How James Bond Nearly Kept Daniel Craig From Starring In Knives Out

Benoit Blanc feigning surprise in Knives Out

With Knives Out 2 officially on the way and Daniel Craig set to return as Benoit Blanc, it would seem that Daniel Craig has found himself a new franchise just as his previous one is coming to a close. But trading in his license to kill for a private detective’s license wasn’t always a sure thing. That’s because James Bond nearly kept Daniel Craig from starring in Knives Out, as director Rian Johnson recalled:

Then it was a very serendipitous moment when the Bond movie pushed three months. This was not like the injury he had; this was before that. It was just a logistic thing, they pushed their schedule, so he suddenly had a window open and we got in there right away and he said yes right away, and we were making the movie right away.

Rian Johnson didn’t write the character of Benoit Blanc for Daniel Craig because he knows that scheduling can often mean that you don’t get your first choice when it comes to casting. That said, Daniel Craig was at the top of Rian Johnson’s wish list for Benoit Blanc in Knives Out. The filmmaker might not have gotten his wish though, had it not been for No Time To Die’s bumpy road to the big screen.

As Rian Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter, he and his team got lucky when Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die got delayed and production was pushed back. For the 25th Bond film, this was just one of the many obstacles and delays, including Daniel Craig’s injury, which would happen later. But what was bad, or at least not ideal, for Bond was great for Knives Out.

When No Time To Die had its production postponed, that freed up some time in Daniel Craig’s schedule. With that window open, Daniel Craig said yes and Rian Johnson dived through it, leaving a vacation with his wife to meet the actor and bring him aboard Knives Out, and that was that. Daniel Craig joined the whodunnit right away and the star-studded film was shooting six weeks later.

Had No Time To Die’s production not been pushed, it would have kept Daniel Craig from starring in Knives Out, both in that moment and possibly altogether. Rian Johnson’s film rushed into production to accommodate Daniel Craig’s limited window of availability, but who knows what would have happened had the Bond film not been delayed. Maybe Knives Out would have been made with a different actor while No Time To Die was filming, or maybe Daniel Craig landed another role after his Bond run and couldn't do Knives Out.

Rian Johnson has even credited Daniel Craig’s involvement as a huge factor in getting Knives Out made and attracting the film’s incredible cast. So maybe we wouldn't have even gotten Knives Out at all had Bond not been pushed back and had all the pieces not come quickly together to make the whodunnit. Fortunately, those are alternate histories we don’t have to worry about because No Time To Die did get pushed back and Daniel Craig did star as Benoit Blanc, and now he will again.

Knives Out 2 is in the works and will see Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc investigating a new mystery surrounded by a new cast of characters. As for James Bond, Daniel Craig steps into the role of 007 for the final time in No Time To Die, in theaters on April 10. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies coming this year.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.