In a virtual reality experience exclusive to PEOPLE, director Kenneth Branagh explains how he recreated the iconic 1920s luxury train, built a colossal train station and reimagined Agatha Christie’s world-famous murder mystery.
Step inside the Orient Express’s sumptuous Art Deco sleeping, dining and bar cars, visit Stamboul Station (in the U.K.’s Longcross Studios) and learn what it was like to travel in throwback style from stars including Daisy Ridley and Josh Gad in the 360° experience above. For a fully immersive virtual-reality experience using VR goggles, download the LIFE VR app for iOS and Android or visit LIFE VR’s Samsung VR channel.
Branagh also stars in the film as Christie’s famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who investigates after a passenger is stabbed to death aboard a luxurious sleeper train heading from Istanbul to Paris. Any of his fellow passengers, from a Russian princess (Dench) to a Spanish missionary (Penélope Cruz), could be the killer.
The actor and director says he subtly modernized the story, keeping the sumptuous setting but choosing a globally diverse cast and steering away from making a “period romp” to focus on the plot’s dark edge.
Murder, he said, “is a deeply uncivilized act and it unleashes in its execution the primal, the primitive, the atavistic, and that’s a very dangerous force and it’s right underneath this piece. So that I think that we stayed further away from drawing-room mystery in the sense of a board game, and more into this kind of terrifying encounter with danger and death.”
Published in 1934, the novel became a global blockbuster for Christie, whose works have sold more than two billion copies. The 1974 movie version, starring Albert Finney as Poirot, was nominated for six Oscars, and Ingrid Bergman won Best Supporting Actress.
Also starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tom Bateman and Hamilton‘s Leslie Odom Jr., Murder on the Orient Express hits theaters on Nov. 10. Conduct your own investigation with crime scene evidence, clues and suspects online at CluesAreEverywhere.com, where you can also buy tickets for the film.
To watch the full experience and explore more exclusive virtual reality content, download the LIFE VR app for iOS and Android or visit LIFE VR’s Samsung VR channel. To learn more, go to the LIFE VR website.