“I had such a good time making it, such a great time working with Daniel [Craig], and now just seeing that audiences are responding to it, the idea of continuing it on seems like it would just be a blast,” the director says. “But there’s a lot that has to happen before that can happen, first and foremost being writing a script. So, we’ll see.”
Drawing critical acclaim following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Knives Out went on to become a box office smash, grossing $265 million worldwide. In putting together his follow-up to Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Johnson had no idea the level of success he’d achieve with the film. “You never know when you make something—and especially when you’re making something original, that doesn’t have an IP or something behind it. It’s always a roll the dice,” he says. “We made the movie just hoping that it was something that audiences would have a lot of fun watching, and to me, that’s what the success of it translates to.”
For Johnson, part of the excitement of being nominated this year is the stellar list of filmmakers and original films with which he’s contending, including Marriage Story, 1917, Parasite and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. “The fact that there are these amazing, original stories being told by these incredible writers, it’s so cool. Just as a moviegoer, it’s really invigorating to know we’ve got storytellers of that caliber who are really swinging for the fences right now,” the director reflects.
At the same time, he says, “it’s always a good time” to be making original films. “ I think that’s the only bet that’s worth taking, and I am very much an optimist in that regard. I think if you make something cool that’s original, that audiences enjoy watching, they’ll come out for it,” he says, “and I think whether that’s true or not, you always have to believe that. You always have to take every swing, believing that can be the case.”
Currently attached to direct a trilogy of Star Wars films, Johnson has no updates as far as his return to a galaxy far, far away. “I’m still in communication with the folks at Lucasfilm, and they’re still figuring out what they’re going to do next. So, you’ll have to wait for an announcement from them about that,” he notes. “But I’m also thinking about my own stuff. Like, I mentioned doing another one of these [Knives Out films]. And I have other ideas. So, I’m just cooking a bunch of different things.”
Boasting a star-studded cast that includes Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon and many more, Knives Out centers on Craig’s detective, Benoit Blanc, as he investigates the death of a wealthy mystery writer. Seeing his film nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Johnson has also racked up nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the WGA Awards.