Kenneth Branagh’s mystery drama Death on the Nile still has plans to set sail on February 11th. Today, Disney and 20th Century Studios have unveiled the latest trailer for the film, which has kept Armie Hammer on board despite allegations of sexual assault and abuse.
In the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name, Hammer plays a man named Simon Doyle whose idyllic river steamer honeymoon goes awry when it’s discovered that a murderer is on the ship. Hammer appears to have a fairly prominent role in the film, meaning Disney evidently isn’t doing much to keep him out of public view amid the controversy.
As a refresher, Hammer first began raising eyebrows back in January, when an anonymous Instagram account posted explicit messages that appeared to show the actor fantasizing about participating in acts of non-consensual sexual depravity. He promptly announced his departure from the upcoming Lionsgate film, Shotgun Wedding, though he said the claims were “bullshit.”
Then, in March, a woman identifying herself as Effie stepped forward to accuse Hammer of committing mental, emotional, and sexual abuse in 2017. “He repeatedly slapped my head against a wall bruising my face,” Effie said in a press conference. “I thought that he was going to kill me… I was completely in shock and couldn’t believe someone I loved did that to me.”
Death on the Nile wrapped shooting in 2019, before the allegations surfaced, and pandemic-related delays put Disney in a tricky situation regarding Hammer’s role. According to a source speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio considered reshooting the movie with Hammer’s character being replaced, but due to its ensemble cast (Branagh, Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman, and Letitia Wright, to name a few), reuniting the cast would’ve been basically impossible due to COVID.
Using digital technology to edit Hammer’s scenes would’ve been challenging, as well, due to the cast and the film’s intricate storyline. So, Hammer remains in the film, despite being the subject of an LAPD investigation.
Since the allegations arose, Hammer was also forced to leave a series about making The Godfather entitled The Offer. It’s quite plausible that Death on the Nile could be Hammer’s final big-budget theatrical release.
See the new trailer for the film below.