Apple doesn’t let movie villains use iPhones, says director Rian Johnson

'I don't know if I should say this or not'

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 26 February 2020 13:20
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Apple does not let villains use its iPhone on screen, according to director Rian Johnson.

The director suggested that – in addition to being an enlightening fact about how Apple lets its product be used in films – it could also serve as a helpful way to try and work out the true motivations of on-screen characters.

Johnson made the admission as he was promoting his latest film, Knives Out, and was discussing the props that could be seen in one of the shots. He noted that Jamie Lee Curtis was holding an iPhone – and that viewers might be able to read into her character as a result.

He lightheartedly suggested that the admission could have the potential to ruin mystery films, since the presence or absence of an iPhone in a character's hand could be an indication of whether a character is a hero or villain.

"Also another funny thing, I don't know if I should say this or not. Not cause it's like lascivious or something, but because it's going to screw me on the next mystery movie that I write, but forget it, I'll say it. It's very interesting," he said in a video made for Vanity Fair.

"Apple... they let you use iPhones in movies but – and this is very pivotal if you're ever watching a mystery movie – bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera.

"So – oh no! Every single filmmaker that has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now."

Apple is known to be restrictive about the ways that its trademarks, logos and products are used anywhere in culture, from marketing to product placement in films.

Its website includes a set of guidelines for third-parties looking to use its intellectual property. Those include a requirement that developers only use Apple products when they are "shown only in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc" and that they should not be used in any way that suggests Apple endorses or sponsors the material in which it is being shown.

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