Q: I heard Daniel Craig is going to be in a new Agatha Christie movie. Which story are they doing?

« Back to Q & A

Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Rian Johnson can be a confusing guy to fans of classic literature. With his breakout debut, "Brick" (2005), he proved that he can make a tribute to a genre so faithfully you forget what you're watching isn't a classic itself. He seems poised to do that again with "Knives Out," which is a tribute to Agatha Christie, not a rendition of Agatha Christie.

"I've been a diehard Agatha Christie fan since I was a teenager," Johnson said at this year's CinemaCon, the official convention of the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners. "'Knives Out' was my attempt to take everything I love about a good Agatha Christie whodunnit, jam it into a movie with an all-star cast, give it a Hitchcock-thriller-like twist, and set it in modern-day America."

Among those things he loves about a Christie story -- and therefore reproduced in "Knives Out," which he wrote and directed -- are a claustrophobic, lock-in setting (the murder suspects are all locked in an old mansion together), a group of suspects who are all blood-related to the victim, and a seemingly indifferent detective who is not taken seriously by the suspects he's investigating.

This is where Craig comes in. He plays Benoit Blanc, who despite his French name is not a displaced European, like Christie's beloved Hercule Poirot, but rather a displaced Southern Gentleman. He's there to examine a star-studded cast of suspects including Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans.

If it worries you that Johnson is working without source material, you can rest assured that he's proven he knows his way around a murder mystery. The previously mentioned "Brick," his first feature, was a critically and cultishly beloved tribute to the hard-boiled American mysteries of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

He even borrowed some of the slang for his characters to use (e.g. "bulls" for police, "shamus" for detective), despite the fact that the characters were modern-day high-school students, which proves that he can effectively relocate such stories to a new setting.


Have a question? Email us at questions@tvtabloid.com. Please include your name and town. Personal replies will not be provided.