A Haunting in Venice Producer Teases Major Changes From Agatha Christie’s Book

This month will see the release of A Haunting in Venice, the third adaptation of Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot novels from filmmaker and star Kenneth Branagh. Following Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, A Haunting in Venice gives the franchise a healthy does of the supernatural. It’s also the first in the series not to directly adapt the Christie novel it’s based on.

A Haunting in Venice is based on Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party, and the film has made quite a few changes to the source material. Not only is the title a departure from the novel, but there’s also a different setting and some changes to the plot itself. James Pritchard, the CEO of the Agatha Christie Estate and an executive producer on the film, spoke to The Direct about how much the new movie varies from the source material.

“There are a significant number of changes to the story,” Pritchard confirmed. “And yes, one of the clues is in the title. With Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, we had done two very, pretty faithful adaptations of two pretty famous, pretty big books. And Michael Green, the writer, and Kenneth Branagh, obviously, the director and [Hercule Poirot] felt that we should maybe surprise our audience with this and try something a bit different.”

One of the biggest changes to the film series with the introduction of A Haunting in Venice is the move into the horror genre. Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile were more classic mystery stories, while this one deals directly with ghosts and other horror elements.

“And the main difference they were looking for was tonal. They wanted to play a little bit with the horror genre, and they felt a Hallowe’en Party was a great launchpad into that,” the executive producer explained. “They wanted to set it in Venice. That was quite an early change that they came up with. There were two potential reasons for that. One of which is, you know, if you’re going to make a Hollywood movie, you want a great backdrop… Not many backdrops better than Venice. So there was the kind of cinematic elements of it. But there’s also an atmospheric element to Venice. The film plays with the supernatural — has the potential for the supernatural at its heart, and Venice has an air of mystery and air of mystique that plays into it.”

A Haunting in Venice is set to hit theaters on September 15th.