It’s hard to think of a movie more cursed than Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile. Filmed in 2019 and originally set to be released in 2020, its premiere date was continually pushed back for almost two years. Now, it is finally hitting theaters this weekend. In the years between filming and release, members of the cast of Death on the Nile have been outed as abusers (allegedly), anti-vaxxers, and bad singers. One insider told the New York Post that the film is “every publicist’s worst nightmare.”
But let’s get one thing straight — not every cast member of Death on the Nile has been canceled. It might be helpful to go through them all and rate them on some kind of scale. For the sake of fairness, I will meet the film on its own terms, and we will be rating on a scale of one to five champagne bottles, one being a meager offering of champagne (not canceled) and five being, in the words of Gal Gadot, “enough champagne… to fill the Nile!” (very, very canceled.)
Annette Bening, “Euphemia Bouc”
Did you even know she was in this movie? I bet you didn’t, and that’s because this is a woman who minds her business. Trust me, I tried to find some dirt. If you search “Annette Bening scandal” on Google you just get a bunch of results about her talking about the #MeToo movement. She even managed to bag Warren Beatty, one of the sluttiest men of all time. That’s a woman who cleans up mess instead of getting involved in it.
Russell Brand, “Windlesham”
Even before the pandemic, Brand was persona non grata to me for telling Katy Perry he was divorcing her via text message. But over the past two years, Brand has been espousing anti-vaccine sentiments on his YouTube channel. He recently took the brave stance of siding with the Canadian truckers convoy and has claimed that vaccine passports are just a way for the government to surveil people more closely. Yikes! Here’s the thing though, in order for a cancellation to really hit, the person being canceled has to be somewhat relevant to the culture at large. Brand hasn’t actually been in a hit, live-action movie since 2010’s Get Him to the Greek. Apparently he is also in the Despicable Me franchise, but I cannot speak to the quality of those films. He gets three champagne bottles, one for every Despicable Me movie, not counting 2015’s Minions.
Letitia Wright, “Rosalie Otterbourne”
This one is upsetting. Wright had the whole world on her side following her role as Shuri in Black Panther, and was set to be a huge new star. Unfortunately, like Brand, she too has been vocally skeptical about the COVID vaccine. In 2020 she shared a video on Twitter from Light London Church leader Tomi Arayomi who blamed China for the pandemic and who said, “I don’t understand vaccines medically, but I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic of them.” When called out for posting the video, Wright doubled down, tweeting, “if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled.” If your questions are stupid and dangerous that is exactly what happens, and that’s why Wright is getting four champagne bottles.
Kenneth Branagh, “Hercule Poirot”
Oh, Kenny. What a bummer for him. Branagh was just nominated for Best Director at the Oscars for Belfast, and meanwhile his other movie is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Kind of like how Norbit coming out during Oscars seasons tanked Eddie Murphy’s chances of winning for Dreamgirls. We hate to see it. As for how canceled he is, the answer is not very. Other than cheating on England’s sweetheart Emma Thompson with Helena Bonham Carter, the man’s biggest sin is that most of his directorial efforts in the last few years have received a lukewarm reception at best. But hey, Belfast!
Gal Gadot, “Linnette Ridgeway”
Ms. “Enough champagne… to fill the Nile!” herself. While I do not think she is a good actress or person, in the court of public opinion Gadot is actually not that canceled. Apparently everyone in the world watched Red Notice, and her macaroni and cheese start-up, Goodles, seems to be doing well. Her biggest misstep in the last few years was spearheading the infamous “Imagine” video, which was called tone deaf by many and a brief moment of pure, unbridled joy by me.
Armie Hammer, “Simon Doyle”
Armie Hammer is so canceled they had to basically cut him out of the trailer for this movie. Armie Hammer is so canceled that he had to be replaced by Josh Duhamel and Will Arnett in two high-profile projects. Armie Hammer is so canceled that it has become the dominant narrative of this movie coming out, and will probably be the only thing it is remembered for.