This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
The latest Agatha Christie adaptation directed-by-and-starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot is set to premiere in a month! To celebrate the occasion, 20th Century Studios put out a featurette where Branagh and other cast members share how A Haunting in Venice is different from the two recent film adaptations before it, as well as some fun tidbits about how Branagh spooked his fellow cast members on set.
“Agatha Christie was an incredible storyteller,” Branagh says in the featurette. “She is the world’s number one mystery writer because she understood a good detective story. Orient Express dealt with revenge. Death on the Nile dealt with greed. This film is about whether there is anything beyond us—a ghost, a god. Whether Poirot believes in it, it involves us being scared.”
It turns out the actors on set—who includ Tina Fey, Kelly Reilly, Jamie Dornan, Michelle Yeoh, Kyle Allen, Emma Laird, and Riccardo Scamarcio—were legitimately and purposefully startled in certain scenes.
“These actors had no warning about what would happen—what we did with light, wind, doors opening,” Branagh says later on in the video. How sneaky!
The featurette also teases more of the story of A Haunting in Venice. While we already knew that Poirot is at a séance in the titular city where someone is murdered, this video reveals that some of the people the characters are trying to contact include a daughter who died by violent means. Could the death of this daughter tie into the death that happens at this séance? I don’t know, but don’t worry: Poirot is on the case.
A Hunting in Venice is based on Christie’s novel, Hallowe’en Party, with a screen adaptation written by Michael Green. It’s set to premiere in theaters on September 15, 2023. In the meantime, check out this spooky character poster of Poirot to get you in the right frame of mind to watch it: