Knives Out sequel stars laud Angela Lansbury at Europe premiere, Latest Movies News - The New Paper
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Knives Out sequel stars laud Angela Lansbury at Europe premiere

LONDON - English actor Daniel Craig and co-stars of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery lauded Angela Lansbury on Sunday as the whodunit sequel, in which the late actress makes a cameo, closed the London Film Festival.

Craig said Lansbury – who died at age 96 last Tuesday, after becoming a household name through playing a writer-detective in Murder, She Wrote (1984 to 1996) – had been “in my life all my life”.

“I mean, my favourite film was Bedknobs And Broomsticks,” said the James Bond franchise legend, referring to the 1971 Disney hit film that Lansbury had starred in.

“The fact that she’s in our movie, we’re so blessed – and also what an incredible life she had,”

Craig, 54, told reporters at a press conference alongside other Glass Onion filmmakers ahead of its European premiere.

Director Rian Johnson said Lansbury’s appearance in his follow-up to murder mystery Knives Out (2019), alongside one by the late Broadway icon Stephen Sondheim who died last November, followed brief filming visits he made to their homes.

“Besides just the honour of having them in the movie... just being able to have 10 minutes with each of them, to tell them what their work has meant to me was really, really special,” he added.

‘Subverting the genre’

Glass Onion, which features a star-studded ensemble cast that also includes Edward Norton, Kate Hudson and Janelle Monae, will hit cinemas for just a week next month before streaming on Netflix from late December.

Following the success of the first film – which netted more than US$300 million (S$428 million) at the global box office, despite a budget of just US$40 million – Craig will also return as Southern gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc.

Angela Lansbury died aged 96 in Los Angeles on Oct 11, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
 

Johnson – who previously directed the divisive blockbuster Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – reiterated that his budding new franchise stems from his love for prolific British crime writer Agatha Christie.

The 48-year-old said his contemporary take on the whodunit, which in this instalment include Norton as a vainglorious tech billionaire and Hudson as a vacuous fashioniasta, tries to emulate her “subversive” approach a century ago.

“She was putting twists on it that if you did them today, people would say ‘that’s very subversive, you’re subverting the genre’,” said the American director, who has laced his efforts with considerable satire and humour.

“If Agatha Christie were writing right now, she’d have tech billionaires and she’d have these characters.

“She wasn’t writing period pieces, she was writing exactly to her time and all of the things that we think of as murder mystery tropes were people in society.”

‘Doubles the laughs’

Norton, 53, appeared to need little persuading to take on the fictional role of online app founder Miles Bron, with most of the movie taking place on his ludicrously lavish private Greek island as he hosts wealthy friends.

“What’s not to love about roasting the tech illuminati?“ the award-winning actor and filmmaker said with a smile, noting there was “abundant feedstock” for his character in contemporary life.

“When you can see the times you’re living in and you can see the foibles – not just the puffed up characters that we see in the world around us, but even ourselves – it doubles the laugh, it doubles the pleasure,” Norton added.

“That’s why it was so wonderful that Rian (Johnson) found some new targets. It’s also fun.”

The filmmakers in London for the screening – which follows a world premiere in Toronto last month – were at pains not to reveal any giveaway spoilers about the twisting plot.

But one minor storyline Johnson and Craig did confirm is that their already-beloved main character, private detective Blanc, is gay – with actor Hugh Grant making the most fleeting of appearances as his partner.

“Yes, he obviously is (gay),” Johnson said when asked, jokingly adding of Grant: “There’s nobody in the world I can imagine bringing more joy for Benoit Blanc”.

Now in its 66th year, the 12-day London Film Festival opened on Oct 5 with a new musical screen adaptation of late novelist Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda.

It also premiered Netflix’s animated version of the classic Pinocchio, directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro, on Saturday. - AFP

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