Hollywood writer and director Rian Johnson—the man behind movies like Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and most recently Knives Out—revealed an interesting bit of filmmaking trivia during an interview with Vanity Fair yesterday: Apple won’t let bad guys use iPhones on camera.
The revelation came out during an episode of Vanity Fair’s video series “Notes on a Scene,” in which Johnson breaks down a scene from Knives Out. In the scene, Jamie Lee Curtis is holding an iPhone, and after revealing that the props department keeps a very close eye on even the smallest details (in this case: the time shown on the phone) he goes on to say:
Another funny thing… I don’t know if I should say this or not […] Forget it, I’ll say it, it’s very interesting: Apple lets 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.
Johnson makes light of the revelation, but it may legitimately get him in a little trouble with both Apple and his fellow directors. As he says in the interview, “every single filmmaker who has a bad guy in their movie who is supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.”
This is just the catchiest bit of the breakdown, because it’s a Hollywood filmmaking quirk you’re probably not aware of, but the whole video is fascinating. It’s reminiscent of ultra-popular YouTube channels like “Every Frame a Painting” (RIP) or the occasional video from “Nerdwriter1” that breaks down a scene or movie in extreme detail, except this time it’s the writer and director doing it himself.
If you’re at all interested in filmmaking, you’ll enjoy seeing the amount of thought that goes into every single scene.
Check out the full video up top to dive deep on how this one scene in Knives Out was framed and filmed, and if you want to see more “Notes on a Scene” videos form Vanity Fair, you can find those here.