The Unforgettable Glass Onion Scene That Rian Johnson Almost Cut Until He Watched The Movie With A Test Audience

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Needless to say, this story is going to get into specifics for scenes in Rian Johnson’s new Knives Out mystery, titled Glass Onion. The movie is in theaters in a limited release, and if you have the means, see it that way, with a crowd. The movie plays like gangbusters. Especially this scene, which we are about to dissect.

The world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is back on the beat in Rian Johnson’s sequel Glass Onion, which takes place on the private island of tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) as he invites a group of friends he has nicknamed “The Disruptors” for a vacation. Over the course of the weekend, Bron stages a “murder mystery” for his friends to solve. But actual crimes take place, because people in the group have lethal secrets to protect

Despite all of the tension that envelopes the action in Glass Onion, there is one scene that had audiences squirming in their chairs and screaming in agony for fear of what might happen. I’m referring to the moment where Janelle Monae’s character lies on her back after having been shot, and a bead of hot sauce (which she is using as fake blood) drips toward her open nostril… sure to give up the fact that she isn’t really dead. It’s a delightfully playful sequence, one that plays the audience like an instrument. 

And it almost wasn’t in the film. 

Rian Johnson came on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast to discuss Glass Onion in a spoiler-free conversation. I have embedded the full conversation at the bottom of this story. But over the course of the conversation, I brought up that hot-sauce sequence, to which Johnson revealed:

I almost cut that bit! Luckily I left it. Because I was like, ‘Ah, I don't know, is this…’ And luckily I left it in for our first test screening. And when I heard the audience react to it, I was like, ‘Oh, okay. I'm not cutting that (laugh).’

By the time that this moment happens, the audience has caught up to the main twist of the movie, and so Janelle Monae’s character has to maintain a ruse so as to continue fooling the other characters in the Glass Onion cast. It’s something as simple as hot sauce, but if it goes up Monae’s nose, her reaction could and would expose her deception. Naturally, Jeremy Renner’s hot sauce wasn’t actually used in the scene (nor does such a product exist). So when we asked Rian Johnson about filming that moment, he told ReelBlend:  

It requires a performance of an actor that's very subtle. And also, when we were shooting, it was very theoretical to describe to the actor, ‘Okay, this is kind of happening, and now do this little thing. Okay, now wait. Now do this little thing. And now this happens…’ You know what I mean? It was almost like talking them through acting against a CG character or something. So it was all – kudos to them, all credit to them for pulling it off. It's always so much fun. Even now that I've seen the movie a bunch, I still slip into the back of the theater when we're doing Q and As and try and get there early enough to hear that scene. Because it's really fun hearing the audience ride that moment.

Here’s the Rian Johnson interview, in full:

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Glass Onion is an audience-friendly movie. Get out and see it in a theatre while there is still time. If, for some reason, you miss it at the multiplex, the murder-mystery that we gave 5 stars to will stream on Netflix in December. Avoid all of the spoilers, and enjoy the ride!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.