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Science & Technology

Not Everyone Gets To Use iPhones In The Movies


If you don't like spoilers, you might not want to listen to this next piece because it could spoil almost every other thriller that you see from here on out.


LAKEITH STANFIELD: (As Lieutenant Elliot) We understand the night of his demise, the family gathered to celebrate your father's 85th birthday.


"Knives Out," one of last year's buzziest films. It's supposed to be a thriller that is both funny and suspenseful. For most of the movie, you are not sure which, if any of the star-studded cast, is responsible for the demise of Harlan Thromby. It's his death that lies at the center of the mystery.


STANFIELD: (As Lieutenant Elliot) How was it?

JAMIE LEE CURTIS: (As Linda Drysdale) The party? Pre- my dad's death? Oh, it was great.

KELLY: But in a recent video for Vanity Fair, "Knives Out" director Ryan Johnson reveals an industry secret that could make the ending less surprising.


RIAN JOHNSON: 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.

SHAPIRO: Paige Leskin saw Johnson's video. She's a tech reporter at Business Insider. And she investigated Apple's guidelines on how their products are used on screen.

PAIGE LESKIN: They say, quote, "The Apple product is shown only in the best light in a matter or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple, Inc."

KELLY: Now, if you're a TV or movie insider, this maybe comes as no surprise. In 2002, fans of the espionage thriller "24" noticed a trend.

LESKIN: Jack Bauer and a bunch of the agents are often just seen using Macs, while the bad guys are using PCs.


DENNIS HAYSBERT: (As David Palmer) We're going to put an end to this.

KIEFER SUTHERLAND: (As Jack Bauer) Sir, I don't know what the people here have been telling you...

HAYSBERT: (As David Palmer) I know why you want me dead, Mr. Bauer.

SUTHERLAND: (As Jack Bauer) Want you dead, Senator?

SHAPIRO: And so one fan predicted who the bad guy was before it was ever revealed on the show. And Paige in her research found tons of similar cases.

LESKIN: There's examples in "Legally Blonde." Elle Woods uses a very bulky MacBook, while everyone else at Harvard, including her ex, all use PCs.


REESE WITHERSPOON: (As Elle Woods) Hi. My name is Elle Woods. And for my admissions essay, I'm going to tell all of you at Harvard why...

LESKIN: In "Austin Powers," he uses a MacBook.


MIKE MYERS: (As Austin Powers) Yeah, baby (laughter).

LESKIN: In "You've Got Mail," Meg Ryan's bookstore uses a MacBook, while Tom Hanks' bookstore, the big mega corporation - they use PCs.


MEG RYAN: (As Kathleen Kelly) I turn on my computer. I go online.

TOM HANKS: (As Joe Fox) Welcome.

RYAN: (As Kathleen Kelly) And my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) You've got mail.

KELLY: I had no idea. Moviegoers beware.

LESKIN: If this is something that gets out that more and more people start to know, it definitely could spoil endings and spur fan theories and predict endings that producers don't want you to know.

KELLY: We reached out to Samsung for comment on which characters could use their products. We have not yet heard back.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.