‘Death on the Nile’ is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1973 eponymous novel, the third one following the 1978 film and an episode of the 2004 television series. The mystery drama film is directed by Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot. Before the Belgian detective can unwind on the S.S. Kanark, a passenger is found dead on the cruise boat. So, he takes it upon himself to identify the killer before any more lives are lost.
A sequel to the 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ this thriller film takes Poirot on another adventure – this time in Egypt. The sweeping views of the desert and the captivating landscape of the northeast African country flaunt its rich history. Set against the beautiful backdrops of the River Nile and the fascinating towns and cities situated on the river banks, the events in the storyline primarily take place on the steamer boat. If the visuals have piqued your curiosity and you want to know where the movie was filmed, we’ve got you covered!
Death on the Nile Filming Locations
‘Death on the Nile’ was mainly filmed in England and Egypt. Although some reports claimed that the movie was also shot in Morocco, it appears that the plan fell through. According to sources, the filming commenced in the Fall of 2019 and wrapped up later in the same year. The initial plan was to shoot the movie in Egypt, like the 1978 edition, but there were complications. Nevertheless, Nile and Egypt look quite real in the movie. If you are wondering how the crew was able to pull that off, allow us to spill the beans!
Since the team was not able to film the movie in Egypt like they intended to, they brought the essence of Egypt to the stages of Longcross Film Studios in England. The filming facility is located on Chobham Lane, Longcross, in the English county of Surrey. Situated approximately 25 miles from Central London, the movie studio has at least four main sound stages. It also offers studio canteen facilities, office space, and about 200 acres of backlot.
Filming at Longcross Studios enabled Branagh to film the mystery drama using CGI and elaborate sets built with intricate details. That is where the team recreated the Temple of Abu Simbel, the Kanark, and Old Cataract Hotel (now known as Sofitel Legend Old Cataract). The Abu Simbel replica was built to its original size of about 150 feet. The model was made out of polystyrene and plaster using a digital scan that was taken on-site at the original spot by the second unit sent to Egypt.
The model of the boat that was constructed was 236-feet long and weighed around 225 tons. However, its cabin interiors were made separately, keeping in mind the extra space required to carry out filming comfortably. Since the cast and crew could not shoot Linnet and Simon’s wedding sequences on-location at the Old Cataract Hotel, the venue was recreated on stage 1 of Longcross Studios – the halls, lobby, patio, balcony, and all!
Cotswold Water Park, England
Located on the borders of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, the Cotswold Water Park is reportedly where the Egyptian spice market sequences were lensed. Cleveland Lakes stand in for the Nile in parts of the movie. Moreover, the production team reportedly hired about 300 people to portray tourists and locals.
Even though the cast members did not film in Egypt, the second unit traveled to the country to capture shots of the real-life locations. Apparently, the visual effects supervisor George Murphy and his crew filmed panoramas that were used as backdrops in the UK studio. One of the key locations that Murphy’s team visited was Abu Simbel, which are two rock-cut temples located in the village of the same name. It lies in the Aswan Governorate of Egypt, about 190 miles from the city of Aswan.
Linnet and Simon get married at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan. The actual location features in the 1978 movie, and it is said to be the same hotel where Agatha Christie stayed when she wrote the book ‘Death on the Nile.’ The small team visited the 5-star hotel in Aswan and captured visuals that formed the basis of the customized set constructed at Longcross Studios.
The ruins that Linnet and Simon’s wedding party visit at the beginning of the movie are supposed to be the Temples of Philae. Like Abu Simbel, the temple complex was relocated during the construction of the Aswan High Dam. It is currently situated on the Agilkia Island along the Nile, which is not far from Aswan.
The second unit may have also lensed a few shots of the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor. An iconic symbol of Egyptian history, the location appears in the 1978 film as well as the 2004 TV series. A few sequences in the movie possibly feature the Valley of the Kings, which happens to be the final resting place of many powerful pharaohs and nobles, including the famous Tutankhamun.
In a sequence where Poirot tries to solve the mystery, you can spot the pyramids of Giza, which lie in the Greater Cairo region. The three prominent pyramids are the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Menakaure, and the Pyramid of Khafre. In fact, the iconic Great Sphinx lies in Khafre’s complex. This is another location that the second unit seemingly visited.
Read More: Is Death on the Nile Based on a True Story?