Rian Johnson used Poirot movies as ‘tonal touchstones’ for Knives Out

Rian Johnson tried to create a new detective that could “hold a candle” to Poirot.

Rian Johnson took inspiration from Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot for his new murder mystery Knives Out.

The Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmmaker has written and directed a modern take on the murder mystery caper which boasts an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Lakeith Stanfield, and Christopher Plummer. Knives Out follows Detective Benoit Blanc, played by Craig, as he is enlisted to investigate the murder of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey, portrayed by Plummer, who is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday.

In a new interview with Empire magazine, Johnson explained how he took inspiration from author Christie’s murder mystery novels and their movie adaptations starring her famed Belgian detective Poirot when creating his original piece and Craig’s character.

“Coming into it, being such a big fan of Poirot, it was hard to know even where to begin in terms of creating a new detective that’s going to hold a candle to that,” he said. “Benoit Blanc has some of the elements of Poirot, in that he’s a bit self-inflated, but there’s a warmth to him which shines through with Daniel.

“I was thinking about the Agatha Christie movies that had Peter Ustinov as Poirot when I was writing this. They were my tonal touchstones, with that sense of an all-star cast, a bunch of actors you love to see, having a blast.”

Ustinov played Poirot six times between Death on the Nile in 1978 to Appointment with Death in 1988. The former is currently being remade with Kenneth Branagh as Poirot alongside the likes of Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot.

Knives Out will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

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