Knives Out director Rian Johnson says Apple doesn't let 'bad guys' use iPhones on screen
Don’t be surprised if everyone has their Androids out in the Knives Out sequel.
Writer-director Rian Johnson spilled the beans on a cinematic secret while breaking down a scene from his murder mystery for Vanity Fair. It’s the scene in which Chris Evans‘ Ransom Drysdale first arrives at the house, prompting a tense confrontation with the rest of his family, and Johnson points out that Jamie Lee Curtis is holding an iPhone in the scene.
“I don’t know if I should say this or not,” Johnson says with a laugh before continuing. “Not because it’s lascivious or something, but because it’s gonna screw me on the next mystery movie that I write. But forget it, I’ll say it, it’s very interesting. Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but, and this is very pivotal, if you’re ever watching a mystery movie, bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera.”
It’s worth noting, this is not exactly a Knives Out-caliber reveal. A Wired article from 2002 pointed out that the good guys on Fox’s 24 always used Mac computers, while bad guys always used PCs. Famed film critic Roger Ebert also addressed the phenomenon in a 2003 Q&A column, writing, “Since many Windows machines look alike, Apple is one of the few manufacturers that can gain by product placement, which accounts for some of the Macs. It’s true that the movie industry and creative types in general prefer the Mac.”
Apple’s “Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights” also stipulate the company’s products should be “shown only in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc.” Having a murderer use an Apple product might not fit the bill.
Now eagle-eyed viewers will have a very Sherlockian key to discovering secret villains. As Johnson puts it, “Oh no! Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that’s supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.” (Or they could just, you know, have more people not use iPhones.)
Knives Out is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms. You can watch Johnson’s full scene breakdown above.