‘The Offer': Matthew Goode on Getting Movie Mogul Bob Evans During ‘Godfather’ Era Right

·3-min read

This story about Matthew Goode first appeared in The Limited Series/Movies issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.

In the sixth episode of the Paramount+ limited series “The Offer,” “The Godfather” movie is finally in preproduction, the formerly outraged mafia has been pacified by some script changes, and Marlon Brando has signed on to star in the film for scale. But the rug is about to be pulled from beneath Paramount’s feet with parent company Gulf and Western seconds away from voting to sell the studio to a young oil tycoon. Before they can count the ayes, Bob Evans, played by English actor Matthew Goode, bursts into the room resplendent in a chic, late ’70s polyester business suit, oversized glasses and a trademark California bronze, and delivers the speech of his life, successfully persuading financially motivated execs to hold off on the deal and believe in the power of movies.

“Obviously, it’s the beginning of his downfall, to a point,” Goode said. “The drug use has gone up and he’s drinking a lot of alcohol. But you do see that he’s a smart man and that he is passionate. It’s not, you know, B.S. I think we can connect to a lot of what he says in that speech. We do need that escape. … [Going to movies] can be a bit like going to church, really, as he says in another speech early on in the series. It can [have] a very cathartic effect when it’s good.”

It’s that very monologue that Goode first turned to when he began working out how to portray such an iconic film producer with an equally distinctive way of speaking.

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“That was quite a chunky scene,” he said. “I learned that first before I learned anything else just because I wanted to try and find the rhythm of how he spoke, because he’s got such an interesting cadence and timbre to his voice.”

Throughout the television side of Goode’s career (he has a vast film resume that includes “Match Point,” “The Imitation Game” and “The Duke”), the actor has played many memorable roles, including the Earl of Snowden, Princess Margaret’s husband, in “The Crown,” which earned him a guest actor Emmy nomination in 2016. He joined “Downton Abbey” in its final TV run as the race car-loving Henry Talbot, who woos and marries Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), and “The Good Wife” fans won’t ever forget his 28-episode run as prosecutor Finn Polmar, who went toe-to-toe with Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and her firm, and had plenty of chemistry with her.

Playing Evans, though, will likely go down as one of Goode’s greatest TV performances, and he has “The Offer” executive producer Dexter Fletcher to thank.

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“I was originally given the script, I think it was Episodes 1 and 2, for a different part,” he said. “And I was hoping to get an audition or a meeting, and it [didn’t] materialize. And a couple months later, I thought, well I’m still really looking forward to watching because it’s such a great story. And then I just got a phone call from Dexter. He thought I could do [the Evans part].”

Energized by his producer’s support, Goode put his head down and did the work. He spent many hours over a couple of months watching old interviews of Evans on YouTube, and when COVID restrictions impacted rehearsals, Goode would send videos to the supportive EP.

“I love Dexter so much,” Goode said. “He gave me the confidence, really, I can’t lie. He really, really, really gave me a lot of confidence that I could do it. And I hope I came close.”

Read more from our Limited Series/Movie issue here.

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