Your Complete Guide To Everyone In The Knives Out 3 Cast

Keep your big-budget extravaganzas and intellectual properties! These days, Hollywood actors are breathlessly lining up to join the Benoit Blanc Cinematic Universe. Ever since Rian Johnson singled-handedly revived the big screen whodunnit with 2019's "Knives Out," the mid-budget murder-mystery series has become the hottest destination for rising stars, A-listers, and under-sung veterans of the industry to flex their acting muscles as the various colorful (and often highly suspicious, if not downright unscrupulous) characters that occupy this world. Even the property's shift from the theatrical market to the streaming landscape three years later with Netflix's "Glass Onion" wasn't enough to deter folks from flocking to these movies like they're the next "Dune" sequel.

Following the announcement of Johnson's third "Knives Out Mystery" last month (now officially titled "Wake Up Dead Man"), it's become a daily guessing game trying to figure out who will sign on to match wits with Daniel Craig's sharp-witted Southern sleuth Blanc next. For the most part, the lineup hasn't disappointed, with everyone from Marvel alumni — which, if "Knives Out" and "Glass Onion" taught us anything, is an immediate red flag for the characters they're playing (although, knowing Johnson, he's surely aware we're onto him and will zig when we expect him to zag this time ... unless that's what he wants us to think) — to living screen icons who still rank among the very best in the biz. That means there's a whole lot of potential suspects and victims to keep track of too, enough so to make even Monsieur Blanc's head spin.

Here's our guide to everyone in the "Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery" cast. 

Cailee Spaeny

Ah, it seems like only yesterday that Cailee Spaeny was playing John Boyega's figurative trouble-making kid sister in 2018's "Pacific Rim Uprising" and Dakota Johnson's literal trouble-making kid sister in the under-seen "Bad Times at the El Royale" (the first film to feature Chris Hemsworth as a charismatic — and chiseled — but also wicked cult leader, six years before "Furiosa: A Mad Max Story" did it). She's quickly come a long way since then, playing legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's rebellious daughter Jane in "On the Basis of Sex" before snagging the lead role in Zoe Lister-Jones's appropriately-titled 2020 horror legacy sequel "The Craft: Legacy."

Far from slowing down, Spaeny has since moved on to collaborating with visionary filmmakers Sofia Coppola and Alex Garland on the movies "Priscilla" and "Civil War," in addition to starring in Garland's sci-fi series "Devs" and playing a key role as a single teen mom opposite Kate Winslet in "Mare of Easttown." Coppola's Priscilla Presley biopic was, in particular, a real showcase for the young actor, with /News's "Priscilla" review praising Spaeney's work as "subtly emotive." Young women navigating turbulent waters as they come of age have been a motif across Spaeny's career so far, which may provide a clue as to what we can expect from her "Wake Up Dead Man" character — unless Johnson decides to subvert our predictions. Either way, between this film and her role in this year's "Alien: Romulus," Spaeny's ascension up the Hollywood ladder seems all but assured to continue.

Josh O'Connor

Josh O'Connor exploded onto many people's radar this year thanks to "Challengers," portraying the swaggering, actual d**k-swinging professional tennis player Patrick Zweig and one-corner of the throuple at the heart of director Luca Guadagnino's erotically-charged sports drama. (Read /News's "Challengers" review for more on that.) In truth, however, he's been around for a hot minute, racking up smaller roles in movies like Disney's live-action "Cinderella" and playing the polar opposite of his "Challengers" character, the not-so-suave Reverend Elton, while courting Anya-Taylor Joy's namesake in 2020's "Emma." He also became a member of the royal family as Charles, Prince of Wales during the third and fourth seasons of "The Crown," popped up as a penniless writer for a few episodes of "Peaky Blinders," and even joined the French revolution as Marius Pontmercy in BBC One's "Les Misérables" miniseries.

When it comes to hypothesizing about his "Wake Up Dead Man" character based on his earlier work, O'Connor is a bit of a wild card. He doesn't really have a specific "type" he's been cast as in the past other than "young handsome man," although it's possible Johnson's decided to upend his image from "Challengers" by hiring him to play someone much less cocksure (in, ahem, more that one meaning of the term).

Andrew Scott

A priest, a criminal, and a grifter walk into a bar ... and it turns out they're all the same person.

Yes, whether you first knew him as the mastermind Moriarty who squared off against Benedict Cumberbatch's crime-solver in "Sherlock," the (hot) Priest whom Phoebe Waller-Bridge fell for in season 2 of "Fleabag," or have only recently become familiar with him as the slippery con artist Tom Ripley in "Ripley," Andrew Scott has spent the last decade and change making quite the impression. However, wind the clock back about a quarter-century and you'll find that the actor has been lingering in the background for some time, having briefly shown up in a pair of Steven Spielberg WWII projects ("Saving Private Ryan" and "Band of Brothers") well before anyone really knew his name. In fact, run through his resume since then and you'll be shocked by some of the places he's turned up, from HBO's "John Adams" miniseries to one of the voices Tom Hardy acts against while driving his car in "Locke" to even a bad guy opposite his eventual "Wake Up Dead Man" co-star Daniel Craig in "Spectre."

(Don't feel bad if you forgot about that last one; Scott himself doesn't really care for his turn in that James Bond flick.)

Having most recently garnered accolades as a lonesome writer haunted (very literally) by the memory of his late parents in Andrew Haigh's "All of Us Strangers," Scott has more than proven he's up for playing anyone and anything in the "Knives Out" universe. He's especially game to try his hand at a musical sometime, which is the perfect segue for both the next actor on this list and a certain theory we've been cooking up here at /News...

Kerry Washington

Assuming Rian Johnson and Netflix haven't worked out a secret deal with Disney to include the Muppets in the next "Knives Out" sequel (which, knowing how much the corporate powers that be hate fun, we're assuming they have not), what genre twist might Johnson have in store for his latest whodunnit? Well, /News's BJ Colangelo has put on her very best tin foil hat to do some sleuthing of her own and has observed that much of the "Wake Up Dead Man" cast have musical performance experience of some kind (with Johnson himself being a self-admitted Andrew Lloyd Webber super-fan). We're not saying the film is definitely a murder mystery about a bunch of people putting on a Broadway show à la "Only Murders in the Building" season 3 ... but we're also not not saying that.

Case in point: the cast also includes the illustrious Kerry Washington, who spent seven seasons playing the best damn "fixer" in the business, Olivia "Liv" Carolyn Pope, in Shonda Rhimes' steamy political thriller "Scandal" and has more than held her own acting opposite mega-watt stars like Jamie Foxx (multiple times even thanks to her roles in the Oscar-winners "Ray" and "Django Unchained") and Reese Witherspoon (in the series "Little Fires Everywhere"). More pertinent to our discussion, she's proven she's got pipes on more than more occasion, most notably in Ryan Murphy's Broadway adaptation "The Prom." Again, we might be completely off-base with this line of thinking, but dangnabbit if there's not a strong case to be made here!

Glenn Close

If you thought that was the end of our musical conspiracy theorizing, guess again suckers! Glenn Close, who's only one of the best to ever do it, is coming off starring in the Broadway revival of the "Sunset Boulevard" stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber not that long ago, so you try and tell me we're reading too much into all this. In addition, Close is a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to her small role as Nova Prime Irani Rael in "Guardians of the Galaxy," which immediately makes her one of the number one suspects as to who, indeed, dunnit in "Wake Up Dead Man." A lot of people have probably even forgotten she ever appeared in a Marvel movie at all, which is something Johnson could take advantage of to keep his previous modus operandi going (although, having written this down, I've likely gone and jinxed it, and now the filmmaker will cast her as someone totally innocent just to spite me).

Beyond that, what else is to say about Close? Despite her lack of an Oscar (so far), she's a legend who can go as big as Cruella de Vil in Disney's live-action "101 Dalmatians" to as volatile as Alexandra Forrest in "Fatal Attraction" or as interior and understated as her work in "Albert Nobbs" and "The Wife." They're not all winners (stares in "Hillbilly Elegy"), but we have every faith in Johnson giving Close a role that's befitting of her immense talents.

Jeremy Renner

Would it be mean to say that Jeremy Renner has been always a bridesmaid, never a bride for much of his career? It feels like every time the actor is positioned to take over a franchise (as was the case with "Mission: Impossible" and the "Bourne" films in the 2010s), he ends up getting punted to the sidelines. Even when Renner got his own vehicle as the least essential Avenger after years of playing Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the MCU, he was upstaged by his arrow-shooting protégé Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in the "Hawkeye" streaming series. On the flip side, Renner's usually at his best either supporting others or serving as part of a talented ensemble like he did in "Arrival," which makes "Wake Up Dead Man" a good fit for the "Mayor of Kingstown" alum, part-time house renovator, and failed pre-successful app designer in his first movie since his horrifying near-death after being run over by a snowcat in 2023.

On a lighter note, Renner is technically already a part of the "Knives Out" universe thanks to his personal hot sauce line getting briefly name-dropped in "Glass Onion." Does this imply Renner is playing himself in "Wake Up Dead Man," or are there multiple people who look exactly like him in this reality? "Only Murders in the Building" is exceedingly prone to that brand of meta comedy (having often cast guest stars as fictionalized versions of themselves), so that's yet another way the film could end up paralleling that show, should our musical hypothesis pan out. Renner himself has musical ambitions, too, so you might as well accept that we're sticking with this line of thinking until proven otherwise.

Josh Brolin

Like a certain giant purple genocidal galoot, Josh Brolin keeps on adding more shiny gems to his gauntlet with his newly-announced role in "Wake Up Dead Man" (via The Hollywood Reporter). Besides playing Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the man played a younger Tommy Lee Jones in "Men in Black III" (which is pretty good for a film that basically has no real reason to exist), became begrudging buddies with Ryan Reynolds' Merc With a Mouth as the time-traveling Cable in "Deadpool 2," and faithfully served House Atreides as its weapons expert Gurney Halleck in Denis Villeneuve's first two "Dune" movies. That's all after spending three decades making a name for himself an actor, starting as a teen sensation in "The Goonies" and establishing his thespian bonafides throughout the aughts with his prestigious roles in "American Gangster," "No Country for Old Men," and "Milk" (not to mention his work on Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's unique "Grindhouse" experiment).

Brolin is, admittedly, less renowned for his ability to carry a tune, although he did grumbly, yet memorably, harmonize a short ditty in "Dune: Part Two." Besides, we're not expecting every single cast member to channel their inner theater kid in "Wake Up Dead Man" — although, if Gerard Butler can star in "The Phantom of the Opera" without even being able to sing (as he himself would tell you), then surely Brolin can serenade us with some Sondheim or whatever Johnson has in mind for his "Knives Out" counterpart.

Mila Kunis

Well, they can't all be winners. Look, it's not fair to single out Mila Kunis for being problematic when some of her "Wake Up Dead Man" costars have skeletons in their closets too. Josh Brolin was once arrested on charges of spouse abuse back when he was married to Diane Lane in 2004 (an incident he addressed in the wake of #MeToo in 2018), while Jeremy Renner also faced allegations of physical and emotional abuse from his ex-wife Sonni Pacheco. As for Kunis, she's only recently found herself under public scrutiny for entirely different reasons — namely, her and her fellow actor/husband Ashton Kutcher's public support for the pair's former "That '70s Show" costar and convicted rapist Danny Masterson during his sexual assault trial. That being the case, her involvement with the latest "Knives Out" sequel has gone over pretty terribly on social media.

Professionally, Kunis boasts a long line of accomplishments, including her voice role as (Shut Up!) Meg on "Family Guy," her performance in Darren Aronofsky's Oscar-winning dance horror-thriller "Black Swan," her turns in the hit R-rated comedies "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Ted," and, most importantly of all, her performance as the titular intergalactic heiress-in-disguise in the Wachowski Sisters' gloriously gonzo space opera "Jupiter Ascending." Under different circumstances, news of her joining the "Knives Out" franchise would be a source for speculation about whether she'll be putting her comedic prowess to use once again or tapping into the darker side she showed in "Black Swan." But if she was hoping to steer the conversation away from her support for Masterson by teaming up with Johnson, that hasn't been working out for her so far.

Daryl McCormack

When "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande" came out in 2022, it sent Daryl McCormack sky-rocketing up the list of rising stars to watch out for. The actor, who had previously had recurring roles on "Peaky Blinders" and "The Wheel of Time," held his own against Emma Thompson in the celebrated dramedy as the charming Mr. Grande, a sex worker who helps a retired teacher and widow (Thompson) experience sexual pleasure for the first time. /News's Ben Pearson described McCormack as "spectacular" in his "Leo Grande" review, and it was clearly only a matter of time before studios came a-knockin' on his door with offers for mega-wattage projects. Sure enough, McCormack is now starring in the fast-approaching "Twister" standalone sequel "Twisters" and has secured a role in "Wake up Dead Man" (one that, per outlets like Deadline, is part of a twisted web that Blanc himself will need a moment to fully untangle).

So, all's well that ends well, right? Sadly, this one's complicated too. Since his casting in the next "Knives Out" mystery, it's come to light that McCormack's alleged social media activity is not so much questionable as it is downright horrible, with the actor having apparently "liked" racist and misogynistic posts, including one from Andrew Tate (an influencer who is currently awaiting trial in Romania on charges of human trafficking and sexual assault). McCormack, for his part, has yet to address any of this in a public forum, so we'll see if that changes as production gets going on Johnson's new venture.

Thomas Haden Church

Aha, perhaps we already know who did it after all! If you're a Gen-Xer or Boomer, you might recognize Thomas Haden Church first and foremost as the himbo handyman Lowell Mather from the aeronautical '90s sitcom 'Wings" — either that or the blonde-haired outlaw Billy Clanton in "Tombstone." Contrarily, you might be a sicko who knows him for playing the skeevy Roach in "Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight," or a '90s kid who can quote Church's "George of the Jungle" villain, the wealthy a-hole Lyle Van de Groot, off the top of your head (so, you know, essentially a sicko). Or maybe you recognize him as Paul Giamatti's d-bag college bro thanks to his Oscar-nominated turn in "Sideways" or even his role as the bulky, soulful burglar Flint Marko, aka Sandman, in "Spider-Man 3." He sure plays a lot of scamps and lovable miscreants, that Mr. Church.

Details on his role are better hidden than a doughnut hole in a doughnut's hole (via The Wrap), but the larger-than-life personalities of the "Knives Out" movies are more than comfortably suited to a performer like Church. He can also be the straight man when needed, though, as he did to memorable effect as Emma Stone's English teacher in "Easy A," but I have a hard time believing Johnson would cast him in "Wake Up Dead Man" just for his costars to bounce off him. On the other side of the coin, subversion is the name of the game in this franchise, so we may just get to see a whole new side of Church.

"Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery" will stream on Netflix in 2025.