I think it’s fair to say that I am a massive Rian Johnson fan. I think Brick is one of the most striking and confident films—let alone feature debuts—of the new millennium. The Brothers Bloom is a playful puzzle box of a con that overstretches itself somewhat but which nevertheless richly rewards repeat viewings. And Looper is a damn fine slice of original sci-fi that isn’t afraid to confront expectations and that delivers exciting, emotionally-grounded thrills—a feat replicated by Johnson’s entry in Disney’s product line of new Star Wars movies, The Last Jedi. Incidentally a film which is also for my money the best of that Disney bunch, by a not inconsiderable distance.
So, yeah: I am most definitely a fan of Mr Johnson’s, and it is with genuine excitement that I greet any news of his upcoming projects. Especially if the news concerns any projects that take place far away from the universe of Skywalkers and Sith. That’s no knock against his work there—as I say I think he did pretty much the best he could underneath the repressive shadow of the Mouse, but the original properties are always going to be more exciting. That’s true for most filmmakers involved in giant franchises like Star Wars or the MCU—not quite all; sorry Ron Howard, Solo was bad, but I was still more interested in watching that more than whatever other stuff you might have going on—but especially so for someone who has proven to have such a knack for delivering quality original material like Rian Johnson.
And so when I hear words like ‘Rian Johnson’ and ‘Agatha Christie-style murder mystery’ I get tingles.
There have been rumours and whispers on the grapevine of Johnson’s next project—now in pre-production for a 2019 release—for a little while, but as details are being kept quite tightly under wraps there has been not that much substance to them. The few bits we knew was that it would be called Knives Out, and that it would be an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery starring Daniel Craig and Chris Evans.
Now Deadline is reporting that Rian Johnson has added Atlanta and Get Out rising star Lakeith Stanfield to the cast. Evans and Craig are both set to play detectives in the Johnson-scripted story, but there is no word yet as to what role Stanfield will be playing.
But you know what they say: Two data points is not much, but three make a trend line! So now that we have Stanfield on top of Evans and Craig (not like that, get your head out of the gutter), I can’t help but imagine who else could be added to what I really want to imagine will be a typically Christie-like sprawling cast, and I want to see that trend line keep extending into a stratosphere of talent…
Just picture it. An old-school style whodunit with a Johnson twist, with sparkling noir-inflected dialogue, in a sumptuous period setting, and with these lot all walking around giving each other the whodunit eyes:
Rian, mate, I know you’re listening.
Cast those people!
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