Janelle Monae On Her ‘F**k Yes’ Reaction To Landing Glass Onion [Interview]

Feb 15, 2023

Rian Johnson’s latest comedic puzzle, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is now in theaters (if only for a week, maybe) and has earned a ton of critical acclaim. So much so that it may snag the Best Picture nomination the first installment just missed. And among a cast filled with acclaimed actors such as Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, and Leslie Odom, Jr. there is a slightly (just slightly) less hyped thespian earning Oscar buzz, Janelle Monae.
READ MORE: Rian Johnson’s next movie will be the third “Knives Out” mystery
Of course, Monae is a powerhouse talent. A seven-time Grammy Award nominee, it’s easy to forget the music icon also happens to be a SAG Award winner for her performance in the ensemble for “Hidden Figures.” In fact, in 2017, Monae pulled off a rare Oscar feat as she starred in two Best Picture nominees in one year, “Figures,” and the eventual winner, “Moonlight.” And as Cassandra “Andi” Brand, “Glass Onion” allows her to demonstrate how impressive her acting chops are opposite, again, some of the more charismatic actors of her generation. She is the real deal.
In a conversation earlier this week, Monae talked about her “f**k yes” reaction to the opportunity to star in “Glass Onion,” her “Saturday Night Live” connection to Norton, an update on her Josephine Baker television series, and much, much more.
The Playlist: You have an offer that comes your way with the name Rian Johnson and the words “Knives Out” sequel. Was it a no-brainer?
Janelle Monae: Exactly. You know the drill. Yes. Before I read it. I had been a big fan. I saw his fan “Looper” and I was blown away by his work in the Sci-Fi genre and I was like, “Who is this guy who loves time travel as much as me?” And I was such a fan. And I went down the rabbit hole of watching everything he had done and I saw “Brick,” which is another whodunit, which is his first film and set in high school. And I saw “Knives Out” and I was like, “Wow, he is killing this whodunit genre.” I loved him and Daniel [Craig] as a team, like that iconic detective story that is fresh. The characters are modern. I was like, “Ooh, yes, yes, yes.” And I read the script and I was blown away. I was so excited about playing the character Andi. And when we got to the twist in the script, I was like, “This is a hell yes.” And I thought it was going to be set in Greece. And I was like, “This is a f**k yes. Get me off my couch.” Because we shot this in the middle of a pandemic a lot of things were getting canceled for me, too. So, I was just honored to be asked to be a part of it.
When you talked to Rian was there anything specifically he told you about Andi that wasn’t necessarily in the script?
Yeah, I mean I think we had a Zoom because, again, we were in the middle of a pandemic. We couldn’t do an in-person and he tried to tell me… It was a little cryptic because I hadn’t read the script yet. And he tried to tell me a little bit about it, but he didn’t want to ruin it, too. I think both of us are big experience people and we don’t want to give away too much. And I think he was just, “Read it. If you respond to it, I’d love to have you.” And he had told me he had watched a lot of the things that I was in, even my own film that we had put together for “Dirty Computer,” which I was so honored that he enjoyed that. But yeah, I read it, and it was like it was there. Everything about Andi that I needed to know was there. If I had questions, he was there to answer, and I just had a wonderful time putting her together and getting her in my body, trying on her clothes, because there’s some moments where I’m not talking, so the clothes have to say a lot about who she is and she’s so mysterious, so layered. So I was just happy to start peeling back those layers.
Has it been hard to do press for this movie without giving away spoilers?
I mean, yeah, because we want to talk, we want to share, we want to scream our favorite moments out, but you also want to gift people that first time seeing it for themselves, experience, too.
Without giving away any spoilers, the film has numerous scenes that are shot from different character perspectives and different moments are shown that might not have been shown before. Was it tough for you to navigate shooting those at one time?
Got it. I think I understand what you’re saying.
Yes. It’s a convoluted question.
There are a lot of clues because here’s the beauty of what Rian does, is he maps out things way before we start shooting. So he’s already mapping out… If you watch this a second or third time, he really does play fair, meaning what they say happens. When you’re solving this murder mystery, what they say happens in this film, you can rewind back and actually see it. You may not catch it that first go around, but that second time, if you’ve already… If you know what happened, you can go back and what they say was in that scene indeed is there. So I knew that I was going to be in good hands with Rian. I knew he was going to make sure all those details were right. And I think you just can’t think about the whole movie. You have to go day by day, week by week. For me, I had a lot to manage and I knew that I needed to just focus on, okay, what am I doing for the first three days of this week? Focus there. And you talked to Rian, you were like, “O.K., where am I supposed to be?” So you just map it out and you deal with it one frame at a time.
Did you know anyone in the cast before you guys got to Greece?
I did know a couple of people. So when I released my album, “Electric Lady,” I got an opportunity to perform on “SNL” and the host that night was Edward Norton.
Oh. Right.
Yeah. So we met at “SNL” and told each other how much we admired each other’s work and then fast forward. Boom. And I heard he also put some good words in for me, I think they were trying to talk to who could be this character and my name came up, and he told me that he was like, “Wait. Stop. Right there. Janelle will be perfect for this character.” So, I’m forever thankful to him for saying that. And I knew Leslie [Odom, Jr.]. Leslie is like my brother and that was a beautiful thing. But everybody else, I got an opportunity to get to know. And when I tell you working with these guys was being a part of a summer theater troupe and wanted to call home and tell your parents, “Do not come and get me. I’m going to spend another month with them.”
Out of the cast you didn’t know before, who surprised you the most?
I mean, not really surprised. I mean, I will say Dave Bautista‘s character is so not like him at all. The complete opposite. And I’ll just say he, ugh, is such a sweetheart. Obviously, he does movies where we see his muscles, and he could probably break my hand by shaking it, [but he is] the most gentle, gentle, sweet person I’ve ever met. And just so kind and just so talented, too. Wait till you see his work in this film. We’ve seen his work. He’s done amazing stuff. He was crazy in “Dune,” but in the best possible way, and scare the shit out of me. But I mean, just wait till you see his range. He has range, range, range, range, yeah.
Rian has said that none of the characters in “Knives Out” will return in the next mystery except for Benoit Blanc. Are any of you guys trying to convince him to break that rule?
Of course. I mean, what? We will always want to work with Rian Johnson. I don’t care if it’s a two-second car commercial. He calls me, I’m going to say yes. I mean, I think some of us were talking about maybe we can get plastic surgery and just reappear as new actors. I don’t know. We’re trying to figure it out. But I hope whoever he picks for this third installment, if you are listening right now, you are going to fall in love with Rian and the way he directs. He’s so calm, so cool, and very prepared. He creates this family environment where you just want from all of the directors that you work with. And I’ve worked with some incredible directors. I’ve had the pleasure of working from Barry to Ted to…and all of them have been just really wonderful. And I think Rian sits in that space of directors you just dream of working with and want to work with over and over again.
My last question for you is last spring, it was announced that you were attached to play Josephine Baker in a new A24 series. Has that moved forward at all? Is that close to happening?
It is going to happen, absolutely. I am producing with my production company, Wondaland Pictures, along with A24. And we are very excited to talk about this bi-con, this legend that is Josephine Baker, and her time as a spy for the French resistance, set in Paris. Yeah, it’s going to be a wild ride. So we’re really excited to get it into production.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will “sneak” in theaters beginning today. It will launch on Netflix on Dec. 23.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
Publisher: Source link

Hasan Minhaj To Host 2023 Independent Spirit Awards

Perhaps it’s the fact the ceremony traditionally takes place in a tent on a beach. Maybe it’s the early afternoon brunch setting where an abundance of spirits are flowing. Or, maybe it’s the irreverent history of the awards themselves, but…

Mar 30, 2023

Did The 2024 Oscars Begin At Sundance?

After making history in 2022 with “CODA,” its first world premiere to win Best Picture, the Sundance Film Festival had a slightly disappointing Oscar tally for 2023. The festival didn’t make the Best Picture cut, but “Living” landed an Adapted…

Mar 29, 2023

Andrea Riseborough Oscars Controversy Prompts Academy Campaign Review

It looked as though the 2023 Oscar season would be the first in over a decade without some sort of scandal in its midst. After the events of the past week, that does not appear to be the case. The…

Mar 28, 2023

‘A Thousand And One’ & ‘The Persian Version’ Top 2023 Sundance Film Festival Awards

After a two-year virtual in-person hiatus, the Sundance Film Festival returned to Park City and that meant an old-fashioned in-person awards ceremony as well. Well, sorta. The post-ceremony party was absent this year (as well as its traditional host), but…

Mar 27, 2023