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Why the cast of Knives Out looks so familiar

After directing critically-acclaimed films like Brick, Looper, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson turned his attention to the murder mystery genre, giving us the star-studded Knives Out. The movie currently sits at a lofty 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite the accolade, and Vox's Alissa Wilkinson describes the flick as "a delightful Agatha Christie-style whodunnit made for 2019 America."

Perhaps the film's most obvious asset is its wildly talented cast, consisting of former superheroes, super villains, super spies, a few legendary Hollywood superstars, and everything in between. But while watching a murder mystery movie, the only thing you want to be trying to solve is who the killer is, not who the actor or actress playing the killer is and what other films you've seen them in before. So, before you watch the movie, here's a handy who's who for Rian Johnson's whodunnit, Knives Out.

Daniel Craig steals the show as Detective Benoit Blanc

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, chances are good that you're familiar with Daniel Craig and his prestigious body of work. The English actor's breakout role was that of the iconic 00 Agent, James Bond, in 2006's Casino Royale. It was a role that, thanks to multiple sequels (four to date), landed him on Forbes' World's Highest Paid Actors list in 2015. However, the handsome Brit is far from a one-trick pony. Over the years, Craig has excelled in a vast array of genres, ranging from dramas like 2002's Oscar-winning Road to Perdition to comedies like 2017's Logan Lucky. He's certainly come a long way from playing a love-struck stableboy in Disney's mid-'90s medieval stinker, A Kid in King Arthur's Court.

In Knives Out, Craig plays Benoit Blanc, a private detective brought on to investigate the apparent suicide of a famous crime novelist. Craig was actually the first actor to sign on to the project, and he was apparently flattered to have been offered the part. As he explained to Cinema Blend, "I hadn't read something like that [screenplay] before, and I was just over the moon that he [Johnson] offered it to me." With a lead like Craig, it's no mystery why so many critics are crazy about Knives Out.

Chris Evans stars as Ransom Drysdale

Agatha Christie lovers ... assemble! Although the MCU's Captain America obviously won't be making an appearance in Johnson's murder mystery, Chris Evans, who's played the star-spangled Avenger several times since 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, will be. The Boston-bred hunk has flexed his dramatic ability in films like Before We Go and Gifted, but not as often as he's flexed his impressive physical physique in action flicks like Push, The Losers, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

With an apparent affinity for playing "the good guy," Evans has played not one but two different superheroes, first starring as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four franchise. His role of Ransom Drysdale in Knives Out, however, will be quite the opposite. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Evans explained, "I'm usually tasked with playing guys who are a little more noble, and this guy is a little bit more vile. It's fun." 

Toni Collette is Joni Thrombey in Knives Out

Although it didn't exactly light up the box office, 1992's The Efficiency Expert, starring acting legends like Anthony Hopkins, Russell Crowe, and even a young Ben Mendelsohn, marked the film debut of Toni Collette. In the decades to come, the Australian actress would enjoy a highly successful career, most evidenced by her massive award-season love

In 2009, she was cast as the lead role (or, perhaps more appropriately, lead roles) in Showtime's United States of Tara. As Tara, a mother coping with dissociative identity disorder, Collette earned wins at both the Golden Globes and the Emmys.  On the big screen, the actress has excelled in dramatic comedies like Little Miss Sunshine and About a Boy. However, she's perhaps most recognized for her work in a pair of iconic horror flicks: 1999's unforgettably twisty The Sixth Sense and 2018's disturbingly dark Hereditary.

In Knives Out, the decorated actress plays Joni Thrombey, a "lifestyle guru" (drawing obvious inspiration from Gwyneth Paltrow and her company, Goop) and daughter-in-law of murder victim Harlan Thrombey. When speaking to Deadline, Collette showered the murder mystery's script with praise, saying, "It was all in the writing. In reading it, it just kept opening up and changing, and it was so swift, and so smooth, and so surprising."

Katherine Langford appears as Meg Thrombey

What Katherine Langford's filmography lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. At the ripe age of 20, the young Australian actress landed the role of ill-fated high school student Hannah Baker in the Netflix smash series 13 Reasons Why. Langford stole the show as Hannah, even earning a Golden Globe nominee for her performance. Her newfound stardom landed her parts in two movies in 2018, The Misguided and Love, Simon.

Although she'd previously worked with some fairly big names, such as Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, Langford was admittedly quite starstruck when seeing her Knives Out co-stars in action. Talking with Yahoo! TV, Langford said, "I get so in awe of everyone. ... I've watched all of these people." While sharing the screen with A-listers like Daniel Craig and Chris Evans must've been incredible, the young starlet, who plays Meg Thrombey in the whodunnit, went on to specifically give praise to her fellow Aussie actress. "Toni Collette, who plays my mom in this film, she's a legend in her own right. To work a lot with her is amazing, and to work with everyone is amazing."

Knives Out features Michael Shannon as Walt Thrombey

Michael Shannon has quietly evolved into one of the most well-rounded actors in Hollywood. The two-time Oscar-nominated actor has appeared in a plethora of movies over the past 20 years, ranging from action blockbusters to dramatic thrillers. The first movie he ever popped up in was actually 1993's classic comedy, Groundhog Day, but he's really made much more of a name for himself in serious roles, such as the mentally disturbed John Givings in 2008's Revolutionary Road

You might also recognize Shannon from parts he played in films throughout the 2000s, including Vanilla Sky, 8 Mile, and Bad Boys II. He's given notable performances for director Jeff Nichols in movies like Take Shelter and Midnight Special, and on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, he portrayed Nelson Van Alden, an agent for the Bureau of Prohibition. He even went toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill's Superman as General Zod in 2013's Man of Steel.

In Knives Out, the Kentucky-bred actor plays Walt Thrombey, the new CEO of his father's publishing house. In an interview with Slash Film, Shannon mentioned how great it was to work with Rian Johnson on the set, saying, "I had a blast, man, that was so much fun. ... Also, Rian is a super, super sweet guy." Having a sweet boss must be a major plus on a movie production.

Ana de Armas is playing Marta Cabrera

Although her official acting debut came in a Spanish film in 2006, Ana de Armas' Hollywood career really started in 2015, starring alongside Keanu Reeves as Bell in the dark thriller Knock Knock. After that, she played Miles Teller's girlfriend, Iz, in War Dogs, and then the holographic Joi in the trippy Blade Runner 2049.

Although she's starring alongside Daniel Craig in 2020's new Bond film, No Time to Die, the gorgeous Cuban starlet first shared the screen with him in Knives Out. As Marta Cabrera, the recently deceased Harlan Thrombey's live-in nurse, de Armas is one of the prime murder suspects. But while de Armas admittedly had a wonderful experience on set, shooting in Boston had one particular downside. As she explained, "It was my first time in Boston. It was freezing, for a Cuban especially." The actress may have been cold, but is she actually Knives Out's cold-blooded killer?

Jamie Lee Curtis is showing up as Linda Drysdale

Jamie Lee Curtis is truly an American treasure. The California-raised actress has appeared in so many films and TV shows through the years that it's hard to keep track of them all. If you're a horror fan, you probably know her best as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's Halloween franchise. However, she's so much more than a scream queen. Curtis has starred in action classics like True Lies, kids' movies like Freaky Friday, and a slew of feel-good comedies, including My Girl and You Again.

With an ensemble cast as star-studded as that of Knives Out, it's hard to imagine any one person really standing out. However, when speaking to Entertainment Tonight, director Rian Johnson had a clear cut MVP: Jamie Lee Curtis as Linda Drysdale. The award-winning actress would show up early to set every day, even when she wasn't scheduled to be in the scene. "I was like, 'Jamie Lee Curtis is here! Film her!' She got into scenes she wasn't even supposed to be in — just because she was there!" Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Knives Out stars Don Johnson as Richard Drysdale

Detective James Crockett has certainly aged well. Don Johnson, who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the snazzily dressed, undercover detective in the classic '80s TV series Miami Vice, remains a big name in Hollywood, still popping up in movies while well into his 60s. Since 2010, the Missouri-born actor has starred in a few Western-themed action flicks, such as Machete and Django Unchained, as well as a couple of romantic comedies, including The Other Woman and Book Club. He's also been an apparent go-to-guy for HBO, starring in both Eastbound & Down as Kenny Powers' father, Eduardo Sanchez, and more recently as police sheriff Judd Crawford in Watchmen.

In Knives Out, Johnson will play Richard Drysdale, the husband to Jamie Lee Curtis' Linda. Recently, the Tin Cup actor went on The Deep Cut podcast and raved about his experience on set. He also disclosed that he was able to see an early screening of the film, and it blew him away. "Actually it's so good that I am super proud of it."

Christopher Plummer is playing Harlan Thrombey

Canadian actor Christopher Plummer solidified his status as an acting great by taking home an Oscar for his portrayal of Hal, a closeted gay man, in 2010's Beginners. With acting credits dating back to the 1950s, Plummer has enjoyed an exceptionally long and fruitful career, and it's still going strong. In 2001, he played Dr. Rosen in the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, and in 2017, he played J. Paul Getty in the Oscar-nominated All the Money in the World. He certainly has a knack of being attached to prestigious projects, going all the way back to The Sound of Music.

In Knives Out, Plummer is playing Harlan Thrombey, a famous mystery author who's found dead. In the film, Harlan is tended to by his live-in nurse, Marta, played by Ana de Armas, and it sounds as though the two performers really developed a strong relationship on set. When The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Plummer at TIFF, the Barrymore actor was asked, of all the people in attendance at the film festival, who he would most like to be stuck in an elevator with. And the man replied, "Apart from my wife, I think Marta [de Armas], our beautiful lady who is such a good actress. ... That would be very pleasant." It's safe to assume that most guys would agree with Plummer's response.

Jaeden Martell is taking on the role of Jacob Thrombey

He may look young, but don't make the mistake of thinking Jaeden Martell isn't already the man. He's not even 20 years old yet, and he's already starred in a couple of major movies and TV shows. Before playing Bill Denbrough, the leader of the Losers' Club, in 2017's It, the young star shined alongside Bill Murray in 2014's St. Vincent, and he also played Johnny Masters in Showtime's often raunchy drama, Masters of Sex. (He was also the title character in The Book of Henry ... although the less said about that particular film, the better.)

In Knives Out, Martell plays Jacob Thrombey, the internet-trolling son of Michael Shannon's Walt. Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time Martell and Shannon played father and son on the big screen. In 2016, the duo co-starred in the thrilling sci-fi mystery, Midnight Special. It must be nice to have a father figure like Shannon on set.

Lakeith Stanfield will try to solve the mystery as Detective Lieutenant Elliot

Life has been especially good for Lakeith Stanfield over the past ten years. The California-raised actor's first big break was getting cast as Marcus in Short Term 12, alongside Brie Larson. He then was cast as Jimmie Lee Jackson in 2014's Oscar-winning Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, Selma. Since then, his career has really caught fire. Although he's appeared in popular films like Get Out, Sorry to Bother You, and Netflix's Death Note, perhaps his most recognizable role is that of the philosophical stoner Darius in Donald Glover's comedic drama Atlanta. Then again, he also portrayed a young Snoop Dogg in 2015's Straight Outta Compton, so you be the judge.

For Knives Out, Stanfield is playing Lieutenant Elliot, a detective investigating Harlan Thrombey's death who initially believes it to be a suicide. However, as more clues begin to surface, his character starts to suspect something more sinister is afoot. The award-winning actor will, much like the audience, try to solve Rian Johnson's whodunnit.

Riki Lindhome will be appearing in Knives Out as Donna Thrombey

Riki Lindhome is undoubtedly one funny chick, but she doesn't limit herself to just comedy. Although she and fellow comedian Kate Micucci make up the comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates, Lindhome's first on-screen part was as Mardell Fitzgerald in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby. After that, she landed the recurring role of Juliet in the sixth season of the Gilmore Girls, as well as parts in films like My Best Friend's Girl, Changeling, and The Last House on the Left.

In Johnson's murder mystery, the Emmy-nominated actress is playing Donna Thrombey, the wife of Michael Shannon's Walt and mother of Jaeden Martell's Jacob. In addition to working with some major movie stars, Lindhome has certainly enjoyed the movie's many twists and turns, telling Yahoo! Entertainment, "You see a lot of movies, and they'll have like one big twist. With Knives Out, there's just one after the other after the other. ... By the end everything's woven together in this sort of masterful puzzle." Count us in!