Rian Johnson initially thought Ana de Armas was 'totally wrong' for Knives Out

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 2 January 2020
Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson

'Knives Out' director Rian Johnson has admitted he initially thought Ana de Armas was "totally wrong", but soon changed his mind after meeting her

Rian Johnson initially thought Ana de Armas was "totally wrong" for 'Knives' Out'.

The film's director had his doubts about casting the 31-year-old star in the murder mystery movie after Googling her and seeing some of her "glamour shots", but he soon changed his mind after meeting her.

He said: "I had seen her in 'Blade Runner 2049', but I wasn't really familiar with her work.

"It was [casting director] Mary [Vernieu] who brought her to my attention and said, 'This girl is really something special, you have to look at her.'

"I looked at her work and I could tell that she was really good, but I Googled Ana and saw glamour shots of her, and I was just like, 'No, she's totally wrong for it.'

"Then, I met with her and read her, and she was so right.

"Besides being just an incredibly skilled actor, she has that indefinable thing with her eyes.

"She's got that Audrey Hepburn-type thing, where her eyes just bring you in, and you're instantly on her side, and that's what we needed for the character. It was perfect."

De Armas appears in the motion picture alongside her 'No Time to Die' co-star Daniel Craig, and Johnson admits the James Bond star joining the cast was "the reason" it was able to be made.

He said: "Him signing up is the reason we were able to make the movie. Besides being a movie star, he's also a fantastic actor who is really well respected, so I think he served to attract higher calibre talent to the project."

And Johnson admits he gave Craig the opportunity to "cut loose" in the film, which "he did".

He added to Deadline: "That's the thing. I mean, he's great as Bond. I had seen him in other things over the years. Obviously, it was 'Logan Lucky' recently, where you see he's willing to kind of have fun and go a little wackier. I'd seen him on the stage.

"I just knew that he's a great actor, and also, I got the sense that he was really looking forward to the opportunity to have some fun. So that, much more than the idea of somehow playing off of how the public perceives him, was the motivation.

"I just got the sense that he was ready to really cut loose and play with this one, and he did."

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

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."

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.

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