It is no longer the heady days of the late 2000s, early 10s. In those days, Johnny Depp was a box office superstar and his movies routinely grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. The last time Depp was in a film that grossed over $100 million, it was a bit part in Into the Woods. The last time he led a film that grossed over $100 million, it was 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. While he may hope that the Pirates franchise will revitalize his fortunes next year with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the performance of this year’s Alice Through the Looking Glass doesn’t signal that people are particularly eager to see Johnny Depp leading films.
Which is why it’s a smart move that Depp is in talks to join the ensemble feature, Murder on the Orient Express. Director Kenneth Branagh is playing the lead role of detective Hercule Poirot. For those who are unfamiliar with Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel, it revolves around the murder of an American businessman on a train, and it’s up to the intrepid Poirot to find the culprit. According to THR, Depp will play Ratchett, the man who is murdered.
That’s not to say that supporting roles are now the future of Depp’s career. He’s also signed on to lead the film Labyrinth, in which he’ll play a detective investigating the murders of Tupac and Biggie. He’s also attached to the Brett Ratner film The Libertine, which is about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal.
Outside of Depp, Orient Express is lining up an outstanding cast of actors. THR reports that Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) is playing Doctor Arbuthnot and Tom Bateman (Da Vinci’s Demons) is set to play the Frenchman Bouc. The film has also added Michelle Pfeiffer as “Mrs. Hubbard, a glamorous and opinionated passenger with a secret”, Daisy Ridley as “Mary Debenham, a working class woman in love with Arbuthnot”, Judi Dench as “Princess Dragomiroff, who hails from Russian royalty”, and Michael Pena as “a Cuban passenger named Marquez.” Lucy Boynton (Sing Street) and Derek Jacobi (Gladiator) are also on board.
Filming is set to begin this November in London from a script by Blade Runner 2 scribe Michael Green.