunited in London and posed for this exclusive photo. From left: Marwan Kenzari, Lucy Boynton, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Sergei Polunin (bottom), Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley (top), Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Olivia Coleman, Willem Dafoe and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. Not pictured are Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tom Bateman and Hamilton‘s Leslie Odom Jr.
(Keep an eye out for the film’s first trailer, which debuts Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.)
Cruz tells PEOPLE she was drawn to the mystery behind each person on the train. “The characters, all of them, have so many layers and so many colors. It’s hard to know, ‘Oh, this is obviously an innocent person and this is obviously the guilty person.’ It’s very ambiguous the whole time because that’s what human nature is.”
Gad and Depp in Murder on the Orient Express.
Published in 1934, the novel became a global blockbuster for Christie, whose works have sold more than two billion copies. The 1974 movie version, starring Albert Finney as Poirot, was nominated for six Oscars, and Ingrid Bergman won Best Supporting Actress.
Branagh in Murder on the Orient Express.
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Branagh subtly modernized the story, keeping the sumptuous 1930s setting but choosing a globally diverse cast and steering away from making a “period romp,” he says, to focus on the plot’s dark edge. Murder, he says, “is a deeply uncivilized act and it unleashes in its execution the primal, the primitive, the atavistic, and that’s a very dangerous force and it’s right underneath this piece. So that I think that we stayed further away from drawing-room mystery in the sense of a board game, and more into this kind of terrifying encounter with danger and death.”
Murder on the Orient Express hits theaters on Nov. 10.