Rian Johnson Explains How He Got One Of The Biggest Cameos In Glass Onion, And How Stephen Sondheim Helped

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc standing in a pool holding a drink and wearing sunglasses in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
(Image credit: Netflix)

The following contains minor spoilers for Glass Onion.

Like Knives Out before it, Netflix’s Glass Onion has an absolutely stellar cast. However, the new film from Rian Johnson takes things even one step further because not only is the cast of suspects full of A-list talent, but a scene earlier in the movie includes four absolutely amazing cameos and it turns out that it was thanks to one of those cameos that Rian Johnson was able to get another, because Stephen Sondheim was the reason Johnson was able to get Angela Lansbury to appear.

Getting Stephen Sondheim to cameo was apparently quite easy as Rian Johnson’s producing partner Ram Bergman told the New York Times that he just mentioned to their agent that they wanted Sondheim, and a few minutes later the deal was done. It was when Rian Johnson was recording Sondheim’s part, via Zoom, that the topic of Angela Lansbury came up, and the musical theater icon told the director to just name drop him. Johnson explained…  

I mentioned to him [Sondheim] that we were trying to get Angela Lansbury. And he said, ‘Oh, Angie — I’m friends with her. Tell her I’m doing it. She’ll do it.’

It seems that really as all it took to get Angela Lansbury on board Glass Onion. The cameos are extra special now as both Sondheim and Lansbury have passed away since their scene was shot. Johnson is apparently a big musical theater fan, and also a huge Murder, She Wrote fan, so getting them to appear in Glass Onion was a big deal for him. 

The first time we see Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion the detective is sitting in his bathtub playing video games. He’s online with an absolutely all-star cast of Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Johnson's Poker Face star Natasha Lyonne. We also learn later that Hugh Grant is in the next room. Blanc and his celebrity buddies are playing the multiplayer video game Among Us, which Blanc is especially bad at. In reality, the video game element was actually much tougher for Lansbury to get her head around. Johnson continued…

Not a gamer. And so she was very patient in letting me describe the rules of Among Us, up to a point. At which point she just said, ‘You know what? Just tell me what the lines are. I’ll trust you.’

It appears all the individual video segments were filmed separately, so none of the rest of the performers in the scene actually got to work directly with Stephen Sondheim or Angela Lansbury. Still, Glass Onion may become an iconic film simply for being the final screen performances for two absolute legends of entertainment. Glass Onion is available to stream on Netflix now.  

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.