The Book Adaptation Lives of the GLASS ONION Cast
Have you seen Glass Onion yet?? It is a delightfully fun, weird, and silly mystery film, in which Daniel Craig reprises his Knives Out role as the genteel Southern detective Benoit Blanc. If you were comparing him to famous detectives, I’d say he’s a more humble and colorful Sherlock Holmes. A little bit Columbo, a little bit Miss Marple. As I was watching the movie and its excellent cast, I was struck by how many amazing film and television adaptations the actors had amongst them. So I decided to investigate the book adaptation lives of the Glass Onion cast. (A heads up now that there will be cameo spoilers at the bottom of the post.)
But first, about the film. In this movie, Benoit has been invited to a party on a private island in Greece. The island is owned by tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), and he’s gathering his closest friends for a yearly outlandish vacation. This time, he’s throwing a murder mystery party and the victim will be him. Nothing ever goes wrong when someone throws one of those, right? JK, if you’ve read books or watched television shows and movies, you know something ALWAYS goes wrong at a murder mystery party.
Writer and director Rian Johnson has said he was influenced by Agatha Christie in writing Glass Onion and his earlier film, Knives Out. Like Christie’s novels, you don’t have to enjoy them in any order, they stand alone just fine. They are really fun locked room mysteries with lots of secrets, outlandish locations, and motives, motives, motives.
And now back to the point of this article. The talented cast of Glass Onion has been in a LOT of adaptations of books and comics. So here is a fun list of many of the adaptations they have been in. It’s not an absolutely complete list, but it covers a lot of them. As I said, there will be cameo spoilers at the bottom of the article, but I had to include the actors, because they have so many great adaptations to their names! How many of these have you seen?
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc
First movie credit is as Sgt. Botha in the 1992 adaptation of Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One.
He was in a Zorro television series in 1995 and a television miniseries of Moll Flanders the following year.
I first remember seeing him in an adaptation of The Ice House by Minette Walters in 1997.
He’s Connor Rooney in the 2002 adaptation of Road to Perdition, the graphic novel of gangsters during the Great Depression by Max Allan Collins.
He played poet Ted Hughes in 2003’s Sylvia and Perry Smith, one of the convicted killers in 2006’s Infamous, about Truman Capote and In Cold Blood.
His most famous literary role is probably as James Bond. He first played Bond in Casino Royale (2006), and then four more films.
He’s Lord Asriel in the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass, which did not do nearly as well as its television series adaptation.
He starred alongside Harrison Ford in Cowboys & Aliens (2011), based on the comic by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
He was journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the U.S. adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson (2011).
Upcoming: He has a role in the adaptation of Purity by Jonathan Franzen.
Janelle Monáe as Andi Brand
Monáe’s acting career is smaller, but still at its beginnings. They starred as Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (2011).
Monáe appeared in an episode of Electric Dreams in 2018, based on the work of Philip K. Dick.
And they portrayed Dorothy Pitman Hughes in 2020’s The Glorias, based on the memoir My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem.
They also have their own book, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.
Edward Norton as Miles Bron
In his second-ever film, he played alter boy Aaron in 1997’s Primal Fear, based on the novel by William Diehl, and for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
His first big role was as Narrator in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club in 1999.
He was Will Graham in the remake of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (2002).
He starred as Monty Brogan in 25th Hour by David Benioff (2002).
He’s Eisenheim in The Illusionist, based on Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” (2006).
He portrayed Walter Fane in The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (2006).
After Eric Bana but before Mark Ruffalo, he was Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk (2008).
He makes an appearance in The Bourne Legacy by Robert Ludlum (2012)
And most recently, starred in an adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (2019).
Kate Hudson as Birdie Jay
Her first adaptation role was in Ricochet River, based on the novel by Robin Cody (2001).
She starred alongside Naomi Watts in James Ivory’s adaptation of Le Divorce by Diane Johnson (2003).
She was in The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson (2010), in which nothing good happens to anyone, because Jim Thompson.
Moving on to happier fare, she was in the adaptation of Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (2011).
She had a role in The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (2012).
And one in Good People by Marcus Sakey (2014).
And she starred with Octavia Spencer, no stranger to adaptations herself, in the second season of Truth Be Told, based on the novel Are You Sleeping? by Kathleen Barber (2019).
Dave Bautista as Duke Cody
If you didn’t follow Bautista’s wrestling career, then the first time you noticed him was probably in Guardians of the Galaxy, based on the Marvel comics, in 2014.
He appeared with his Glass Onion costar Daniel Craig in the James Bond film Spectre in 2015.
He was in the Blade Runner sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017), inspired by the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
He appeared as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen in the 2021 adaptation of Frank Hebert’s Dune, and will reprise his role in Dune Part 2, which is coming in the next year or so.
But before that, he’ll star in Knock at the Cabin, based on The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay.
Kathryn Hahn as Claire Debella
She was in Revolutionary Road with Kate and Leo, based on the novel by Richard Yates (2008).
She starred alongside Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), based on a short story by James Thurber.
She has been in several things with Jason Bateman! The first of two on this list is This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (2014).
And the second is the adaptation of The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (2015).
She starred with Kevin Bacon in the short-lived series I Love Dick, based on the novel by Chris Kraus (2016).
And in the Mrs. Fletcher miniseries (2019) based on the novel by Tom Perotta (who has had almost every work made into a film or show.)
She was in the I Know This Much Is True miniseries, based on the novel by Wally Lamb (2020).
She stole the show in Wandavision (2021) the series based on the Marvel comics. (And she’s getting her own spinoff.)
And coming up: She stars in Tiny Beautiful Things, the show based on the book by Cheryl Strayed.
Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel Toussaint
He appeared in an episode of Gotham in 2014, based on Batman lore.
He became a household name as Aaron Burr in the original Broadway run of Hamilton (2016), influenced by the Ron Chernow biography.
He had a role in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (2017).
And next he’ll be starring in a sequel to The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.
Jessica Henwick as Peg
Henwick’s most famous literary role is probably her turn as Nymeria Sand in the Game of Thrones show (2015-2017).
She appeared as Colleen Wing on an episode of Luke Cage in 2018 and in several episodes of Iron Fist (2017–2018), both based on comics.
She voices a character in the Blade Runner: Black Lotus animated series (2021).
And she has a role in The Gray Man, based on the series by Mark Greaney (2022).
Madelyn Cline as Whiskey
Madeline Cline does not have many book adaptation roles under her belt, but she’s just getting started. She did have a role in Boy Erased, based on the memoir by Garrard Conley (2018).
Now get ready for the spoilers. These stars had cameos in Glass Onion and have a LOT of book adaptation roles between them.
But seriously, spoilers.
Here we go.
White Fang (1991); A Midnight Clear (1992); Waterland (1992); Alive (1993); Great Expectations (1998); Snow Falling on Cedars (1999); Hamlet (2000); The Hottest State (2006); Moby Dick (2011); Ten Thousand Saints (2015); Juliet, Naked (2018); The Good Lord Bird (2020); Waiting for Godot (2021); The Black Phone (2021); Moon Knight (2022); Leave the World Behind (Upcoming).
Maurice (1987); The Lair of the White Worm (1987); The Remains of the Day (1993); An Awfully Big Adventure (1995); Sense and Sensibility (1995); Restoration (1995); Extreme Measures (1996); Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001); About a Boy (2002); Cloud Atlas (2012); Paddington 2 (2017); A Very English Scandal (2018); The Undoing (2020).
National Velvet (1945); The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945); The Three Musketeers (1948); The Long, Hot Summer (1958); The Manchurian Candidate (1962); Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971); Death on the Nile (1978); The Mirror Crack’d (1980); The Last Unicorn (1982); Lace (1984); The Shell Seekers (1989); Beauty and the Beast (1991); The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (1999); The Blackwater Lightship (2004); Nanny McPhee (2005); Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011); Little Women (2017); Mary Poppins Returns (2018).
Heartburn (1986); Party Monster (2003); Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019).
And for more great information on mysteries and adaptations, check out Whodunit, and How? An Introduction to Locked Room Mysteries, Why Locked Room Murder Mysteries Are the Best, and 2023 Adaptations to Get Excited About!