In the same theater, in the same Saturday timeslot, where 2019’s “Knives Out” premiered, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival unveiled “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the latest film from the writer-director Rian Johnson.
Ahead of the film’s debut, Johnson – who earned an Oscar nomination for the original screenplay of “Knives Out,” which entered TIFF to positive buzz but exploded into a dormant hit when it was released two months later – urged the cheering crowd with, “Are you ready to have a good time?” Are you ready for a fun thriller? »
The sequel is full of mysteries within mysteries – even who dies might be a bigger surprise than who the killer is and we wouldn’t dare spoil it. What can be said is that the film is set very specifically in the early days of the pandemic in 2020 as eccentric tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites a group of old friends to his island private for a weekend murder mystery party. Almost immediately, things don’t go as planned. Also present are the characters played by Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline, Daniel Craig, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe and Leslie Odom Jr.
After the screening, Johnson returned with his longtime producer Ram Bergman and cast members Craig, Monáe, Hudson, Hahn, Norton, Odom, Henwick, and Cline.
While Ana De Armas isn’t returning – although there is one performance that may stand out for “Glass Onion” audiences just as De Armas did in “Knives Out” – Craig is back as than Benoit Blanc, celebrated as the greatest detective in the world. Luckily, Blanc’s thick, deliciously hammered southern accent also returns, as does his particular way with words. As he says at one point in the movie, it’s all pretty “convincing.”
The movie is jam-packed with little cameos that shouldn’t be given away, but it’s worth noting that Johnson regulars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Noah Segan are both back. (But you have to listen to Gordon-Levitt.)
And another we’ll reveal because of what Johnson shared after the screening: legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who’s on Zoom with Blanc at the start of the film (along with three other celebs we’ll let you check out). It’s no coincidence that the only produced screenplay Sondheim ever wrote was for the 1973 film “The Last of Sheila,” co-written with Anthony Perkins, of which Johnson is an avowed fan. “Sheila” is about an eccentric who invites his friends over for a derailed murder mystery party. (Sound familiar?)
Sondheim, who died in November, was also referenced in “Knives Out.” Asked about the famous composer’s cameo, Johnson said: ‘He was incredibly up for it and was so adorable. For me, I’m so happy that he’s here in the movie. I’m even happier to have had 10 minutes on Zoom with him just to tell him how much his work means to me.
Is there a new cable sweater?
Fans of “Knives Out” went wild for a cable knit sweater worn by Chris Evans, and there are sure to be people browsing the new movie for new looks. With costume design again handled by Jenny Eagan, who worked on “Knives Out,” there are many standout outfits in the film, including Dave Bautista’s swimsuit/gun holster combination and a multicolored dress. shimmering worn by Kate Hudson which is part of a key moment.
But the real winner is probably Craig’s summer vacation outfits, done in pale pastels and with flippy neck scarves that may actually be an emulating style. Her two-piece pool outfit with bold blue and white stripes may be a tougher look for someone else.
What does this title mean?
At one point, Blanc says, “I like the glass onion as a metaphor.” While the title “Glass Onion” does indeed refer to the Beatles’ 1968 song of the same name – there’s another Beatles song mentioned in the film and turned into a bad punchline – it’s also a place in the movie. Two places to be exact: a bar where the group of old friends used to hang out is named after, as is the central office/creative hive that Bron is building in his Mediterranean estate.
Johnson revealed that the film’s exteriors were shot at the Villa 20 resort in Greece while on-stage work was done in Belgrade, Serbia. “Glass Onion” reunites Johnson with production designer Rick Heinrichs, who also worked on Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
In a recent interview, Johnson described the title, saying, “I’m always on the lookout for something fun that White can hang on to as an overworked metaphor that he can beat to death. All this is clearly visible from the start. So the idea of glass came to me, something clear. I will be very honest. I literally took out my iPhone and searched my music library with the word glass. “There must be good glass songs.” I thought, ‘Oh, is this a glass fortress? Is it a glass castle? Is it a man of glass? The first thing that came up, because I’m a huge Beatles fan, was “Glass Onion.” ”
What is different?
While there are many similarities between the two films — most notably their mockery of the wealthy — “Glass Onion” really does have its own unique feel.
When asked to describe the difference between “Knives Out” and the new movie, Johnson said, “There wasn’t much. I mean obviously the setting and the fact that you were going from cozy New England to Greece was a big no-brainer. For me the biggest issue was just that he had a very different storyline and he was trying something different and unique and tonally I was kind of going to go where the characters were driving me – which, given the characters in the movie, ended up in a slightly bigger place.
“Well, maybe the actors,” interrupted Norton, to a chuckle from Johnson.
“So no, it wasn’t a specific thing,” Johnson continued, “It was less like tying myself to the mast of ‘this has got to be different.’ I don’t think I’d be creatively excited to just redo the first one, so it gave me the freedom to make it different, to make it creative and exciting to do.
While Monáe referenced the murder mystery nights the cast often had together during production and highlighted the camaraderie that radiated between them all, Craig noted, “We had a great time, but we didn’t make it. for ourselves. We did it for you.
Johnson picked up on this thread when responding to a question by saying, “I don’t think anyone is smarter than the audience and I think it’s a fool’s game to try to outsmart an audience. I think it’s about taking people on a ride and taking them on a rollercoaster ride instead of seeing it as a game of chess.
“And that’s what we try to do with these films. They’re thrillers, but at the end of the day, they’re movies and the movies are there so we don’t just sit there wondering what the solution is, the movies are there to be seen with a big crowd and have fun .
The new film is released by Netflix, which under a blockbuster deal paid for two films. (The film is set to hit the platform on December 23, with a theatrical release date yet to be announced.) So when asked by the audience about whether there will be another film, producer Bergman responded with a “Yes .”
Earlier, Craig had said of Johnson, “I would work with this man for the rest of my life.”
Johnson said, “I’m going to keep doing this until Daniel blocks me on his phone.”