Murder Mystery Madness
Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot is one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time, right up there with Sherlock Holmes and Columbo. Poirot has appeared in countless novels and short stories over the years, and the character has made the jump to stage, screen, radio, and even anime.
The most famous Poirot story is 1934’s Murder on the Orient Express, which was first turned into an Oscar-winning movie in 1974. Now, in 2017, Kenneth Brannagh is directing and starring in a new adaptation of the pulse-pounding mystery, and he’s brought along an all-star cast of suspects! Let’s take a lot at a few of the actors appearing in the new film, which opens on November 10.
While he’s seen a handful of commercial duds lately, such as The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and Mortdecai, make no mistake: Johnny Depp is still one of the of the biggest movie stars on the planet. The 54-year-old actor (older than he looks, right?) brought the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film to an impressive $794 million worldwide. Looking forward, the rebounding heartthrob is due to appear in the next Fantastic Beasts movie, as well as a new adaptation of The Invisible Man.
As the lead character in The Force Awakens, this Star Wars starlet is currently the face of the most precious pop culture property of all time. Daisy Ridley went from a relative newcomer to one of the most famous people on the planet over the course of one movie. That’s the power of Star Wars. Murder on the Orient Express is her first movie since her first adventure in that galaxy far, far away, but she’ll soon return to her iconic role as Rey in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. After that, the young actor is attached to Ophelia, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Doug Liman’s ambitious new post-apocalyptic drama, Chaos Walking.
Whether we’re talking about her roles in Scarface, Batman Returns, Hairspray, or Murder on the Orient Express, Michelle Pfeiffer is the ultimate blonde bombshell for all time. Even in roles where she’s not supposed to be “sexy,” she can’t help but inspire heavy romantic rumblings in the pit of our stomachs. We actually feel bad when we’re watching an Oscar-worthy performance and can only think about how her eyes are just so dreamy!
Seriously, the woman is pushing 60, but there’s nobody else in Hollywood who comes even close. Hell, in The Fabulous Baker Boys, she even broke up the brotherly bond between Jeff and Beau Bridges! Now and forever, there’s nobody like Michelle.
The director/star of the film is one of modern cinema’s most beloved auteurs. In recent years, Brannagh, who was previously best known for Shakespeare adaptations like Othello, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothing (as well as the underrated Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), has leveraged his prestigious past into big-budget success. He introduced audiences to Marvel’s God of Thunder in 2011’s Thor and helmed 2015’s charming live-action Cinderella remake. Is there anything this master of his craft can’t do?
Let’s be real. Willem Dafoe is one strange looking dude. He’s also one hell of a talented actor. He’s that performer who refuses to be typecast, and throws himself into a wide variety of roles. Whether he’s a cross-dressing detective in The Boondock Saints, a psychotic villain in Spider-Man, the titular anti-hero’s trusted best friend in John Wick, or the voice of Ryuk in Netflix’s Death Note adaptation, Dafoe is a true acting chameleon. He can play anything. Up next, he’s in James Wan’s Aquaman, and will also star as the legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate.
Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Penelope Cruz is adored by mainstream audiences and cinephiles alike. She balances her work between crowd-pleasing blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (alongside Johnny Depp) and Zoolander 2 with more intimate fare thanks to her numerous collaborations with the likes of Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar.
One of Cruz’s most sadly-overlooked movies is Banditas, in which she co-starred with Selma Hayek as a female bank robber in 1890s Mexico. It was the feature film debut for directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who would go on to make Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales…which did not star Penelope, but did feature her husband, Javier Bardem, as the main villain. Funny how these things work out!
Leslie Odom Jr.
Grammy-award winner, Leslie Odom Jr. (he killed as Adam Burr, the damn fool who shot Hamilton) is best known for his television work, but with a resume that includes significant runs on fan-favorite shows like Smash, Person of Interest, Law & Order: SVU, and CSI: Miami, we know it’s just a matter of time before he skyrockets to big-time Hollywood stardom.
Murder on the Orient Express is only Leslie’s second major movie, following 2012’s Red Tails, an underrated, visually stunning wartime adventure from the mind of George Lucas. Will Orient Express give Odom Jr. the opportunity to finally become the movie star we know he deserves to be? Here’s hoping!
Another star on the verge of breaking out into the big time is Lucy Boynton. She’s already raised eyebrows with her performances in movies like Rebel in the Rye and Sing Street, as well as her role on the TV series, Gypsy.
Murder on the Orient Express is her first big-budget movie, but not her last! She’s attached to play Mary Austin in the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Fans of Freddie Mercury know that Austin was the singer’s muse, and their intimate relationship will surely play a large role in the film.