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Alongside Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, one of the most ridiculously stacked casts of 2019 belonged to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. For his whodunit, the director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi assembled a group of actors that included up-and-comers, talented veterans, Oscar nominees and winners. But it all started with Daniel Craig, and Rian Johnson credits the James Bond actor for getting Knives Out’s killer cast, as he explained:
Him signing up is the reason we were able to make the movie. Besides being a movie star, he’s also a fantastic actor who is really well respected, so I think he served to attract higher caliber talent to the project.
In addition to being the star of the film, it seems that Daniel Craig was instrumental in not only getting Knives Out made, but also turning it into the star-studded affair it eventually became. This makes sense given the workings of the business. Having a big name actor confirmed helps a film get financed because recognizable talent lends a project a certain amount of credibility and boosts its box office prospects.
As Rian Johnson told Deadline, Daniel Craig is a huge movie star and for over a decade he has played James Bond in one of the world’s biggest movie franchises. So having him attached to Knives Out to play the private detective Benoit Blanc was a huge boon to the film. Rian Johnson believes that Daniel Craig’s involvement in the film is what attracted high caliber talent to Knives Out.
Talent attracts talent, because artists want to work with other talented people-- be they other actors or directors. Beyond just being 007, Daniel Craig is a talented and respected actor that other actors want to work with. So with Daniel Craig on board, other actors not only wanted to join Knives Out, but they had the confidence to do so because someone like Daniel Craig was already a part of it.
It seems like from Rian Johnson’s perspective, Daniel Craig’s casting in Knives Out was the first domino to fall, thereby knocking down all the others and rounding out the murder mystery’s cast with a host of talented actors, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Ana De Armas, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Christopher Plummer, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford and Frank Oz.
Rian Johnson has spoken about why he wanted Knives Out to have an all-star cast, in keeping with the tradition of Agatha Christie adaptations like the original Death on the Nile and Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express. Well, thanks in part to Daniel Craig he got his wish. And with any luck, this won’t be the only time.
Rian Johnson has mentioned the possibility of a sequel that would have Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc surrounded by a new cast of characters for a new mystery. One hopes that if that comes to fruition that ensemble would be just as fun and talented as this one. Fortunately, Knives Out has done quite well for itself, making over $200 million worldwide.
Knives Out is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see all the movies you can look forward to this year.