Knives Out explores class, family, and murder mysteries on November 27, culminating in a charming whodunit with thus far glowing reviews. Daniel Craig stars as Detective Benoit Blanc, brought in to solve the murder of the Thrombey family patriarch, while Jamie Lee Curtis plays Thrombey’s icy daughter Linda. The two actors sat down with Screen Rant to discuss some of the dynamics, accents, and political allegories at play in Rian Johnson’s latest film.
First of all, this movie is amazing. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, and it's just something I feel like I needed. It put a smile on my face walking out of the theater; it made me feel good. Daniel, between this and Logan Lucky, you have some serious Southern charm. What did you base that accent on?
Daniel Craig: It's based on a [writer] called Shelby Foote, he was in the Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War and he kind of comes up…
Jamie Lee Curtis: He basically narrates the Ken Burns documentary.
Daniel Craig: That's right. He's sort of one of the definitive kind of experts, and is to this day. But he also did a lot of interviews on C-SPAN – I think it was something like that. I was there for three and a half hours; I just kind of sat and watched them or had them playing.
I've got a great voice dialect coach, who I just Skype two or three hours a day with all the way through. Tennessee Williams, someone else [I modeled the accent after], and then I had to kind of just make it my own. So, I had to forget them and just, you know, “This is my voice now.”
Amazing job. Linda is the most understated member of this dysfunctional family, but she's so commanding. Talk to me about how she views her family.
Jamie Lee Curtis: I think she has false pride. I think we, many of us, do. And the movie will explain that in a way that I shouldn't, because it ruins parts of the movie. I think she's operating with a false pride, but I think she genuinely looks down her nose on dependency. Dependency is a sort of dirty word in her mind. Therefore, independence, self-reliance, all those sorts of old ideas of self-discipline and and all the rest of it – she is sort of an amalgam of all of that. Amidst, clearly, people who are very dependent.
And I think that's where the split is. Even though what you think you see is very different, of course, than what is reality.
Chris Evans plays your son, Ransom. How much of Linda is in Ransom?
Jamie Lee Curtis: Well, I have two children. You know, we're parents. Of course, there's elements of us in our children, and then every child has their own destiny that they need to manifest. And Ransom has certainly manifested some destiny in ways that I wouldn't necessarily agree with. But I am the fault of it, because I probably was bad at setting limits with him or whatever. I might be very rigid about things, but then of course with a child I would be bad at it.
Daniel Craig: There's a problem, because he's going to inherit.
Jamie Lee Curtis: And there's the same dependency.
Daniel Craig: It’s kind of a de-energizer. He’s like, “It's all going to be fine. I'm going to inherit all this money. Who gives a rat's ass?” That's an issue.
Daniel, in a recent interview, you commented that you hope this movie causes a Thanksgiving discussion. Why do you think that Knives Out should be a conversation starter?
Daniel Craig: It's a very funny, entertaining movie. Let’s just get that out right now. But what Rian is so brilliant at doing, he's just layered in some really nice social commentary. We did this last year; we finished this time last year, and it’s right up to date. Everything's in there.
But it's not taking sides. As Jamie so eloquently put it, it's got red meat and it's got blue meat. It's been thrown around all over the place. I'm not saying that this will happen, but I know that occasionally at Thanksgiving dinners, there’s the old row. Recently, it's been about politics a lot.
This is a movie which hopefully will entertain, but which will raise up some issues. Hopefully not cause a row, but cause some good discussion.
I think it will as well. This movie's brilliant.
- Knives Out (2019) release date: Nov 27, 2019