Brief History is a column that tells you all you need to know about your favorite — and not so favorite — pop culture topics. This entry looks at the A-list cast of Knives Out 2 and provides a timeline of who (so far) has joined the cast and when.
It seems we can’t go more than a few days without another addition to the cast of Knives Out 2. The upcoming feature, from writer-director Rian Johnson, is the Hollywood Avengers, or maybe it’s more like the new Ocean’s Eleven, where a group of A-listers just get together, have a good time, and dabble in a little crime. What’s more fun than that?
Netflix, apparently, thinks nothing could be more fun. The streaming giant reportedly paid $450 million for the rights to two Knives Out sequels. If you’re like me, you loved the first Knives Out movie and couldn’t be more excited for the next one. But also if you’re like me, you’ve probably had a hard time keeping track of who has been added to the cast of the follow-up.
As Johnson begins shooting Knives Out 2 in Greece, here’s a brief history of the ensemble he’s gathered — so far.
“So Much Fun”
The original Knives Out premiered to critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. The movie opened two months later and grossed more than $300 million worldwide and earned Johnson an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Daniel Craig appears in the first movie as a cunning private detective named Benoit Blanc, who is hired by a wealthy family to investigate the mysterious death of their patriarch, played by Christopher Plummer in one of his final screen roles. The original also featured an all-star ensemble cast, including Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michael Shannon.
At the film’s Toronto debut, Johnson was asked whether there would be sequels to the film. He replied that he had “so much fun doing this on every level” with Craig, that another installment would “be a blast.”
“I’ve never really been interested in doing sequels, but this, the idea of doing more of these with Daniel as his character, is not sequels,” Johnson said. “It’s just what Agatha Christie did. It’s just coming up with a whole new mystery, a whole new location, all-new cast, whole new mechanics of the appeal of a mystery and everything.”
What Johnson described back then sounds to me like another man of the law played by Craig, one who is quite particular about his martinis. And so, it makes sense the cast of Knives Out 2 begins with Craig, who now has a chance to create a recurring James Bond-like figure from scratch.
Knives Out 2 Cast Assemble
Not only does Knives Out 2 already feel like the Hollywood Avengers, but the cast features several actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film’s first big get came in the form of a very big man, former WWE champion Dave Bautista. In addition to his role as Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Drax the Destroyer in the MCU, Bautista is known for Spectre (with Craig as Bond), Blade Runner 2049, and most recently, Army of the Dead.
“It feels terrifying. I’m nervous about it. I’m really nervous,” Bautista told IndieWire. “It’s one of those things where now the pressure’s on because people are expecting things from you. I want to deliver. I take pride in that. I’m a game player. I want to throw a touchdown pass.”
One day later, Edward Norton joined the cast. He was the MCU’s Hulk pre-Mark Ruffalo and is best known for Fight Club, 25th Hour, and his Oscar-nominated roles in Primal Fear, American History X, and Birdman. He is also a regular in the films of Wes Anderson. While it does not appear Norton has publicly commented on his role in Knives Out 2, artwork imagining the film’s poster slowly began to trickle in.
The next day, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Janelle Monáe had joined the cast. The singer and actress, who starred in Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and most recently Antebellum, kept her reaction short, sweet, and on … point.
Within another twenty-four hours, Deadline broke the news that Kathryn Hahn had joined the cast. Reportedly, Hahn, who recently starred in the MCU series WandaVision, is to play “another fun role where the character may also be keeping some sort of secret.”
The Knives Out 2 Cast Only Keeps Growing
A week later, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Leslie Odom Jr., who recently received Academy Award nominations for his performance in and soundtrack contribution to One Night in Miami, had joined the cast. Interestingly enough, the actor is married to Hahn on the TV show Central Park, and he also starred alongside Monáe in the 2019 Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Odom called himself a “huge fan” of Norton and Bautista, and referred to Craig as a “legend.”
“I’m going to try not to make fool of myself. I’m going to show up and take notes, and learn all I can,” Odom said. “I have grown used to doing my best to be a useful member of a killer ensemble, pardon the pun.”
The “scoop” war for Knives Out 2 tea continued the next day when Deadline reported that Kate Hudson had joined the ensemble. As New York magazine then asked, “How many suspects does a film need?” No one seems more excited about the role than Hudson herself, who shared one of the first pictures from the shoot.
“Reunited baby yeah!!!,” Hudson wrote on Instagram, referring to Hahn, her How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days co-star. “Love and missed my bestie ❤️.”
June only brought more excitement for the cast of Knives Out 2. Fans of the Netflix teen drama Outer Banks were “thrilled” when Madelyn Cline joined the cast. She was heavily featured in a series of published photographs of the set, and Twitter took notice:
A week after fans learned of Cline’s involvement, Deadline reported that Jessica Henwick had joined the cast. She has previously had roles in Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Iron Fist and will next be appearing in The Matrix 4. Funny enough, weeks before news broke that Henwick would co-star in the film, she retweeted what many of us would consider the dream cast of Knives Out 2.
I guess we will have to continue to dream.
And just when we thought the cast of the sequel could not get any more prolific, Film Twitter was yet again set ablaze when pictures from the set were released and we saw the one and only Ethan Hawke on set. Collider called the move a “jaw-dropping development.”
And that’s what we know so far. Will one of these A-listers turn out to be the killer? Or will the surprise come from another star whose presence we don’t yet know about? We’ll be sure to keep you updated if there are any updates, but in the meantime, start placing your bets on whodunit. My money is on Hawke.
P.S. FWIW, I think Paul Giamatti would make a great killer.