Rian Johnson is free of Star Wars and ready to unveil Knives Out.
Director Rian Johnson has had a pretty incredible career up to now. After crafting numerous shorts, the Maryland-born filmmaker went on to make one of the most striking directorial debuts of the 2000s with 2005’s Brick. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a teenager searching for his missing ex-girlfriend, the film creatively plays with the conventions of film-noir. It’s entertaining, subversive and marked the arrival of a talent here to stay.
Since, he has helmed the likes of The Brothers Bloom, Looper, episodes of Breaking Bad, and of course, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. When he was announced to direct the second instalment of the new Star Wars trilogy, many cast their minds back to 2012’s Looper and considered him a fantastic choice. The film proved that he could confidently orchestrate sci-fi narratives and bestow essential emotional resonance. However, when his addition to the series arrived, it proved to be overwhelmingly divisive. There’s definitely evidence of Johnson’s singular imprint on the film, and many detractors considered it to be in conflict with what J.J. Abrams had established in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. As a result, Abrams is firmly behind the helm of Star Wars: Episode IX.
The Last Jedi still has so many fans, but arguably it didn’t quite work out the way the studios expected. Now, it appears Johnson is returning to his roots and making something with a much more modest budget. His forthcoming project – Knives Out – is being billed as a “modern murder mystery in a classic whodunit style”. We’re definitely getting the impression that he aims to send up classical narrative in a similar way to Brick.
Perhaps many popular performers feel the same way, as there are so many names attached to the film. Already, we have the likes of Daniel Craig (Skyfall), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Chris Evans (Avengers: Infinity War), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Don Johnson (Brawl in Cell Block 99) and more.
Honestly, the cast is absolutely incredible. The budget is only estimated at $40 million, but nevertheless, Johnson’s prestige – and script, of course – have clearly attracted an overwhelming ensemble of talented stars. Already, it promises to be one of the must-see films of the year, and it may boast the most impressive cast. Perhaps its only rival comes from Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and more.
Some actually believed that Johnson’s career would derail after The Last Jedi, but Knives Out looks set to prove them wrong. If the opportunity of Star Wars hadn’t of posed itself to the filmmaker, this is the sort of thing we’d have anticipated him doing after Looper. He took a huge risk, and whether it paid off remains a heated debate amongst cinemagoers. No matter your stance, this looks like essential viewing… and we haven’t even gotten a trailer yet.
In other news, could there be a Wayne’s World 3?