Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson Tease More ‘Knives Out’ After Twisty, Fun ‘Glass Onion’ Slays Toronto Film Festival

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Consider “Glass Onion” another triumphant case for detective Benoit Blanc.

As evidenced by the enthusiastic reaction at Saturday’s world premiere, Rian Johnson has again charmed the masses at the Toronto Film Festival with “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” the hotly anticipated sequel to the 2019 hit whodunit.

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Johnson offer brief remarks to moviegoers, enthusiastically asking, “You guys ready to have a good time? You ready for a fun whodunit?” He also gave a sweet shoutout to his “role model” in the audience. “My granddad Howard Johnson traveled here tonight, he’s in the audience,” Johnson said. “Granddad, you’re the reason I’m making movies today.”

Also seated, of course, at the Princess of Wales Theater was Daniel Craig, who returns as the eccentric private investigator with a southern twang, and his co-stars Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kate Hudson. Dave Bautista, who also stars in the film — about a group of wealthy friends who receive a mysterious invitation to a reclusive millionaire’s private island — was the only suspect not in attendance.

Netflix boss Ted Sarandos and CAA’s Bryan Lourd, who helped orchestrate the film’s mega-watt move to the streamer, were among the packed house. The two-hour movie played to gasps, cheers and raucous laughter, culminating in a brief one-minute standing ovation. Then, the cast took the stage and fielded questions from the crowd, though audience members were encouraged to avoid talking about spoilers.

After a few rapid-fire inquiries (No, Johnson didn’t use 35mm cameras. Yes, production took place on a real resort in Greece), the entire cast was asked to “tell us what each of your favorite scenes” to film.

“Tell each one in the audience?” Hahn cracked.

Craig’s answer? “Every fucking one.”

Hudson added, “I loved seeing all of us come together. We shot it all separately.“

Monae got sentimental, saying it was the “scene you didn’t see. The scene of us all working together on this movie.” Cue the audible “aww” — and a few chuckles — from the crowd.

One movie-lover asked Johnson what it’s like to make a film that’s smarter than the audience.

“My grandfather, ladies and gentleman,” the director quipped. But he rejected the hypothesis. “You’re never smarter than the audience. That’s a fool’s game. It’s to take them on a ride rather than a chess game. At the end of the day movies are there to sit in a big crowd and have a blast.”

The ecstatic TIFF reception for “Glass Onion” is familiar to Johnson, who debuted the first “Knives Out” at the festival in pre-pandemic times. The crowd-pleasing murder mystery became a sleeper hit at the box office, making a killer $165 million in North America and $311 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. Johnson, who wrote the script in addition to directing, landed an Oscar nomination in the original screenplay category.

Craig, who again offers a masterclass on scene-chewery, is the only actor to return for the follow-up. Only three years have passed since the original, but Craig felt he needed to brush up on the sly detective’s distinct drawl.

“I went away to work with an accent coach for three or four months before we started shooting,” Craig previously told Empire magazine. “I’d forgotten the accent and I didn’t want to do a pastiche. I wanted to make it as grounded and as anchored in reality as possible.”

Though Lionsgate released the first film in theaters, Netflix is now the rightful owner of the “Knives Out” franchise after buying the rights last year for $450 million. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will stream on Netflix starting Dec. 23.

The film will open in select theaters prior to landing on the streamer, but Netflix has yet to reveal the extent of its release plans. But judging by the reception in the room, giving the film only a limited theatrical rollout may be a mistake.

In any case, there’s good news for Benoit Blanc groupies. Johnson has more “Knives Out” sequels in mind. “I’m going to keep making these until Daniel blocks me on his phone,” he told the audience.

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