Masala: How Fangirling Helped Jessica Henwick Land a Role in the Knives Out Franchise

Who says you have to be ashamed of your fangirl roots? Jessica Henwick has a funny story of how her love for Rian Johnson’s films led to a humorous exchange with the director upon auditioning for the role in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” 

Henwick, who stars in the recently released sequel to the 2019 film “Knives Out,” has been a fan of Johnson since even before the success of the franchise. During a screening of his indie film “Brick” (2005) in her media studies class, Henwick was inspired to write a fan letter to Johnson. “He never replied, but 15 years later I got the opportunity to Zoom with him about ‘Glass Onion,’ and I said ‘I have a bone to pick with you,’” Henwick said. “When he offered me the role, he wrote me a letter as if he were responding to that bit of fan mail.”

Henwick’s role as a personal assistant, Peg, to washed-up pop star Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) had the actress reaching into her past again. As a former production assistant who has worked on a few film sets, Henwick was able to connect those personal experiences with the character of Peg. The actress describes the character as “beleaguered, bedraggled, always on the verge of quitting. [But] the key to playing Peg was looking beyond that and not defining her as just an assistant because her relationship with Birdie goes far beyond a work relationship,” Henwick said. “They are codependent; they have this toxic love-hate, push-pull relationship.”

Communicating with her co-star, Hudson, was also critical to bringing the role of Peg to life. “Early on in the process, Kate and I sat down to discuss the relationship and I said, ‘I feel like Peg has quit many times and stormed off, and the next day she comes back to work, and neither of them discuss it at all,’” Henwick said. “That, for me, really encapsulates how they communicate with each other and how comfortable they are with each other.”

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” follows a group of friends, including Peg and Birdie, who get entangled in a murder mystery on tech billionaire Miles Bron’s private island. For more exclusive details, check out our video with Henwick above!