‘Glass Onion’: How did they film the smashing scene?

Warning: This story contains spoilers for “Glass Onion: The Mystery With A Knife”.

Peel off the layers of “Knives Out 2’s” glass bulb and what do you get?

More glass.

At the heart of the flamboyant Greek island mansion of billionaire tech tycoon Miles Bron (Edward Norton) lies a trophy room with dozens of glass sculptures as fragile as the ego and as transparent as the motives of their treacherous owners. In “Glass Onion: A Knife Out Mystery,” Miles is eager to show his brilliant art collection to his group of morally corrupt friends after inviting him to a murder-mystery party at his private mansion in the Mediterranean.

While the sequel to Rian Johnson’s 2019 whodunit was filmed in Greece, the star-studded cast had to carefully navigate a minefield of fragile, abstract figures carefully crafted by the film’s production team. Of course, it was his turn to reach the climax, when Miles’ esteemed guests turned their backs on him and shattered the sculpture garden.

“At that point, everyone was horrified, it’s been a few months since she’d shot on this set, where she was tiptoeing around these delicate glass structures on pedestals because she didn’t want to knock them over,” Johnson told The Times at the Los Angeles premiere last month. “Glass bulbs.”

“I mean, everybody was so ready to smash it… I didn’t need to tell them. anything. In fact, they were all saying ‘I want this’, ‘I want to smash this’.”

Jessica Henwick as Peg in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”, Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc on the left, and Janelle Monáe as Andi.

(John Wilson / Netflix)

The shocking moment comes shortly after the mystery movie ends. Helen (Janelle Monáe) presents the authentic bar napkin penned by her sister Andi (also Monáe), Alpha Industries’ original plan to avenge the murder of her identical twin. Miles, who co-founded Alpha with Andi before dismissing Andi from the company and persuading their mutual friend to testify in court, said in a desperate move, he is Alpha wrote his idea on a napkin – setting fire to Helen’s only piece of physical evidence.

Distraught and seemingly defeated, Helen retaliates by destroying some of Miles’ personal property. He starts by breaking one of the glass statues in his lair – then another and another. Soon the rest of the vacationers – including those who had previously defended Miles and betrayed Andi under oath – join in.

According to Leslie Odom Jr., who plays scientist Lionel Toussaint, the sculpture-breaking sequence was one of the last scenes they shot, “obviously because we…we couldn’t put that thing back together.”

“It’s a social primal cry,” she said at the “Glass Onion” premiere. The cast “nurtured from each other. … And we were such a family back then. We were really dancing together. We really felt each other. … I was just trying to receive, receive and give that energy.

Madelyn Cline, who plays conservative YouTube personality Whiskey, said she channeled “anything that angered or angered me” while destroying glass sculptures.

“It felt like a room of anger,” he said. “It was kind of fun to smash things and fs-up. And I felt that was really true to what our characters were going through and feeling, so I really leaned into that.

If anything, the acting troupe enjoyed ruining the sculpture set a little too much.

“When I really loosened them up, there was actually a problem of slowing them down so it didn’t end too quickly,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘I know this is fun, but we need to spend some time on this.'”

Producer Ram Bergman said there are only three copies of each figure, which significantly increases the risks of each shot.

“You were always nervous,” Bergman added. “’Let’s make sure we get it right, because after the third day we won’t be at all.’ To me, that was the stress… because if we run out, we’re screwed.”

Inevitably, mistakes were made.

Jessica Henwick, who plays Peg, the jaded assistant/publisher of the troubled former cover girl (Kate Hudson), rehearses the chaotic sequence as Johnson “Action!” He dropped his statue before he could say it.

As Johnson closed the stage, he instructed the actors to smash their statues on the count of three – “and I just heard ‘1, 2, 3’,” said Henwick, “and I threw it.”

Luckily, one of the cameras caught his mistake, and this is the shot they eventually used in the movie: “When I look up in fear, I’m looking directly at Rian,” Henwick said. “They cut right before I left, ‘I’m so sorry.'”

The limited inventory of statues and Henwick’s fault aside, the statue-smashing shoot went relatively smoothly and was an engaging start towards the explosive finale of the Netflix movie.

“Fortunately, Janelle and everyone else got it right,” Bergman said. “And I think there are a few. [statues] also left, so we did a good job. … I had no idea what it would be like in the movie. But when that happens and everyone is really good… It’s a good feeling.”

Times audience engagement editor David Viramontes contributed to this report.

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