Rian Johnson explains why the ‘Knives Out’ sequel shifted the action to sun-kissed Greece

knives out
via Lionsgate

It’s something of a trope for murder mysteries to involve a vacation to exotic regions, but for Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, that choice has more to do with paying homage to all the movies that came before it rather than imitating them in an attempt to, as they say, “play it safe.”

The story of the Knives Out sequel involves a billionaire by the name of Miles Bron who invites his friends on a getaway trip to his private island in Greece. But when someone turns up dead, the premise of every good whodunit puzzle, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) joins in on the fun to solve the murder.

During a recent Q&A for the movie ahead of its limited theatrical release, Johnson touched on the reason he chose Greece as the destination for his Knives Out follow-up, and explained the palpable contrast it draws with the “cozy English country house” of the original.

“What can be more different from the brown fall of New England than blue and yellow Greece on the beach. But also, also, I wrote this in 2020. So I wrote it during the lockdown,” he explained. “And so just like the characters at the beginning of it, just like all of us, the place I wanted to be most was on the beach somewhere in Greece. So a little bit of it was kind of like, will this work in Greek islands?

“And it works. But also, the same way that there’s kind of a tradition to draw from in terms of the kind of the cozy, cozy English country house mystery of the first one, there’s also a rich tradition of the destination vacation mystery. And those movies like Evil Under the Sun or The Last of Sheila or even something like Death On the Nile, those were things that I grew up watching and loving, and so it felt like kind of a another rich vein to draw from, I guess”

Glass Onion features a star-studded cast that includes acclaimed thespians such as Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Ethan Hawke, and Hugh Grant. Rian Johnson has once again written and directed the movie, patnering up with his long-time collaborator Ram Bergman to see it through. Steve Yedlin, who worked on Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, once again serves as director of photography.

Glass Onion is slated for a one-week theatrical premiere on Nov. 23, and will be available for streaming on Netflix come Dec. 23.