This article contains spoilers for Glass Onion and Knives Out.
Quick, read these words out loud: “A doughnut hole in the doughnut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center – it is not a doughnut hole at all but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not whole at all!” No matter which part of the world you come from, you probably said those words with the thick drawl of the American South. More specifically, you were probably imitating Daniel Craig‘s inimitable delivery as detective Benoit Blanc in Knives Out.
Even among a stacked cast of character actors such as Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer, Craig stood out, thanks in large part to his delicious accent. While certainly over the top, Craig’s performance struck just the right balance of cartoonishness and humanity to remain a sympathetic figure among the movie’s many strong personalities.
However, anyone who has spent more than two seconds around pop culture obsessives knows how obnoxious accented characters can get, especially after hearing hundreds of bad impressions. As Craig prepared to reteam with director Rian Johnson for Glass Onion, the sequel to Knives Out, he ran the risk of turning his lines into the next Austin Powers “Yeah, baby!” or Borat “My wife!” The actor revealed to the LA Times that for Glass Onion he has spent more time with the dialect coach who helped him create Blanc’s distinctive drawl. “I just was nervous about returning to something and sort of doing an impression of my impression,” Craig admitted.
According to the newspaper, although the first third of Glass Onion certainly engages in even more wacky hijinks than its predecessor, the movie also grounds Benoit Blanc and reveals more of his personal life. Instead of simply introducing Blanc in the middle of a case, Johnson takes time to show bits of the detective’s home life and his very relatable frustrations during COVID lockdown. These personal bits include scenes of Blanc and his live-in partner that confirm the detective is queer. For Craig, the issue of Blanc’s sexuality isn’t remarkable. “Without spoiling the movie, it’s like, who wouldn’t want to live with that human being?” Craig remarked, referring to the surprising actor who plays Blanc’s partner. “There’s no great depth to it. It made a lot of sense to me.”
It’s this attention to the character’s humanity that sets Blanc apart from Craig’s other great performance as a Southerner, the safe cracker Joe Bang in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky. A far wackier caper than either Knives Out or Glass Onion, Logan Lucky gave Craig room to go broad, hooting and hollering and warning people “no peekin'” when he’s “about to get nekkid.” While that wild approach worked for that standalone movie, Benoit Blanc will be the center of a franchise and needs to stay as reliably human — and unobnoxious — as possible. After all, we have many more movies to go in which Blanc opines on donuts and onions and other foodstuffs.
Glass Onion will have a one-week limited theatrical release on Nov. 23, with its Netflix debut set for Dec. 23.