Glass Onion’s Most Bizarre Character Was Based On A Real Person

Glass Onion's loaf character, Derol, is based on Rian Johnson's real-life best friend.

By Britta DeVore | Published

glass onion knives out

With a whodunnit bound to keep you on the edge of your seat, Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery quickly rose through the ranks of Netflix’s most-viewed programming over the holiday season. And while many characters in Glass Onion knocked it out of the park, it’s the pot-smoking, Corona-tipping, free-loading Derol who really stole our hearts. While you may have thought that Derol was just another creation in the mind of the Looper director, an interview with Variety reveals that the character is actually based on Rian Johnson’s real-life Tecate-drinking, couch-crashing pal, Derol Frye.

The Glass Onion director’s ties to Derol’s namesake go all the way back to junior high, where the two first became friends, with his likeness previously showing up in other projects of the filmmaker’s including Brick in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character’s name is “Brendan Frye.” The way Frye explains his addition to the Knives Out fold, he says that he was at a cookout at his parent’s house along with Johnson when the director said he may be using his friend’s name in another production. After commenting on Frye’s t-shirt, which featured his band Little Petie & the Mean Old Men, Johnson said that he was going to turn him into a character.

glass onion derol

At first, worried that his pal would do him wrong and make him into a “dork,” Frye eventually came around to the idea of Glass Onion featuring a character named Derol, adding that Johnson assuaged his fears by telling him that he’d be “the coolest guy in the movie.” While Frye says that parts of Derol were certainly character choices, he did admit to loving a good Mexican lager – although his Cerveza of choice is a Tecate whereas Derol’s is an ice-cold Corona. He also said that while he never overstayed his welcome, he would crash at Johnson’s place every once in a while, after riding his motorcycle down from Santa Cruz to attend the director’s latest premiere. What a life!

Without majorly spoiling any details for those who may have not seen Glass Onion just yet, Derol (Noah Segan) lives on tech billionaire Miles Bron’s (Edward Norton) private island. Throughout the film, we see Derol walking through the sand with his beloved Coronas, or smoking a bong in his room, all while chaos ensues around him. While his character isn’t a necessity, Derol has a Greek chorus-like quality to him that can’t help but bring the laughs when he gets screen time. 

The second in Ryan Johnson’s Knives Out franchise, Glass Onion takes audiences to tech billionaire Miles Bron’s private island where his guests, excluding Derol, are invited to solve a murder mystery. Each more problematic and eccentric than the next, the characters and unlikely friends come to blows with one another while solving a whodunnit. Along with Edward Norton and Noah Segan, the call sheet for Glass Onion includes Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Jackie Hoffman, Dallas Roberts, and Daniel Craig, who reprises his role as Detective Benoit Blanc. Glass Onion is now streaming on Netflix.