40 Actors Who Should Be Cast in the Next Mystery Ensemble Film

40 Actors Who Should Be Cast in the Next Mystery Ensemble Film
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Image Credit: Lionsgate MRC

Recently, there has been a resurgence in the “murder mystery” ensemble film genre. These movies are always filled with intrigue, stellar casts, stylish design, sharp writing, and many twists and turns. Anyone can be a victim, and everyone is a suspect in these films, usually with a detective taking the lead and trying to solve the crime.

Kenneth Brannagh has directed and starred as the famed Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. These films starred the likes of Michelle Pfieffer, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Gal Gadot, and Annette Benning.

Director Rian Johnson gave us Knives Out with Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, with an ensemble that included Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, and Christopher Plummer. And Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston gave us Murder Mystery, which also starred Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton, and Terence Stamp.

Upcoming, there is another Agatha Christie “Poirot” film in development, two Knives Out sequels coming (including one set fir release in December, 2022), and a sequel to Murder Mystery (also set to release in 2022). There is also See How They Run, starring Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, and David Oyelowo, and set for release in the Fall of 2022.

With these films coming out soon, the movies yet to be made, and the possibility of more, one cannot help but imagine the potential casts of diverse and talented actors. Let's look at 40 actors (in alphabetical order) who would be perfect for one of the next murder mystery films.

Image Credit: Lionsgate MRC.

Amy Adams

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Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

One of the most versatile and acclaimed actresses of today, Amy Adams, has proven herself to be a performer that can slip into many different types of roles, from the light and effervescent Giselle in Enchanted to the grave and intelligent Louise in Arrival. The six-time Oscar Nominee has made modern and period films, always showcasing an impressive range of performances.

Whether Adams is the lead or supporting player, she always brings great depth to her roles — comedic, dramatic, or musical. In a mystery movie, she could play the likable heroine or subvert expectations and be the antagonist. And one need only look at her work in the underrated Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day or the masterful American Hustle to see how well she fits into period films.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Shohreh Aghdashloo

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Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Aghdashloo has had a long and steady career in both film and television, often in supporting roles but also giving a solid and commanding performance, whether it be an emotional drama like The House of Sand and Fog or a sci-fi adventure like The Expanse.

Most recently, she starred in the television thriller The Flight Attendant but was not involved in crime solving. She has a unique presence that can be equally tender, funning, and poignant, with characteristics that feel unlike anyone else. With her deep, gravelly, and distinct voice, Aghdashloo would be a welcome and ideal addition to a murder mystery film in any role.

Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Hayley Atwell

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Image Credit: American Broadcast Company.

Known primarily for her role as Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Atwell is no stranger to the crime-solving formula, having done so for two seasons in her series for her MCU character, Agent Carter.

In addition, Atwell is exceptionally comfortable in films from many different periods, including Christopher RobinThe DuchessAny Human HeartThe Pillars of the Earth, and Brideshead Revisited. This makes her an ideal choice for the next murder mystery film set in a time other than the modern era.

Make no mistake, Atwell could easily bring the same presence to a film set in the present day. Atwell can showcase warmth, tenacity, and tremendous strength in everything she plays while being more than capable of playing against type in a more villainous or shady kind of part.

Image Credit: American Broadcast Company.

Paul Bettany

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Image Credit: Roadside Attractions.

A common denominator in this list is actors with a commanding presence and a rich and distinct voice. These characteristics are undeniably true about Paul Bettany. He is likely most well known for portraying Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but has an incredible career that spans nearly 30 years.

The tall, handsome actor has charisma and breadth to his work which has served him well in over 50 screen credits.

These include the stoic and brave doctor in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, the sardonic and lively wordsmith Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight's Tale, or the frightening Silas in The DaVinci Code. His most recent turn in  A Very British Scandal also demonstrates his ability to exude a sinister demeanor.

His varied career, lanky stature, and smooth-as-silk voice prove that Bettany could fill any number of parts in a murder mystery movie, whether from the past or present.

Image Credit: Roadside Attractions.

Matt Bomer

Matt Bomer charmed audiences for six seasons as the former thief turned FBI asset Neal Caffrey on the series White Collar. Already very experienced in the crime-solving genre, Bomer feels like a natural for a similarly themed movie. But his individual qualities and talents make him so well suited- figuratively and literally.

Like a modern-day Cary Grant, Bomer is talented, charming, and unbelievably handsome, who slips into suits as easily as Neal Caffrey could forge a masterpiece painting.

After White Collar, Bomer has showcased similar and different types of characters. His roles in The Last TycoonThe Sinner, American Horror Story, and Will and Grace showcase how Bomer could be amusing, sweet, charismatic, or menacing.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

George Clooney

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Despite his leading man status and good looks, George Clooney has never let that pigeonhole him into only one type of role in his career. Although he has capitalized on his uniquely disarming demeanor many times, Clooney has also explored more off-beat, serious, and dark films, in addition to the lighter or romantic fare.

His distinct charm has made for quite a varied career and shows that he would fit nicely into a modern-day or period-set mystery. His parts in the caper comedy Ocean's 11, the screwball comedy-esque Leatherheads, the romantic comedy One Fine Day, and Cohen Brothers' quirky drama-comedy Oh Brother Where Art Thou are thoroughly engaging.

And his Oscar-winning role in Syriana proves that Clooney is capable of anything. And that could include a mystery as the detective, the victim, the hero, or even the murderer.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Jack Davenport

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Davenport began his career in British comedies. This is Life and Coupling before landing a small but essential role in the chilling thriller The Talented Mister Ripley. His breakout role was as Commodore James Norrington in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and since then, Davenport has showcased his range of abilities in film and television in many types of roles.

Like others on this list, the amiable and handsome Davenport has not only a powerful presence but also a distinct and absolutely hypotonic voice. He is one of those actors who could read a phone book in a captivating way.

He plays roles with integrity like Norrington, sweetness like Ed in The Wedding Date, sleaze and charm like the egotistical Derek in Smash, or the fascinating and complex Doctor Powell in Breathless. Davenport could play any part in a mystery film and do so with ease.

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Michelle Dockery

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For six seasons and two films, Michelle Dockery portrayed Lady Mary Crawley with poise and feistiness on the sumptuous and moving Downton Abbey. Her performance as Mary alone lends itself to a period mystery film as she always exudes beauty and grace from these eras of elegance.

But her work on the Henry James ghostly mystery The Turn of the Screw, and the modern-day dramas Defending JacobAnatomy of a Scandal, and Good Behavior, for which she constantly changed her appearance, clearly shows she can shine in any era of storytelling.

Image Credit: Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Minnie Driver

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Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Minnie Driver is the kind of versatile actress who has enjoyed both lead and supporting roles, employing her natural English accent as well as a convincing American accent in film and television of every genre. Immensely talented, Driver is equally effective in parts ranging from kind, humble and sweet like in Return to Me to a bombastic prima donna in The Phantom of the Opera.

She can play a foul-mouthed mistress like in her turn on Will and Grace or a loving and confident mother like in About a Boy and Speechless. Filmmakers could utilize her specific talents similarly to Toni Collette in Knives Out or entirely different. Her presence is always golden.

Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Idris Elba

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Idris Elba has a powerful charisma in his roles in film and television and can employ various accents and demeanors. As someone who has been in talks as a potential actor to portray James Bond, Elba could exist in a mystery set in modern and period times in any role, whether it be stoic, forceful, or action-filled.

His roles as Heimdall in the Thor films, a smug boss on The Office, the title role of the mystery drama Luther, and work on the dark and gritty The Wire demonstrate Elba's vast range. Elba is a force to be reckoned with but can also be quiet and unassuming, showing that he could fill many roles in a murder mystery movie.

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Laurence Fishburne

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Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

One of the most prevalent and versatile actors working today, Fishburne is tall and forceful in stature and presence while also conveying a quiet strength, warmth, intelligence, and humor in his extensive career. An actor capable of stepping into anything set before him, his numerous roles in every type of genre include The MatrixMan of SteelWhat's Love Got to Do With It, Akeelah and the BeeMystic RiverBoyz in the Hood, Hannibal, and Black-ish.

Fishburne could bring a great deal of depth to a role in a mystery, whether he be the elegant patriarch of a family, a domineering antagonist, or a cunning detective. The possibilities are endless for this acclaimed performer.

Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Paul Giamatti

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Image Credit: Showtime.

Giamatti is a Golden Globe and Emmy Winning multi-talented actor whose career spans more than 20 years with over 100 performances. A true character actor in every sense of the word, his impressive slew of roles in film and television includes lead and supporting parts that range in genre and tone.

Giamatti has played anything from President John Adams, Santa Claus in Fred Claus, an encouraging boxing coach in Cinderella Man, a wine connoisseur struggling with his life in Sideways, or the controlling therapist of Brian Wilson in Love and Mercy.

He can be domineering, frightening, full of integrity, bitter, complacent, or gentle and kind. Because of his versatility, Giamatti's rare talents can lend themselves to period and modern mysteries in any kind of role imaginable.

Image Credit: Showtime.

Andy Garcia

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Andy Garcia fulfills the tall, dark, and handsome cliché, but there is nothing ordinary about this esteemed actor. On the contrary, Garcia brings tremendous depth to his various performances.

He established himself early in his career as capable of great dramatic talent in such films as The Godfather Part IIIThe Untouchables, and When a Man Loves A Woman. But throughout his career, he has demonstrated incredible range in his roles.

Some are villainous yet with a slightly comedic edge, such as Ocean's 11, sweet and funny as in Book Club, or romantic and deeply emotional as in Christmas in Conway. His recent turn in the Cuban-American-centric Father of the Bride remake showcases Garcia's ability to be warm and loving while still retaining a sarcastic edge.

It is easy to imagine him as the head of a family, the romantic lead, or the perpetrator of the crime. The sky is the limit for Garcia in a murder mystery film.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Jeff Goldblum

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Image Credit: Disney+.

There is no other actor quite like Jeff Goldblum. He has a unique and often quirky quality, which would be a welcome addition to a murder mystery movie. He is one of the most obvious and natural choices for the specific tone and quality Rian Johnson brought with Knives Out, but he would also be excellent in any film of the genre.

Because of the kind of singular performer he is, Goldblum could assuredly play a myriad of roles. He has done just that in his career, from blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Independence Day to off-beat comedic films such as Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

His work in these ensemble films and his turn as Detective Zach Nichols on Law and Order: Criminal Intent proves him to be the perfect candidate for any movie of a mysterious nature.

Image Credit: Disney+.

Henry Golding

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Quickly becoming one of Hollywood's best romantic leading men, Henry Golding is the handsome, charismatic, and warm male lead in such films as Crazy Rich Asians and Last Christmas. He also exhibited darker undertones in thriller films like The Gentleman and A Simple Favor. Consequently, he could fall into any kind of category character-wise.

Golding could fill the typical role of casting a young, multi-faceted up-and-comer similar to Ana de Armas and Katherine Langford in Knives Out. Golding could be sympathetic or sinister, or something in between. His talent is undeniable, and his star is definitely on the rise.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Jon Hamm

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Image Credit: AMC Network Entertainment.

For seven seasons, Jon Hamm captivated audiences as the confident, complicated, and endlessly fascinating Don Draper on the highly acclaimed drama series Mad Men. His work on that show alone demonstrates his tremendous talent and ability to seamlessly inhabit a role with gusto and slip into a specific period.

But his other work, such as his darkly comedic role in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the inspirational Million Dollar Arm, romantic Wild Mountian Thyme, and most recently, the sensational juggernaut Top Gun: Maverick, showcases the breadth of his range. Hamm can wear a suit like few can and exudes a special kind of presence that would be appropriate for the mystery genre and any part set before him.

Image Credit: AMC Network Entertainment.

Tom Hiddleston

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Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' Loki | Credit: Chuck Zlotnick Disney/Marvel Studios

Known for playing Loki, the God of Mischief, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including his own series, Tom Hiddleston has achieved much adoration and success with this single character alone. Loki has gone through a significant character arc, and Hiddleston gives so much depth to this complex and intriguing character. But he is not singular in his talents and has wonderfully portrayed a great range of characters.

He is at home in period fare, light and dark, and intense modern thrillers. He's played Hank Williams in I Saw the Light, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, a soft but sinister bridegroom in Crimson Peak, a loyal soldier in War Horse, and a man caught up in a dangerous plot in his award-winning turn in The Night Manager.

With his astounding acting talents, charisma, and spine-tingling pleasing voice, Hiddleston would be most at ease as a charming hero or a malevolent antagonist in a murder mystery set in any era.

Image Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios.

Allison Janney

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

One of the greatest character actresses of her time, Janney is a true chameleon with superior acting talent and the ability to transform into so many different types of roles.

Her roles as White House Press Secretary C.J. on The West Wing and Bonnie, the alcoholic and sharp-tongued mother on the dark comedy, Mom, may be what she is best known for. These roles could not be more different and therein lies why a murder mystery movie would suit her well.

Her other extensive and highly varied roles include I, Tonya (for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar), The HelpJunoLostSun DogsHairspray, and The Hours. Each performance proves that Janney is capable of every kind of role imaginable, from sweet to caring to judgmental to unhinged. Though probably more suited for one of these modern tales, even a period role would be welcome in Janney's talented hands.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Hugh Laurie

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As Dr. Gregory House, Hugh Laurie masterfully portrayed the brilliant, cranky, addicted to painkillers, doctor on the medical series House for eight seasons. One could easily imagine Laurie taking up an equally similar role in a mystery film, using either the impressive American accent he employed in House or his natural British accent.

He can effortlessly exude a sardonic persona that is either antagonistic or more complicated. His work in other projects, be they modern like The Night Manager, or period like Sense and Sensibility, prove that Laurie would fit perfectly into the ensemble mystery with tremendous ease, in roles that could be elegant, ominous, or even heroic.

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Jude Law

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Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

A gifted actor who has enjoyed a prevalent and consistent career thanks to those talents, Law has had no shortage of award-worthy roles. The handsome and affable performer has classic leading man looks and magnetism and has capitalized on these often. But at the same time, Law has never been one to be pigeonholed into only one type of role.

Instead, law elevates every project he is a part of and could take on any number of parts in a murder mystery film in both past and present eras.

This is not only based on his individual charms but on the wide range of work that demonstrates remarkable versatility, including the most obvious role as Dr. Watson in the most recent Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr.

But beyond that, he can play a sensitive and romantic widower like in The Holiday, the younger version of the complicated wizard Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a spoiled, entitled, and thoughtless man like in The Talented Mr. Ripley, a desperate and dejected soldier, like in Cold Mountain, or a cold and unloving husband like in Anna Karenina. Jude Law is always a superb choice for any role set before him.

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John Leguizamo

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John Leguizamo is a unique performer because he can transform into myriad roles with the broadest possible range. He can just as easily be sensitive and sweet as dark and violent. Whatever part Leguizamo plays, he makes it his own, which is a remarkable feat considering two of his most recognizable roles come from two Baz Luhrman-directed films, Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge.

His turn as Mercutio is gripping, unique, and one of great power, while he makes his version of the real-like painter Toulouse Lautrec humorous and profound. Beyond these films, his work in ERJohn Wick, and The Lincoln Lawyer solidify his range of talent and thus natural candidacy for a mystery film.

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Lucy Liu

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Image Credit: CBS Interactive.

No matter the part, Lucy Liu is always a force to be reckoned with. She is an actress who can demonstrate incredible power and grace emotionally and physically. She can balance humor and heart with fervor and forcefulness, as seen in her role in the Charlie's Angels films and especially in the modern and updated version of Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes in the television series Elementary.

The way Liu infused Joan Watson with intelligence, poise, and strength was a wonder to behold for seven seasons, and she could step into a similar role in a murder mystery film effortlessly.

Perhaps it may seem too redundant given her work on this show. Still, Liu is capable of any role and would be a welcome choice in a period film, such as her brief but memorable turn in Chicago. Lucy Liu could play the heroine or the villain and be captivating in each.

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Anthony Mackie

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Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Anyone who sees one of Anthony Mackie's roles or watches an interview with the actor will find it impossible not to like him. The affable actor can easily bring that humor and heart to his work. His breakout role was in the Eminem vehicle 8 Mile, while his biggest claim to fame is as Sam Wilson, also known as The Falcon, and now Captain America, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But with great ease, he also tackles serious and varied roles such as Gangster SquadRed TailsThe Adjustment BureauReal SteelMillion Dollar Baby, and The Hurt Locker. Mackie can be sharp-dressed, elegant, gentle, forceful, brave, funny, complicated, and somber. He would make any modern-day mystery thriller or stylish period film infinitely better.

Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Rachel McAdams

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McAdams is the kind of performer that can portray a sweet and spirited romantic heroine and a vicious and cruel antagonist with the same amount of credibility and engagement. Anyone who can play Allie Hamilton in The Notebook and Regina George in Mean Girls in the same year has obvious talent. These breakout roles established a range that McAdams has gone on to further demonstrate significantly throughout her career.

McAdams is capable of anything with varied appearances, personas, and tones, handling them with poise, allure, and spirit. Her various films include the powerful drama Spotlight, intense thrillers State of Play and Red Eye, romances About Time and The Time Traveler's Wife, light-hearted comedies Morning GloryMidnight in Paris, and Wedding Crashers.

Moreover, she's been in period dramas like Sherlock Holmes and Married Life and the superhero flick Doctor Strange. Lastly, the modern-day mystery offshoot Game Night is another clear indication of the natural candidacy of McAdams for a murder mystery film.

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Julianne Moore

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Simultaneously a leading lady and character actress, Julianne Moore is another performer with a great range and could step into a murder mystery ensemble with any kind of persona possible. Moore is well respected and highly acclaimed and, throughout her career, has showcased her ability to embody every type of character.

Her work in the period dramas The Hours are Far From Heaven, thrillers The Forgotten and Non-Stop, adventures The Hunger Games franchise and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, thoughtful familial stories The Kids Are Alright and Still Alice, and comedies Laws of Attraction and Crazy Stupid Love showcase that Moore can portray characters who are loving, reserved, intense, insecure, confident, or manipulative. Consequently, Moore is well suited for any role in an ensemble mystery.

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Rita Moreno

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With a career spanning 70 years and over 160 screen credits, Rita Moreno is an accomplished actress, singer, and dancer and is one of only a select few who has garnered the coveted EGOT status. This means she has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards, which alone showcases the breadth of her talent.

With varied work in film and television, Moreno would be a more than welcome addition to an ensemble film, especially a murder mystery story where she could be kind, wise, witty, sharp-tongued, or feisty, as well as melancholy and profound in her role. From her first Oscar win as Anita in West Side Story to her recent role in the television remake One Day at a Time, where she arguably stole every scene, Rita Moreno would be an inspired choice.

Image Credit: Netflix.

Bill Nighy

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Image Credit: Origin Pictures.

Bill Nighy is a remarkable character actor in every role he takes, with each one being different from the next. One need only look at a handful of his films to see this range of incredible talent. These roles include an aging, irreverent rocker in Love Actually, the cursed villain of the high seas Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise, a sweet-natured and loving father in About Time, and a reclusive and caring widower in The Bookshop.

Of course, Nighy has already been in an ensemble murder mystery, the Agatha Christie mini-series Ordeal by Innocence, so one may question him starring in another. But Nighy elevates everything he is in and is an ideal choice for this type of film, period or modern day.

Image Credit: Origin Pictures.

Lee Pace

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Image Credit: AMC Film Holdings.

An extremely versatile and well-rounded performer, Lee Pace is tall in stature but even more extraordinary in his scope of talent. With classic leading man looks and charm, Pace is also a chameleon who can slip into a period or modern role as a hero, antagonist, or complicated character in ways only the most gifted performers can accomplish.

In his breakout role as the lovable Pie-maker Ned on Pushing Daisies, he stole our hearts, and since then, he has tackled a myriad of roles in various genres.

His filmography includes a lovelorn piano player in the period comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a pretentious filmmaker in Ceremony, and a severe and stoic Elven King in The Hobbit films. Additionally, he's been the cruel Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy, Emperor Cleon in Foundation, and a self-indulgent, brilliant, but arrogant computer salesman in Halt and Catch Fire.

Lee Pace could embody a sweet, charming, manipulative, or harsh character. And can utilize either his natural American accent or a particularly convincing British one. These attributes make Pace another fantastic choice for a mystery film in either the present day or an elegant era of the past.

Image Credit: AMC Film Holdings.

Sarah Paulson

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Image Credit: Roadside Attractions.

Early in her career Sarah Paulson was probably most known for her lighter fare, such as the short-lived television series Jack and Jill or the comedic parody Down With Love. But her career quickly turned into much more serious roles, and she has established herself as a gifted and varied actress.

She can play a lovely woman and or embody someone genuinely vicious. A frequent collaborator with Ryan Murphy, her work on American Horror Story is much praised.

But Paulson still takes on lighter and more fun roles, such as the female ensemble Ocean's 8. She also transformed remarkably into such roles as Marcia Clark in American Crime Story, a despicable enslaver in 12 Years a Slave, and the infamous Nurse Ratched in Ratched.

Sarah Paulson is such a diverse performer that one would never know what to expect from her in a mystery film, making her another ideal candidate.

Image Credit: Roadside Attractions.

Dev Patel

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In 2008, Dev Patel won the heart of audiences as the lead in the Oscar-winning drama Slumdog Millionaire. Since then, he has established himself in various types of roles, primarily dramatic, but always with a sense of heart and humor. His roles in such projects as LionThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Newsroom, and most especially The Personal History of David Copperfield prove that Patel is an actor who can delight and surprise us.

In an ensemble murder mystery film, he could be the heartfelt hero or subvert expectations and be a villain. The possibilities are vast for this actor, whose career continues to grow.

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Keanu Reeves

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Keanu Reeves is not only known as one of the kindest actors working today but has also enjoyed an impressive career spanning multiple genres and decades. Reeves is the kind of actor whose presence can elevate the material and play off other actors in a unique way.

He also has had great success in many different roles, from action thrillers like his most well-known parts in The Matrix and John Wick Franchises to his breakout role in Speed.

But Reeves has also taken on utterly romantic roles such as The Lake House and Something's Gotta Give, as well as highly comedic parts such as Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and an exaggerated version of himself in Always Be My Maybe.

Reeves may take his work seriously but clearly doesn't take himself so. Therefore, he can tackle any number of personas in an ensemble mystery, be it comedic, gentle, sobering, or thoughtful.

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Emmy Rossum

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Emmy Rossum's most significant claims to fame could not be more different: her breakout role as the exquisite and gentle ingénue Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, and the long-suffering Fiona, who must step in as responsible caretaker for her family in the television series Shameless. Her other notable roles include The Day After TomorrowMystic RiverPoseidon, and most recently, in the title role in Angelyne.

With every role, Rossum has endeavored to be seen as well-rounded and is always engaging and captivating. Not only is Rossum a talented actress, but she is also an accomplished singer, having sung with the Metropolitan Opera at a very early age. While Rossum could give any role in a murder mystery credence, if that role allowed her to showcase her superb musical talent, the film and the audience would be all the luckier.

Image Credit: Showtime.

Winona Ryder

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Winona Ryder is one of her generation's most celebrated and praised actresses with a career that has reached five decades in length. She is an actress that has continued to grow and evolve as a performer transitioning from the young and quirky character to the romantic heroine to the brave and relentless mother.

Her stature may be tiny, but her ability is massive in her illustrious slew of performances that showcase a vast range of personas.

One could never say Winona Ryder is a one-note performer. Her varied roles include such films as the dark comedy Heathers, gentle fantasy Edward Scissorhands, cutting but thoughtful Reality Bites, tender period drama Little Women, wacky comedy The Dilemma, and supernatural thriller series Stranger Things.

Ryder always gives performances that are lovely, spirited, and profound. Her expressive eyes and ability to engage the audience would be an excellent addition to any mystery ensemble.

Image Credit: Heydey Films.

Michael Sheen

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Image Credit: Showtime.

Michael Sheen is a gifted performer and an actor that could be deemed a chameleon, so much so that many may not realize the number of different roles he has portrayed in his career.

In a span of a few years, he played a doctor studying the more risqué sides of human biology, a chilling vampire in the Twilight Saga, a pedantic upstart in Midnight in Paris, Prime Minister Tony Blair in both The Queen and The Special Friendship, in-depth interviewer David Frost in Frost/Nixon and wild eyeliner wearing rocker in Laws of Attraction.

Michael Sheen has never been type-cast in his career and has become one of the finest character actors of his generation. Such a performer is an ideal choice for any ensemble film but especially a mystery because you will never know what to expect from him.

Image Credit: Showtime.

Martin Sheen

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One of the most acclaimed actors ever, Martin Sheen has garnered much praise and adoration over his long, esteemed career. Ever since he made a strong impression in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, Sheen has proven himself to be an actor who can embody immense strength, forcefulness, and profundity. But he also often showcases warmth, humor, and heart in roles that vary in tone and genre.

His illustrious career includes films like The American PresidentThe Departed, and Wall Street. But it's his work as President Bartlett on the award-winning television series The West Wing, as a southern lawyer in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, and his recent comedic turn in Grace and Frankie that showcases all of his finest qualities and range of character.

We can therefore imagine Sheen as a patriarch of a family that could be warm but stern, or perhaps a completely unexpected part.

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Emma Stone

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Image Credit: Warner Bros

This multi-talented actress started in minor roles before making a name for herself in the teen comedy Easy A. Ever since she has proven to be a performer of great depth. With her unique beauty and raspy voice, Stone's talent is not limited to just comedy, although she is more than adept at the genre.

Her varied work includes Crazy Stupid Love, Gangster SquadLa La LandThe FavouriteThe Amazing Spider-ManThe HelpCruella, and Magic in the Moonlight. She slips in period roles with panache and modern ones with charm. She can be sweet, hilarious, manipulative, or inspiring. An ensemble mystery would fit Emma Stone's qualities like a glove.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson in Cruella | Credit: Disney

Accomplished, acclaimed, well-respected, and immensely talented, Emma Thompson's career has grown and evolved, with the actress never limiting herself to only one type of role.

Perfectly at home in period films where reserve and propriety are critical such as Howard's End and Sense and Sensibility, she is more than adept at roles in the opposite direction, such as the Harry Potter franchise and Nanny McPhee.

Whether it be Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, the romantic comedy Love Actually, the profound dramatic mini-series Angels in America, or the Disney prequel Cruella, Thompson can be witty, graceful, sarcastic, humorous, and even malicious.

Restrained or wild, Emma Thompson would be a fantastic choice for a mystery ensemble because she can fit into any era and every kind of character one could imagine.

Image Credit: Disney.

Tessa Thompson

tessa thompson
Image Credit: HBO.

Ever since Tessa Thompson first burst onto screens as the provocative by wounded Jackie on Veronica Mars, it was clear a fine career was ahead of her. Since then, she has tackled many different roles in film and television, including CreedFor Colored GirlsSelma, and Men In Black: International.

But it is two projects that showcase her range of character that solidifies how well she could slip into a murder mystery set in the past or the present. As Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she is bold and forceful but also funny with subtle moments of tenderness. And in the 1950s set Sylvie's Love, she is glamorous, luminous, sweet, graceful, and engaging.

In a mystery film, one could easily imagine Tessa Thompson as the heroine, the victim, or even the perpetrator.

Image Credit: HBO.

Rachel Weisz

rachel weisz
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

With her incredible talents and charms alone, Rachel Weisz seems like a natural choice for a mystery ensemble film. She can capture our sense of adventure in films like The Mummy and move us in thoughtful dramas like The Constant Gardner and The Lovely Bones.

She can also delight us in comedies like Fred Claus and The Brothers Bloom and amaze us in provocative films such as The Favourite and My Cousin Rachel. Because of her ability to tap into even the most repressed emotions, be cool and cunning, or sweet and lovely, the casting of Weisz in a film of this sort feels natural. Weisz could surprise the audience in many ways.

Of course, if she is cast in a Knives Out sequel, that would also provide us with a meta inside joke as Weisz is married to star Daniel Craig. So not only would she give her “A” game in any role set before her, but this would also be a clever wink to the audience.

Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Alfre Woodard

alfre woodard
Image Credit: Uncommon Productions.

With nearly 130 acting credits to her name, Alfre Woodard has established herself as a consummate actress in various roles in both films and television. Woodard is always a performer of profound depth in anything from comedies to thrillers to science fiction to serious dramas.

From such thoughtful romances as Love and Basketball and Something New to thrillers like The Forgotten to off-beat, dark comedies like Desperate Housewives and A Series of Unfortunate Events, Woodard never fails to add layers of depth to parts large and small. She can steal a scene, and make us think, laugh, and cry.

It is possible to imagine her in the next murder mystery as the matriarch of a family, an elegant actress, or a mysterious woman with a secret. Woodward's presence makes any film better.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Author: Marianne Paluso

Title: Writer

Expertise: Entertainment, Travel, Books


Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature from San Diego State University. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture and geek related, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency, Christianity Today, and The La Jolla Light. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disney bound, cosplay, and YouTube video. She resides in San Diego, California.