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Transforming yourself into a Hollywood icon is one thing, but for Matthew Goode to really pull off playing Robert Evans — a titan of 1970s cinema who helped make some of the biggest movies in history happen — he had to go all-in. It wasn’t just the suits and the late Paramount producer’s penchant for cool eyewear; the British Goode had to perfect Evans’ smoothed down New York accent and deep tone in order to sound just like the guy who helped reshape cinema forever in Paramount+’s The Offer. The limited series tells the tall Hollywood tale 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 successful novel to one of the most important films ever made. Goode spoke with THR about how his wardrobe (and many pairs of glasses) helped him embody the infamous film executive.
Did you ever get to meet Robert Evans when he was alive?
No, I never did. I spoke to a few people who did and some who knew him really well. I found out recently that I was in the same place as him once — we were in the same cinema screening, [2009’s] A Single Man, but I would never have thought, “There’s Bob Evans. I’ll go meet him.” Even if I had known it, I don’t think I would’ve gone up to him. I think I’d have scurried away.
He had this unmistakable voice, a very specific way of speaking that was fast, but easy to understand, peppered with cool phrases and Yiddishims. How did you get it so right?
It was rather 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 Kid Stays in the Picture [the 2002 documentary based on Evans’ 1994 memoir] when it came out, and I just thought what a brilliant program that was, but I didn’t want to listen to that voice because that’s his future. That’s him in his 70s, and rhythms change. I got on YouTube and found some amazing interviews from the 1970s, which I subsequently went on to watch hundreds of times. I think I had about a month and a half from when I was asked to do it to my first day [of filming]. That’s a really lovely amount of time to get your teeth into. I did that slightly embarrassing thing of putting myself on tape and looking at his physicality and certain gestures that he used. I’m was also bearing in mind that when someone’s giving an interview, they’re presenting a different side of themselves. This project focuses on a time when his life is slightly more haywire, so I got to — to quote Spinal Tap — turn it up to 11.
Evans’ Beverly Hills mansion was sold in 2020. Did you have an opportunity to see it when you were in L.A.?
I did! Well, not in the way that I’d hoped. I went to Armani to be fitted for a suit for a premiere, and as I finished, I was like, “Bob lived not far from here. I’ve got nothing else to do today. I’m going to walk from here up to his house. It’s a lovely walk.” I don’t know what I was thinking. I [thought]maybe there’d be a housekeeper or something. I obviously knew he was dead, but maybe somebody 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 gate. I was like, “Any chance I could, uh, come in and have a look at the pool?” I think if I’d been Brad Pitt or someone with a huge stature, they might have been OK, but they were like, “Who’s this weird English bloke?” They didn’t let me in. But I offered up a couple of words to [Evans], and then I thought, “Why am I talking to a dead man?” And then I promptly left and walked home.
Something I appreciate about The Offer is the attention to detail, especially all the famous L.A. locations like Musso & Frank or Chateau Marmont. Did you get to spend time in any of those spots?
We couldn’t actually film at Chateau Marmont because of ongoing disputes between the staff and [hotel management], which is a shame, although I thought [the production designers] mocked it up rather well. I went to the Polo Lounge. That was, you know, a bit of research. I know it’s changed over time; it’s too modern in there, so we couldn’t film there. We filmed at Musso & Frank, which is wonderful. I think I went out four times in several months [of filming], and that was one of the places. I was like, I’ve got to come back here cause I keep hearing about how when they make a martini, you get a little jug of it on the side. Who doesn’t want extra martini?
Those martinis can put a big man on the floor.
Yes, they will. They’ll sneak up on you.
The wardrobe department did an incredible job dressing you as Evans. Did you have any input, or did you just let them do their jobs?
I think I only have input when you feel that something isn’t going the way you would expect or what you had envisioned. It was a lot of polyester — the ’70s was not necessarily the most comfortable era. But it was brilliant. They found some Yves Saint Laurent shirts, I don’t know where they got hold of them, but they were exactly the same ones that Bob would’ve worn. They had a double button at the top and four buttons down the [wrist]. It was so highly starched, after about three days my fingers were bleeding. And then, obviously, they brought out 20 pairs of glasses as well. They asked, “Which ones do you want to use? And I was like, “I think we should just use all of them.”
You do have a nice variety of eyewear on the show.
Yeah. We get through quite a lot. There are a couple of scenes where I was like, “This has a bit more gravitas, so [the glasses should be] a bit more serious.” I did stick to the classic black pairs, but I had a lot of fun every day with Dusty, who was in charge of the props. I would often go, “What do you reckon today, Dusty?”
You’ve played Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited and a lawyer on The Good Wife. You’ve been on The Crown and Downton Abbey, and now you’ve played Robert Evans. Who is your best-dressed character?
I had a lot of people ask where I got that jumper when I was playing Uncle Charlie in Stoker — I had this mustard jumper and suddenly that was all anybody was talking about. And Charles was pretty well-dressed, but I’m getting to the age now where I forget what the hell I’ve been in. I’d have to IMDb myself, which would be a terrifying thing to do.
You mentioned you said a few words to the spirit of Evans when you went to his house …
It sounds a bit silly when you say it like that, but yes.
No, it’s lovely. If you had a chance to talk with him right now, what would you ask Robert Evans after getting to play him?
For his forgiveness.
Do you think you’d get along?
I think we’d bond. He’d tell me that I should have sat out in the sun a bit more to really get a better tan.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
This story first appeared in a June stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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