Kenneth Branagh refuses to rest on his laurels. After finishing his run on BBC’s Wallander and both directing and starring in last year’s Fox hit Murder on the Orient Express as Agatha Christie protagonist Hercule Poirot, Branagh has just signed on to star and produce Entertainment One’s television adaptation of Amor Towles’ novel A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW.
The project will be adapted and directed by Tom Harper (War and Peace) who is currently in pre-producion on the Amazon Studios film The Aeronauts, which will reunite Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones following the Oscar-winning Stephen Hawking film The Theory of Everything.
In the eOne television film, Branagh would play the novel’s main character Count Alexander Rostov, who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. The story takes place over thirty years beginning in the early ’20s, leading up to the Count being put under house arrest at the Metropol hotel, directly across from the Kremlin.
Branagh will produce the project along with Harper and Xavier Marchand of Moonriver Content. eOne optioned the book last year from Penguin Random House subsidiary Viking with Carolyn Newman and Polly Williams overseeing the project for eOne with eOne’s President of Scripted Programming Pancho Mansfield also involved.
A five-time Oscar nominee, Branagh will be reuniting with eOne’s President and Chief Content Officer Mark Gordon, following their work on Murder on the Orient Express with a sequel, Death on the Nile, already greenlit and dated by 20th Century Fox. Branagh previously played a Russian in the spy-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which he also directed, and his Oscar-nominated role as Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn had him playing a Hungarian prince opposite Marilyn Monroe as they filmed The Prince and the Showgirl.
Other recent films that Branagh has directed but not starred in include Marvel’s Thor and Disney’s Cinderella, and he is currently in production on Disney’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl. Presumably, he could film A Gentleman in Moscow once he finishes the latter and Harper finishes The Aeronauts, although Fox has already dated Death on the Nile for Nov. 2019, and Branagh will at least star in that film, if not necessarily direct.
This news was initially reported on by Deadline
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor