Rian Johnson Unveils First 'Knives Out' Plot Details at CinemaCon

Rian Johnson - Getty - H 2019
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon
The filmmaker and star Jamie Lee Curtis revealed the film involves two detectives investigating the death of a family patriarch.

Rian Johnson has pulled back the curtain on his secretive thriller Knives Out.

The writer-director brought the first footage trailer CinemaCon on Thursday, where he described the film as an interlude he was taking before getting "back to a franchise in a galaxy far, far away," a reference to his upcoming Star Wars trilogy he is writing. 

"I've been a die-hard Agatha Christie fan since I was a teenager," Johnson said during Lionsgate's presentation. "Knives Out was my attempt to take everything I love about an Agatha Christie who-done-it, jam it into an all-star cast, give it a Hitchcock thriller, genre twist and set it in modern-day America."

Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford star, along with two stars who joined him on stage: Ana de Armas and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Until Thursday, no plot details had been revealed, but Curtis revealed that Johnson plays her husband and Evans plays her son. The film centers on a detective (Craig) investigating a murder when he comes across an eccentric, combative family. 

She called the film a "family gathering that turns bloody very quickly. These people put the 'dis' in dysfunctional, which should play very well this Thanksgiving weekend."

The trailer begins with two detectives (Craig and Stanfield) in a mansion following the death of their elderly patriarch (Christopher Plummer). The detectives ask the family to stay until the investigation has concluded — and they aren't happy. There's plenty of bickering amongst the family, including a moment where Evans' character points at each of his yelling family members and responds, "Eat shit. Eat Shit," to each one — just to give a taste of the instra-family drama. 

It has the feel of Wes Anderson's Royale Tenenbaums — with Johnson's trademark genre twists.

"I suspect foul play, but I have eliminated no suspects," Craig says later in a southern drawl.

Knives Out, from Lionsgate and MRC, opens Nov. 27. MRC is owned by Valence Media, which is also the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.