There’s a typical misperception that Agatha Christie repeated herself. An idyllic English nation home throughout a nondescript interval of the early twentieth century, a physique within the library, a stuffy colonel and steely butler and bridge enjoying previous biddies and et cetera et cetera. Wash, rinse and repeat. It’s the rationale any new movie that tries one thing fashionable with the style (together with my very own movie “Knives Out”) is characterised as subverting or reinventing the shape that Christie (together with different authors of the golden age of detective fiction) helped create.
However not one phrase of the above paragraph is true. Anytime a contemporary whodunit throws the entire system on its head, it’s not reinventing Christie, it’s imitating her, and within the sincerest trend possible.
With every new novel, Christie was inventing and reinventing, and flipping the script on what a homicide thriller may very well be. It wasn’t only a change of surroundings or the shuffling of the physique/assassin/weapon clue playing cards. She blended genres, be it a proto-slasher-horror with “And Then There Were None,” a serial killer thriller with “The ABC Murders,” gothic romance with “Endless Night,” and on and on, and she or he was all the time discovering new methods of difficult herself and stunning her readers. The mechanics of her mysteries took wild leaps too — if somebody tried at the moment what she pulled off in “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” they’d be known as a “disruptor” or worse.
The notion of her books happening in out-of-time bubbles of hazy nostalgia can also be a fantasy. In her very first Poirot novel, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” our introduction to Hastings (who can be her personal Watson) finds him on depart after being injured on the Western entrance. Christie wrote the e book in 1916. Her tales had been infused with their current second, they engaged with the tradition, they had been concerning the right here and now. They had been additionally private, shot via along with her personal experiences.
It’s additionally bracing to recollect how rapidly golden age detective fiction grew to become self-aware, deconstructive and even meta. The authors of that point had been sending themselves up virtually from the start, and Christie did this with giddy glee. By means of her characters and her detectives, she known as out the cliches of the nascent style, and past that she even created the thriller author Mrs. Oliver, a clowning stand-in for herself.
This was my basis after I sat down to put in writing “Knives Out”: Attempt to shake off nostalgia and get again to what Christie’s books really really feel like. So, set it in modern-day America. Make it private, make it of the fitting right here and now. And take a look at one thing with it narratively that was genuinely thrilling to me, the identical approach I think about Christie did with every new e book.
Minimize to a number of years later. Folks loved “Knives Out,” and the idle thought of creating extra of this stuff was no longer only a actuality, however a urgent one. It was time to put in writing a script and to ask the query that sends worry down the backbone of any author: The place to start?
I started the place I began. What would Christie do? Properly, she wouldn’t repeat herself. Best factor first, she’d shake up the setting. So, the browns of a New England fall give technique to the blue and yellows of a Greek island trip. She’d usher in a contemporary solid of characters. This had the additional advantage of giving me one other terrific group of actors to get to know and work with (although the draw back was that I didn’t get to hang around in Greece with Jamie Lee Curtis).
Most essential, I knew this needed to be an entire new story. Not only a new homicide methodology or perpetrator, however an strategy to the narrative and a central conceit that terrified me in the fitting approach, made me marvel, “Wow, I wonder if that could work?” As soon as I landed on what that was for “Glass Onion,” I didn’t know if it would work, however I knew it had its personal motive for being, past “let’s make another one.”
That is certainly one of many causes I thank excessive heaven that I’ve tethered my boat to Mr. Daniel Craig. Daniel is turned on not by creating a cushty mattress of predictable success, however by stunning ourselves (and, hopefully, the viewers) with large swings and scary leaps. As a lot as we love making these motion pictures collectively, there’s nice consolation in figuring out that the moment both of us feels we’re turning the crank on the sausage grinder, that we’re repeating ourselves, we’ll cease.
In any case, Agatha Christie didn’t repeat herself. That’s a typical misperception. I’ve mentioned that already, sorry, I’m repeating myself. In order promised, I’ll now cease.