Rian Johnson and Taika Waititi Break Down 'Knives Out' and 'Jojo Rabbit' Scenes
It's rare we get a chance to look at a script with a filmmaker. Today we get to do it twice.
Being a voice that cuts through the noise of Hollywood is hard. Imagine having two of them talking to you about how they craft their best screenplays pages?
Well, today is your lucky day because thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we have two images from Taiki Waititi and Rian Johnson to take us through pivotal scenes that built two of the years' best films.
Let's not waste any time and jump in!
Rian Johnson and Taika Waititi Break Down 'Knives Out' & 'Jojo Rabbit' Scenes
If you want to explore all the awards contending screenplays, you can download all 2020 Awards Contending scripts here!
Now let's take a look at these two special films.
Dig deep on Jojo Rabbit with Taika Waititi
First up, let's travel to Germany in 1944.
Jojo Rabbit was a movie and screenplay that swept me away. I thought there was a perfect balance of nuance and tone. The words leap off the page and give us so much to work with inside this inventive comedy.
In this scene, you have two things going on.
Jojo is scared to tell his mom he found the girl she's hiding in their attic. He loves and supports his mom more than anything, but he also wants to be a good little Nazi for his imaginary friend, Hitler.
The second thing we get is Jojo's Mom, Rosie, working to hide her overwhelming self-doubt and worry about the war. She's been left by her husband to not only watch over their son but run the Resistance by herself.
You can see her working out that logic in her head while Jojo works out the logic in his head too.
What makes this so special is seeing the influence that Taika uses while writing.
He's not only thinking about the actors and what's happening on the screen, but of Rosie's unspoken backstory, on the characters that gave him inspiration, and the performances that made him want to write these characters.
Dig deep on Knives Out with Rian Johnson
I love a good whodunnit; The twists, the turns, the suspects, and the motives all encourage an active audience to participate in every step of the way. Knives Out took those genre expectations and flipped them on their head...
...while somehow still paying them all off?
Rian Johnson is also a writer and director who has a unique way of looking at the world.
Let's dig into his pages.
This scene is a classic escalation.
We have Benoit Blanc simultaneously diffusing Marta's biggest concerns while lumping a whole bunch more stress on her. All she has to do is walk him through the outside of the mansion and everything should be okay...but she knows she might have left clues behind.
In addition to that, we're using that nifty plant and payoff tool.
We have to plant that Marta has nothing to gain, so when we see there's a massive fortune left to her later, we know suspicions will swirl around her.
You want your scenes to serve many purposes, but firstly, be entertaining. This dialogue here pops off the page. You can really sense Blanc's voice here and his sort of ridiculous speaking methods - and how perfectly they fit into this narrative.
So much fun.
What's next? Learn why Tarantino writes by hand!
Quentin Tarantino dropped some valuable knowledge during his induction into the Final Draft Hall of Fame.
Check it out.