Rian Johnson Details The "Nightmare" That Was Blocking Glass Onion
Directing is a very complicated job; one aspect of the job that can make or break a production is "blocking." Blocking is defined as, essentially, where the characters are standing and how they move around a set. This is important when it comes to framing shots, and it is harder when you are dealing with large casts in enclosed spaces. Director Rian Johnson actually did an excellent job breaking down the difficulties he had with blocking a specific scene in Knives Out in a Vanity Fair video. In an interview with IndieWire, Johnson explained that Glass Onion was even harder to block because so many scenes in the film feature the entire cast in one place.
"'Knives Out' only had a couple of scenes where everybody was in a room together talking," Johnson told IndieWire, "and in those scenes, everyone's sitting down for the most part, which makes it a lot easier. In 'Glass Onion,' there were a bunch of scenes where we were in that huge set that we call the atrium, and it's everybody milling around doing really complicated things and talking to each other. And yeah, it was a fucking nightmare."
Johnson explained that he solved the blocking problem in Glass Onion by channeling some of the genre's greats, and he also explained how he used blocking to help serve the needs of the story and enhance the mystery.
"It was a great kind of growth experience because, even more than the first movie, it made me go and take a look at directors who are great at staging, like Spielberg, who I think is the modern master of it. Or looking at the way [Orson] Welles creates shapes in the frame using the blocking of his actors, or Michael Curtis — directors who are masters at creating frames with shapes of people very deliberately. As opposed to thinking in terms of cool shots or camera movement, thinking in terms of the tools to create the shape of the frame, which are the bodies in the frame, and how does that reflect the dynamics of the scene? … We're layering in quite a bit of information and trying to get you to look at certain moments. How can the blocking help that? It becomes its own game, a complicated, tough game. It was a real challenge."
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery: Summary, Cast, Release Date
Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles' former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer, and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies, and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect. Returning to the franchise he began, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Rian Johnson writes and directs Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and assembles another all-star cast that includes a returning Daniel Craig alongside Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista. It played in theaters from November 23rd to 29th and streamed to Netflix on December 23rd.