Rian Johnson threw a few nods to Wonder Years actress Danica McKellar in Knives Out, and she had no idea. McKellar was shocked to find out she was mentioned more than once in the Johnson’s whodunnit mystery. McKellar first came to prominence in the 1980s as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and is currently known for her Hallmark Channel movies. For many fans, the actress will always be Winnie Cooper, but Johnson may have helped put a stop to that with his latest movie. There are minor Spoilers for Knives Out below.
Danica McKellar’s Hallmark career is what is brought up in Knives Out. A reference to her comes up as a joke in the movie when two characters talk about “this Hallmark movie, called Deadly by Surprise, with Danica McKellar…” McKellar and the fake movie are even referenced again towards the end of the movie. The actress had this to say about being mentioned in Knives Out.
“What is life?? You guys, my name – and Hallmark – are talked about in this movie! First of all, Knives Out is the most fun I’ve had in a movie theater in a LONG time – the movie comes out today so GO SEE IT! It’s a smart, fast-paced, funny mystery that keeps you guessing till the end. And… as a crazy little bonus, *yours truly* is mentioned not once, but twice… and as part of the plot! I believe the first reference is something like, ‘Well I saw Danica McKellar in this Hallmark movie and…’ And then she proceeds to describe a crazy plot about a woman trying to poison her husband? I think? After I heard my name, I was so tickled, it was like a light grenade went off for a second so I’m not 100% sure, ha! Huge thank-you to the writer/director Rian Johnson for not only making a truly awesome whodunnit, but for including me in its lore. Everybody go see it!!”
Danica McKellar is clearly very excited that Rian Johnson included her in Knives Out. She found out about the mentions at Christmas Con 2019 earlier last month and she was delighted. “Haha, that’s awesome,” she said. “I’ve got to go check this out. I just found out about it right now, and I’m incredibly honored and flattered. That’s really sweet.” In addition to her holiday movies for the Hallmark Channel, the Wonder Years icon recently starred as a crime-solving matchmaker in Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement.
Rian Johnson was also happy that Danica McKellar enjoyed her references in Knives Out. The director reacted to her social media post by saying, “We love you Danica!” The whodunnit opened over the holiday weekend, and thanks to positive reviews, took the second spot at the box office, just below Frozen 2. The holiday weekend helped with the boost, but the movie still did much better than was initially estimated.
Knives Out features a massive ensemble cast including Daniel Craig in Knives Out, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, and Jaeden Martell. The mystery was able to earn an A- with CinemaScore and has been receiving excellent reviews from critics and Danica McKellar’s Instagram account.