Miss Marple to be played by … Jennifer Garner?

It has been announced in various places online, include EW.com and Deadline Hollywood that Disney is planning to make a new movie starring Miss Marple. It has engaged Mark Frost, co-creator of Twin Peaks, to write the script and has cast Jennifer Garner in the title role.

This would appear the latest in the recent spate of Hollywood ‘re-boots’ in which we see the early adventures of popular fictional creations such as James Bond’s first adventure in  Casino Royale (2006) starring Daniel Craig and the latest Star Trek (2009) movie, both of which take place in alternate universes, with more to come soon, including the X-Men, Superman and even Jason Bourne.

Given that Marple has always been portrayed as an aged spinster in the books this is certainly a radical interpretation, although in the first of the recent TV versions starring Geraldine McEwan there was a minor tremor amongst fans when we saw a flashback to Jane Marple’s youthful romance with a Captain during World War I in the adaptation of The Murder at the Vicarage (2004). Personally I quite like Julia McKenzie who currently plays Marple on TV though I am not very keen on the adaptations themselves, and remain devoted to the very faithful Joan Hickson series made by the BBC between 1984 and 1992. But then I also have a soft spot for the Margaret Rutherford films which are great fun even if they have very little to do with Christie (two of the adaptations are of Poirot novels anyway, an approach followed by the current ITV Agatha Christie: Marple series with, shall we say, ‘mixed’ results).

Garner was wonderful as Sydney Bristow, the globe-trotting spy with a penchant for disguises, on TV in Alias (2001-06) and she is married to Ben Affleck, who starred in his own youthful re-boot playing a young version of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears (2002). It’s hard to see how this won’t feel more like Nancy Drew crossed with Jessica Fletcher, but one never knows – I thought the new Bond was splendid.

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4 Responses to Miss Marple to be played by … Jennifer Garner?

  1. puzzledoctor says:

    Well, as I said in my blog, this is an absolute pointless idea. If they want a 30 year old female detective, use their imagination and make one up!

  2. It does seem a bit redundant, no question. The nearest recent literary comparison I can make is with the recent Young Bond novels by Charlie Higson and the new batch of Young Sherlock books by Andy Lane – I have only read one of the Higsons, BLOOD FEVER, but thought it was very well executed actually, which was a pleasant surprise. I don;t know if you saw it, but the updated TV version of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS starring Alfred Molina was terrifyingly bad …

  3. Garner is a fine actress, and I like her as a sleuth, but casting such a young woman goes against the entire point of the character: http://morningquickie.com/2011/03/31/popping-culture-jennifer-garner-miss-marpole-ageism/

    If they wanted to make such a drastic change they could have just started from scratch!

    • There have been some reports that this may not in fact be a done deal, or that there are second thoughts after such overwhelmingly bad press – but could 40 be the new 70 (sic) in Hollywood? I do remember an April fool prank which suggested that Milo Ventimiglia of HEROES would be cast as Columbo in a new series – maybe this was a premature prank? How about Joachin Phoenix as Poirot? After all, he is used to taking the mickey out of people on screen!

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