Last year there were only a few non-franchise movies that took off at the North American box office, and one of them was Knives Out. Part of its popularity can be blamed on Daniel Craig, allowed a rare chance to play funny as amateur sleuth Benoit Blanc, whose powers of deduction are as outsized as his Foghorn Leghorn accent. How did the English actor arrive at such a drawl? A new SNL sketch has a theory.
Craig hosted the most recent episode, and in between running afoul of Rachel Dratch’s Debbie Downer and struggling to keep it together with Kate McKinnon, he played a most challenging character: himself. The sketch chronicles Craig’s first meeting with Knives Out director Rian Johnson (played by Mickey Day) and team, in which he debuted the voice he’d give his brainy snooper. Craig tells Johnson et al. he’s taking the job very seriously — so seriously he’s hired Frankie (Beck Bennett), an accent coach with a mullet, epic sideburns, and questionable bona fides.
Bennett’s Frankie then demonstrates his gift for regional accents, but it’s immediately clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Eventually Johnson and his associates cry foul, asking if he’s even been to the South.
“No,” he admits. “But I have studied the region, many from cartoons.”
The sketch allows both Bennett and Craig — who’s been increasingly flexing his comedic chops, on SNL, in Knives Out and in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky — to blast their over-the-top attempts to sound Southern. The sketch ends with a left field gag, in which Frankie, reading the Ana de Armas part during a scene she shares with Blanc, follows Johnson’s script a little too closely, actually puking on call.
“You can puke on demand?” a horrified Johnson asks.
“We’re actors!” Frankie and Craig respond.
The real-life Johnson took to Twitter to freak out that he’d become an SNL character.
Day, who was pictured in Johnson’s tweet, replied to the director calling it an “honor.” Johnson was equally amused by that as well.
👏🏻 and now you’ll be playing me for the ENTIRE election cycle
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) March 8, 2020
Audiences will likely see plenty more of Craig’s Benoit Blanc, as Johnson is already hard at work on a sequel featuring a new case and, of course, a new cast of characters. (Sorry, de Armas and Michael Shannon.) He also joked — or not! — that he’d been considering having Blanc adopt another accent for each film. So Craig may be back on SNL for a sequel and some very different mouth noises.