Penelope Cruz
Spanish actor Penelope Cruz has joined the cast of 20th Century Fox's upcoming mystery drama Murder On The Orient Express Stuart C. Wilson / Getty

Many might have thought that it wasn't possible that Kenneth Branagh's Murder On The Orient Express could become more star-studded, but now, as Penelope Cruz comes aboard, it seems as if it can. The Spanish actress joins a long list of names linked to the upcoming mystery movie including Michael Peña, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley and Johnny Depp.

Based on the 1934 mystery novel of the same by Agatha Christie, the film will follow Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (played here by Branagh), as he tries to get to the bottom of a case involving the bumping off of unpopular businessman Mr Ratchett (Depp) on the lavishly-decorated mode of public transport. Leslie Odom Jr will reportedly bring Dr. Constantine to life, a character lifted straight from Christie's literature while Lucy Boynton (Sing Street) is portraying Countess Andrenyi.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens' standout Ridley will play Mary Debenham, the first passenger aboard the Orient that readers meet in the book – as Gad and Dench are portraying Ratchett's secretary Hector McQueen and Russian Princess Dragomiroff respectively.

In 1974, Albert Finney previously brought life to protagonist Poirot in Sidney Lumet's take on the classic mystery, however, the character had already been played on the big screen in slightly lesser-known films by Irish actor Austin Trevor in 1931 and later by American-born Tony Randall in 1965.

20th Century Fox reportedly aims to begin shooting later in November, on location in both London and Malta. Green Lantern scribe Michael Green has penned the screenplay while Ridley Scott (The Martian) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Apocalypse) are set to produce alongside Branagh. The movie is scheduled to reach US cinemas on 22 November 2017.

Cruz is currently filming biographical crime drama Escobar opposite Peter Sarsgaard and Javier Bardem. Based on her real-life memoir Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar, it details drug lord Pablo Escobar's story honing in on his love affair with Colombian TV host Virginia Vallejo (Cruz).

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