Rian Johnson, Taika Waititi Break Down Pivotal Scenes in 'Knives Out' and 'Jojo Rabbit'

2:45 PM 1/22/2020

by Rebecca Ford

Sometimes it's not about what's on the page but what's left unsaid. The Oscar-nominated writer-directors (Johnson for best original screenplay, Waititi for adapted screenplay) reveal how they pulled off these tension-filled moments.

Alamy Stock Photo; Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The loglines of Rian Johnson's Knives Out and Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit could not be more different.

The first is a whodunnit ensemble film that follows a detective (played by Daniel Craig) who is tasked with finding out who, among a family of eccentric and complicated characters, is behind the murder of its wealthy patriarch. Waititi's film, on the other hand, follows a young aspiring Nazi named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) who discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is not on the same side of things as he is. But what is similar in both these stories is the fact that both scripts involve secrets, and the way characters act when faced with them.

The Hollywood Reporter asked both Johnson and Waititi to delve into how they crafted their stories, by focusing on a favorite scene.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

  • 'Knives Out'

    Rian Johnson
    Rian Johnson
    Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic

    Click the image below to see a larger version and Johnson's breakdown of the scene.

  • 'Jojo Rabbit'

    Taika Waititi
    Taika Waititi
    Rachel Luna/Getty Images

    Click the image below to see a larger version and Waititi's breakdown of the scene.