With director Kenneth Branagh Murder on the Orient Express opening in North America this weekend, a few days ago I sat down with Michelle Pfeiffer and Willem Dafoe to talk about the making of the film. While I had a lot of questions for them after watching the movie, the one thing I knew I had to talk about was the epic five minute 65mm Steadicam closing shot. If you’re not aware, doing a long Steadicam shot is hard on its own, but trying to do it when you’re shooting on 65mm film adds an entirely new challenge due to the weight of the camera. They also talked about why shooting on film makes you more disciplined as an actor, how many takes they like to do and if it’s changed during their careers, and the benefits of getting it fast and what can happen when you spend too long on a scene.
As most of you know, Murder on the Orient Express is based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same name, the film follows famous detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) as he tries to solve the murder of one of the passengers aboard the Orient Express. The film also features an all-star cast made up of Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., , Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Sergei Polunin.
Check out what Michelle Pfeiffer and Willem Dafoe had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the synopsis.
Michelle Pfeiffer and Willem Dafoe:
- Their reaction to closing the movie with an epic five minute 65mm Steadicam closing shot.
- Getting to shoot the movie on 65mm film and using the Laurence of Arabia lenses.
- Dafoe explains why shooting on film makes you more disciplined.
- How many takes do they like to do when filming and has it changed during their careers?
They talk about the benefits of getting it fast and what can happen when you spend too long on a scene.
Here’s the official synopsis for Murder on the Orient Express:
What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again. Kenneth Branagh directs and leads an all-star cast including- Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley and Josh Gad.