Apple products have made prominent appearances in some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters. But if filmmakers want to use the iPhone on the silver screen, they have to abide by Apple's product placement rules. Rian Johnson, director of the Oscar-nominated and , has revealed the lengths to which Apple goes to manage the image of its best-selling iPhones.
"I don't know if I should say this or not," Johnson said in an interview with Vanity Fair published Tuesday. "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."
He also joked that audiences can predict who the protagonist and antagonists are in movies based on what phone they carry.
"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," Johnson quipped.
Apple products are known to dominate product placement in Hollywood movies, with appearances in a plethora of popular TV shows and films including Sex and the City, and more recently in the flagship series , starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
Among the first companies in the world to be valued at $1 trillion, Apple is reported to rely heavily on free product placement in movies or to pay for it in kind rather than exchanging money. It's a topic the company has long been hush-hush about.
Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.