Director Rian Johnson: Apple Doesn't Let Bad Guys Use iPhones on Camera in Movies

In an interview with Vanity Fair today, Rian Johnson, who directed the popular movie "Knives Out," shared an interesting tidbit about iPhone product placement deals for films. Apple, he says, allows iPhones to be used in movies, but bad guys aren't allowed to have iPhones on camera.

The relevant passage starts at 2:50 into the video

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.

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 nooooooo, 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 for having strict rules about how devices are used, portrayed, and photographed. As part of its guidelines for using Apple trademarks and copyrights, for example, Apple says that Apple products should only be shown "in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc."

As noted by our forum members, people have in the past pointed out that it's the good guys that use Apple products in TV shows in movies. When "24" was on the air, Wired wrote about a fan theory that the good guys use Macs while the bad guys use PCs, which turned out to be accurate.

Given this tidbit from Johnson, who is a well-respected director, many people may be watching movies with a much keener eye on the devices that actors and actresses are using to suss out hidden details.

Top Rated Comments

ThunderSkunk Avatar
21 months ago
I can understand Johnson’s frustration with having to be clear about who is a good guy and who is a bad guy. ...since he turned Luke Skywalker into a miserable homicidal maniac and reduced Han and Leia to the worst parents in the galaxy.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
matty.p Avatar
21 months ago
Wasn’t this already known? It was a running joke that bad guys use android and good guys always have iPhones or that the bad guys have PCs and the good guys have Macs in the days before iPhones.

edit: Yeah here’s an article from 2003 pointing it out. http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/Roger_Ebert_Good_Guys_Always_Use_Macs

and one from 2002 pointing it out from 24 which is what I was thinking of. https://www.wired.com/2002/05/24s-good-guys-do-use-macs/
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skeith Avatar
21 months ago
I see plenty of Apple products on House of Cards though.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rojaaemon Avatar
21 months ago
In a modern version of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning and is happy to be alive, but finds his Android is dead batt and is given an iPhone by the ghost of Steve Jobs.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
21 months ago
Just like how China doesn't let American film companies portray China as the villain, lest they lose access to the Chinese market. I guess Apple learned a few tricks from working so closely with the Chinese government.

Good reading here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/18/world/asia/china-movies.html
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tennisproha Avatar
21 months ago

Apple says that Apple products should only be shown "in the best light,
lol sounds like something Kim Jong il would say
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...