The ABC Murders

Kenneth Branagh played detective Hercule Poirot in last year’s Murder on the Orient Express and will soon be reprising the role in a sequel, but Branagh isn’t the only actor set to wear the character’s ludicrously large mustache. A new report says that John Malkovich will play the part in a new television adaptation of writer Agatha Christie‘s murder mystery novel The ABC Murders – and a Harry Potter star is set to join him.

Deadline says Malkovich will play the role of the famous detective in The ABC Murders, a three-part miniseries TV adaptation of Christie’s 1936 novel for BBC One. Rupert Grint, who played the goofy and good-natured Ron Weasley in Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter film franchise, will star opposite Malkovich, playing the character of Inspector Crome, who initially doubts Poirot’s abilities. Here’s the plot synopsis:

Set in the 1930s, a time when Britain is dangerously divided and suspicion and hatred are on the rise, the story sees Poirot face a serial killer known only as A.B.C. As the body count rises, the only clue is a copy of The ABC Railway Guide at each crime scene. Poirot’s investigations are continuously thwarted by an enemy determined to outsmart him. If Poirot is to match his nemesis, then everything about him will be called into question: his authority, his integrity, his past and his identity.

The story was previously adapted into a movie called The Alphabet Murders in 1965, starring Tony Randall in the lead role.

In the books and previous movie adaptations, Hercule Poirot is Belgian. I’ve never heard Malkovich attempt a Belgian accent before, but my personal hope is that he dusts off whatever the bizarre accent he created for the 1998 poker movie Rounders and uses that as Poirot’s voice here:

The rest of the cast includes Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks) as Cust, a suspect in the case; and Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch), Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones), Bronwyn James (Harlots), and Freya Mavor (The Sense of an Ending) as people who are related to the murder victims either by blood or employment.

The ABC Murders is part of an ongoing deal between BBC One and the Agatha Christie estate, which granted the network the rights to produce seven adaptations of Christie novels from 2016-2020. Sarah Phelps, who wrote previous Christie adaptations like And Then There Were None and Ordeal By Innocence, will be writing this three-episode mini-series as well. Filming begins in June, and while the series will air on BBC One across the pond, Amazon has the rights in the United States.

Meanwhile, Branagh is set to reprise the role of Poirot on the big screen and direct Death on the Nile, a big-screen sequel to Murder on the Orient Express that’s set to arrive in theaters on November 8, 2019.

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