Transforming into a Hollywood icon is one thing, but for Matthew Goode to really succeed in playing Robert Evans – a titan of 1970s cinema who helped make some of the greatest films in history – he had to go all-in. . It wasn’t just the costumes and the late Paramount producer’s penchant for cool eyewear; Britain’s Goode had to perfect Evans’ slick New York accent and deep tone to sound like the guy who helped reshape cinema forever in Paramount+ The offer. The limited series tells the big Hollywood story of how Evans – along with Albert Ruddy, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola and a number of other film luminaries – helped take The Godfather from a bestselling novel to one of the most important films ever made. Goode spoke with THR on how his wardrobe (and many pairs of glasses) helped him portray the infamous director.
Have you ever met Robert Evans during his lifetime?
No, I never did. I’ve spoken to a few people who have done it and others who know him very well. I found out recently that once I was in the same place as him – we were in the same cinema session, [2009’s] A single man, but I never would have thought, “There’s Bob Evans. I’m going to meet him. Even if I had known, I don’t think I would have gone to him. I think I would have run away.
He had this unmistakable voice, a very specific way of speaking that was fast, yet easy to understand, peppered with cool phrases and yiddishims. How did you do so well?
It was pretty terrifying, I can assure you, when Dexter [Fletcher, executive producer] said, “Do you want to do it?” I was like, “Oh Lord.” I knew who he was, obviously I saw The child stays in the picture [the 2002 documentary based on Evans’ 1994 memoir] when it came out, and I just thought what a brilliant program it was, but I didn’t want to listen to that voice because that’s its future. This is him in his 70s, and the rhythms change. I went to YouTube and found amazing interviews from the 1970s, which I then watched hundreds of times. I think I had about a month and a half between when I was asked to do this and my first day [of filming]. It’s a very nice period of time to get your teeth into. I did this slightly embarrassing thing of getting on tape and watching his physique and some of the gestures he was using. I also kept in mind that when someone gives an interview they present another side of themselves. This project focuses on a period when his life is slightly more out of whack, so I have to – to quote spinal valve – turn it up to 11.
Evans’ Beverly Hills mansion was sold in 2020. Did you get to see it while you were in LA?
I did it! Well, not in the way I was hoping for. I went to Armani to get fitted for a suit for a premiere, and when I was done I was like, “Bob didn’t live far from here. I have nothing else to do today. I’m going to walk from here to his house. It’s a nice walk. I don’t know what I was thinking. I [thought]maybe there would be a cleaning lady or something. I obviously knew he was dead, but maybe someone would take pity on me and let me in. I just wanted to see the pool. It would be nice to have a view of where the great man lived. There was a nice foreman there who came down to the door. I was like, “Could I, uh, come in and take a look at the pool?” I think if I had been Brad Pitt or someone with enormous stature, they might have been OK, but they were like, “Who is this weird English guy?” They didn’t let me in. But I offered a few words to [Evans], then I thought, “Why am I talking to a dead man?” And then I quickly left and walked home.
something i appreciate The offer is the attention to detail, especially all the famous Los Angeles sites like Musso & Frank or Chateau Marmont. Have you spent time in any of these places?
We were unable to film at Chateau Marmont due to ongoing disputes between staff and [hotel management]which is a shame, even if I thought [the production designers] rather laughed at it. I went to the Polo Lounge. It was, you know, a little research. I know that has changed over time; it’s too modern in there, so we couldn’t film there. We shot at Musso & Frank, which is wonderful. I think I’ve been out four times in several months [of filming], and that was one of the places. I was like, I have to come back here because I always hear that when they make a martini, you get a little pitcher of it on the side. Who doesn’t want an extra martini?
These martinis can put a big man down.
Yes, they will. They will sneak up on you.
The wardrobe department has done an amazing job of getting you dressed as Evans. Did you get any feedback or did you just let them do their thing?
I think I only have opinions when you feel like something isn’t going the way you expected or imagined. It was a lot of polyester – the 70s weren’t necessarily the most comfortable era. But it was brilliant. They found Yves Saint Laurent shirts, I don’t know where they found them, but they were the exact same ones that Bob would have worn. They had a double button on the top and four buttons on the bottom [wrist]. It was so starchy that after about three days my fingers were bleeding. And then, of course, they also released 20 pairs of glasses. They asked, “Which ones do you want to use?” And I was like, “I think we should just use them all.”
You have a nice variety of glasses on the show.
Yeah. We go through a lot of things. There’s a few scenes where I was like, ‘This has a little more gravity, so [the glasses should be] a little more serious. I stuck to the classic black pairs, but had a lot of fun every day with Dusty, who was in charge of the accessories. I used to say, “What are you thinking today, Dusty?”
You played Charles Ryder in Brideshead revisited and a lawyer on The good wife. You have been on The crown and Downton Abbey, and now you’ve played Robert Evans. Who is your best dressed character?
A lot of people have asked me where I got that sweater when I played Uncle Charlie in Driver – I had this mustard sweater and suddenly, everyone was talking about it. And Charles was pretty well dressed, but I’m getting to the age where I forget what I’ve been in. I should IMDb myself, which would be a terrifying thing to do.
You said you said a few words to Evans’ spirit when you went to his house…
It’s kind of silly when you say it like that, but yeah.
No, it’s lovely. If you had the chance to talk to him now, what would you ask Robert Evans after you got to play him?
For his forgiveness.
Do you think you would get along?
I think we would bond. He told me that I should have sat a little more in the sun to really tan better.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
This story first appeared in a standalone June issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here to subscribe.