ABC MUR­DERS DI­REC­TOR ALEX GABASSI ON THE CHAL­LENGE OF ADAPT­ING AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Cover Story -

“TO BE hon­est the only Agatha Christie films I had seen were the 1976 Sid­ney Lumet ver­sion of Ori­ent Ex­press and the Ken­neth Branagh last year. I didn’t know I was go­ing to do this, so I went to see it for the sheer pleasure of watch­ing an old­style look at it.

“Maybe I’d seen as a child Peter Usti­nov, but I’d never seen David Suchet. And once I got this I didn’t want to see it. I hadn’t read the book be­fore shoot­ing ei­ther. I chose not to.

“I wanted to go back to the 1930s and not have that nice, com­fort­ing, pleas­ing-to-the-eye vis­ual style.

You won’t find any art deco here. Ev­ery­thing is smoky, grimy, dirty.

“Why did I get rid of Poirot’s mous­tache? The first rea­son is I liked the way John looked. I just re­alised at his age, the bald head, the goa­tee … This was a nice beau­ti­ful de­sign and was very sym­met­ri­cal and was very Poirot with­out shout­ing it.

“Also, I didn’t want peo­ple to look back and think: ‘Oh, this is a char­ac­ter who’s done this case and that case.’ For­get about those cases. Now he’s an old vul­ner­a­ble man. His best friend has just died.”

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