Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery


Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sees Rian Johnson return to write and direct a sequel to the acclaimed Knives Out, with only Daniel Craig returning from the original cast. While Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery has big shoes to fill, but a new mystery and astonishing sets rise to the occasion. This is aided by a stellar cast of new faces for the second movie, including Janelle Monáe, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., and even more.


Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc and Ana de Armas’ Marta Cabrera were the faces of Knives Out. However, Janelle Monáe’s Andi Brand brings a whole new style to the second movie alongside Craig. Crucially, Rian Johnson (complete with his love of classic mystery and Agatha Christie) brings a mystery for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery that rivals the previous film and even the Queen of Crime herself.

Related: Every Celebrity Joke & Reference In Glass Onion

Screen Rant and several other media outlets spoke to Rian Johnson and Janelle Monáe in Atlanta about the future of the Knives Out franchise, the process of creating a mystery like Glass Onion, and the importance of representation in film.

Rian Johnson & Janelle Monáe Talk Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Cassandra looks behind her in Glass Onion

From writing these characters and reading the script, to playing and seeing them on screen, what surprised you most about the transition from page to screen?

Rian Johnson: To talk about Janelle’s performance specifically, I feel like you write these things, and you have a version in your head. I’ve spent like a year writing it, I know that movie, and what I’m looking for is to find collaborators who come in and surprise me with their choices. And I guess on paper is one thing, but the complexity of what Janelle was actually tasked with in this movie and the amount of depth she put into differentiating the different layers of this character? I didn’t even really appreciate it until I got into the cutting room and saw the whole thing strung together. And that’s something I could not have anticipated. You can have it on the page, but when you see a great actor like Janelle actually bring to life those little subtle differentiations and see that they’re all built into it and baked in, it was kind of magic.

Janelle Monáe: For me, it starts with the script, and I think what Rian wrote was just remarkable, and so appetizing for me to sink my teeth into. Just delicious; a big, delicious bite, from start to finish. And especially with the character, when I read what Rian was considering me for, I just knew. I was like, “We’re gonna have fun. We’re gonna go on a ride as a character because there’s so much there, and I love everything on the page.”

Rian is just the ultimate collaborator; a good partner to come in and say, “Ooh, what about this?” Or, “What about this accent? What about if we dropped some little Easter eggs here?” When folks watch it the second and third time, there are some little clues that speak to those different energies. And I will say this: this role challenged me in the best possible way as an actor. I feel like I’ve grown more as an actor and have grown more just as a human, honestly.

Once you do something like this with the people that you just genuinely love? I don’t know if you guys can feel it, but we had a wonderful time just connecting. All of that showed up on screen and [Rian] set the tone for creating that family vibe. You go in thinking, “Alright, I’m gonna do this and do that,” and then you just get transformed in a completely different way and leave room for surprise. There were lots of moments where we talked and, [while] talking through things, elements came up that may not necessarily have had been something that when you read it. You saw it, but when you do it, you’re like, “Yes! That’s it.” It always leaves that element of surprise.

Knives Out brought back a lot of jot to the whodunit genre. How do you see Glass Onion and Knives Out as a franchise growing, and what do you think draws people into that genre of film?

Rian Johnson: Growing up and loving whodunits from an early age, it starts for me with Agatha Christie. I loved her books growing up. I loved the movies that were made of her books growing up: Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, The Peter Ustinov Poirot movies… That was my jam when I was a kid. First and foremost, it’s just an incredibly fun genre. There’s nothing not fun about it. And the fact that it lets you have an ensemble; the fact that it has a mystery to it, and you can even have comedy. It’s just the most fun a movie can be.

For this series, there’s a couple of big ingredients, though. The first one is ignoring the notion of timelessness and setting it just unapologetically right here and right now, and using this form that we’ve mostly seen as period pieces to engage with the present moment; in the candy coated shell of this fun mystery. That, to me, seemed like a really exciting prospect. And going forward, my big thing that I want with these is for them to reflect Agatha Christie’s books, where it’s a whole new deal every single time. [Daniel Craig] and I both feel like we’re just kind of turning the crank on another one [until we] stop. I want to be thrilled, excited and kind of scared by the prospect of each new one. So, I’m starting to think of ideas for the third one now. How can it be completely different than this one?

A lot of the sets in Glass Onion are absolutely gorgeous, but also involve a lot of glass; a lot of reflections. What was it like working around that, both as an actor and as a director during the filming process?

Rian Johnson: Well, Rick Heinrich was our production designer, who I had worked with on The Last Jedi. And Rick is incredible. He came up with Tim Burton, so he’s done a lot of Tim Burton’s films. Rick is amazing at doing very beautiful, very character-based design, but on a grand scale. Which was just kind of what we needed to get inside Miles Bron’s head. All those beautiful sets, which are built on sound stages in Belgrade, where we were for the second half of the shoot—those are all from the mind of Rick. I have to say though, that massive set that we were on does reflect Miles Bron, but it’s also kind of an eyesore. And we were on that set a while. Yeah, I think you were ready to start smashing it up by the end?

Janelle Monáe: Oh, yeah. Speaking of what Rian was saying, just about how you bring the elements of the people, the star-studded cast on this private island in Greece, and you write a murder mystery? That within itself is just fun. And getting a chance to do action, and do the comedy, and do the drama was just a very transformative experience.

I was so excited about working with Daniel and working with Edward, Kate, Katherine, and everybody. You grew up watching their work, so there was a part of me that was a little nervous. But there was also a part of me that was eager to learn from them and their processes. And when I met them, they were so just down to earth. Humble; scared too. A lot of us didn’t have a whole lot of work during the pandemic, so it was the first thing we were returning back to, and we just all want to do right by the script and his materials since we loved it so much.

[As for] Rick, I love Tim Burton too. And to know that somebody that legendary has come in and created some of those sets? It reminds you of why you love acting and why you got into moviemaking.

Screen Rant: We get a glimpse of the wonderful cameo of Blanc’s boyfriend, Phillip, and it’s a very brief moment. They’re never on screen together, so it lightly skirts direct LGBTQ+ representation. I was curious as to whether that was driven by COVID, but also whether we might see more of Phillip in the future? Whether he’ll ever be coming along on a case, and what the future might hold there?

Rian Johnson: It certainly wasn’t meant to skirt anything, but it wasn’t driven by COVID in particular. It was just kind of the way the scene was written. It’s the delight of connecting up that moment, when you come back to it halfway through, with the moment from the beginning was kind of the idea of it. I felt like having Blanc be gay and have a partner just felt like a very natural thing coming out of the first movie.

I think it’s an interesting thing because I should only be so lucky to have that actor in future installments in a murder mystery. It’s a delicate thing, though, because the detective is always at the center of a good murder mystery; the detective is never the protagonist of a good murder mystery. And I feel like in general, if you think about Poirot, for example, I feel like getting glimpses of the detective’s life outside of the scope of the case is interesting. But I don’t know that I can ever see the movies being more about that. The whole thing is kind of about the mystery itself.

But at the same time, it’s a big part of who he is, and going forward, it’s going to be fun to learn more about that. It’s true, it is just a glimpse of it. And that was one thing that I thought about; we’re obviously going to want to see more of this.

Janelle Monáe: I loved just how normal it felt. Being a part of the community itself, and always wanting to see representation, I loved how it just wasn’t like ‘a message.’ As it should be, it just feels normal. It should feel like these are people who are very familiar, just comfortable with each other.

When you write something like Glass Onion, do you feel like you have to go to a darker, different place? What’s the process for that?

Rian Johnson: The whole process of writing it for me [is that] I do a lot of outlining. I have to figure out the shape of the entire story before I actually start typing. But I feel like with [Knives Out] and with Glass Onion, with the stuff that it’s engaging with, there is an element of it that definitely comes from stuff that I’m angry at. This one probably even a little more than the last one. I was kind of wanting to shout back a little bit at this lurid carnival of insanity for the past six years that we’ve all been living through, and the stupidity of it, I guess.

For me, any movie I make at some level [has] got to be driven by something. It’s got to have some fire underneath it, even if it’s a fun souffle of a movie. The reality is there’s got to be something that it’s about for me, and that’s usually driven by something I’m p-ssed off about.

Janelle, your character was in the tech field. I think that it’s really important to showcase more women in STEM, especially since a lot more women are getting into coding now. What do you think about the future of STEM incorporating more women?

Janelle Monáe: I have to just say thank you to to writers like Rian who are writing the sorts of roles and having the representation. And it goes beyond race, because there’s women of color, Black women specifically, white women who have all been in these rooms with these sorts of like tech bros and have had to assert themselves because they’re not heard, they’re not listened to, their ideas aren’t taken or not taken seriously. They’re not given the funding that these tech bros have been given.

I think that’s why I was excited about playing Andi, because I know so many women who represent her and who are the sorts of people who really want to do good with their money with their wealth with their influence, and have to take a stance and stand up to the Miles Brons in the world and also to even friends. Everyone in this film, they all have a complicated relationship with each other. When you watch it, you’ll notice that Andi represents something important to these people.

I’m trying not to give away spoilers… I’ll just say, “More of it, yes, please,” and thank you Rian Johnson.

About Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion Benoit Blanc Helen

Detective Benoit Blanc returns in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, a new whodunit from the mind of Rian Johnson. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery swaps out its location from New England for a private island in Greece, and its cast from one star-studded ensemble for another. Alongside the return of Daniel Craig, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery features Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline.

Check out our other Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery interviews here:

More: Glass Onion Ending Explained: Breaking Down Every Knives Out 2 Twist

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery arrives December 23 on Netflix.

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Denis Ava
Denis Ava
Denis Ava is mainly a business blogger who writes for Biz Grows. Rather than business blogs he loves to write and explore his talents in other niches such as fashion, technology, travelling,finance,etc.

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