It was announced very recently that 20th Century Fox has become the winner in an intense bidding war over the film rights to the famous Agatha Christie novel Murder On The Orient Express. After having acquiring the rights from RLJ Entertainment in the UK, Fox is now in the beginning stages of developing a new film version of the tale. No cast or writers announced yet, but the current word sits that Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: First Class) have signed on to produce the film.
Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJ Entertainment, said..
“Since acquiring a majority share of Agatha Christie’s literary estate in February 2012, we have worked closely with Mathew Prichard, Agatha’s grandson, to find the right studio and filmmakers to grow the Christie brand. We are excited to be working with Fox as well as Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon and Simon Kinberg to produce a new, star-studded adaptation of one of the most well-known mystery novels of all time.”
Murder On The Orient Express, one of Christie’s most famous novels, tells the story of a locked-room murder mystery staring her reoccurring detective character Hercule Poirot. While riding the Orient Express train back to London from Istanbul Poirot is approached by a man named Ratchett who believes his own life to be in danger. While initially refusing to help him for “not liking his face” Poirot is soon thrown into Ratchett’s problems when the man is murdered in his own cabin during the night and everyone in coach had a reason to want him dead.
Murder On The Orient Express was first adapted to film by director Sidney Lumet back in 1974. With an all-star cast including Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, and Vanessa Redgrave it was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for Best Supporting Actress. It seems even high-profile classics are no longer safe from the Hollywood remake machine. With RLJ Entertainment owning 64% of Agatha Christie LTD., and therefore a majority of the rights to her works, we will see what else Fox may try to buy up if their remake does well for them.