Not Even Kenneth Branagh Knows When Death On The Nile Will Get Released

If anyone in the business was ever entitled to have a few hairs go gray from stress over the last year or so, it's Kenneth Branagh. Although this may have been somewhat allayed by reviews of his latest film, "Belfast," seeming to indicate the makings of an awards season darling, the actor/filmmaker has seen the release of two other long in-development projects undergo a series of COVID-related delays. Unfortunately for "Artemis Fowl," the cancellation of its theatrical release and subsequent dumping onto Disney+ was only the final insult to the injury of its very underwhelming reviews. Meanwhile, "Death on the Nile" has experienced similar release date shuffles but, as if that weren't bad enough, has also been marred by an alarming amount of controversy regarding a few of its stars, as well. This has left the (at one time, at least) highly anticipated Hercule Poirot sequel to 2017's "Murder on the Orient Express" in a state of limbo — and not even Branagh himself knows when it will be resolved.

'I'm Hoping It Gets Its Day in the Sun'

Give Kenneth Branagh credit for this much, at least: during a spectacularly turbulent period of time, he has managed to channel his energy to making a deeply personal autobiographical film that has grand Oscars ambition and — most importantly — was filmed with stringent health and safety protocols in place. That's the good news. The elephant in the room, on the other hand, has to do with the series of woes that have befallen production for "Death on the Nile." Leading man Armie Hammer has been accused of several graphic and disturbing sexual abuse allegations that is currently under investigation and has already cost the actor multiple high-profile projects. All of this came to light well after "Death on the Nile" had already wrapped, but it has cast a pall over the film nonetheless.

In a wide-ranging profile for Variety, Branagh briefly addresses the situation and expresses his hope that this won't further complicate the release of the follow-up to Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express." As far as his thoughts on Armie Hammer, Branagh cautiously says that, "What's gone on there is a personal and private matter of which I have no knowledge and of which I think is going through a process which has to be respected. Those very serious issues are being dealt with seriously." Though that's not exactly the strongest statement, Branagh appears to recognize the gravity of the situation in what will almost certainly lead to a very uncomfortable press tour. As for "Death on the Nile" itself, Branagh tells Variety:

"It's a very entertaining movie with a lot of people's work wrapped up in it. A lot of Agatha Christie fans want to see it. A lot of Hercule Poirot fans want to see it. I'm hoping it gets its day in the sun."

Ultimately, nobody's required to go out and support a film that will make for an uncomfortable watch. At the same time, Branagh is right to say that the film is a product of countless individuals who should be able to celebrate their hard work. Either way, it's undeniable that this particular project has found itself in the crosshairs for several different reasons. Let's not forget about that first film, either.

"Death on the Nile" is currently scheduled for a theatrical release on February 11, 2022.