Rian Johnson’s Knives Out hit the headlines in late 2019, right before Covid arrived to ruin everyone’s party. A witty and irreverent murder mystery inspired by the stereotype of Agatha Christie, the film’s unexpected quality certainly contributed to its success. But with its sequel, Glass Onion, Johnson and his star Daniel Craig face another problem, which is that expectations for this movie are bound to be high.
When I met Johnson and Craig at the Corinthia Hotel in central London, they were in high spirits: the night before, a film festival premiere of Onion at a crowded Royal Festival Hall was bombed. Next Pull out the knife although, I suggest to Johnson, cannot be an easy proposition.
He said: “Well, I definitely want to do something different. “When we did the first movie, we started talking about how much fun it would be to keep making these movies. And to me, the reason it seems interesting is to think of them the way Agatha Christie wrote her novel, and the idea that each person has his or her own reason for being, and that we’re challenging. yourself and challenge your audience in a new way. way every time. And yes, I think the tone of this one is very different, and the magnitude of it, the scale, maybe whose product it is and what it’s about more than anything else.
Like Onion opens, master detective Benoit Blanc is cooling off during the Covid lockdown and is slowly losing his mind. With nothing to deal with and no doubt, the great man ended his wits when he received a mysterious invitation. Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) is throwing a party on his exclusive island and has requested the presence of Blanc and some of his closest friends.
Bron’s party has a murder mystery theme, but when one of the guests dies for real, Blanc rubs her hands together and sets out to hunt down the killer.
Onion has all the magnificence and charm of its predecessor and, if any, even more humour. Craig continues to enjoy playing the tough detective who strangely tries to remain likable, despite repeatedly referring to himself in the third person.
“I don’t know how I managed that!” Craig said, laughing. “I think he’s kind after all, and I’m not saying he’s an easy guy, but he’s not mean — he’s not mean to anyone, not even those to blame. he is involved. He’s curious, he really wants to know, and there’s a method to his madness, but it’s curiosity that gets him through the day.”
Craig, whom I interviewed last year for his final appearance as James Bond, There’s no time to dieseems completely at ease in Pull out the knife world, comfortable with his polite and concise southern alter ego. Is he a difficult character to return to?
“I was worried,” he said. “I mean, we kind of fantasized about the first one that we could make another one, but who knows with these? So the idea of going back to it was never really on the cards, and then all of a sudden I was like, ‘Oh my God, what did I do the first time?’, but at the same time I didn’t want to. it’s just an impression of that.
“But fortunately, Rian has written a rather complicated plot, and that is hopefully something interesting for the audience to watch. And you might as well know a little more about Benoit, but at the same time, not really, because he’s a mystery and he should stay that way.
Like an elaborate chamber music, Onion stands above the collective interactions of its cast. Johnson cast Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista and Leslie Odom Jr as current or former associates of Norton’s super-crazed tech wizard, all with brooding abilities and possibly villains potential killer. They play together beautifully in scenes that are so complex that it’s hard to control.
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“That’s Rian’s skill,” Craig said. “We did most of this movie in a room where a lot of people were talking at the same time, and to be able to balance that, to get everyone on the same page, to have everyone in the same movie. , it’s not easy. and he does it very well.
Have there been proper rehearsals then, is the stage working? “We met,” Johnson said. “We thought about a week before shooting started, so it was small groups, there would be a scene involving three characters, so those three, we would meet and talk about the scene. , script and ask questions . But I think the reality is that I try to sort it all out on the page and then hire world-class actors who will show up and click very, very quickly. With both films, I found that the cast was very quickly in tune.”
“We had a lot of fun,” added Craig, “we were rolling around laughing half the time, but of course that doesn’t always make for a good movie, because you can have So much fun filming.”
Onion was filmed on the Greek island of Spetses in the summer of 2021, when national lockdown orders were still in effect and the coronavirus was a serious problem. There’s an interesting nod to Covid’s ritual near the top, as Hudson’s character wears an ornate but spectacularly ineffective mask, but the pandemic has indeed caused many potential complexity.
Craig recalls: “We were all in Greece, but we were in different places and I really wanted to get everyone together as quickly as possible. And I said, listen, let’s all say hello together, which then brought our Ram maker [Bergman] joined in because of concerns about Covid causing delays.
“But somehow it seemed to outweigh the chance for one of us to get it, because if we didn’t click on the bat we were pretty much doomed. So we actually had an ambulance parked at the end of my driveway, with people being cleaned as they walked in, so people were coming in and I was going for a drink? It worked, and then they wouldn’t leave.
Perhaps it is this Dunkirk spirit that unites and binds the cast of Onion, who has time combining comics is perfect. Norton is hilarious as the vain and cranky magnate Bron, Monáe does an elegant job in a tough and important role, Hahn is as funny as ever, and Hudson seems to exude silliness. Her mother Goldie Hawn’s inspirational goofiness as Birdie Jay, a fashion designer always seems to be a good minute behind the flow of conversation.
“I laughed out loud watching Kate,” said Craig, “but what she’s doing is so complicated, it’s really hard to do. But people are doing something layered and complex in the movie.”
“Yeah, and with Daniel,” Johnson added, “making something look cool and easy takes a lot of effort and skill. And ideally, the audience knows nothing about it.”
Apparently Johnson had at one point considered having Benoit Blanc appear speaking in an inexplicably different voice, but gladly Daniel’s melodious and musical “Foghorn Leghorn fried southern style” voice was retained.
The film, which streams on Netflix from next Friday, was briefly released in theaters last month, which is very important to Johnson.
“It wasn’t a wide release,” he explained, “and it was a week. But in the United States, Netflix has really stepped out and worked with some of the major theater chains they’ve never worked with before. My goal is just to make it as big as possible, I want people to see it in theaters as well if possible. And you know, we want to keep pushing it and hopefully more and more in the future.”
Johnson has begun to write differently Pull out the knife project, and even that may not be the end of it. “I mean, as long as me and Daniel are happy, we’ll keep going. But for me, the cool thing about it is, like Agatha Christie with her books, it’s a form where you can really find something new in each book.”
“I agree,” Craig said. “I mean I get to work with him, so whatever we do is fine, but the fact that we somehow got here is amazing, as long as it’s fun and free. is that we’re pushing ourselves — I think we both feel that if we’re not pushing ourselves, if this is going to be easy… We just want to make sure we always get the job done. “
Regardless of the next one, Onion distributed successfully, and is a sophisticated and satisfying comedy: a mainstream movie aimed at adults for a while.
“Yes,” said Craig, “and when you look at us, you think, ‘Wow, how the hell did that happen!’”
‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ airs on Netflix from December 23
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/daniel-craig-on-glass-onion-we-were-falling-around-laughing-but-of-course-that-doesnt-always-make-a-good-movie-42222622.html Daniel Craig on Glass Onion: ‘We rolled around laughing, but of course that doesn’t always make for a good movie’