‘Serenity’ Writer-Director Steven Knight on Making a “Sexy Fishing Noir”

     January 23, 2019

With Aviron Pictures’ new thriller Serenity opening in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with writer-director Steven Knight for an extended video interview in the Collider studio. During the wide-ranging conversation, he talked about how the project came together, putting together the incredible cast, what he learned from early screenings that impacted the film, how he likes to edit, why he will remove entire scenes and not just a line or two, how he decided to place clues to figuring out the twists and turns of the movie, and so much more. In addition, with Knight involved in some many other projects, I got updates on Eastern Promises 2, Taboo season 2, A Christmas Carol with Tom Hardy, his Apple series See that he’s doing with Francis Lawrence, and a lot more.


Image via Aviron Pictures

If you haven’t seen the Serenity trailers, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as a fishing boat captain whose life is upended when his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down and asks him to kill her abusive husband (Jason Clarke). The film also stars Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, and Diane Lane.

Check out what Steven Knight had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Steven Knight:

  • What have the last few years been like for him since he’s been working on a lot of high profile projects?
  • What would he like to guest write-direct on TV?
  • Where did the idea of Serenity come from?
  • How it was hard to see where it was all going while watching.
  • How did he put together the great cast?
  • When did he finish the script?
  • How did he get financing for the project?
  • What did he learn from early screenings that impacted the film?
  • How did they decide where to place clues in the film?
  • serenity-movie-image

    Image via Aviron Pictures

    How he likes to make the audience know something is going on.

  • When did he realize how lucky he got with the cast?
  • Did he have a much longer first cut?
  • Deleted scenes talk and what was cut?
  • What scene did he struggle with in the edit?
  • How does he describe the film to friends?
  • How he was one of the creators of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • Eastern Promises 2 talk and why they recently adjusted the script.
  • Where is the second season of Taboo?
  • Talks about his relationship with Tom Hardy and why it works.
  • How he’s getting ready to do A Christmas Carol with Tom Hardy and others.
  • How he wants to do a bunch of projects based on Charles Dickens with the same actors.
  • Talks about the upcoming Francis Lawrence series See which is being made by Apple.
  • The abundance of great television and why See can break out.
  • The status of his Rio script?
  • serenity-diane-lane-matthew-mcconaughey

    Image via Aviron Pictures

    How long does it take for him to write a script and when does he start to show it to people?

  • What was his fastest script to write and which took the longest?
  • Is he interested in working in the superhero genre?

Here’s the official synopsis for Serenity:

From the creative mind of Oscar nominee Steven Knight comes a daringly original, sexy, stylized thriller. Baker Dill (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her – and their young son – from her new, violent husband (Jason Clarke) by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead. Karen’s appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he’d tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.

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