It has been a good start to the year for the film industry in Malta. Filming of scenes has begun in Valletta for the new film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ under Director and protagonist Kenneth Branagh. Additionally, in a few weeks’ time, the film studio tanks at Kalkara will be completely adapted got the filming of the popular British ITV series ‘Cannonball’. Meanwhile, popular Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta is in Malta holding discussions on possible localities for a long term project involving a number of films.
The activities will range from one of Britain’s most popular gameshows to Agatha Christie’s ever-popular novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and will hold interesting experiences for the Malta Film Commission which is striving to attract more productions to Malta. The remake of Christie’s novel began today, a novel which she published in 1934 in which the renowned factious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solves a murder on the train Orient Express during its voyage from Paris to Istanbul.
Branagh will play the part of Hercule Poirot while also directing the film which has a cast that includes world famous actors and actresses like Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfieffer, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and Willem Dafoe. Producer Matthew Jenkins said the opening scenes will be in Valletta which will serve as a background to Jerusalem where Hercule Poirot was on holiday and Istanbul where Poirot will travel to begin his investigations.
The remake of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ will be expected to reach cinemas in November later this year. Besides scene adaptations in Valletta, shooting will also continue in the Longrcross Studios at Surrey where a stage train has been constructed and where the film story will unfurl.
Scenes to be shot in Malta will feature the flashbacks of the protagonists in the story. Films Commissioner Engelbert Grech said the film industry is continuing to generate a lot of economic activity in the country. Meanwhile, preparations are in hand at the Kalkara Studio for the shooting of the gameshow ‘Cannonball’.
Grech said that for the series, the Kalkara Studios will have a unique set-up that has not been experienced at Kalkara previously. He said this will contribute the generation of a lot of work for those directly and indirectly involved in the Malta film industry.
The series is based on water games and filming in Malta will take over two months while back in the UK the company ITV has made a call for contestants wishing to participate in the programme, a programme that is among the most viewed by British television audiences.