Deadline brings word that Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky, Skyfall) will be starring as a detective in the contemporary murder mystery feature Knives Out, with Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) set to write and direct. U.S. and foreign distributors will be bidding on the project at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Johnson will helm the film before he makes the first in a new Star Wars Trilogy for Lucasfilm.
Knives Out is described as a modern-day murder mystery in the classic whodunit style, infused with Johnson’s original voice that informed films from Brick to Looper. Major buyers apparently received the script last night and a fevered auction is expected. Johnson and producing partner Ram Bergman will be at TIFF to meet buyers.
The outlet notes that Craig committed to star in November and Johnson, who wrote the script and will be producing alongside Bergman, will make Knives Out before he directs a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe. With Danny Boyle suddenly leaving the Bond 25 project, Johnson and Bergman were quick to snatch up Craig in hopes he could film before returning to the Bond franchise.
“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, Ram and I were wringing our hands over who could be the detective,” Johnson said. “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.”
Over the summer Johnson wrote his contemporary version of the locked door mansion murder mystery. Johnson commented that he has been a huge Agatha Christie fan for years, and for over a decade has been framing his own murder mystery. As evidence of his love of the genre, find below Exhibit A: A 2016 Tweet showing the writer-director joined by Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) in attending a London performance of The Mousetrap, a murder mystery play written by Christie.
Me & @rianjohnson catch the 26,547th performance of ‘The Mousetrap’. The twist is: it’s not based on the board game. pic.twitter.com/cjQJvVByD0
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) July 24, 2016
Johnson and Bergman are launching a new, currently unnamed company with intent to own the film with the help of CAA Media Finance and FilmNation. Glen Basner, CEO of FilmNation, previously worked with the duo on Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper.
“Glen sold all of Rian’s movies with the exception of Star Wars,” Bergman said. “We went to Cannes with ‘Looper’ and watched it sell very well. This is a different time in the business, but we are excited to come in as the financiers and producers. Our priority is to find the best distributor in each territory, and to spend time with the buyers figuring out what’s best for the film.”
CAA Media Finance is set to represent the film’s North American distribution rights while FilmNation will handle international rights. CAA and FilmNation will co-rep China.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)