Fans who were used to seeing Chris Evans as Captain America were certainly in for a surprise if they saw Knives Out. Though his character in the movie is every bit as charismatic as the superhero that launched him into global stardom, the role gave the actor a chance to show a wildly different side of himself on screen. And according to Chris Evans, he wanted to be a part of Knives Out so badly that he ended up begging Rian Johnson for his part.
The success of Knives Out took everybody a bit by surprise. The crowd-pleasing thriller became a bonafide box office smash in a year where franchise films (including Chris Evans’ Avengers: Endgame) mostly reigned supreme. And that has everything to do with its clever script and the dynamite cast that Rian Johnson assembled to bring his convoluted mystery to life.
In the film, Chris Evans plays Hugh Ransom Drysdale, the spoiled, conniving and ultimately ruthless grandson of murdered mystery writer Harlan Thrombey. Throughout Knives Out, we watch Ransom gleefully throw his family into chaos and manipulate those around him. Without a convincing portrayal of Ransom, the movie just wouldn’t work as well as it does -- we have to both believe, at varying times, that he is the good guy, and that he is fully capable of murdering anyone who stands in his way.
I don’t even think I let him speak. 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.
Needless to say, the begging paid off. And it seems like a big part of the reason why Rian Johnson ended up casting Chris Evans had to do with the fact that he wasn’t the obvious choice to play Ransom:
When I’m casting a part, I’m looking for somebody who’s going to surprise me. 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.