articles / Film/TV

Collaborating Cousins: Rian & Nathan Johnson on “Knives Out”


Rian Johnson and Nathan Johnson | Photo by Peter Cobbin

Hit play below to listen to our Arts Alive feature.  
Collaborating Cousins: Rian & Nathan Johnson on “Knives Out”
  The “Celebrity-Studded Whodunit” makes a comeback with Knives Out, which stars Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, and a whole bunch of other famous names. It was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who — with the sole exception of Star Wars: The Last Jedi — has always commissioned a score from his cousin, Nathan Johnson.

They grew up near each other in the Denver area, and were making parody Weird Al songs and genre-inspired home movies from the get-go. Nathan has a band called The Cinematic Underground, and he scored Rian’s feature debut, Brick, in 2005 — followed by The Brothers Bloom and Looper. Knives Out is his first traditional orchestral score, and Rian says it was critical to making the movie work.

The Johnson boys were doing press in New York recently, and they put me on speakerphone for a fun, laughter-filled conversation about those early collaborations, what it feels like when your director/cousin cheats on you with John Williams, what makes the Knives Out score so “cutting,” and more.

Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson, with an original score by Nathan Johnson, is in theaters now.

Written by:
Tim Greiving
Tim Greiving
Published on 11.26.2019

MORE LIKE THIS

Brian Ralston on His Journey as a Film Composer

Brian Ralston on His Journey as a Film Composer

"Being Rose" stars Cybill Shepherd and James Brolin in a tale of love and soul-searching. The film's music, composed by Brian Ralston, is discussed in an interview.

Film/TV
04/01/2019
“The Lighthouse” Star Robert Pattinson on His Musical Life

“The Lighthouse” Star Robert Pattinson on His Musical Life

Robert Pattinson discusses his music interests and songwriting journey, alongside his transition from Twilight to art house cinema roles like The Lighthouse.

Film/TV
10/23/2019
Jazz, Noir, and Wynton Marsalis Come Together in Motherless Brooklyn’s Multifaceted Soundtrack

Jazz, Noir, and Wynton Marsalis Come Together in Motherless Brooklyn’s Multifaceted Soundtrack

Explore the unique noir jazz score of "Motherless Brooklyn," composed by Daniel Pemberton, blending elements of romance, intrigue, and humor in a modern yet timeless style.

Film/TV
11/18/2019
“Rocketman” Composer Matthew Margeson on the Yellow Brick Road

“Rocketman” Composer Matthew Margeson on the Yellow Brick Road

Matthew Margeson faced the challenge of scoring the Elton John film, "Rocketman". The film features new arrangements of John's hits, performed by Taron Egerton and the cast.

Film/TV
06/12/2019
Behind Willem Dafoe’s Transformation into Vincent Van Gogh

Behind Willem Dafoe’s Transformation into Vincent Van Gogh

Willem Dafoe stars as Vincent Van Gogh in the new film "At Eternity’s Gate", directed by Julian Schnabel. The article discusses Dafoe's role, his learning to paint, and his affinity for outcast characters.

Film/TV
04/01/2019
John Lithgow on the Fun of Playing Ogres—Fictional and Non

John Lithgow on the Fun of Playing Ogres—Fictional and Non

John Lithgow discusses his role as Roger Ailes in "Bombshell" and his approach to playing controversial figures. The film also stars Theron, Kidman, and Robbie.

Film/TV
12/17/2019