In a film featuring a deadly (in some cases literally) row of movie star performers,Glass Onion: Takes the mystery out of the cutleryThe character that has received the most ink since its Netflix premiere on Dec. 23 is Derol, a Corona-slinging slacker who appears briefly in a handful of scenes — but steals every single one of them. Played by Noah Segan, who appears in every one of Rian JohnsonSo far, Derrol has taken on a life of his own, becoming a favorite even on the fringe of the murder-mystery and, perhaps because of that, meme.
Although the character may be insignificant to the film’s tightly knit plot mechanism, Johnson says he gained significance with each scene in which Derrol wrote. “[Derol] It just started as a sort of comic feud with the whole thing,” Johnson says. “And then strangely, since comic contestants tend to do that, it kind of became strangely more important.” Inspired by “Kato Kaelins of the world,” commenters who don’t seem to be part of the entourage of rich or important people but are always around them, he says the character creates a fun bit of unpredictability that keeps the audience off balance.” I think having that amount of chaos in the middle of such a story is intense.” The wound ended up being very important.”
After a string of collaborations dating back to Johnson’s first film “Brick,” the director explains that there’s another reason he found him adding more Derol to his film: “I also always look for a reason to have one of my best friends, Noah Seguin, on set, and he seemed to It would be a very interesting way to do it.”
Even if Seguin predicted he’d get a character to play in a Johnson movie, he says he never expected it — in this case, having played Trooper Wagner in Knives Out. “There are no expectations between us other than that we like to be together and we like to be together in one place,” says Seguin. “There’s always this hope of, you know, what can I do? But I don’t have a clear picture of what I’m doing with Ryan until I read the script.”
With Glass Onion, Derrol was so clear about it that when I read it, I was like, Oh, now we’re getting a little meta here,” referring not only to the relationship between his character and eccentric billionaire Miles Bronn (Edward Norton), but he and Johnson.
While the character was played by one of the director’s oldest friends, he was inspired by — and named after — someone else: Derol Frye. A friend of Johnson from a young age, Frye lent his last name to the character Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Brick Brendan Frye. The Santa Cruz-based graphic designer says he was excited when Rian indicated what he might borrow from the “Knives Out” sequel.
Back in April 2021 we were having a BBQ at my folks house and he took a picture of my t-shirt because I’m in a band called Little Petie & the Mean Old Men, and I had that t-shirt for once. [of the band] I made it,” Frey recalled. “He was like, ‘I’m going to do a character in ‘Glass Onion’ called Derol and Little Petie & the Mean Old Men is going to be his favorite band.” Given Segan’s lineage as the mysterious superhero lover of homicide Trooper Wagner in In Knives Out, Frye admits he was initially worried about the audience’s reaction to his on-screen agent. I find out that Noah is going to play him. And I’m like, ‘Wait, are you going to make a fool of this guy?'”
Frye says Johnson reassured him that the character “would be the coolest person in the movie,” though he acknowledges that he shares – or at least shared – some traits with the fictional Derol. “Whenever a movie comes out, we all go see it. Because I’m in Santa Cruz, I’d just ride my motorcycle down [attend]Because no excuse to ride. And then I’ll be like, “Well dude, where do you live? I’m crashing on your couch. So maybe that’s part of it. And when we were kids, I had long hair, and I was kind of a hippie.”
“These days, I also drink Mexican beer, so that could be a part of it,” Fry adds, explaining that the film differs on a crucial detail of its consumption habits. “The beer I chose is Tecate, so it’s funny that Noah was walking around with Coronas.”
Johnson admitted the hair was heavily inspired by Segan’s “Michael Landon-esque” locks through the plague, but like the charismatic detective who navigates these mysteries, he never deliberately came up with a more elaborate backstory to explain Derrol’s behavior, let alone. Exactly how he came to live in a guest room on the private island of Brune. “There’s something fun for me about creating a character and not knowing where he’s coming from.”
Meanwhile, Seguin says he never met the real Derrol, but borrowed from what he heard about him from Johnson. “Derol, from what I know, is really a fun-filled life for a kind of party,” says Seguin. “I think it makes sense for Ryan to name this character with the kind of poignancy and vibe that he’s named after this guy who’s kind of a lovable old friend of Ryan’s.”
Although he still had some reservations about the character after attending the Los Angeles premiere, Frye says he later realized how right Johnson was about Derol’s presence in the movie. “I watched the movie again when it came out in theaters that week, and I text him and say, ‘You’re right. He was the coolest guy in the movie. After watching it a second time, I was like, ‘He sure stole the show.’”
After successfully turning his longtime star into “Glass Onion,” Johnson admits he’s not yet sure how Segan will reimagine their next collaboration. “This is the hard work ahead of me,” he says. Although he’s eager to work with Johnson again (and just did in the upcoming Peacock series “Poker Face”), Segan maintains that they haven’t had any discussions yet about what role he might play in the next movie. “I don’t really know where he is in the process,” says Seguin. “And that’s because his process is incredibly mental. He makes it look so easy, because it’s all happening in his head.”
“Sitting down to actually write a script feels like the last step,” Seguin continues. “So one day he’ll tell you, ‘Hey, I sat down to start writing,’ and then weeks later there’s a script, which is great.”
Conversely, even with another Benoit Blanc mystery looming, Frye isn’t optimistic that Johnson will again borrow from his life for another character. “My middle name is ‘Dia,’ but I don’t think he’d ever likely use that,” he says.