One of the world’s most famous crime novelists may, once again, be headed to the big screen. AGATHA CHRISTIE, from a script by Tom Shepherd, is in the works at Columbia Pictures with Roth Kirschenbaum Films set to produce.
The action-adventure pic, which is being pitched as Sherlock Holmes meets The Thomas Crown Affair, finds a young, adventurous Agatha Christie joining Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on a mission to track down the whereabouts of a missing oil tycoon.
Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum are producing through their Roth Kirschenbaum banner, with Zack Roth and Dennis Stratton serving as the shingle’s production execs. Adam North and Palak Patel are overseeing for Columbia.
Shepherd’s script is reminiscent of another Agatha Christie-inspired project, Agatha from writer Allison Schroeder. Schroeder’s spec similarly sees the crime novelist set in an action-adventure story, but surmises what happened during a period of 11 days during which she went missing. That project was set up at Paramount with Mary Parent set to produce through her Disruption Entertainment, but in the wake of Parent’s move to Legendary, the project’s fate – like many Disruption projects – remains unclear. Furthermore, Will Gluck, who was previously attached to direct Agatha, appears to have fallen off. That gives Columbia an opportunity to develop their competing Christie project, which is seeking a Margot Robbie-type for the titular heroine.
Shepherd first made waves with his 2012 Black List script, Hey, Stella!, which tells the story of how Marlon Brando won the role of Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan’s broadway play A Streetcar Named Desire. He has since taken over writing duties for Cicero, the Al Capone biopic that has Tom Hardy attached to the lead. With Agatha Christie, he continues to build on his reputation as a reliable screenwriter when it comes to adapting the stories of real-life characters in interesting new ways.
Roth Kirschenbaum’s recent credits include Maleficent, In the Heart of the Sea, and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. They are currently underway with Vin Diesel’s XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, while Alice Through The Looking Glass awaits its release later this month. Their development slate include the Maleficent sequel, Dracula and Van Helsing, and The Gray Man with Charlize Theron.
Josh Lyons | Managing Editor