Endings are my favorite thing about movies: Rian Johnson on Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery | Interviews

Like a layer cake.

It was like a layer cake and it was fun. It was exceptionally challenging. But the puzzle itself – Chris Peck, who’s our props master, worked with a bunch of artists, and it’s all hands-on. It’s not like there’s one box that does all that, but in different pieces, every piece of it.

Does it really open like that?

Well, with puppeteers as opposed to having a CG object. It was actually built. We painted some hinges and some dolly bars and stuff, but I think you can feel the tactile nature of it. I love how it feels like a magical puzzle in the mind.

IIt’s a great way to introduce the characters, but it’s also such a metaphor for the movie, so it’s perfect. What is it about mysteries that fascinates us so much?

In a way, you can get loud and say that the essence of drama is the chaos created by a crime, and then restore order by the detective solving it at the end. There is also just the intrigue of a good puzzle. Although I will say, I feel like a big part of the way I try to approach these films is specifically not thinking of them as puzzles. I like to take much more of the Hitchcock approach, to think of them as roller coaster rides. I feel like you can get into trouble if you start thinking in terms of “I’m making a puzzle for the audience to solve.” Because it’s almost like something you weave in afterwards in a satisfying way.

What drives it must be the same thing that drives any successful film, what is it that you care about? What are you following? What makes you lean forward as opposed to what makes you sit back and stroke your chin and think?

And the end. Endings are my favorite thing about movies. And it is as Hitchcock said, there is very little actual satisfaction to be had from a surprise that is the payoff at the end of the film. I think what gets you to a successful conclusion is something that is dramatically satisfying. And that tension as opposed to surprise, and the release of tension in a satisfying way at the end, as opposed to, “Oh my God, I could never have guessed that.” I mean, it’s fun, and hopefully you’ll put it there too. But for me it has to be secondary to a payoff that actually works like any other good movie works.

Will there be another one?

I’ve already started coming up with ideas. As long as Daniel and I have fun doing this, as long as people want to see it, I’ll keep making these.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will be available in theaters on November 23 and will stream on Netflix on December 23.

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