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