There was a meme going around recently that sounds like how a well-meaning stepfather might strike up a conversation with his grumpy and distant stepson, involving Benoit Blanc and The Muppets. The idea was that Netflix’s Knives Out 3 would be a Muppet cast except for Daniel Craig as the very human Blanc, a la Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol. Maybe “meme” is a bit generous. More accurately would be that a persona suggested this, got a lot of laughs (or at least a lot of likes on Twitter, which is how we show joy to strangers these days) and hungry for serotonin, attention and those delicious, soul-warming likes, several others copied the idea and appeared to pass it off as their own. All of this is to say that I’m stealing the idea, but replacing “Muppets” with “video game characters”.
You might say that seems unrealistic. As I say a) so are the Muppets, b) get off your back, and c) I refer you to point b). You can also say it’s stupid. As I refer you back to point b) to c), and remind you that stupid is sort of what I do. I brought a team of video game characters to the World Cup and bought them presents for Christmas. If you don’t like it, click somewhere else (but ideally somewhere else on TheGamer – every little bit helps). Anyway, on. For this disguise as a casting director, I tried not to replace specific characters already in the two Knives Out movies with video game stars, but to think about the essence of Knives Out. Large, almost caricature-like characters supported by rote, and a sense of detachment from the world that somehow grounds them in it.
First, we need a sacrifice at the heart of it all. In Knives Out the victim dies near the start, and with Glass Onion it’s a little more complex, but usually victims have to make a big impression in the early stages to sustain the audience for the entire film. It must be a character that is short, fast and loud. Sonic is our murder victim.
In both Knives Out movies so far, Blanc has been assisted by a female companion who seems to be in way over her head, but turns out to be the key to the whole affair. First it was Ana de Armas, then it was Janelle Monae, and now it’s Lara Croft. We’ve already done the whole manor thing, so it won’t be set in Croft Manor, but Lara still seems like a solid choice for Blanc’s right hand.
Then we have supporting cast. They must be easily defined by simple tropes, but they must never play up to said tropes. They must leave an immediate impression, but then pull away from that impression without ever coming across as deceptive. We need a smart character who turns out to be dumb (Aiden Pearce, who can hack any computer in the world but can barely tie his shoelaces), a dumb character who turns out to be smart (Claude von Riegen), and a stupid character who is actually just stupid (Crash Bandicoot). We also need a character who is darkly charming and disarmingly attractive but not particularly trustworthy (Sephiroth), as well as a stoic, gruff character who reveals more of himself as the mystery unfolds (this describes about 80 percent of all video game protagonists , but let’s say Geralt).
There are a lot of men in the cast right now, and while that might be an accurate homage to the predominantly male Muppets, we should probably tip the balance a bit. Aloy, Princess Peach and Miranda Lawson all have the perfect Knives Out-ness of mistakenly believing they are the most important and interesting person in the room. I said I wasn’t going to find replacements for existing cast members, but they fit the roles of Katherine Langford, Kate Hudson, and Kathryn Hahn pretty well already.
As for the whodunit, well, you’ll have to find out, won’t you? The first Knives Out was a fairly classic mystery, with the sequel a more deconstructed satirical drama built around a murder case, but the whole point of these films is that you don’t know who dunit until you find out who dunit. But it was probably Sephiroth.
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