Daniel Craig Stars, Rian Johnson Directs Murder Mystery ‘Knives Out’

At this week’s Toronto International Film Festival, Rian Johnson has announced he’ll next be directing Daniel Craig, who played a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens, in a contemporary murder mystery called Knives Out.

The film is being slotted in to the gap left by the exit of Danny Boyle, where Craig should’ve been filming the next instalment in the James Bond franchise in November. The script has been written by Johnson, who will produce alongside long time partner Ram Bergman, before they both move back to the Star Wars galaxy to film the newly announced trilogy.

The film is best 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.

Johnson told Deadline he has been an Agatha Christie nut since his teens, sparking to her richly drawn characters and the twists and turns that drove her whodunits. For a decade, he has been framing in his mind how he would make his own murder mystery, and over the summer he scripted his contemporary version of the locked door mansion murder mystery.

Boyle’s abrupt exit from Bond 25 gave Johnson and Bergman an opening to pursue Craig, if he was up for squeezing in a movie before returning to his 007 franchise. When Craig sparked to the script and signed on, a hot package came together, just in time for the Toronto market. Besides the Bond films, both Johnson and Bergman followed Craig’s career closely since his strong turns that included Road to Perdition, Munich, Layer Cake, Defiance and Logan Lucky. They’ve seen his stage turns, and Johnson has met Craig socially several times. It made for a quick and easy alliance on Knives Out.

“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.”