‘Knives Out’ Sequel Stars Say There’s More Benoit Blanc In Daniel Craig Than James Bond

Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was a charming, witty mystery that broke free of the traditional whodunnit structure, so it’s hardly surprising that its sequel yet again found favour with audiences. Despite a one-week limited theatrical release in the U.S., Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery still brought in an impressive US$13 to US$15 million in ticket sales to become the widest theatrical release ever for a Netflix film.

The movie is set to arrive on the streamer on 23 December, and will see Daniel Craig reprising his role as the master detective Benoit Blanc. In the first, his portrayal of the gentleman, if eccentric, sleuth was a refreshing change of pace from the James Bond persona that he has worn for years. The character is, after all, a foil to the lethal spy — where the former often appears bumbling (though intentional), the latter is suave. Blanc is also less of a womaniser, and speaks with a Western drawl.

The stark difference has thrown off those who are more used to Craig’s performance as Bond, but his co-stars aren’t surprised that the actor took to the role extremely well. While part of that can, of course, be attributed to his acting prowess, the other part seems to stem from the similarities of his off-screen personality to Blanc’s in the film.

“There’s a lot more Benoit in Daniel than that other franchise thing he does,” Edward Norton, who plays tech billionaire Miles Bron in the sequel, said in a press conference that Geek Culture attended. “James Bond is acting. Blanc is Daniel,” he later added, in response to an observation by the event emcee that Craig’s running scene in Glass Onion didn’t feel James Bond-like.

Craig wasn’t in attendance to share his thoughts on the matter, but the comment quickly became a running joke for the rest of the attendees, which included director Rian Johnson, producer Ram Bergman, Kate Hudson (Birdie Jay in the movie), Kathryn Hahn (Claire Debella), Jessica Henwick (Peg), Madelyn Cline (Whiskey), Janelle Monae (Cassandra “Andi” Brand), and Lesile Odom Jr. (Lionel Toussaint). Dave Bautista, who plays influencer Duke Cody, was absent as well.

When asked on who in the cast would be the easiest to see through in a murder mystery context, Johnson dropped two names: Bautista and Craig. “Because he’s such an open soul,” he said of the latter, with Hudson chiming in, “He’s so vulnerable and available that you’re like, ‘Oh, he could never be a spy.'” Norton, joining the conversation, went on to quip, “And it’s ridiculous, but he’s the least violent person of all of us.”

It’s not the first time that the Blanc-Bond comparison has been brought up, with Bautista sharing with Entertainment Weekly that Craig seemed to be much happier on Glass Onion than playing James Bond — an observation that he took away from his time on set with Craig in 2015’s Spectre.

“He was really put through it on Bond. You could feel that he was under a lot of pressure. He didn’t seem like the happiest person on Bond, but on Glass Onion, it was the complete opposite.”

Bautista then added, “He was just so much fun, and he was always smiling and happy and interacted a lot more. On Spectre, there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction with the whole cast. But Glass Onion was the complete opposite. We were always together.”

Indeed, there was plenty of fun that went around during the filming for Glass Onion. One of the funniest moments on set, Norton reminisced, was Craig’s ad-libbing attempt that left him in stitches.

“I asked him what drink he’ll have, and Blanc said, ‘What do you have?’ And I said, ‘Well, I have everything.’ And I think he ad-libbed this, ’cause it’s not in the script, right? He goes, ‘Oh, well, in that case, I’ll have a Chateau le cristo pastis s’il vous plait,” he laughed. “It was so good. Then he immediately laughed and he turned and said, ‘Did I go too far?’ And we were like, “Don’t change a thing.”

A moment’s pause, then a cheeky comment from Norton: “But I found the clip, so I’ve made Daniel saying, ‘I’ll have a Chateau le cristo pastis s’il vous plait’ as my ringtone for him.”

As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games — until the murders start taking place when Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery hits Netflix on 23 December. This time, the focus will be on a destination mystery that once again, involves the wealthy echelons of society.