A Haunting in Venice: who else has played Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot alongside Kenneth Branagh?
Kenneth Branagh might be playing the role of Hercule Poirot recently, but long-time Agathe Christie fans still have their definitive performance.
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The latest in Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot series is released today, with ‘A Haunting in Venice’ bringing the Belgian sleuth to our screens once again. This time around though, the film is set to have more of a ‘supernatural mystery’ element, as Poirot looks to solve the murder of someone who had previously attended a seance.
The film was adapted from Agatha Christie’s novel, ‘Hallowe’en Party,’ and producer James Prichard believes that the source material has inspired the more ‘supernatural’ elements of the film, allowing a different approach compared to other Christie adaptations of yesteryear. Prichard would know very well if it’s a faithful Christie adaptation - he is the great-grandchild of the celebrated author.
But Kenneth Branagh is of course not the only person to have portrayed Hercule Poirot on screen, with many familiar with the Belgian’s exploits in part due to the British television series, ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot,’ which aired on ITV from 1989 until 2013.
We’re sure here at NationalWorld that you know the iconic British actor who made Poirot a household name in the United Kingdom, but were you familiar with some of these other actors who have taken the mantle alongside Kenneth Branagh?
Who else has portrayed Hercule Poirot on screen?
We start with the greatest performance of Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian detective, one that for many television viewers is synonymous with the character. For 25 years and 70 episodes, David Suchet's meticulous attention to detail and dedication to capturing Poirot's quirks and mannerisms made him synonymous with the role.
Suchet's Poirot is known for his impeccable moustache, Belgian accent, and his knack for solving intricate murder mysteries with his "little grey cells." His nuanced and consistent performance earned him widespread acclaim and a dedicated fan following, solidifying his legacy as the quintessential Poirot.
John Malkovich played the role of Hercule Poirot in the TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's ‘The ABC Murders.’ This three-part miniseries, which aired in 2018, offered a unique and darker interpretation of the character. Malkovich's portrayal of Poirot was notably different from some previous renditions, as he brought a more brooding and introspective quality to the famous detective.
The series provided a fresh perspective on the character and storyline, exploring Poirot's inner struggles and complexities while investigating a series of murders. While it may not be the traditional Poirot portrayal, John Malkovich's performance offered a distinctive take on the iconic character.
Alfred Molina took on the role of Hercule Poirot in the 2001 TV movie "Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express." Molina's portrayal sought to capture the essence of Poirot while infusing some of his style into the character. His interpretation leaned more toward the traditional portrayal of Poirot as an intelligent and meticulous detective.
While not as iconic as David Suchet's long-running portrayal, Molina's performance was generally well-received and contributed to the continued interest in Agatha Christie's mysteries on screen. Molina's Poirot was notable for his distinctive moustache, sharp intellect, and methodical approach to solving crimes.
Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov
Both Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov portrayed Poirot in film adaptations of Agatha Christie's works. Finney's performance in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (1974) emphasized Poirot's eccentricities and meticulous investigative skills. Ustinov, on the other hand, brought a more lighthearted and comedic touch to the character in films like ‘Death on the Nile’ (1978) and ‘Evil Under the Sun’ (1982).
While their interpretations differed from Suchet's more faithful portrayal, they each added their flair to Poirot's character, showcasing the versatility of the role. These performances contributed to the enduring popularity of Poirot adaptations on the big screen.
Tony Randall portrayed Hercule Poirot in the 1965 film "The Alphabet Murders." In this comedic take on Agatha Christie's detective, Randall brought his unique charm and humour to the character. Poirot's obsessive-compulsive tendencies and quirky personality were played up for laughs, making this adaptation more of a spoof than a faithful representation of the character.
While some fans of the original Poirot stories may not consider this portrayal as true to the source material, Randall's performance added a different dimension to the detective.