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Knives Out was something of a rarity when it was released last year. Rian Johnson's whodunit was a movie unconnected to any existing franchise that was a smash hit with audiences. Of course, any movie that is as successful as Knives Out is nearly guaranteed to then become a franchise, and that's on the way to happening as a follow-up movie was greenlit in short order. Rian Johnson is currently working on the script, but the experience has him literally swearing.
Rian Johnson recently spoke with The Devil All the TIme director Antonio Campos for Interview Magazine, but the interview ended up going both directions as the two filmmakers spoke to each other about the various projects they have worked on as well as what they have in the pipeline. Johnson confirmed that what he's currently working on is the sequel to Knives Out, though he's trying not to call it that. However, he uses some strong language when talking about how it feels to be writing the film, because of the way it's so different from writing Knives Out. According to Johnson...
I’m actually writing another Knives Out. It’s been such a mindfuck, because I sat on the idea for the first one for 10 years. And with this one, I’m starting with a blank page. It’s not really a Knives Out sequel. I need to come up with a title for it so I can stop calling it The Knives Out Sequel because it’s just Daniel Craig as the same detective with a totally new cast.
Rian Johnson spoke a lot about the long road that Knives Out took to the screen. It was an idea that he'd had a long time ago that he finally decided to turn into a screenplay and direct as a sort of palette cleanser to making Star Wars: The Last Jedi. One assumes the actual scriptwriting process was comparatively fast because he'd had the idea in his head for so long.
Now, however, he's trying to write a new movie that's designed to follow Knives Out, but without any specific plan. And certainly, there's a studio that isn't looking to wait 10 years for the script, so he's under a time crunch that wasn't there before. The first time the idea was just able to be an idea with no pressure or expectation attached to it, but now it all feels very different.
Among the difficult things to write, is apparently the title. Even Rian Johnson is calling it a Knives Out sequel when that's not really the case. The new movie will be a new mystery that will be solved by Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc, but "sequel" isn't really the right word for that. Nobody is really calling Death on the Nile the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express.