One of the more wonderful aspects of award season is I get to ask all of the weird questions of directors, writers, producers and sometimes actors about things that often have nothing to do with the reason I got them on the phone. Here’s the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing series as I get answers to all the dumb questions.
Hercule Poirot’s Gigantic Mustache (Murder on the Orient Express)
Now, if you know Poirot, he’s the greatest detective ever and knows it, yet is not obnoxiously egocentric. Howeve,r he is vain … and his fussy, oversized mustache attests to it. Kenneth Branagh directed and starred in the latest version of Murder and let’s just say he did not skimp on that there ‘stache.
Here’s why, and I promise I did not lead into this answer with “I mustache you….”:
“What we pursued [with the design of the mustache] was something that fulfilled the kinds of questions that were asked in many of the novels that refer to and describe the mustache, which is described as ‘immense,’ or having a ‘tortured splendor’ or ‘magnificent,'” Branagh told me. “People may be surprised by the bulk, but it did have an impact in the stories. Usually it was to have people mock or underestimate Poirot. It was the kind of thing that allowed people with Poirot to drop their guard. It’s a massive piece of facial furniture, for sure. You felt you were on the prow of a ship or the front of a car – it had a sort of weighted quality that was not unlike the front of the Orient Express itself. And it feels like Poirot leans forward and he and that mustache try to cut through the air and the truth.”
For more, this is the article I wrote which included comments from Branagh on Poirot’s sartorial choices.