Photo via Peacock
Now that Rian Johnson’s latest project, the hit “murder of the week” series Poker Face has finally wrapped up its first 10-episode season, the director can get cracking on his next installment to the Knives Out movie franchise featuring his other idiosyncratic master detective, Benoit Blanc. And this time he may have an even deeper talent pool than the already prodigious one he was working with for Knives Out and its sequel, Glass Onion, thanks to the jaw-dropping array of special guests he assembled to star in Poker Face.
Poker Face‘s “case-of-the-week” format, which finds a new cast for each episode to interact with series star Natasha Lyonne, allowed Johnson to accumulate an array of talent that reads more like the invitation list to an awards gala than a television series call sheet. And while it seems that Johnson’s contacts list is one of the most impressive sets of numbers in Hollywood, here are ten actors that appeared in season one of Poker Face that seem like they’d be a perfect fit for the next Benoit Blanc whodunnit.
As one of Natasha Lyonne‘s longtime BFFs, Sevigny was a natural to appear on Poker Face and she knocked it out of the park with her portrayal of Ruby Ruin, lead singer of the all but washed-up ‘90s metal act Doxxxology. While she was utterly convincing as the hard-boiled Ruby, who’s willing to do anything to get back to the top of the charts, Sevigny has proven her expansive range a dozen times over in projects like Big Love, American Psycho, The Girl from Plainville, Bones and All, and even Lyonne’s other series, Russian Doll. She could play nearly any part Rian could come up with and do it with style.
Brody has been a very busy man this year with no less than four films in post-production, including Wes Anderson’s upcoming Asteroid City. He’s also been carving out a new niche as a seasoned quality television performer, appearing in Peaky Blinders, Succession, and Winning Time over the last few years. Brody and Johnson worked together in 2008’s criminally-underrated The Brothers Bloom, and they should keep their reunion momentum going. Brody’s eccentric energy is always a perfect fit for Johnson’s classic silver screen-style mysteries.
Nearly every Poker Face guest star came with an extensive pedigree, but Jones is probably the one best-known as an actor’s actor. She’s one of Hollywood’s best utility players and can make even a small appearance on the screen pop with award-winner intensity. In addition to her extensive and acclaimed stage work, Jones has had memorable appearances in films like Erin Brockovich, Signs, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and in series including Transparent, Black Mirror, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Seeing her go up against Nick Nolte was a highlight of Poker Face season one, and it would be nice to see her get a chance to do so against Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc.
Not to put too fine a point on it but frankly, Jameela Jamil was robbed and we were all robbed of her being onscreen longer in Poker Face. Jamil has been bringing great energy to her roles since her breakout role as Tahani in The Good Place, and Johnson should do her a solid and get her onto the cast list for the next Knives Out.
One of the hardest jobs to do as an actor is acting like you’re not a very good actor. Barkin nails that task in episode six and it couldn’t have been an easy feat, given the huge list of films she’s played in successfully over the years, including Tender Mercies, The Big Easy, and Sea of Love. Both Barkin and her co-star Tim Meadows carried heavy lifting for this episode, which probably features less Lyonne than any of the other nine. Johnson would do well to make Barkin an ensemble member of his next Blanc sequel.
It almost seems silly to have to recommend Guzman for anything given that he’s been one of Hollywood’s finest and hardest-working character actors for decades. But now might be the perfect time to add him to any cast, since his turn as Gomez Addams has raised his star a bit higher in the sky. Guzman has formed incredible relationships with directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson who directed Guzman in Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love, and Steven Soderbergh, who directed him in Out of Sight, The Limey, and Traffic. Johnson would do well to form a similar tie.
Levitt seems like another crossover no-brainer as a potential crossover franchise star. Johnson and Levitt’s working relationship is one of the director’s longest, with the actor having played the lead in Johnson’s debut Brick in 2005, and his breakout movie, Looper. If anything, it’s a surprise the actor didn’t appear in Knives Out or Glass Onion, considering Brick helped Levitt break out of his child star typecasting. Levittt has appeared in cameo roles in several other Johnson films so it’s probably just a matter of time before he’s interrogated by Benoit Blanc.
Lil Rel Howery
Howery may have been the greatest thing about Get Out, his big-screen debut. Poker Face proves he’s no one-trick pony and Howery owns every scene he’s in, even when he’s glad-handing. Johnson should arrange a role for him before the actor goes on to do yet another character-driven sitcom.
Johnson might do well just to develop another series where Stephanie Hsu appears as a different character in each episode (crime-solving optional). Her chameleon-like abilities earned her an Oscar nod for Everything Everywhere All at Once (playing both Joy Wang and Jobu Tupaki) and are on full display in her Poker Face appearance as “Mortimer Bernstein.” It goes without saying she could play anything Johnson would care to write for the next Glass Onion franchise entry. She might even be able to play all the roles.
Okay, technically, Lyonne did already appear in Glass Onion on a Zoom Call with Blanc where the pair are playing the game Among Us with basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the now sadly deceased Angela Lansbury and Stephen Sondheim. But she could definitely stand to play a meatier role — even if it just as herself (Lyonne’s real-life personality is idiosyncratic enough to fit right in as a character). However, the ultimate wish fulfillment would be Lyonne playing Poker Face‘s Charlie Cale in an ultimate detecting team-up with Benoit Blanc. It probably will never happen, but we can dream.
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