'Death On The Nile' Is A Christie Adaptation With A ‘Lusty Atmosphere’, Says Kenneth Branagh
Empire, 1 September 2020
With 2017’s 'Murder On The Orient Express', director and star Kenneth Branagh not only delivered the moustachiest screen incarnation of Hercule Poirot ever, but offered up a super-slick, super-starry adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic. Even if you knew whodunnit, watching it unfold with Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Branagh himself, and more (quite literally) on board was a thrill. Now he’s back, both in front of and behind the camera, to solve another murder-mystery in 'Death On The Nile' – a follow-up that swaps the chilly paranoia of 'Orient Express' for a sweltering, sultry mood.
True to its Ronseal title, 'Death On The Nile' sees Poirot attempt to solve, well, a death on the Nile, where the steamer boat Karnak becomes a playground for love and lust – with Armie Hammer’s upper-class Englishman Simon Doyle joined on the river by both his wealthy new wife, Gal Gadot’s Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, and his ex-fiancée Jacqueline de Bellefort (played by Sex Education’s Emma Mackey) – as well as murder.
“We stayed away from a milder, more reserved, more superficially cocktail language and music of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, and took it to a seamier and more soulful setting,” Branagh tells Empire in the new Dune issue, on sale Thursday 3 September. “For me the inspirations were noir classics, Dial M For Murder, Double Indemnity… and latter-day pictures, Body Heat, even Fatal Attraction. These hot, lusty atmospheres. People in the grip of extreme passions _do_ do dangerous things.”
And those more personal stakes extend to Poirot too, whose own past is elaborated on in a World War I flashback that will see a digitally de-aged Branagh play a 22-year-old version of the famous detective. “We get a chance to see not only what forged Poirot in the roughly-toughty world that people might not imagine him to have engaged with, that is action, and guns, and fighting and all of that, but also in the affairs of the heart,” he teases.