Sir Kenneth Branagh has praised Agatha Christie’s ability to keep an audience guessing as the reason for the storyteller’s continued relevance.
The award-winning actor directs and stars in a new adaptation of Christie’s 1934 novel Murder On The Orient Express, which features a stellar cast including Dame Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp.
Speaking on the red carpet of the film’s premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in central London, he told the Press Association that audiences “love the fact she (Christie) can orchestrate with 15 characters with still enough diversion and dazzle to keep you guessing”.
Sir Kenneth, who portrays moustached detective Hercule Poirot in the film, added: “In this case you get fantastic actors and they surprise you from the inside with the power and emotion it generates.
“When I read this script I found it very moving, I still find the film very moving. It’s surprising because there’s a bit of loss in the middle of that story which is very affecting and this version captures that.”
The detective novel about the Belgian sleuth sees him investigate a death in his carriage on the Orient Express train from Istanbul to London.
Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, who plays passenger Mary Debenham in the film, said Christie’s “timeless” writing meant the latest adaptation remained relevant.
She told the Press Association: “Agatha Christie was an amazing writer … her stuff lives on.
“I think to get a new set of people together and a new sort of energy telling a story, and Ken tweaked it slightly, there’s a couple of different characters … I think it’s just wonderful.”
She added: “On a nice cold evening, go to the cinema, watch a cast of people who may or may not have killed someone.”
Colman said the famed author’s writing offers “escapism” and compared trying to detect who the killer is to a “pub quiz”.
“It’s so sumptuous and so beautiful and exciting. It takes you out of whatever else is going on in the world, which I think is always quite welcome,” she added.
Sir Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr and Lucy Boynton also star in the film, which is released in cinemas on November 3.