'Knives Out' Director Rian Johnson Weighs In On The Best Chris Debate
The Best Chris war rages on. On Twitter. Over group texts. And in our own comments section. You might think our Pajiba 10 vote ended it once and for all. Or perhaps our Best Chris March Madness bracket, in which Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans all saw defeat thanks to the unstoppable charisma of Keanu Reeves. But there are those of us for whom this battle still rages. And proudly entering into the fray is fearless filmmaker Rian Johnson.
Johnson has chiseled out his reputation as a remarkably witty and original writer/director with Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Next, he set his genre-bending brain on the whodunnit Knives Out, a crowd-pleasing crime-comedy stuffed with stars including Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, and Chris Evans. So naturally, when Pajiba had the chance to sit down with Johnson ahead of the film’s much-anticipated special presentation as Fantastic Fest’s Closing Night film, we asked this thoughtful autuer to weigh in on one of the greatest cinema controversies to ever rock the internet.
Pajiba: This is controversial. Who do you think is Best Chris?
Rian Johnson: Oh, well, who do you think I’m going to say? (Laughs) I mean, what do you think this is? (Collects himself) I love all the Chrises equally and I love Chris Evans a little more equally. That guy’s hard to beat. He’s also just the sweetest dude in the world. I’m psyched because he’s such a good actor. He’s got so much range and I’m really excited what he does next [following his MCU run as Captain America]. I mean, I obviously love him as Cap. But I really, really psyched to see what he does going forward.
Pajiba: Totally. It’s been funny to me, because with Knives Out I keep seeing people saying, ‘Oh, he’s so against type in this!’ And I get it’s against the type of Captain America, but we’ve seen Evans play dicks before.
Johnson: That’s the thing! I saw him in Lobby Hero, in New York, this Kenneth Lonergan play, and he plays an asshole in that. He’s fantastic. He’s got so much range! He’s just a really good actor.
Pajiba: Right! And even earlier in his career, he was cast as douchebags.
Johnson: Yeah. He’s got that kind of like square-jaw vibe, and he’s funny as hell, man. He can, like, dig into it.
Evans does dig into it in Knives Out, where he plays Ransom Drysdale, a swaggering trust-fund baby with a bad attitude, a foul mouth, and a sharp fashion sense. You get a sense of all of this when Ransom makes his entry wearing a long, chic, and swinging scarf. We asked Johnson about how this scarf came to be a part of the character.
Johnson: [Credit goes to] Jenny Eagan, who is our costume designer. We wanted everybody to be as distinct as the old Clue characters, but doing that with modern day stuff that wouldn’t feel too goofy. So, that, and the other detail I’m very proud of was he’s wearing, like, Gucci loafers that are worn to hell and that he, like, stamps the back down on. We put him in super nice clothes and show that (Ransom) doesn’t give a shit about them, like his sweater has holes in it. But that scarf is gorgeous. And when we put that thing on, we were just like, ‘Oh, that’s the chef’s kiss final touch.’ You’re immediately like, ‘Okay. That guy.’
Pajiba: It also accents the swagger he has with the physicality.
Johnson: It’s slight. It’s flair, you know? It’s got that element of flair.
Pajiba: It’s just distinct enough that it feels like a thing.
Johnson: Exactly. Yeah. It engages. Jenny Eagan did a fantastic job.
You can see Eagan’s fantastic job, Johnson’s pick for Best Chris, and this Chef’s Kiss scarf when Knives Out hits theaters November 27.
We’ll have much more from our exclusive interview out of Fantastic Fest closer to the film’s theatrical release on November 27. In those, Johnson reveals more of the hidden treats of the sensational film we declared “the best who dunnit of the decade.”
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