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Why Lars From Nine Perfect Strangers Looks So Familiar

If you've managed to get yourself hooked on Hulu's adaptation of "Big Little Lies" author Liane Moriarty's "Nine Perfect Strangers," you've no doubt realized that the show is a well-spring of familiar faces. The limited series reunites lead actor Nicole Kidman with creator David E. Kelley — with whom she worked on both HBO's "Big Little Lies" and "The Undoing" — and counts among its cast names like Melissa McCarthy ("Bridesmaids"), Michael Shannon ("The Shape of Water"), Regina Hall ("Girls Trip"), and Manny Jacinto ("The Good Place," "Brand New Cherry Flavor").

But amongst these not-so-strange faces, there's one with whom you may be readily familiar for a variety of reasons, and a career that (so far) has seen the actor play everything from Dracula to Disney characters to Gods before finding a lasting niche in television mysteries. That actor, Luke Evans, plays the character of Lars in "Nine Perfect Strangers," and it's far from being the first time he's tackled a literary adaptation or complex source material.

Luke Evans has been to Mount Olympus — twice

The dashing Welsh actor and "Nine Perfect Strangers" star had just one feature film under his belt (Mat Whitecross' "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll") when he landed the roll of the god Apollo in Louis Leterrier's "Clash of the Titans." The film tells the (decidedly non-mythologically canonical) story of demi-god Perseus' epic quest to save humanity, and stars Liam Neeson as Zeus and "Avatar" actor Sam Worthington as his heavily-burdened, half-mortal son. While the film garnered little praise from critics and audiences, it did see Evans star in his first role as a buff, golden-attired god of Mount Olympus — a role he would reprise just one year later in 2011's "Immortals," wherein he played an equally buff and golden-attired incarnation of Zeus. 

"Immortals" was director Tarsem Singh's, uh, interesting interpretation of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, and although (like "Clash of the Titans" before it) it ultimately failed to impress either critics or audiences, it did have something going for it that Leterrier's film did not: namely, a perpetually shirtless Henry Cavill (perhaps you've heard of him.) In between his forays into Greek mythology, Evans dappled in other adaptations of well-known epics and legends, including Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" (starring Russell Crowe in the title role) and Paul W.S. Anderson's 2011 reboot of "The Three Musketeers." While none of these potential blockbuster successes were, ultimately, actual successes, they did manage to introduce Evans to a wider audience, and set him up to land a recurring role in a strangely and fervently beloved little car racing franchise. 

Luke Evans played a key role in the Fast & Furious franchise

In 2006, "Fast and the Furious 6" introduced the character of mercenary, antagonist, and former Special Air Service major Owen Shaw, played by the now widely-recognized Luke Evans. While Evans would reprise his role in 2015's "Furious 7," and 2017's "Fate of the Furious," his character was not included in the storyline of spin-off movie "Hobbs & Shaw," starring Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in the titular roles. Although, as Screen Rant reports, the character's "absence was addressed early in the movie's two-hour-plus runtime," fans of the younger Shaw brother and of Evans himself are still waiting for answers as to what became of Owen following "Fate of the Furious." 

While the upcoming tenth and eleventh installments of "Fast and Furious" remain the only reliable source for answers to what happened to Evans' character, fans of the actor himself don't have to look very hard to locate him in leading roles. Following and coinciding with his "Fast and Furious" success, Evans landed a number of roles in both feature films and acclaimed streaming series. 

Luke Evans took a villainous turn

In 2014, Luke Evans returned to well-trodden territory in his turn as Prince Vlad in Gary Shore's "Dracula Untold." Although the historically-based reimagining of the origins of the world's most famous vampire was largely panned by critics, many saw at least a little potential in both Shore's imagery and Evans' performance. As Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com wrote, "Evans is surprisingly good at smoldering, and special-effects-reliant shots of Vlad turning into a monster are usually pretty enticing. These small, moody charms add up, and give a film that sounds so very dumb some much-needed atmosphere."

A year later, Evans starred alongside MCU darling Tom Hiddleston in Ben Wheatley's adaptation of author J.G. Ballard's "High Rise," but while the film earned him a Best Supporting Actor nom from the British Independent Film Awards, it was his role in another literary adaptation that made him a household name. You may recognize the "Nine Perfect Strangers" star for his depiction of Scott in Tate Taylor's "The Girl on the Train" (2016) which saw the actor star opposite Emily Blunt as her character's abusive and manipulative husband. 

Luke Evans ultimately found his niche in moody television series

If you've somehow managed to miss Luke Evans' various dives into mythology, monsters, fairytales, and literary reimaginings, there's one last place you may have seen the enigmatic actor, though on a decidedly smaller screen than he'd previously embraced — though it's the same screen he inhabits on Hulu's "Nine Perfect Strangers." In 2018, Luke Evans landed his breakout television role in TNT's lush, dark, and mysterious period drama, "The Alienist," starring Dakota Fanning and Daniel Brühl. As newspaper illustrator John Moore, Evans assists the title character (Laszlo Kreizler, played by Brühl) in his investigation of grizzly nineteenth century murders, all the while battling his own inner demons, addictions, emotional scars, and compulsions. "The Alienist" has been neither officially cancelled nor renewed for a third season, though Evans did tell Collider that he would "absolutely" enjoy delving deeper into his character on the show, whom he says he "(loves) playing." 

Finally, if you're amongst the many fans clamoring to see more of Evans navigating a good murder mystery while you await another season of "The Alienist," there's always the limited ITV series, "The Pembrokeshire Murders," wherein the actor brings his brooding but benevolent presence to DCS Steve Wilkins. The series is available to stream via BritBox on Amazon Prime.