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Rian Johnson Worried What Paul Thomas Anderson Would Think of ‘Magnolia’ Reference in ‘Glass Onion’

"Is this too much?"

"Glass Onion"

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”


Rian Johnson will not apologize for who Edward Norton’s character is in “Glass Onion,” but he was slightly worried if Paul Thomas Anderson would pick up on the “Magnolia” reference or not.

Johnson revealed that Norton surprised the cast by wearing a direct copy of Tom Cruise’s “Magnolia” outfit during a flashback sequence for the “Knives Out” sequel. Norton plays pompous tech billionaire Miles Bron, whose unoriginal ideas extend even to his wardrobe. Johnson said the idea was that Norton’s character would be so unoriginal as to copy the outfit from the last movie he saw.

“He and Jenny Eagan, our costume designer, came up with the look and I had no idea,” Johnson told Insider. “I started cracking up. But then I thought, ‘Is this too much?’ I also thought, ‘What is [‘Magnolia’ director] Paul [Thomas Anderson] going to think of this?'”

Johnson added, “Hopefully he takes it in the right spirit.”

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” debuted in theaters for a one-week run before launching on Netflix December 23. Johnson, who is slated to helm a third “Knives Out” installment, noted that he is “pushing” for a return to theaters.

“Once it’s on the service it will be available to theaters and we’re exploring what form that can take,” he said. “I’ll take as much as I can possibly get. But a lot of that has to do with what the theaters are willing to do, what makes sense.”

Johnson explained of the rollout strategy, “We wanted it to do incredibly well for a lot of reasons. I guess for me, because I really want to show that this can happen and this can be a huge success. And that when it hits the service, people will still turn up and it will be huge on the service. That those two things can complement each other. Because I want more next time. I want more theaters. I want it for longer.”

While the plot of the third film is under wraps (Johnson let it slip that the feature will take place in the U.S.), the writer-director vehemently shut down any idea of a prequel showing Benoit Blanc’s (Daniel Craig) origin story.

“This is something that I was very relieved that Daniel and I are on the same page with,” Johnson said. “I think little tiny glimpses into that is fun for me. And it’s a trap that I find myself as a writer having to really push back against, just for myself. Having Daniel Craig in that part, the temptation is to think that Blanc as a character is what’s interesting about these movies.”

Johnson continued, “I have a natural inclination to kind of push that stuff back and to say a little goes a long way in terms of that. And ultimately this has to be the story of the mystery. The mystery’s the thing. And the detective is interesting is the way he solves his function within solving the mystery. And if we get glimpses beyond that, that’s great. But I feel like a little of that goes a very long way for me…Maybe, someday after I’m dead and gone, it’ll be streaming on a mind chip.”

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