How do you fill your downtime during the shoot for a murder mystery movie when strict Covid protocols prevent you from leaving the hotel? For the cast of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery the solution was simple: play your own murder mystery games on the hotel roof.
“I literally host murder mystery parties at my house and dress up for fun,” revealed Janelle Monáe as she visited Deadline’s Toronto studio. So, it was a no-brainer. “This guy,” Monáe said, referring to director Rian Johnson, “would leave handwritten, medieval-style notes under our hotel room door saying, ‘You’re invited…’”
“Everybody played this game,” said Daniel Craig. But was he as up to the task of solving the murders as his fictional detective Benoit Blanc? “I’m a very good actor,” he deadpanned. “I was just there for the fun of the game. My game plan was basically just to look like the bad guy all of the time.”
The real competitor? Kate Hudson, according to Edward Norton. “Kate and her husband would accuse each other and it was like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I was like, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t have spouses in this game…’”
The second installment of the Benoit Blanc mysteries is Johnson’s first after a landmark deal with Netflix. For Johnson and Craig, the appetite to explore more operatic murders with the character came even as they were shooting Knives Out. Craig said the premiere of the first film in Toronto was the moment they realized they might have the chance to do so. “Having a reaction to the premiere like we had last night [for Glass Onion], you do sort of look at each other and go, ‘Oh, OK…’”
They both felt the pressure to deliver, though, with a wealth of expectations built up. “But that wasn’t my problem,” laughed Craig.
“It was scary, man,” Johnson admitted. “It was more terrifying even than writing a Star Wars movie. The first one was out there and it becomes something outside of you. It becomes this gilded thing. But then, like with anything else, you just dive in. We weren’t interested in turning the crank and turning out the same thing again. The fact was we were always going to be doing something different, and with a new cast, so it quickly became about diving into the next swimming pool.”
The Deadline Studio is sponsored by dr Liza + the[fix] and Watford Group. Special thanks to our partner Soluna.