Posted on November 21st, 2019 by Frederik

Director Rian Johnson loves a good puzzle. Not even a five-month global shoot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi could keep him away from The New York Times crossword, which he printed out and kept near his monitor so he could scribble answers between takes. “It’s just a nice little ritual that helps keep you centered,” says Johnson, 45. So when he got to work on his latest film, the modern-day whodunit Knives Out, it was only natural that he tackled it much like he would a brainteaser. The first piece of any good mystery is a death: Mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) assembles his family for his 85th birthday and winds up dead before the next morning. Next, the suspects: His family members, a sweeping ensemble cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and Toni Collette, each have a motive. To top it off: an eccentric private detective, Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc (sporting a thick Southern accent), and an outsider, Ana de Armas’ wide-eyed Marta, who gets swept up in the inquiry. “It is something of a jigsaw puzzle,” acknowledges Johnson, who tells much of the story through a series of flashbacks as each character recounts their version of the events that led to Harlan’s death. But Johnson didn’t want to make a conventional murder mystery, so the director added his own little twist, turning Knives Out into a commentary on wealth and privilege in Trump’s America all while winking at the audience about the tropes of a typical whodunit. “The goal was to take the weight off of the notion of there being a big surprise at the end, to give the audience the freedom to just relax and have a ride,” he says. “I want it to be a roller coaster.” The full article can be read over at The Hollywood Reporter.