John Malkovich as Poirot: the first image

Last month, we heard that American movie star John Malkovich has been cast as Hercule Poirot, for the upcoming BBC One adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1936 novel The ABC Murders.

Now, the BBC has released a first-look image of John Malkovich as Poirot, to give you an idea of what this intriguing new casting looks like. Here’s the snap…

Sarah Phelps – who penned the Beeb’s recent adaptations of Christie’s And Then There Were None, The Witness For The Prosecution and Ordeal By Innocence – has written the scripts for this three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders.

The BBC’s Piers Wenger said this about the show:

“Over the last three years Sarah has breathed new life into some of Agatha Christie’s most renowned crime stories and we can’t wait for her to do the same with Christie’s most iconic detective, Hercule Poirot. We are utterly thrilled that John Malkovich has been persuaded to unleash his extraordinary abilities on this stellar role.”

As well as the incredible casting of Malkovich as Poirot, the cast of The ABC Murders also includes Rupert Grint (Harry Potter, Sick Note) as Inspector Crome, Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch, The Honourable Woman) as Franklin Clarke, Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks, Chained) playing Cust, Tara Fitzgerald (Game Of Thrones, Requiem) as Lady Hermione Clarke, Bronwyn James (Harlots) in the role of Megan and Freya Mavor (The Sense Of An Ending, Sunshine On Leith) as Thora Grey.

Phelps said this to tease the series:

“Set in the seething, suspicious early 1930s, The ABC Murders is a brutal story of violence and lies, the long shadow of the past and the slaughter to come. At its centre, one of the most familiar, famous characters in crime fiction. We may all think we know Poirot but do we really know Hercule?”

James Prichard – CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, executive producer on the show and great-grandson of Christie herself – said this:

“The ABC Murders is one of my great grandmother’s most unsettling and intense stories and Hercule Poirot one of her most intriguing characters. I am humbled by the quality of cast we have lined up for the show and I am most excited to experience the unique approach John Malkovich will bring to the role in this thrilling one-off television adaptation.”

Also, the BBC released this little teaser of the story:

“This time the setting is the 1930s; a time when the nation is dangerously divided and suspicion and hatred are on the rise. In the midst of this Poirot faces a serial killer known only as A.B.C. First the killer strikes in Andover, then Bexhill. As the murder count rises, the only clue is the copy of The ABC Railway Guide at each crime scene. Poirot’s investigations are thwarted at every turn 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, his identity.”

For British viewers, the role of Poirot is most associated with David Suchet, who played the part in 70 episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot between 1989 and 2013. Also, only last year, Kenneth Branagh played the role of this iconic moustachioed detective in a glossy big screen adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express. Branagh, incidentally, is expected to reprise his take on Poirot in a cinematic rendering of Death On The Nile next year.

Here’s hoping that Malkovich brings his own unique spin to the role, and that Phelps delivers yet another well-received adaptation of a Christie classic.

More as we hear it.

BBC