How Daniel Craig Avoided Making Glass Onion A Parody Of His Own Knives Out Performance

Warning: Minor spoiler ahead for "Glass Onion" (the spoiler is unrelated to the movie's main mystery plot).

The first time anyone hears Daniel Craig's Kentucky-fried accent in "Knives Out," it's a hilarious and unexpected joy. "Surely, he isn't going to speak that way the whole movie?" most viewers probably think to themselves. It's quite the initial shock to see the man we've known as James Bond for many years fully committing to a great bit, but by the end of "Knives Out," Benoit Blanc's deep Southern voice eventually becomes as charming as it is disarming. As most of "Knives Out" unfolds from Marta's (Ana De Armas) perspective, Benoit's silly accent keeps us on edge about whether or not he's the legitimate mystery-solver he claims to be or a flashy poser. Every gentleman sleuth has their quirks. Hercule Poirot has his signature mustache, and Benoit Blanc has his voice.

When it was announced that Benoit Blanc would return for a trilogy of "Knives Out" movies, many fans had one request (one that writer/director Rian Johnson actually considered): Give the character a different accent in each film.

Yes, the idea sounds hilarious on paper — but for Craig, returning to the role of Benoit Blanc for the first sequel, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," was much more difficult than he expected. When asked by the Los Angeles Times about the creative process behind "Glass Onion," Craig and Johnson explained that their main goal was to ensure that Benoit didn't merely feel like an extended parody of Craig's original "Knives Out" performance in the film. By returning to the character with fresh eyes, the pair were able to approach him with from a different angle.

Character quirks, not bits

"Glass Onion" is the first sequel Johnson has ever made to one of his own films since he started directing movies in the 2000s. Typically, Johnson doesn't pen roles with specific actors in mind, so writing Benoit Blanc for "Glass Onion" – knowing that Craig would once again be the one to bring him to life — proved to be a unique challenge. "I didn't like it," Johnson admitted. "It was an obstacle, actually. It was hard because I didn't want to write an imitation of [Benoit] from the first movie."

Similarly, in the time between production on "Knives Out" and "Glass Onion," Craig lost his grip on Benoit's accent and had to spend months re-learning the nuances of the character's voice again. Craig worked with his dialect coach Diego Daniel Pardo, who was just as concerned about the actor's performance slipping into parody. "I just was nervous about returning to something and sort of doing an impression of my impression," Craig explained.

The extra care that Johnson and Craig took to ensure Benoit Blanc remained grounded and believable ("believable" for the "Knives Out" universe, anyway) is very much appreciated. Sometimes, it's more important to pay respect to the internal logic of a work of art rather than going with the more "fun" option. In this case, Benoit's accent is not a bit he's putting on as a performance, it's one of the character's features (much like his decidedly fashionable summer ascots).

What's Benoit Blanc's personal life like?

Getting to revisit a character and expand on their livelihoods is always a gift for any storyteller. In "Glass Onion," there are a few flashbacks to Benoit Blanc's personal life at his home during the early stages of the pandemic. In these scenes, Johnson reveals that Benoit is canonically queer and lives with his partner. Who plays his partner? Well, we can't give away every secret celebrity cameo, can we? Johnson and Craig both agreed that when writing "Glass Onion," it just felt like the right choice for the character.

"It felt very naturally what the character was," Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. "I had this opportunity to get, like, one glimpse of his home life and it made sense to me that he was queer." Johnson also noted that the idea of Benoit being queer popped up while he was writing the first "Knives Out" film, but it just didn't make its way into the finished movie.

"We didn't talk about it very much. There was no kind of great discussion about it," Craig said. "When it came down to it in this one, it just felt like a good choice."

Johnson wants the "Knives Out" franchise to be as everlasting and large scale as the whodunits that came before it, so developing Benoit Blanc into a fuller, deeper character is an essential part of that. Personally, I can't get enough of his deep, Sondheim-loving, Southern vocals.

"Glass Onion" will have a one-week theatrical run in the U.S. from November 23 to 29, 2022, before making its way to Netflix on December 23, 2022.