Pretty much every review for Glass onionRian Johnson’s star-studded sequel to 2019’s whodunit hit Knives out points out the similarities between one of the main characters and a certain Tesla innovator who has become Twitter’s controversial new CEO.
For his sequel, Johnson moves the action from an old New England money mansion to a private Greek island owned by a scheming tech billionaire named Miles Bron (Edward Norton), who has invited a handful of his eccentric well-to-do. join friends for a week of revelry, including a mystery game he designed in which guests track down his staged murder. Of course, then the famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) – the only recurring character from Knives out – shows up, it turns out there is a real murder that needs to be resolved.
Since the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Norton’s obnoxious Bron has been called “a thinly disguised Elon Musk” (Bloomberg), “a super-rich Elon Musk stand-in” (Daily Herald), “Elon Musk-esque” (Boston herald)…you get the idea.
But in interviews with Yahoo Entertainment, neither Johnson nor Norton were willing to admit aloud that Musk, who now makes headlines daily for apparently ill-conceived edicts following his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, had a direct influence. Still, as in a murder mystery itself, there are lines to read between – and it’s clear they had some muskiness in their heads.
“When I was writing, I found that whenever I started thinking too specifically about a particular person, it became very uninteresting, very quickly,” Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) say. “Just piss off a specific person. Not that interesting.
“What was more interesting was zooming back a little bit and thinking about this general group of people and our relationship with them as a society. We want them to be Willy Wonka. But we want to offend them, but we also all have something really unhealthy in us, like, “Maybe they’re really going to save us.” Or “Don’t bet against them, because what if they’re right?” So it’s exploring that uniquely American thing of confusing great wealth with great wisdom. … That more than going after a specific person I don’t know in real life.”
Norton (Fight Club, Motherless Brooklyn), also says the character is more of an amalgamation.
“I think Miles is representative of a species. And there are dozens. There’s a handful who’ve had documentaries made about their weaknesses and their excesses and their lies and their self-aggrandizement and their fictional talent. Both men and women, by the way. We are in an era of rise and fall of [them]. There are really few people who contributed quite a bit of detail to Miles’ makeup.
And we made this in the spring of last year, so some of the mighty hadn’t fallen yet. Some emperors had not yet shown that they have no clothes in 2021, on whom the focus may now be.”
However, it’s not just Norton’s character, Miles Bron, who represents sordid aspects of American capitalism and entrepreneurship in Glass onion. There’s also Andi Brand (Janelle Monae), the former business partner who pranked Bron as he set out to conquer the world.
“It happens in every industry,” says Monae (Moonlight, hidden figures). “So many women, black women in particular, who are not credited for their ideas, who are overlooked, who raise their hand to say something [and] are not heard. But [someone from] the majority raise their hands and say the same thing and it’s like, ‘Ah! Wow, what a brilliant idea.’ I’ve talked about those moments with a lot of women and I think I honored them in a way.
“But I think with Rian, as much as this movie says something, it’s also entertaining. These are rich people. My character is definitely a person of great influence, but tries to do the right thing with her influence. … But you want to keep your fingers crossed for her because of the complicated relationship she has with Miles … It’s so layered.
Glass Onion: A Mystery of the Blades hits theaters November 23 for just one week before hitting Netflix on December 23.
Watch the trailer: