‘Glass Onion,’ topping Netflix charts, stars Yale Drama’s Kathryn Hahn as high-powered CT politician

Characters in Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” sequel get compared to real-life figures like Elon Musk, but the Netflix film has a closer Connecticut connection.

From left, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn in "Glass Onion."
From left, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn in "Glass Onion."Netflix

In “Glass Onion,” writer-director Rian Johnson’s second mystery movie featuring super sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), the cozy Massachusetts mansion of 2019’s “Knives Out” is traded for a tech-driven Mediterranean compound and the family of wealthy elites is traded for an ensemble of societal “disruptors” with a murderous secret.

The film centers around a group of friends whose varying plans to change the world are only realized when a financial backer, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), gives them the money they need to realize the influence they hope to have. Now steeped in fame and debt to Bron, the group is invited to a palatial Greek island for another cash grab and to humor Bron’s Agatha Christie-like “murder mystery” game. But LeBlanc's presence clues in a deeper, actual mystery afoot.

The characters, ranging from a men’s rights Twitch streamer and model-turned fashion influencer, to an innovative scientist and a rising politician, have drawn comparison to real-life figures. Bron, now a billionaire looking to address clean energy needs, has been compared to figures like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. Conservative political commentator Ben Shaprio even tore into the movie, criticizing it as based on an “incredibly stupid theory” that “Elon Musk is a bad and stupid man, and that anyone who likes him – in media, politics, or tech – is being paid off by him.”

Johnson told “Wired” he took influence for each character from a variety of figures and did not base any character off any one person.

“There’s a lot of general stuff about that sort of species of tech billionaire that went directly into it,” he said. “But obviously, it has almost a weird relevance in exactly the current moment.”

One caricature that hits particularly close to home for Nutmeggers is Kathryn Hahn’s Claire Debella. The Yale-educated actress plays the liberal governor of Connecticut and a U.S. Senate hopeful who owes much of her power to Bron.

For Hahn’s Debella, the pressing concern is climate change. She hopes to make big swings that will coast her to a seat in the Senate thanks to a campaign and technology funded by Bron. But her portrayal is less of a benevolent environmental steward and more of a political stereotype hoping to do and say the right thing while ruffling the fewest feathers. Hahn said that attitude was visually represented in the film.

“Claire has a very limited palette, which is beige,” she told movieweb.com. “But I think that makes her stand out. And it's also what I love about her. Within this very narrow confine, visually, I had a lot of freedom to play, which was really fun.”

Like Bron, Debella’s inspiration comes from a confluence of figures, Johnson said. But it's far from the first time Connecticut has been used as a plot device to signal the excessively wealthy and/or influential.

This holiday season’s brutal take on a Christmas movie, “Violent Night,” is set primarily in the Greenwich mansion of a powerful and acerbic family led by a matriarch (Beverly D’Angelo), who mostly ignores her family on Christmas Eve while aggressively cursing out a U.S. Senator.