As the great Agatha Christie once wrote, "Instinct is a marvelous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored." Filmmaker Rian Johnson, who took inspiration from the Queen of Crime in creating a mystery franchise of his own, has followed his instinct to two Oscar nominations: In 2020, Johnson received his first nomination for Best Original Screenplay with Knives Out; and at the 95th Oscars, he is up for Best Adapted Screenplay for its sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Like its predecessor, Glass Onion is an ensemble piece, this time following Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he travels to a billionaire's private island to solve a new case involving a new cast of suspects (Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, and Edward Norton). For the writer and director, piecing together an ensemble of fully-realized characters is one of the most rewarding aspects of the genre.
"There is a part of your brain that is thinking, 'I want to justify each of these people showing up. Every single actor who shows up, I want to give them something to chew on and dig into that's going to be worthy of their talents,'" Johnson explained during an Academy-hosted Q&A for the movie. "You try to do that on the page, but... it doesn't live just in the lines that they have in the script. It lives in how they embody the character."
"That's also part of the pleasure of writing a whodunit is that it is, by its nature, an ensemble," he added. "There is something incredibly joyful about that, especially when you have world-class actors — any one of whom have and could carry their own film — showing up with the intent of truly coming together as an ensemble to play."
Watch the full Academy Conversation on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery below, which also features insight from stars Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, and Leslie Odom Jr., as well as film editor Bob Ducsay.
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