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  M.   May 14, 2011

Julie Andrews, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode and Gabriel Byrne have signed up to star in helmer Neil LaBute’s bigscreen version of Agatha Christie’s “Crooked House.”

Book is adapted by “Gosford Park” scribe Julian Fellowes and Tim Rose Price.

Crooked House” is one of Christie’s tomes that hasn’t hit the bigscreen or TV, and was one of her personal favorites.

In typical Christie style, the story involves a large number of characters and, in this instance, the crime scene is set against the backdrop of three generations of a family that lives together in a large and seemingly crooked house.

Instead of focusing on Christie’s famous detectives Hercules Poirot or Miss Marple, “Crooked” follows the murder of a multimillionaire, whose eccentric family all have reasons to kill him.

The investigating detective must determine whether a young female family member is the murderer or the next victim.

Pic, budgeted at around $20 million, is skedded to begin lensing in the U.K. this summer.

Joe Abrams and Rory Gilmartin produce through Blighty-based Brilliant Films along with Herbert Kloiber from Germany’s TeleMuenchen Group.

“The story has a couple of fresh sides to it that I didn’t remember from Christie’s work,” LaBute told Variety . “There’s a love story, which didn’t feature strongly in many of her books, so that seemed very different to me and fresh. Plus it’s quite morally ambiguous, which also appealed to me.”

LaBute flew into Cannes from London, where he is directing Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams onstage in “In a Forest Dark and Deep” to talk about the new project.


Here’s the full synopsis for Crooked House:

The Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.

Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter. [Amazon]