Why General Hux from The Last Jedi looks so familiar

Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson has had a surprisingly diverse career over the past decade, but for most fans of the sci-fi genre, he's the sneaky General Hux helping lead the First Order in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

But given how busy he's been onscreen, there's a pretty decent chance you've actually seen him before—be it in an acclaimed period piece, some high-profile sci-fi project, or even obscure Irish television, if import sketch comedy is your jam. Here's why General Hux from the new Star Wars trilogy looks so familiar.

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Gleeson appeared in the 2010 dystopian romance Never Let Me Go, playing the supporting character Rodney. The story, written by future Ex Machina screenwriter Alex Garland and based on Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel, followed a group of children and young adults who turn out to be clones, and were born and raised to serve as organ donors. Critics praised it as a gorgeous, poignant, sad tale about life and the connections we make along the way; along with Gleeson, it starred Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Ella Purnell. The connection with Garland would prove to be a lucrative one for Gleeson—the duo reconnected for several more projects over the next few years.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1-2 (2010-2011)

Along with his role in Star Wars, Gleeson has also served a stint in another massive genre franchise: Harry Potter. The actor had a supporting role in the final two films in the series, Deathly Hallows Parts 1-2, playing Bill Weasley, the older brother of Ron Weasley. In the wake of his breakout role in the Harry Potter universe, Gleeson joked that red hair was his "only qualification" for the gig, as it made him "a Weasley waiting for a role." For fans of the fantasy franchise, Gleeson's turn as Bill is almost certainly one of his most memorable. It wasn't the biggest role, obviously, but it definitely put the actor in front of a massive audience.

True Grit (2010)

Gleeson played Moon, a soft-spoken outlaw questioned by Jeff Bridges' U.S. Marshal, in the Coen brothers' acclaimed western adaptation. The character meets a rather grisly end (and loses a few fingers) after answering some questions for Bridges' lawman. His role isn't big, but it's memorable, which is a very intentioned theme in Gleeson's career—the actor has said he'd rather spend "one day on a really cool movie than six months on something crap," noting he'll only get better if he's working on good projects. Be that a big role, or small role, it doesn't matter—it just has to be good. To land his True Grit gig, Gleeson went after the role from a cottage in Ireland, filming a camcorder audition that eventually gained the attention of the Coen brothers.

Shadow Dancer (2012)

The acclaimed indie drama Shadow Dancer featured Gleeson in a supporting role as Connor McVeigh, starring alongside Gillian Anderson, Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough. The film is a twisty thriller based on a novel of the same name by author Tom Bradby, and follows a woman pressed into service as an information for British intelligence. Gleeson said he was attracted to the role because of the way director James Marsh handled the complexity of the characters, noting "everybody has their reasons no matter how despicable you may find their actions."

Dredd (2012)

Gleeson continued his trend of small roles in good movies when he popped up in the cult hit Dredd as the Clan Techie in the Peach Trees slum block. He's the grungy tech kid running the security cameras and communications in Peach Trees, and, it's understandable if you may not have recognized the typically handsome Gleeson buried under all that grime. After filming his role, Gleeson described the film as "kinda great and pretty full-on." Though the moviegoing public didn't really agree with his assessment—the film was a box office dud—it's since found a passionate cult fanbase. Gleeson certainly knows how to pick winners, even when it takes a while for audiences to catch on.

Anna Karenina (2012)

Gleeson co-starred alongside Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in this historical romance based on Leo Tolstoy's classic novel, playing Konstantin "Kostya" Dmitrievich Levin. He only landed the role after another actor dropped out, and said he read the book in just a few days before enduring a five-hour audition for the part. Gleeson said he obviously looked to Tolstoy's book for direction on how to play Levin, but came to realize he "had to make sure the job [he was] doing is the best job for the film and that you're not trying to bring in stuff from the book that isn't helpful or might muddy the waters."

Black Mirror (2013)

One of Gleeson's most heart-wrenching roles came courtesy of the acclaimed sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror with the episode "Be Right Back," in which he co-starred alongside Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter). The story follows a woman grieving the sudden death of her boyfriend after he's killed suddenly in a car crash. Gleeson offers a haunting performance as the boyfriend—and then an A.I. reconstruction of the young man's personality designed to help Atwell's character grieve his passing. 

The two stars' work made the episode one of the most acclaimed in the anthology series' beloved catalog, and Gleeson said he loved the ambition of "Be Right Back," likening it to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and noting it asks some "really interesting questions in a way that some of [his] favorite films ask really interesting questions."

About Time (2013)

Trading in the supporting roles for a leading man gig, Gleeson headlined the romantic comedy About Time alongside Rachel McAdams. The story focuses on a man (played by Gleeson) who learns he has the ability to travel back in time and improve his life—an ability he uses to woo the love of his life, setting up a twisty adventure with McAdams' character. With the film marking one of Gleeson's first starring roles in a major production, he said he had to get used to being in pretty much every scene. "You get to go in every day!" he explained. "There is something wonderful about turning up every day and knowing that not just the character, but the whole movie kind of rests on your shoulders." Along with the excitement, Gleeson admitted there were some "sleepless nights" because of the inherent pressure with being the star of a film.

Frank (2014)

It takes one heck of a strange film to cast A-lister Michael Fassbender, then hide him under an oversized bobblehead mask for most of the film, but that's basically the dark comedy Frank in a nutshell. Gleeson starred in the film as an aspiring musician who joins a band fronted by Fassbender's mask-wearing Frank. It's weird, funny and poignant—and critics loved it for its ambitious approach to its unusual story. It was an indie darling in 2014, and though it never broke through as a mainstream hit, it still solidified Gleeson as an up-and-comer. Despite the strange approach to putting one of the film's stars behind a mask for most of the running time, Gleeson said he felt it all came back to "creating something by being with other people," mask or not: "It just depends how crazy you want to be. That's the only difference I think, as far as I'm concerned."

Ex Machina (2014)

One of Gleeson's most acclaimed roles came in the acclaimed sci-fi flick Ex Machina, where he played a low-level tech employee tasked with "testing" a new AI and android at a private research facility. The film reunited the actor with writer-director Alex Garland, and resulted in one of the most widely acclaimed movies of 2014. 

Gleeson said he was absolutely blown away by the screenplay for Ex Machina—he'd initially planned to just read the first 30 pages, but wound up reading it twice before going to bed for the night. "You just can't stop," he recalled. "And as soon as you finish you go, 'Oh my god!' and then you have to read it from the beginning to make sure everything checks out. And of course it does because it's Alex." Gleeson said the script kept him guessing act after act—just as the movie did for most viewers—and he immediately wanted to be involved to help bring to life everything that was "going on beneath the surface" of the story.

The Revenant (2015)

The acclaimed period-set drama The Revenant included a small but compelling role for Gleeson, who played fur trader Andrew Henry alongside Leonardo DiCaprio's nigh un-killable Hugh Glass. Gleeson was understandably proud of how the film turned out, but did admit the shoot was exceedingly brutal. The story takes place in the dead of winter in the wilderness, and he said that when the actors were actually working and shooting, it wasn't so bad. Things went downhill during the downtime, though, "When you're out there, in and out of the river, standing around and not knowing if you're going to get to your bit that day," he admitted, "those days suck." He said he spent quite a lot of time just standing around in the river, freezing, trying to stay warm. Perhaps the incredible acclaim The Revenant ultimately earned made the experience worth the sacrifice.

American Made (2017)

Gleeson starred opposite A-lister Tom Cruise in 2017's American Made, a tale inspired by real life that focuses on a pilot (Cruise) recruited by a CIA agent (Gleeson) to fly secret spy missions above Central America. It only gets crazier from there. Cruise's Barry Seal gets deeper and deeper into trouble, eventually working almost as a triple agent, ferrying guns and drugs for cartels. Gleeson described his character as basically a "composite of different needs for the script," adding that he was glad the filmmakers made him part of the story's action.

mother! (2017)

Director Darren Aronofsky's ambitious psychological thriller mother! fiercely divided critics, and Gleeson had a ringside seat courtesy of his supporting role in the film. After seeing the script, he said he knew it was going to be controversial; as he later put it, he "had to stand up and take a walk every now and again to get over what I was reading." It's that creativity that inspired him to pursue the role. Reaffirming his career-long pursuit of interesting parts in great projects, Gleeson said mother! spoke to his urge to "be a part of something that shakes people to their core."