“Almost like a real web site”

Search | Contact
News | e-News |
Rumour Mill | Stories
Foreign Language
in70mm.com auf Deutsch


Todd-AO Festival
KRRR! 7OMM Seminar
GIFF 70, Gentofte
Oslo 7OMM Festival
Widescreen Weekend

Premiere | Films
People | Equipment
Library | Cinemas
Todd-AO Projector
Distortion Correcting

Ultra Panavision 70
Super Panavision 70

1926 Natural Vision
1929 Grandeur
1930 Magnifilm
1930 Realife
1930 Vitascope
1952 Cinerama
1953 CinemaScope
1955 Todd-AO
1955 Circle Vision 360
1956 CinemaScope 55
1957 Ultra Panavision 70
1958 Cinemiracle
1958 Kinopanorama
1959 Super Panavision 70
1959 Super Technirama 70
1960 Smell-O-Vision
1961 Sovscope 70
Cinerama 360
1962 MCS-70
1963 70mm Blow Up
1963 Circarama
1963 Circlorama
1966 Dimension 150
1967 DEFA 70
1967 Pik-A-Movie
1970 IMAX / Omnimax
1974 Cinema 180
1976 Dolby Stereo
1984 Showscan
1984 Swissorama
1986 iWERKS
1989 ARRI 765
1990 CDS
1994 DTS / Datasat
2001 Super Dimension 70
2018 Magellan 65

Various Large format | 70mm to 3-strip | 3-strip to 70mm | Specialty Large Format | Special Effects in 65mm | ARC-120 | Super Dimension 70Early Large Format
7OMM Premiere in Chronological Order


Australia | Brazil
Canada | Denmark
England | France
Germany | Iran
Mexico | Norway
Sweden | Turkey

7OMM Projectors
People | Eulogy
65mm/70mm Workshop
The 7OMM Newsletter
Back issue | PDF
Academy of the WSW

• 2026 | 2025 | 2024
2023 | 2022 | 2021
2020 | 2019 | 2018
2017 | 2016 | 2015
2014 | 2013 | 2012
2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006
2005 | 2004 | 2003
2002 | 2001 | 2000
1999 | 1998 | 1997
1996 | 1995 | 1994

in70mm.com Mission:
• To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films. Both during making and during running the films in projection rooms and as the audience, looking at the curved screen.
in70mm.com, a unique internet based magazine, with articles about 70mm cinemas, 70mm people, 70mm films, 70mm sound, 70mm film credits, 70mm history and 70mm technology. Readers and fans of 70mm are always welcome to contribute.

Disclaimer | Updates
Support us
Table of Content

Extracts and longer parts of in70mm.com may be reprinted with the written permission from the editor.
Copyright © 1800 - 2070. All rights reserved.

Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas


"Death on the Nile"
To be released
in U.S. theaters December 18, 2020 and in the UK in October, 2020
Updated: "Death on the Nile" to premiere with 32 70mm prints, 17. September 2021
Updated: "Death on the Nile" to premiere with 32 70mm prints, 11. February 2022

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: disney.com, 18. August 2020 Date: 20.08.2020
“Death on the Nile” was shot on 65mm film and will be presented in 70mm in cinemas, which is a very immersive form of filmmaking and one that is suited especially for a film with a big ensemble cast.

“For me, the escapism and the transportation are so total,” says Branagh. “It is a wonderfully immersive, illusory experience that is very full and thick. The depth, the detail, the chance to replicate the experience of the human eye is absolutely at its premium.” Frame grab from the trailer. 20th Century Studios / disney.com

Based on the 1937 novel by Agatha Christie, Twentieth Century Studios’ “Death on the Nile” is a daring mystery-thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh about the emotional chaos and deadly consequences triggered by obsessive love. Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Set against an epic landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers and enough wicked twists and turns to keep audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement.

“Death on the Nile” reunites the filmmaking team behind the global hit “Murder on the Orient Express,” and stars five-time Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot. He is joined by an all-star cast of suspects, including Tom Bateman, four-time Oscar® nominee Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright. With a screenplay by Michael Green adapted from Christie’s novel, “Death on the Nile” is produced by Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon, Simon Kinberg, Kenneth Branagh, Judy Hofflund and Kevin J. Walsh, with Matthew Jenkins, James Prichard and Matthew Prichard serving as executive producers.

• Go to "Death on the Nile" to photographed in Panavision System 65
• Go to The Immersive Quality of 70mm Film
• Go to "Murder on the Orient Express" Production Information

More in 70mm reading:

"Death on the Nile" Released in Glorious 70mm

"Death on the Nile" to photographed in Panavision System 65

"Murder on the Orient Express" Production Information

Presented in 70mm with digital DATASAT sound (Formerly DTS)

Motion pictures photographed in Super Panavision 70 & Panavision System 65


Setting Sail

"Death on the Nile" teaser poster

It was on the heels of their successful collaboration "Murder on the Orient Express", that director/producer Kenneth Branagh ("Hamlet", “Henry V,” “Thor”) and screenwriter Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2049,” “Logan”) began discussing their favorite Agatha Christie titles and which ones would work cinematically. “We were having such a good time talking and asking if we got to make another one, what would that be. Ken and I each laid out our favorites, but we kept circling back to ‘Death on the Nile.’”

“The hunger for sex in Agatha Christie’s original story is very powerful, and people are reckless in their pursuit of it. Their greed for physical satisfaction is dangerous to a murderous degree,” says Branagh. “It is the most unsettled of Agatha Christie’s books. She presents a veneer of sophistication, sexiness, glamour and romance, but it is, at all times, brittle, fragile, dangerous and disruptive.”

The filmmakers were fortunate to have two relatives of the famed author, Matthew Prichard (“Poirot”) and James Prichard (“Murder on the Orient Express”) of the Agatha Christie Estate, involved with the production, which provided an invaluable resource in terms of understanding the author’s personal attitude towards this specific book. “We were the lucky recipients of quite a lot of the sort of human texture that is part of why her books are so successful,” says Branagh. “She’s not merely someone who can write clever puzzles, she writes real people.”

Matthew Prichard was especially thrilled for the Agatha Christie Estate to embark on another collaboration with Branagh. “What we like about ‘Orient Express,’ and now with ‘Death on the Nile,’ is that the plot and the story, and most of all, the atmosphere, of the real Agatha Christie is recreated on the screen,” says Prichard. “For the audience, it is tremendously important they feel that they’ve not only seen a wonderfully modern and hugely cinematic film but have also experienced an evening of Agatha Christie.”

In making the transition from a novel rich in complexity and characters to a screenplay, the filmmakers mined the story for the key elements to evolve and expand upon. “The book is very well written,” says Green. “It’s got some of Agatha Christie’s best prose in it, and it has this wonderful plot with a wonderful solution. It’s sprawling.”

But it was the themes of romance and jealousy that the screenwriter wanted to truly explore. “We just kept coming back to passion and love, diving into those feelings, and making sure all of our characters really had something to say about those emotions,” says Green.

“In an Agatha Christie novel, it works to have interesting people hanging around who aren’t suspect,” explains Green. “As a result, there were a few minor changes made to the script to help enhance a few of the characters and to fold together others to make them more cinematic, as everyone needs a potential reason to have a motive and opportunity to kill.”

“The exotic location and glamorous settings made ‘Death on the Nile’ a very exciting prospect for Ken,” says producer Judy Hofflund (“Artemis Fowl,” “Panic Room”). “The idea of making a big landscape version of these Agatha Christie stories and to tell a story on a large canvas was very appealing.”

“With ‘Death on the Nile’ we have a wealthy socialite’s attraction to a man who previously has been passionately entwined with an equally beautiful woman, whom he rejects then embraces and weds the other,” Branagh explains. “There is a wedding party where a group of exotic and amazing people who claim to be their friends, surround them. Because of the karma generated when one woman steals another woman’s man, fireworks ensue. So a human love triangle that goes bad, is the sort of rotten fruit at the center of this murderous holiday.”

“Michael’s first draft was a home run,” says Hofflund. “It was what we showed to every actor, and it was the script we cast the movie on.”

“It had a more youthful approach,” agrees Branagh. “Everything about the story is now younger and sexier, literally and aesthetically.”

The Cast and Characters

Kenneth Branagh stars as Hercule Poirot, one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved and most famous creations: a brilliant, quick-witted, charmingly self-deprecating Belgian sleuth. Chivalrous and innately kind, obsessed with his personal grooming, he enjoys the dispensations that come from a life spent socializing amongst the elite.

Tom Bateman (“Snatched”) is back as the handsome, charming and good-humored Bouc, who is the aimless but lovable right-hand man to Hercule Poirot. The actor was delighted to return as the character he played in “Murder on the Orient Express,” especially since his character doesn’t appear in Agatha Christie’s book, and embraced his thrilling storyline. “Poirot’s lens does swing onto Bouc a bit…It was very interesting coming back to him,” he says. “In ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, Bouc didn’t care about anyone but himself, but in this film he’s learned to care and has grown up.”

Annette Bening (“Captain Marvel,” “American Beauty”) is Euphemia Bouc, a renowned painter, and Bouc’s mother. Entitled, disdainful and extremely protective of her son, she is in Egypt along with him to attend the wedding of his friend, Linnet. “Euphemia is a newly created character for our particular way of telling this story. She is very much concerned, almost obsessed, with her son,” says Bening.

Thrilled to be a part of the ensemble cast, Bening fully embraced the character in the context of the period in which the story is set, and her seemingly cynical attitude towards love: “I had a lot of fun reading about women of the period and the bohemian world at the turn of the century,” says Bening. “Learning about painters of the period, and where Euphemia might have trained and how that might have impacted her romantic life, was a very important piece of understanding Euphemia.”

Russell Brand (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) is Linus Windlesham, an aristocratic, affable, health-obsessed doctor who was once engaged to Linnet Ridgeway and wants to do good in the world. The actor chose to focus “on the warmth and integrity of the character,” seeking authenticity in the role, embracing research about 1930s medicine. In discussing Branagh he says, “He’s very anchoring and he leads very elegantly. He creates an atmosphere commensurate with creativity and focus, but broadly convivial and you know you are in the hands of a serious artist.”

Born in India and educated at Oxford, Andrew Katchadourian is Linnet Ridgeway’s suave and handsome “cousin” and childhood friend, whose law office handles all of the Ridgeway family affairs. The role is played by Ali Fazal (“Victoria & Abdul”), who was delighted to be a part of the ensemble cast. “My childhood was filled with Agatha Christie books. Ken’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was so stunning and so rich.”

Linnet Ridgeway, the joyful, stylish, obscenely wealthy heiress from a prominent and well-respected family, is played by Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman,” “Fast & Furious”). Gracious and self-assured, she has never known the intoxicating and all-consuming sensation that comes from true love, and she has made a number of enemies because of her wealth over the years. Gadot fell in love with Linnet Ridgeway and embraced the complexity of the character. “She’s very self-centered, but at the same time, she has so much heart. She’s very used to having things her way but it’s lonely at the top, so she has a great void inside.”

“Working with Ken,” says Gadot, “was an amazing experience for me. I learned so much from his performance, as well as his direction. He’s so prepared and organized and that leaves almost no room for any mistakes but at the same time, he gives the actors a lot of freedom to try and do whatever we want to do. He has this ability to make everyone feel special, and his charisma and charm go a long way.”

According to Branagh, “Linnet Ridgeway requires an actress of extraordinary beauty, dazzle, naughtiness and compassion, which we found in Gal. She’s amazing in the part, and just as colorful and deep as her character.”

Unemployed, but handsome and naturally charming, Simon Doyle is in love with Jackie de Bellefort, until she introduces him to her school friend, the beautiful, wealthy, equally captivating Linnet Ridgeway. Armie Hammer, who has starred in films including “Call Me by Your Name” and “The Social Network,” plays Simon, and found the role challenging because it is someone who spends much of the time hiding his true self. “How much can you show, how much can slip?” he says. “You have to get the balance right; my character has to be credible through the entire story.”

And Hammer was thrilled with the chance to work with Branagh. “As an actor, he speaks the same language and knows how to communicate in a way that gives you everything you need.”

Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) is Louise Bourget, Linnet Ridgeway’s lady’s maid – not her servant – who is devoted to Linnet. “Louise is very much swept up in the extravagance of it all,” says Leslie (“Game of Thrones”), “but that has to be a little bit painful.” Working with Branagh, they settled on a backstory which saw Louise working for Linnet for the past two years, continuing in her employ after her engagement to be married had come to an end and Linnet having something to do with that. “She is enjoying the high life, wanting to be associated with this group, wanting to be a part of the clan,” says Leslie. “And yet there is always this little kind of twist of the knife from Linnet in reminding Louise just where she is in the pecking order.”

Emma Mackey (“Sex Education”) is Jacqueline De Bellefort, who is attractive, witty and smarter than she lets on, thanks to her boarding school education. Born into French aristocracy, but presently poor, she is head over heels in love with Simon Doyle. “Even though she’s a strong and resilient independent woman, she does everything for Simon,” says Mackey. “Jacqueline is driven by her love for Simon…her whole reason for existing is Simon.”

The actress worked closely with Branagh to develop the character, creating an elaborate backstory to help inform her behavior. “She’s heartbroken and in a great deal of pain, but we also wanted her to be full of life, energy and warmth and to be sexy and confident as well as show her vulnerable and heartbroken side,” says Mackey.

“Jackie is broken-hearted at the betrayal by a friend, and it makes her vulnerable and sad, but it also makes her incredibly attractive…and dangerous,” says Branagh. “Emma nails her humor, her darkness, her vulnerability and her kindness. It’s a complex character that she brings huge subtlety to.”

Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”) is Salome Otterbourne, the sultry and magnetic American singer hired to perform at Simon Doyle’s Egyptian wedding. “This is a woman who just loves life,” says Okonedo. “She’s very confident in herself and her body,”

As a dynamic jazz singer who channels Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the role called for the actress to sing and play the guitar, and Okonedo was drawn to the challenge, actually learning the skills to help her find the character. “Never picked up a musical instrument in my entire life, never sang a song in my entire life, but I’m always looking for parts that push me.”

Salome Otterbourne’s niece, Rosalie, who manages her aunt’s singing career, is played by Letitia Wright (“Black Panther”). Well educated and world travelled, she is sophisticated, witty and ambitious. The actress was drawn to the role of Rosalie, because of her drive and determination. “She is young and yet really motivated and diligent,” says Wright. “It is very interesting to bring a level-headed character like this into the story, and see certain situations that knock that confidence.”

Like her co-stars, she worked hard with Branagh developing the character. She reveals he gave her a beautiful book about the Harlem renaissance as a helpful step in understanding Rosalie. “It was a beautiful book that captured that time and that period of African American artists, being celebrated in literature, in art, in culture, in fashion, and also in travelling to Europe and having massive success there.”

Jennifer Saunders (“Absolutely Fabulous”) is Linnet Ridgeway’s godmother, Marie Van Schuyler, a feisty, yet frail woman, who denounced her wealth to become a communist. “It’s an interesting character,” says Saunders. “Many people of means in that era became communist after the Crash as they felt very guilty about having money when so many people had lost large amounts, the workforce had been decimated, and people had lost their jobs and their livelihoods.”

Dawn French (“Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”) is Bowers, Marie Van Schuyler’s nurse and constant companion. Her family’s fortune was decimated by the stock market crash, but she still yearns for the finer things in life. “She’s an educated person but quite an innocent in many ways,” says French. “She’s in awe at everything that happens in this story. She’s a comfort to Marie, and they adore each other although they’re quite spiky with each other every now and again.”

The duo, who starred together in the popular British sketch comedy series “French and Saunders,” are playing roles that belonged to Bette Davis and Maggie Smith in the 1978 film. “I think we were asked as a pair, because the characters are very closely connected, and they’re a real partnership in lots of ways,” says French. “The legacy of Jennifer and I being a couple, in showbiz, is handy for these characters, who are very rarely separated.”

“Jennifer plays her with a sort of knowing self-awareness and humor in the character that is delicious to behold, and she can throw away a gag in an effortless way that lands the punchline for the audience but doesn’t make the character self-conscious,” says Branagh. “Bowers is the expressive part of the double act that they almost are in the piece. I talk about Marie and Bowers, not Jennifer and Dawn, and once again, as with Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French can deliver a gag as well as anyone on the planet, and better than the vast majority of them, but she also delivers a performance of real pathos and tenderness.”

The Production

Principal photography on “Death on the Nile” commenced in September 2019 and took place on the stages and backlots at Longcross Studios outside London, as well as at several exterior locations in the U.K. The film was shot chronologically in story order with production shooting a five-day week and director/producer Kenneth Branagh rehearsing privately with the cast on Saturdays. Filming wrapped in December 2019.

The film served as a reunion for Branagh and many of the talented creative team with whom he collaborated on “Murder on the Orient Express.” They include director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (“Artemis Fowl,” “Cinderella”); production designer Jim Clay (“Children of Men,” “Love Actually”); composer Patrick Doyle (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “Macbeth”); special effects supervisor David Watkins (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “World War Z”); and VFX supervisor George Murphy (“Forrest Gump”). Costume designer Paco Delgado (“Les Miserables,” “The Danish Girl”) joined the team, along with editor Una Ni Dhonghaile (“Stan & Ollie,” “The Crown”).

From day one, the filmmakers realized it was an enormous privilege to be able to take cinematic audiences to exotic places through the imagination of Agatha Christie, and never took for granted the fact that they needed to create that energy and excitement on screen. As a result, the film was shot on 65mm film and will be presented in 70mm in cinemas, which is a very immersive form of filmmaking and one that is suited especially for a film with a big ensemble cast.

“For me, the escapism and the transportation are so total,” says Branagh. “It is a wonderfully immersive, illusory experience that is very full and thick. The depth, the detail, the chance to replicate the experience of the human eye is absolutely at its premium.”

Branagh continues, “And it is a very unusual and unique opportunity (especially in the wake of what we’ve all been through recently) to share the experience of community in the telling of a story in a socially distanced, smaller audience-auditorium with a massive wall of communication and picture and sensory stimulation. Cinema has never been more attractive, cinema has never been more vital and cinema has never been more thrilling, than it has a chance to be, coming out of lockdown and coming into stories like ‘Death on the Nile.’”

Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos was thrilled to revisit the 65mm format, and says, “The thing that got us most excited about using this format for this film, and in particular, for this kind of Agatha Christie set-up, is the fact that we have an ensemble cast,” he explains. “There are many, many great actors in the film, and we wanted to have the opportunity to shoot them all in a single shot, and often; to put them in a space and really feel their presence without the need of extreme close-ups.”

Production designer Jim Clay set out to ground the story, as much as possible, with physical sets. Filming began at the Cotswolds’ water park, where an Egyptian spice market was created with the Cleveland Lakes filling in for the Nile River. From there, the production moved to Longcross Studios and Stage 1, where portions of Aswan’s Cataract Hotel had been recreated. Located in the Nubian Desert on the banks of the Nile River, it is here where Agatha Christie began to write “Death on the Nile.” Filmmakers had visited the actual hotel early on in pre-production, and worked tirelessly to design the enormous set to convey all the faded grandeur and glamour necessary for such a significant setting.

While the original hotel has been greatly modernized over the years, an element of first-hand research helped inform Clay’s design. “I used an amalgamation of various styles of architecture from Egypt in the 1930s, and we built our own composite set specifically for the script requirements (Simon and Linnet’s wedding, the wedding party, the arrivals in Egypt).”

The set included the lobby, wide, open halls, marble floors, wonderful archways, a grand balcony and staircase, as well as an external patio and jetty area. Using timber flattage with decorative plaster finishes, the construction department assembled prefabrications in the workshops before erecting the structures on the stage, spending a total of 13 weeks.

Recreating the great temple of Abu Simbel, the four ancient statues of Ramses the Great which still stand to this day in Aswan, Egypt, was another project involving a substantial amount of construction. Abu Simbel is one of the locations visited by the wedding party as it winds its way down the Nile River. The enormous dual temples were recreated by Clay and his team on a backlot at Longcross Studios. The filmmakers had visited the original temple when scouting locations in Egypt and Morocco, taking measurements and countless photos, which they used to create a digital scan to effectively establish its scale.

From there, the sculptors took the drawings and began the arduous task of carving the figures from blocks of polystyrene and plaster, a massive undertaking that took 16 weeks. It was built to the exact dimensions of the original temple, 70-feet high and 100-feet wide, with the surrounding area landscaped and covered in sand.

But of all the extraordinary sets, the most majestic build was undoubtedly the S.S. Karnak, the enormous luxury side-wheeler paddleboat steamer with Levantine touches and exquisite interiors, constructed on Longcross’ Skidpad. Branagh wanted the boat to look threatening and shark-like as it sailed on the dangerous waters of the Nile. Clay and his team researched the Thomas Cook fleet, which had three or four boats working at the time, and took elements of each and then designed their own.

“In Jim’s hands it became sleeker, more dangerous, slimmer, more elegant and more deadly…a kind of floating palace,” says Branagh. “It is a palace, but it is deadly, and he brings scale, style, suspense, danger and magnificence to it.”

Branagh is a fan of fluid, long-tracking Steadicam shots, so the boat was built in a composite way to help best facilitate. While most paddle steamers have 40 or 50 cabins, this boat was designed to take full advantage of all the space, with far fewer cabins to maximize the scope and size of the boat’s interiors, while making it more camera-friendly at the same time. “We opted to build a couple of cabins just for the ease of shooting more intimate scenes, but essentially everything takes place on that composite boat set,” explains Clay.

Structurally, the boat was a huge challenge. It is 236-feet long, 48-feet wide, 42-feet high, weighing 225 tons. Steel fabrication began at the end of June 2018, which included manufacturing the basic subframe that was built on the railroad tracks and a large part of the timberwork. All in all, it took a total of 30 weeks to build.

For the interior of the boat, Clay was again guided by Branagh’s vision. He wanted something different from the dark tones and rich woods which distinguished ‘Murder on the Orient Express,” so this time the filmmakers went for brighter, sunnier tones and chalky blues, whites and greys for the color palette. “We went for a Gustavian Swedish, 18th century feel for the furniture, as well as in the tones of the woods and the finishes of the walls and ceilings and floors,” Clay explains.

The result on screen is a light and airy contemporary 1930’s feel. “We didn’t want to be wrong in terms of the period, but we didn’t want to be shackled and bound by it either,” says Clay. On making the look his own, he incorporated a great deal of glass into the design, which provided depth into the shots so that something happening beyond the frame can be seen, as well as to assist with Branagh’s evolving shots. “Ken loved to shoot through the beveled glass, which then refracts the image and doubles it, and it’s quite useful in these real Agatha Christie interrogation moments.”

The filmmakers originally planned to build the paddle steamer for real and float it on a lake big enough and wide enough to resemble the Nile, but ultimately decided to build a special structure to house the boat. With the structure, the boat could travel in and out for different shots, while at the same time, allowed for digital creation of water. The large, modular stage, which came to be known the “super structure,” was built at the end of a railway track (the same railway track used for “Murder on the Orient Express”). The stage, which was 380-feet by 157-feet wide, was built by Serious Stages, the company behind the Glastonbury Festival stages.

Designed with Zambarloukos’ lighting requirements in mind, the super stage had a customized lighting grid and backlit screens which lined the perimeter of the set and provided ambient sunlight to represent the Egyptian sunshine, but also the ability to quickly transition to blue screen whenever needed, all with the touch of an iPad. “The fact that we didn’t have any water surrounding the boat meant we could get to work much easier every day,” laughs Clay.

The boat was so massive in size and so breathtakingly beautiful in design that Branagh wanted to get the cast’s reaction to seeing the boat for the first time on film. The arrival of the cast happens in one particularly big scene, which is actually part of the narrative as well, and the production went to great lengths to reveal the boat to the actors at their actual point of arrival.

“We had 12 actors on a little launch in real water in real sunshine as they went to board the Karnak, and on their faces you can see all the excitement and thrill of being on a wondrous holiday in the most extraordinary and mysterious and ancient place,” says Branagh. “When you see this cast of characters getting onto the boat, it is with a child-like joy…a Christmas morning kind of joy and wonder at the scale of it.”

The Costumes

The dazzling costumes in “Death on the Nile” were created by Oscar® nominee Paco Delgado, in his first collaboration with director/producer Kenneth Branagh. The costume designer was immediately drawn to Branagh’s desire to bring a sense of modernity to the period. “Ken wanted a very stylish, more contemporary approach to the period, as opposed to just a reproduction,” says Delgado.

For Delgado, it was not about establishing the social hierarchy of the 1930s…he wants audiences to feel as though these characters are much closer reflections of themselves. The costume designer researched the time period, identifying shapes and designs, colors, patterns and ideas, all with Branagh’s vision in mind. “It’s not that we have tried to make a contemporary movie, but we looked at the elements which were the most appealing in a contemporary context,” he explains.

It was crucial that the clothing convey a great deal of heat, because of the story’s Egyptian setting, but also to play up the sexual attraction between Simon Doyle and Linnet Ridgeway. “There is a triangle of passion, love and sex between Jacqueline de Bellefort and Simon and Linnet,” explains Delgado. “Linnet is a person who was somehow loved and hated at the same time, which made it much more complex in terms of who could kill her.”

“Our goal was to make our audience sweat a little with them, but also to want to be right there, to want to feel that need, that passion, that lust, that appetite, that relish, that delight, that wanting to consume another person. It’s not necessarily good, but it can be unbelievably thrilling,” says Branagh. “In that central love triangle between Gal and Armie and Emma’s characters, there is a feeling of electricity between them, and in all three cases they were able to convey passion and intensity, but without becoming overdone or grand. You know, they, these are people who can act and speak and be very naturalistic.”

The wardrobe reflects the color palette of summer and the lightness of summertime fabrics, which is consistent with the color palette for the cabins on the boat. “If you are working for example, with scenes that take place outside, the colors are already determined, like the yellowy-brownish colors of the earth and the blue sky is blue…it’s when you come inside where you can manipulate the color palette of the walls and the furniture or the tablecloth, all those sorts of things,” says Delgado.

“With Paco, the costumes are clothes and they are very bespoke…they’re very much a marriage between his imagination, flair for color and texture and his desire to hunt for original items,” says Branagh. “He loves clothes and the playfulness of the period and he’s able to encourage the actors to find joy in the colors and textures and to love their clothes.”

Approximately 92 percent of the costumes were created by hand by Delgado and his talented team of artists. There were approximately 150 costumes in total. “We had to reflect the year 1937 and assumed that in World War II most of the clothes didn’t survive,” Delgado explains. “And because we are talking about a certain type of people, we wanted that jet-set crowd style to be reflected in shapes and garments, meaning it was much more difficult to find things already made.”

In Theatres

Amazingly enough, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the first published novel of Agatha Christie. As one of the greatest entertainers in literature, Christie can combine a twisting, turning plot and access to primal human emotions, compassion and soulfulness with a tremendous sense of fun and the ability to thrill and scare an audience.

According to director/producer Kenneth Branagh, this “Death on the Nile” has taken Christie’s high-end concept and re-humanized the stories so that the audience gets the action, the travelogue and the aspirational trip. “In these difficult times we’ve been living in over the past year, a trip down the Nile to jump into the ancient majestic splendor of Egypt, is going to be something that people will enjoy,” says Branagh. “And it’s always more fun if you have a twisting, turning plot and a story that will thrill and scare you, but with wisdom, human emotions, compassion and a sense of soulfulness that everyone can relate to.”

“Death on the Nile” opens in U.S. theaters December 18, 2020. Moved to 10. February 2022.
Go: back - top - back issues - news index
Updated 21-01-24