Chris Evans Recalls “Begging” for Knives Out Role

Chris Evans didn’t let Rian Johnson get a word in edgewise when they first met up to talk about Knives Out.

Chris Evans in Knives Out
Photo: Lionsgate

Chris Evans so fully inhabited the role of Captain America during the near-decade he helped prop up the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut that he ended up spending his downtime fighting bad guys online, too. The unequivocal cinnamon roll emerged from the relentless process of blockbuster junkets, red carpet grillings, tabloid rumblings and angry 3am tweets both uncancelled and mostly unscathed, unlike some of his co-stars, but after finally passing on Steve Rogers’ shield and leaving the MCU behind, who would immediately cast him against type as the kind of villainous rich prong who uses “SJW” as an insult?

Well, Rian Johnson, clearly, but Evans recalls “begging” the Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director to give him a shot at playing self-involved antagonist Ransom Drysdale back when he first started casting his 2019 whodunit, Knives Out.

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“I don’t even think I let him speak,” Evans admits in a recent behind the scenes interview. “I think I just kind of was babbling the entire time about what I wanted to do with the role and what I thought I could bring and please cast me, basically. It was just kind of me just pitching him, just begging.”

Unbeknownst to Evans, Johnson saw a key advantage in casting the former Captain America as a murderous tool.

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“When I’m casting a part, I’m looking for somebody who’s going to surprise me,” Johnson said. “Somebody who either …I haven’t seen them quite do what the part calls for, or I would be excited to see them kind of step into the role… that’s always exciting.”

Evans’ Drysdale was marched off to jail in the closing moments of Johnson’s surprise smash hit, unable to buy his way out of yet another bind, and that appears to be the last we’ll hear of him. Knives Out 2 – actual title still tbc but the sky’s the limit – will only draw Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc back to the fold in a bid to unravel yet another mystery.

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“Think of it just like another Hercule Poirot novel from Agatha Christie. Whole new location, whole new cast,” Johnson told THR.

The director also revealed that he didn’t have Craig in mind for the role of Blanc when he was writing Knives Out because “you’ll always get your heart broken if you have your eyes set on somebody” and the only reason he managed to eventually get him was because production on the latest entry in the Bond franchise, No Time To Die, got pushed back three months.

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“It was a very serendipitous moment when the Bond movie pushed three months. This was not like the injury he had; this was before that. It was just a logistic thing, they pushed their schedule, so he suddenly had a window open and we got in there right away and he said yes right away, and we were making the movie right away.”

Meanwhile, Evans seems to have enjoyed playing a baddie so much that he’s planning to do it again asap. He’s circling his next role as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello in Greg Berlanti’s Little Shop of Horrors remake, in which he’ll reportedly star alongside fellow MCU vet Scarlett Johansson.