Some movies take forever to come together, going through years of delays and development hell on the road to theater screens. Others happen rather quickly. Such was the case with Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. As evidence of how quickly the star-studded whodunit came together, Rian Johnson reveals that he actually left a vacation when Daniel Craig said he’d do Knives Out. The filmmaker recalled:
When we sent him the script I was actually on vacation with my wife and I got a call from my producer [saying] ‘he loves it, but if he wants to do it we have to lock it now because his window to start filming begins in like six weeks.’ We were on vacation at the beach. I literally took a speedboat to the airport and flew up to New York away from my vacation to meet Daniel and say ‘Okay, are we going to do this?’ Then I went back to my vacation afterwards.
Hey, you can go on vacation anytime, but landing Daniel Craig for your murder mystery is not an opportunity you can pass up. As Rian Johnson told The IMDb Show, they sent Daniel Craig the script for Knives Out while the director was enjoying a vacation with his wife. Clearly he wasn’t expecting such a quick response from the actor or one that necessitated immediate action, but that’s exactly what he got.
Daniel Craig loved the script for Knives Out and wanted to play Benoit Blanc in the film. That was great news for the director who really wanted Daniel Craig to portray the detective, but as his producer relayed to him, there was a rub to the whole situation.
Daniel Craig is a busy and in-demand actor, and with his swan song as 007 looming, he only had a limited window of time during which he could make Knives Out happen before he had to go film Bond 25, which we now know as No Time To Die. So everything had to be settled right away to make this thing a reality, and that required Rian Johnson to take a break from his vacation.
The director, in what ironically sounds like a scene out of a James Bond movie, literally hopped on a speedboat and rushed to the airport so he could get on a flight to New York. There he met with Daniel Craig, and the two locked in the actor’s participation in the film. With that all sewn up, Rian Johnson was able to return to his vacation.
It’s a pretty wild turn of events and it shows just how fast things can move in this business. The real MVP of the situation and someone who probably deserves some sort of ‘Special Thanks to’ credit for Knives Out is Rian Johnson’s wife and host of the excellent Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This, Karina Longworth. She must be a true saint to allow her husband to just rush away in the middle of their vacation to handle work stuff.
You can understand why it was so important to Rian Johnson, though, that he went to such lengths to land Daniel Craig. The director has spoken about how instrumental Daniel Craig’s involvement was to both getting Knives Out made, as well as attracting the film’s all-star cast of actors. And judging by both the critical response, the box office and his Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, putting his vacation on pause was the right decision for Rian Johnson.
A Knives Out sequel is already in the works, with Daniel Craig set to return as Benoit Blanc for an all-new mystery, essentially making him the Hercule Poirot to Rian Johnson’s Agatha Christie. Hopefully this time around, Rian Johnson has enough advance warning that he and his wife can have a restful and uninterrupted vacation.
Knives Out is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies headed to theaters this year.