Rian Johnson explains why Knives Out needed all-star cast

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 9 December 2019
Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

'Knives Out' director Rian Johnson has explained why his new 'whodunit' murder mystery movie needed an all-star cast packed full of huge names

Rian Johnson needed 'Knives Out' to have big names to replicate the 'whodunit' movies he grew up watching.

The 45-year-old filmmaker explained how movies like 'Murder on the Orient Express' would feel like an "event" when they hit the big screen, and he wanted his new murder mystery to have the same buzz.

Speaking on the 'Filmmaker Toolkit' podcast, he said: "It was very much manufactured with [big name stars] in mind. I was thinking about the movies I grew up watching like 'Death on the Nile', 'Evil Under the Sun' with Peter Ustinov, you know the Finney 'Murder on the Orient Express' that were all-star events, all-star extravaganzas. "I remember watching them with my family and feeling like these were events, feeling like this is the most fun a movie could possibly be. And you watch those movies and it's like every single person is up there.

"It's Ingrid Bergman, it's David Niven, it's James Mason. They had so much fun and those movies walk a tonal line where there's a cheeky sense of self-aware fun and yet they never tip over into parody.

"'Evil Under The Sun' gets close, but they keep it on the side of this is a mystery with stakes. And so as big as all the characters are they still land as characters."

Johnson previously admitted it was a bit "scary" working with such an experience and well-known cast – which included Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield. Christopher Plummer, Jaime Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell and Don Johnson – although they made his job easier.

He recently explained: "Was I scared showing up with all these guys? Yeah I was s***ing my pants. But they are all fantastic actors and at the end of the day, that makes your job easy. You're doing fine tuning rather than saying, 'Oh my god can we just get it?' "

Knives Out

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 10min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
  • UK release: 27 November 2019

When mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) is found with his throat slit, puffed-up private detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) gets on the case. A wickedly knowing, flamboyantly bitchy take on the whodunnit, with a great cast, bags of style and a splendidly outrageous comic turn from Craig. Bloody good fun.

Post a comment