With Glass bulbs: a mystery in dispute finally reveals its secrets on Netflix today, Ryan Johnson makes the rounds to talk about his latest success. After his initial success, the sequel to his Hercule Poirot mystery sent Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to the private island of billionaire tech bro Miles Bron (Edward Norton) to solve a murder among the tycoon’s influential friends. Ever since first seeing him in theaters, fans have pointed out that Miles’ characterization seems eerily similar to the real-life tech giant. Elon Musk. As revealed in a recent Wired interview, Johnson acknowledged the comparisons.
Musk has gained public notoriety recently for his purchase of Twitter, but he is still best known as the mind behind companies like Tesla and SpaceX. His turn as “Chief Twit” was particularly criticized for his poor policy making and pouring so much money into a platform that was already in the red. His reign was widely seen as chaotic and culminated in him recently announced he would quit when he found someone “stupid enough” to run the site. Likewise, Miles wears the same trends. He has the same bravado and reluctance to admit a stupid decision. He also still has the gadgets and intellect to back up his credentials. In a post-Musk Twitter shopping world, the comparison seems obvious.
Johnson was asked about Musk and Miles, and he admitted that he fully understands where everyone is coming from. That being said, because he wrote Glass onion in the middle of the pandemic and not in 2022, Musk was not his exact goal when he wrote Miles:
There’s a lot of general stuff about these kinds of tech billionaires that went straight there. But it obviously has an almost eerie relevance in the present moment. A friend of mine said, “Man, it looks like it was written this afternoon.” And it’s just kind of a horrible, horrible accident, you know?
Johnson touched on several archetypes with Glass onion
Of course, Miles is just one of many colorful characters in Johnson’s film. There’s Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), a Twitch streamer and men’s rights activist at Andrew Tatemodel turned fashion mogul Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) and rising star politician Claire Debella (Catherine Hahn) among others surrounding Miles. Each perhaps deserves their own comparison to some influential figure. Johnson was eager to take on these types of quirky personalities and shove them all into a room next to his sled with a white trolling from the South. When asked how he decides who to scrutinize with his characters, he pointed out that he’s just holding up a mirror to our current cultural zeitgeist:
Once I had a tech billionaire at the top of the suspected pyramid, the type of friends they wanted and it all fell apart. Because the intention was to accurately reflect what it was like to have your head in the middle of the cultural sphere over the past six years. It’s a bit of a rather nightmarish carnival, a Fellini-esque inflated reality right now.
Furthermore, he explained that the creation of these more realistic caricatures differed slightly from the original. Knives out. Instead of creating characters that take classic thriller tropes to extremes, he wanted to capture the extremes of our world:
It’s a much higher pitch. But the whole time I was thinking, “Oh my God, am I going to tamp this?” I would just open Twitter or turn on the news and realize that it’s an honest reflection of what it’s like to be alive right now and pay attention to these people. It must be ridiculous because they are ridiculous, you know?
Glass bulbs: a mystery in dispute is available to stream now on Netflix. Watch our interview with Johnson below: