SPOILER ALERT: This story contains major spoilers for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” currently streaming on Netflix.
Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is filled with easter eggs that lie in plain sight, but it takes an eagle-eyed viewer to find them.
Daniel Craig has returned as detective Benoit Blanc and is “mysteriously” invited to join Miles Bron, a tech billionaire played by Edward Norton, on his private Greek island. Bron has invited his close circle of friends made up of a cast of characters played by Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick and Madelyn Cline for a murder-mystery weekend. Janelle Monáe’s Andi is also invited along for the shenanigans despite her character’s recent falling out with the group, and having lost a lawsuit against Bron.
The big reveal that comes halfway through the film, after Bautista’s character drops dead, is that Andi is not who she says she is, but in fact, her twin sister Helen.
Hair department head Leslie Bennett was given specific notes. “Rian wanted Andi and Helen to have two different looks.”
As a businesswoman, Andi’s hair was sleek and polished. Says Bennett, “She was the corporate trendsetter type.” Adds Monae of the blonde bob wig, “She’s so together and she’s so sharp, so we wanted her hair to be as sharp as she was.”
When it came to Helen’s wig, Monáe teases an easter egg that lies in plain sight. “Helen’s wig is something Rian and I talked about. When she’s acting as Andi, and nobody knows it’s her, the parting of her hair is on the opposite side.” Explains Monáe, “The idea is that she is a mirror image of her sister.”
Audiences get to see the real Helen when she first meets Blanc. The character is a schoolteacher whose wardrobe consists of cardigans and boxy t-shirts. Bennett says, “Helen’s original look was more natural and effortless.” The look was long dark curly hair and natural. It was a look Bennett says she was excited to showcase “due to its texture.”
On closer inspection, when Helen is pretending to be Andi, Monáe points out that Helen had to cut her hair, and put a wig on, “so it wasn’t going to be as perfect as Andi’s.”
Makeup artist Golden (Sun Shyne) stepped in to add in small details. “She made my skin look golden,” says Monáe. “We were in 110-degree weather, so I got to tan very fast, and we had to make sure the foundation matched. We wanted Helen and Andi to have natural looks. So, when you first see me get out of the car and all the disruptors are looking at me, we wanted this dewy skin look. There was no red lip, and we kept it natural.”
Another difference lay in the eyebrow. Helen’s eyebrows are naturally thicker, compared to Andi who had hers waxed and shaped. Says Monáe, “If you’re Helen, pretending to be Andi, they needed to be darker and thicker. But if you’re Andi, they needed to be well-groomed.”
Johnson paid meticulous detail as he laid in hints along the way. There was plenty of foreshadowing too.
The film opens as Bron sends his friends a mysterious puzzle box that includes the murder-mystery weekend invitation within it. Monáe says audiences first meet Andi as she’s smashing the puzzle box open. But, it’s not really her, but rather her sister Helen. “Rian and I were talking about this idea that she should have a towel around her head, so you don’t know who it is and what Andi looked like.” They continue, “In watching that scene, I like to say it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come at the end.”