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Knives Out director reveals subtle sign a character is secretly the villain

This may ruin any mystery film or TV show you watch in the future!

Spoiler alert: This story reveals how to tell if a character is the villain or not, do not read if you don't want to know!

A resurfaced interview with Rian Johnson, the writer and director behind the murder mystery film Knives Out, has revealed one subtle clue viewers should watch out for if they want to know whether or not a character is a villain.

Once again, if you don't want to have movies and TV shows ruined for you, don't scroll down!

Knives Out director Rian Johnson has revealed the secret way to tell if a character is a villain or not onscreen. Photo: Lionsgate
Knives Out director Rian Johnson has revealed the secret way to tell if a character is a villain or not onscreen. Photo: Lionsgate

Rian revealed that Apple has a clause in their contracts when their products are being used on-screen that stipulates that villains or bad characters cannot use the products.

The writer and director joked in the 2020 interview with Vanity Fair that revealing this information may spoil his own future mystery projects.

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"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 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."

"Wouldn't it be easier to just have no characters use iPhones then, to keep the suspense?" one Reddit user wrote at the time of the interview. "Or are the product placement money too good to pass up?"

Jamie Lee Curtis' character is seen using an iPhone in the film. Photo: Lionsgate
Jamie Lee Curtis' character is seen using an iPhone in the film. Photo: Lionsgate
Some fans were confused about why Jaeden Martell's character could use an iPhone given his questionable political views. Photo: Lionsgate
Some fans were confused about why Jaeden Martell's character could use an iPhone given his questionable political views. Photo: Lionsgate

"Even if I don’t want to, I’m going to subconsciously check every phone I see from now on," another said.

"Read this awhile ago and wish I hadn't," a third wrote. "It's been 100% accurate for what I've watched."

"That explains why no one in Murder on the Orient Express used a iPhone," someone else said.

However, some movie fans have shared that it doesn't seem to be a very consistent rule, writing, "Since I heard about this after Knives Out I've kept an eye out in films since and I'm happy to say it's not a very consistently enforced rule, so it's thankfully not an instant spoiler in most cases."

"I knew this! I worked in art department. It was a cool secret haha," one user wrote on TikTok.

"There needs to be a spy thriller where someone's phone breaks part way through, and they switch from iPhone to Android, and they end up being a traitor," another said.

"This is the worst thing I ever learned," a third TikTok user said. "Now I look for it to try to find a secret bad guy."

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Others pointed out that it was odd that Jaeden Martell's character Jacob was definitely morally questionable and used an iPhone.

"So Apple doesn't consider a neo-Nazi indoctrinated teenager as a bad guy?" one Reddit user wrote.

"But the alt-right caricature kid can have an iPhone? Strange," another said.

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