Helen Mirren to Lead 'The Thursday Murder Club'

Helen Mirren as Magdalene "Queenie" Ellmanson-Shaw a badass in every way, sitting in a car you only wish you could drive as well as she can in F9

Helen Mirren as Magdalene "Queenie" Ellmanson-Shaw in 'F9'

Universal Pictures

Anyone who ever VPNed Doctor Who on BBC One last decade when it aired on Saturdays in the early evening has probably seen Richard Osman while establishing their iPlayer connection. The game shows Pointless and Pointless Celebrities, in which he was the reader of the clues alongside the main host, Alexander Armstrong, regularly aired just ahead of the long-running sci-fi series. However, what most Americans probably don't know is that in 2019, he started a career writing novels, and his debut release, The Thursday Murder Club, became a pandemic hit in the U.K. in September 2020. He's since released three more in the series, the last of which hit the New York Times best-seller list, and the whole series has now been optioned for the big screen.

The first novel begins in the luxurious Cooper's Chase retirement village in Kent where four pensioners, Elizabeth Best, Ron Ritchie, Joyce Meadowcroft, and Ibrahim Arif, strike up a friendship and decide to entertain themselves by doing "live murder mystery" parlor games on Thursdays. However, when an actual suspicious death occurs among the residents, with the passing of a property developer, the four start putting their skills to use in solving real crimes.

Various attempts at a movie have been in development since the first novel was a hit, and rumors have floated about suggesting Meryl Streep or Viola Davis might be circling the project. But this is a British novel set in the U.K., and a British cast and director make the most sense. (Sorry to Steven Speilberg, but also not sorry.) So it's not a surprise to hear the project is finally getting off the ground with Helen Mirren cast in the leading role of Elizabeth and Christopher Columbus directing.

Here's the film's current logline:

The story follows a group of geriatric friends in a retirement home who gather to solve murders for fun, but find themselves caught in a real case.

For those who haven't been keeping up with Helen Mirren since Prime Suspect and The Queen, her recent career turns have been in action films, starring as a retired MI-6 assassin in the Red films and as the car cruising bad-ass Queenie in the Fast & Furious franchise. (Her character is Jason Statham's mother, and it's worth it just to hear him whine "Maaaaam" at her every time she dresses him down for crashing a vehicle.) In keeping with this career direction, her character, Elizabeth Best, is a retired MI-6 spy. The cast also boasts ex-James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan as former union activist Ron Ritchie, and the great Ben Kingsley as retired psychiatrist Ibrahim Arif. Negotiations for the fourth lead role, retired nurse Joyce Meadowcroft, are reportedly ongoing.

Christopher Columbus, best known in the U.S. for directing the first two Harry Potter films (and credited with helping discover Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis, etc.), will adapt Osman's novel and direct. Filming is slated to begin at the end of June 2024. Steven Spielberg's Amblin Pictures is producing. 

The Thursday Murder Club does not yet have a release date, but considering the filming schedule, it will either be rushed for a holiday 2024 release if it's deemed not to have any chance at awards season or held for a massive marketing blast next fall in 2025 to build out a multi-film franchise with a sequel based on the second novel, The Man Who Died Twice, to follow. Osman's fifth novel in the series, which does not yet have a title, is due out in 2025.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

More to Love from Telly Visions