It seems that Poirot is a victim of bad timing twice over. “Murder on the Orient Express” was released on November 10, 2017, shortly after Johnny Depp had divorced actress Amber Heard. Details of their abusive relationship began to leak into the public, and many became wary of supporting anything Depp had to do with. With “Express,” some found it easy to overlook Depp’s presence as he was the murder mystery’s celebrity victim, and his character — John Cassetti, aka Edward Ratchett — was a villainous criminal who was killed off early on. The bulk of the film focuses on the myriad suspects on board the titular train. As more and more details about the Depp/Heard divorce became public, fewer and fewer people wanted to see Depp in any capacity. “Murder on the Orient Express” is a brilliant film, but one will have to watch Johnny Depp.
The timing got even worse with “Death on the Nile,” a film that suffered from two major bouts of bad luck simultaneously. The first was the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the film’s release to be delayed by over two years. When it finally did hit theaters in 2022, some news about leading man Armie Hammer had just been released to the public. 2021 saw some leaked texts from the actor wherein he propositioned various women — while he was married — to engage in strange and violent sexual fantasies. At first, Hammer’s behavior could only be described as caddish and perhaps strange (I’m certainly not going to kink-shame anyone), but further details soon came out that he was also aggressive and abusive to several of his previous partners.
With the allegations being investigated, “Death on the Nile” hit theaters. One might note that Hammer barely appears in the previews.