Rian Johnson Feels Honored to Direct Late Angela Lansbury and Stephen Sondheim in 'Knives Out 2'

The 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery' director says it is 'a very special privilege' to work with the two late stars for his latest feature film before the pair passed away.

AceShowbiz - Rian Johnson was privileged to direct Angela Lansbury and Stephen Sondheim in their final on-screen roles. The late stars - who passed away in October 2022 aged 96 and November 2021 aged 91 respectively - appeared as a cameo in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" and, though the director admitted the pair only featured in a small scene, it meant a lot to him to work with the Hollywood greats.

"I don't want to blow it up too much, it's just one little fun moment that they have," he said. "But what it meant for me, besides just how special it is to have both of them in the movie, it meant that I just got to spend 10 minutes with each of them to film this little moment."

"Getting to meet them, getting to tell Angela Lansbury what her work meant to me, telling her about watching the filmed version of 'Sweeney Todd' that was on cable when I was a kid and how that really kind of started me loving musical theatre... It felt like a very special privilege to get to do that."

The film isn't a direct sequel to "Knives Out" as Daniel Craig's character, Detective Benoit Blanc, is investigating a new mystery with a different set of characters and Rian admitted he and his lead had such a great time making the first movie, they vowed at the time to keep making new installments.

He told Entertainment Tonight, "Coming off of the first one, Daniel and I, even when we were making it, we were having so much fun, we were like, 'It'd be fun to keep doing these.' The idea was always to kind of take inspiration from what Agatha Christie did with her books, where it wasn't a continuation of the last one, it wasn't kind of just turning the crank on the same sort of thing."

"Christie really took huge different swings with every single book that she did in terms of not just the mechanics of the murder mystery, but also the setting, also the characters, and the themes, so that was kind of the starting point is just, let's write a whole new movie that is the whole reason for being all it's own."

But the filmmaker admitted the hardest part of crafting the sequel was "figuring out what's your story." He explained, "By that, I don't mean the murder or the mystery or anything. I mean, what is the thing that the audience is going to care about?"

"The thing that's going to actually keep their butts from getting numb, that's going to keep them engaged and leaning forward -- you want them leaning forward as opposed to leaning back and, like, stroking their chin."

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