Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig are making a murder mystery inspired by Agatha Christie

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Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Ilya S. Savenok (Getty Images)

Now that Rian Johnson’s disrupted the Force of Star Wars fans with his excellent The Last Jedi, the filmmaker is now preparing to piss off yet another fanbase: Agatha Christie loyalists. Deadline reports that Johnson has recruited Daniel Craig for a contemporary murder mystery entitled Knives Out. The original script was born out of Johnson’s love for Christie’s mysteries, and Craig will play a detective fashioned in the mold of Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

According to Deadline, the project’s creation was something of a perfect storm. Johnson wrote it this past summer, hoping to squeeze the film’s production in before regrouping with Disney to direct a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe. Craig’s involvement is a direct result of the delay of James Bond 25, which has been postponed due to the recent departure of director Danny Boyle.

“I have been a huge fan and always wanted to work with him and as I worked on the script, trying to get it right, (longtime producing partner) Ram (Bergman) and I were wringing our hands over who could be the detective,” Johnson told Deadline. “Then, serendipitously, we heard Daniel might have a small window, and it worked out. He’s an actor of extraordinary range, and we are looking forward to the fun of finding that modern detective, and collaborating with Daniel on creating a new Poirot.”


Johnson and Bergman are eschewing the traditional studio route with the film, choosing instead to start their own independent company with the help of CAA Media Finance and FilmNation, ensuring that they maintain ownership of the film. They’ll be at the Toronto International Film Festival this week to ink deals with distributors. Production will reportedly commence in November.

Knives Out sounds like it’ll hearken back to Johnson’s quirky breakout Brick, which set established noir tropes against the milieu of a modern-day high school. That should be music to the ears of those who miss the scrappier days of Johnson’s career, as well as those who swear by Craig’s early, grittier roles in Road To Perdition and Layer Cake.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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