Despite the fact his Walther PPK has finally been retired, modern cinema won’t be experiencing a shortage of Daniel Craig. Over the weekend, Variety reported he’ll be returning to screens as Private Detective Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2 – which is currently scheduled for a simultaneous release via theatres and Netflix in late 2022 after doing its dash on the festival circuit (precise date TBA).
At this stage, details surrounding the much-anticipated sequel’s plot are still under wraps. All we know is that the production kicked off on the island of Spetses, Greece around June/July 2021, before principal photography meandered elsewhere, concluding later that year on September 13th at what appears to be New York City’s Empire State Building. Or at least a set designed to replicate the iconic landmark.
Writer + director Rian Johnson did, however, note Knives Out 2 won’t be a strict continuation of its predecessor, but a standalone film following Craig’s Private Detective Benoit Blanc on his next mystery. The official title won’t even be Knives Out 2. It’s simply the placeholder slapped on by the internet.
“There’s so many different things you can do with it. And that’s what’s fun about it,” Rian Johnson revealed to SiriusXM.
“You look at Agatha Christie’s books and it’s not like every single one is a mansion, a library, and a detective. Besides setting, she also explored a bunch of different subgenres. She found a different narrative way into each of them.”
As previously mentioned, Daniel Craig reprises his role as the charming Hercule Poirot-inspired sleuth, though sadly, without everyone’s crush Ana de Armas or the hilariously dysfunctional Drysdale family. Confirmed names in the all-new ensemble cast include Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr, Kate Hudson, Madelyn Cline, Jessica Henwick, America’s other dad Ethan Hawke, with rumours of Jada Pinkett Smith lurking about. While none of the above has been linked to a defined character, we can assume they’ll all portray potential suspects of a brand new murder.
“I’ve never really been interested in doing sequels – but this, the idea of doing more of these with Daniel as his character, is not sequels.”
“It’s just coming up with a whole new mystery, a whole new location, all-new cast, whole new mechanics of the appeal of a mystery, and everything.”
Knives Out cinematographer Steve Yedlin, editor Bob Ducsay, and costume designer Jenny Eagan are also back on board to re-capture lightning in a bottle.
Considering how the first instalment generated over US$311 million / AU$433 million in the box office against a comparatively meagre US$40 million / AU$55 million budget – plus the dazzling critical acclaim which came with it – you can understand why the industry views Rian Johnson’s whodunnit franchise as hot property.
Subjected to a bidding war from the big three streamers (i.e. Apple, Amazon, Netflix) as well as the new kids on the block (i.e. Disney+, HBO Max, so forth), it didn’t take long before the crimson N pulled out its mythical chequebook to purchase the rights from Lionsgate… as well as greenlighting both Knives Out 2 and Knives Out 3 for a complete trilogy.
Initial reports valued the deal at approximately US$450 million / AU$627 million until The Hollywood Reporter revealed Netflix had actually “inked a dagger-driving US$469 million / AU$653 million deal” – one that included Rian Johnson, T-Street producing partner Ram Bergman, and Daniel Craig in the package. Multiple sources indicate Johnson, Bergman, and Craig will walk away with upwards of US$100 million each.
“The math doesn’t work. There’s no way to explain it,” one of the losing bidders told Variety.
“The world has gone mad. It’s a mind-boggling deal.”
Stay tuned for the Knives Out 2 trailer and confirmed release date (beyond late 2022).