As meticulous as his character
Released in 2017, Crime on the Orient Express is an adaptation by Kenneth Branagh of one of the classics of detective literature, the novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. We follow the famous Hercule Poirot who is investigating a series of murders taking place during a trip on the Orient-Express. Like his previous productions like Hamlet or Henry V, Branagh also holds one of the main roles in the film. Here he plays the famous Belgian detective, who is certainly the most famous character of Agatha Christie. To bring it to life, the Briton did not do things by halves …
The clothes make the monk … and the accent too!
Before the shoot, he read the entire adventures of Hercule Poirot (33 novels and more than 50 short stories!), Starting with an original edition of Styles’ mysterious affair received for her birthday. For the costumes, the fittings began nine months before the photoshoot and were made to measure, as were the shoes Branagh wore for three months to make them on her feet. It was the thickness and shape of the tie knot that took the most time, and it had to be replicated to perfection every time Branagh put on the suit. No less than three months of testing were necessary, with different fabrics and a lot of starch, to develop the perfect knot.
To reproduce Poirot’s Belgian accent, Branagh listened to recordings of 27 different Belgian accents, made by men of Poirot’s age speaking English. He worked with a language tutor three times a week to acquire a detective’s accent.
Particular care has been taken to the mustache: “Poirot’s hallmark is his cuteness, it comes up often in the texts. He’s also a meticulous person, in his general appearance and especially for his huge and magnificent mustache – a touch of touching vanity that Christie often evokes, and that Poirot himself recognizes as such “, Branagh says.
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The director has gathered all the descriptions made by the author, using the resources of his literary collection. Nine months of research and development followed with makeup and hairstyle designer Carol Hemming to create what Christie herself had described as “the most magnificent mustache in all of England”. The filmmaker went so far as to study the work of the most famous Belgian artists, such as the surrealist painter Magritte, and Hergé, the creator of Tintin. Branagh concludes: “It was almost like a mask. Poirot’s superpower! That mustache keeps people at bay. It had to be structured, full, pleasing in appearance, and it had to make a strong impression.”
Kenneth Branagh will find the costume of Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile, his next production and a new adaptation of Agatha Christie, which will be released in our theaters on December 16.