20th Century Studios

A Haunting in Venice hits theaters this weekend!

Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, the mystery-crime film is based on the Agatha Christie novel Halloween Party, though it’s a much less faithful Christie adaptation compared to the first two Branagh films, Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express. 

Although it strays a bit, James Prichard, one of the producers, who is also Christie’s great-grandson and CEO of her estate, tells ABC Audio that he trusted writer Michael Green.

“He wanted to play with the horror genre. And he felt that Halloween Party was a great launching pad to play with that,” Prichard explains. “I think we have achieved what we set out to achieve, which is to create what I would call a valid, a faithful Agatha Christie experience within some aspects of the horror genre.”

One way the movie strayed was relocating the story, which was originally set outside of London, to Venice, something Prichard says added to the spookiness.

“Venice does have a certain atmosphere. It has a certain mystery. It has a certain mystique,” he shares.

So what would Christie think of this latest representation of her work?

“I wouldn’t want to do her the disservice of putting her words into her mouth,” Prichard says. “I hope, I think she would just be amazed that we’re still here, we’re still talking about her works. I hope she’d be incredibly proud.”

A Haunting in Venice also stars Tina Fey as Ariadne Oliver, a writer of mystery novels, and a character many think Christie loosely based on herself. Whatever the case, Prichard says Fey brought the “wit” and “sass.”

“We get that really great interplay between her and Ken Branagh,” he shares, adding, “I think this is Ken’s best performance as [Detective] Poirot.”

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