'Star Wars' director Rian Johnson says Apple won't let bad guys in movies use iPhones

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "Knives Out" writer/director Rian Johnson has revealed that movie villains generally won't be spotted using iPhones -- because Apple specifically does not allow it.

Writer/director Rian Johnson. (Source: Vanity Fair)
Writer/director Rian Johnson. (Source: Vanity Fair)


Speaking on a Vanity Fair YouTube video about his murder mystery movie "Knives Out," Johnson detailed a specific scene in the movie that happens to include an iPhone product placement.

"I don't know if I should say this or not," he says, "Not 'cause it's lascivious or something, but because it's gonna screw me on the next mystery movie that I write. But forget it, I'll say it, it's very interesting."






"Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but -- and this is very pivotal -- if you're ever watching a mystery movie, bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera," he continues. "Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now."

Such conditions are not unique to Apple. The companies and their conditions are confidential, but at least apocryphally, soft drink firms have been alleged to have rules about their cans not being seen thrown away in trash in movies.

In the "Knives Out" scene that Johnson dissects for Vanity Fair, Jamie Lee Curtis is seen holding an iPhone, and the director wanted to point out that you could clearly see the time on it.

Rian Johnson circles an iPhone being held by Jamie Lee Curtis. So she's not playing the bad guy. Source: Vanity Fair
Rian Johnson circles an iPhone being held by Jamie Lee Curtis. So she's not playing the bad guy. Source: Vanity Fair


"Also, a little shout out to the props department," says Johnson. "Know that any time a clock or a phone is in set, somebody has paid very close attention to the time and has made sure, has asked me what time it's supposed to be in the actual scene. Thank you, props."

Rian Johnson is currently writing a sequel to "Knives Out."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,745member
    Bit petty, but quite funny.
    jony0cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 38
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    "Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now." 

    Yeah, that's pretty messed up of you.
    razorpitArloTimetravelerlolliverjony0
  • Reply 3 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,745member
    I bet Starbucks really regret allowing Daenerys to use that cup given how she turned into a baddie.
    mknelsonminicoffee
  • Reply 4 of 38
    If bad guys use iPhones, it (subconsciously) promotes the cause of police/FBI/NSA eavesdropping on iPhone users. Apple’s policy says that movie villains are not analogous to real-world iPhone owners.
    jony0
  • Reply 5 of 38
    I know for a fact that Chewbacca used an Android in The Last Jedi

    when he used to texted George Lucas - “get me out of this crappy movie”. 
    MplsPrazorpitpscooter63jony0melodyof1974StrangeDaysgilly33
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Either that or it's a red herring. Since pretty much everyone in The Morning Show uses an iPhone and that includes characters who are "bad".
    jony0
  • Reply 7 of 38
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,015member
    What sort of control does a company have over product placement like this? I know that Microsoft has to pay to get their products to appear on screen anywhere, but Apple does not. If I were a film maker and I wanted to put an Apple product on screen without any of Apple's approval/disapproval would I be completely free to do what I want?
  • Reply 8 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,745member
    linkman said:
    What sort of control does a company have over product placement like this? I know that Microsoft has to pay to get their products to appear on screen anywhere, but Apple does not. If I were a film maker and I wanted to put an Apple product on screen without any of Apple's approval/disapproval would I be completely free to do what I want?
    They may complain about it, and there might be copyright infringement of logo and product design, but unless you're actively showing the product in a bad light in a way that could be considered defamatory I doubt much would happen.
    caladanianchemengin1jony0
  • Reply 9 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    linkman said:
    What sort of control does a company have over product placement like this? I know that Microsoft has to pay to get their products to appear on screen anywhere, but Apple does not. If I were a film maker and I wanted to put an Apple product on screen without any of Apple's approval/disapproval would I be completely free to do what I want?
    Apple does pay, but traditionally in product rather than cash.

    More recently they've had to modify tactics and enter into paid promotion contracts with some media companies which is why you now see “promotional consideration sponsored by Apple"  far more often than just two or three years ago. Why would they have to pay? Studio and broadcast media increasingly see Apple as a competitor rather than helpful partner and are far less apt to show them on screen in exchange for a couple of computers and a few iPhones. 
    edited February 2020 viclauyycjony0
  • Reply 10 of 38
    It's basically the same as celebrity product endorsements: do something bad, and the endorsement will get pulled. 
    ArloTimetravelerlollivercy_starkmanjony0StrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 38
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,263member
    crowley said:
    Bit petty, but quite funny.
    Yes and no, especially with the recent stories about the government wanting Apple write a back door in iOS to let them crack the security. I can imagine Apple is a bit sensitive about the portrayal of iPhones involved with crime. 
    pscooter63ArloTimetravelermacseekerlollivergilly33
  • Reply 12 of 38

    crowley said:
    I bet Starbucks really regret allowing Daenerys to use that cup given how she turned into a baddie.
    funny! but it was Varys
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Either that or it's a red herring. Since pretty much everyone in The Morning Show uses an iPhone and that includes characters who are "bad".

    I was thinking the same, but to be fair it is not a movie. 
  • Reply 14 of 38
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,216member
    revenant said:
    Either that or it's a red herring. Since pretty much everyone in The Morning Show uses an iPhone and that includes characters who are "bad".

    I was thinking the same, but to be fair it is not a movie. 

    I was also thinking the same thing as well, but he specifically mentions mystery movies?  So is the Morning show ok because it isn't a mystery movie?  Hahaha

    Just a weird comment for RJ to make..
  • Reply 15 of 38
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,671member
    1.  That's not surprising.  They want to associate their brand with positivity.  It's an interesting approach, one I wouldn't have thought of.  

    2.  The Last Jedi is widely regarded as a disappointment.  I'm not going to call it what another did--a cinematic abortion.  But there were so many missed opportunities, timing issues, sections of bad dialogue, and corny moments.   If I were Rian, I'd be more concerned about what that did to my brand as opposed to not being allowed to have villains use an iPhone.  
    lolliverStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 38
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Either that or it's a red herring. Since pretty much everyone in The Morning Show uses an iPhone and that includes characters who are "bad".
    It's Rian Johnson. Can't believe anything he says.
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,466member
    The irony here is that in real life the bad guys use the iPhone because it's more secure.
    FileMakerFellerElCapitan
  • Reply 18 of 38
    IIRC this was also the case in the TV series "24", the good guys had Macs, the bad guys had WinTel.    
    SpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Beats said:
    "Every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now." 

    Yeah, that's pretty messed up of you.
    Not really. Bad people use iPhones all the time in real life. 
  • Reply 20 of 38

    Either that or it's a red herring. Since pretty much everyone in The Morning Show uses an iPhone and that includes characters who are "bad".
    Which was off putting since it’s completely unrealistic. 
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