In February of this year, Lionsgate announced that a sequel to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was in active development, before Netflix caused a stir last month when the streaming service swooped in to acquire the rights to the property in a massive deal that’s said to be worth upwards of $450 million, giving the green light to both second and third installments.
Writer/director Johnson and star Daniel Craig are both reported to be in line for a windfall of at least $100 million each, and the eye-watering sum stumped up by Netflix doesn’t even cover the production or marketing costs. The first film was a major success, of course, utilizing its star-studded ensemble to great effect by delivering an acclaimed whodunnit that wound up earning over $311 million at the box office on a $40 million budget and landing a deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
And now that the nascent franchise has found a new home, Knives Out is adopting an anthology-based approach, with Craig’s Benoit Blanc the only returning character, who will find himself trying to solve a new case in a new location. Shooting is set to kick off at the end of next month, and Dave Bautista was the first fresh face announced for the cast. In a recent interview, though, the actor admitted that he’s a bit terrified at the prospect of joining the project.
“It feels terrifying. I’m nervous about it. I’m really nervous. It’s one of those things where now the pressure’s on, because people are expecting things from you. I want to deliver. I take pride in that. I’m a game player. I want to throw a touchdown pass. I know the script is brilliant, I know the director is brilliant, and I know everybody that they’re going to cast, obviously Daniel is there, he’s brilliant, and I believe Ed Norton’s been cast as well. So the names are going to get bigger and better, and for me, I can’t get it out of my head that, there’s always going to be a part of me that feels like I’m new to this and I’m still learning, and I want to be able to hold my own.
So there is a bit of an intimidation factor, because all these actors and directors are just accomplished and seasoned and award-winners. But at the end of the day, this is how I gauge my career, the people I’m working with. The projects that I’m on, the directors that I work with. So I know being announced as part of this cast is a huge statement, because the first film crushed.”
Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn and Janelle Monáe have also boarded Knives Out 2, and there are no doubt many more additions to come as the production gears up to get underway in Greece. It’ll be a great opportunity for Bautista to showcase his range and underrated dramatic capabilities, too, as long as his nerves don’t get the better of him.