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Why Alden From The Walking Dead Looks So Familiar

Due to the gruesome world of "The Walking Dead," fans are used to the main characters coming and going regularly. Every season features multiple deaths, many of which are prominent and beloved characters. The series also has several fake-out deaths with seriously mixed reviews. By the time Season 8 rolls around, fans have lost some of the most influential characters in the series, like Glenn who dies in the Season 7 premiere after an upsetting fake-out death in Season 6, though it can be argued his death makes no sense.

Alden first appears in Season 8 and features in 55 episodes as a member of the reoccurring main cast. He survives all the way to Season 11, where he inevitably meets his demise by having his throat slit by a Reaper in the episode, "No Other Way." Alden is introduced as a member of the Saviors, the group of antagonistic survivors originally led by Negan. Eventually, Alden defects and helps protect Hilltop from his former group. Alden decides to stay in Hilltop afterward, becoming part of the community.

The talented actor who brings Alden to life is none other than Callan McAuliffe, an Australian actor who's gone international with roles in some shockingly familiar projects.

I Am Number Four was one of Callan McAuliffe's first major roles

As many movies are these days, the 2011 film "I Am Number Four" is based on a book of the same name. At the time of release, the film had big expectations. Based on a young-adult novel in a similar vein to other popular franchises like "Harry Potter," "Twilight," and "The Hunger Games," "I Am Number Four" was expected to be a hit. Unfortunately, it took a big swing and a bigger miss.

Even with the relatively poor reception, the film is still pretty recognizable, making it one of McAuliffe's first major motion pictures. He portrays Sam Goode, a classic nerd stereotype who's bullied by the jocks at his school for his specific interests.

In an interview for the movie, McAuliffe described Sam's relationship with the main protagonist, John, played by Alex Pettyfer: "Sam just thinks he's [John] probably another guy trying to fit in. I mean, he has his tight jeans and his regular shirt and he just looks like the stereotypical high school kid. I guess he thinks 'he's probably going to bully me as well.' Then John ends up standing up to these bullies and becomes his friend."

McAuliffe helped flesh out Jay's backstory in The Great Gatsby

"The Great Gatsby" is a 2013 film based on the classic book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. As one of Fitzgerald's most beloved books, bringing it to the silver screen makes sense, but it also means that it's opening itself up for a lot of ridicule if it's done poorly. While it opened to mixed reviews from critics, Baz Luhrmann's film is dazzling and larger than life, making it an entertaining watch whether you believe it sticks to the source material or not.

In the film, McAuliffe plays Jay Gatsby during his teen years, which helps to flesh the character out (with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the adult Gatsby) and helps him feel well-rounded and fully realized. In a 2011 interview with Collider shortly after the cast for the movie was announced, McAuliffe admitted that the first time he read "The Great Gatsby," he hated it: "Amongst other books, Gatsby was one of the ones that teachers would tell us to read for a school assignment, and I hated it. I ended up reading it, of my own accord, outside of school, and I absolutely loved it. I guess, whenever a teacher tells you to do something, you automatically dislike it. I've read it a couple of times since then, and I've enjoyed it."

The Stanford Prison Experiment brought a nightmare to life

"The Stanford Prison Experiment" came out in 2015 and was based on the highly controversial 1971 Standford Prison Experiment. This was a psychological study that explored what sort of environment is cultivated in a prison. The study took male college student volunteers, placed them into a controlled environment, and assigned them the role of prison guard or prisoner. Even at the time of the actual experiment, the ethical and logistical repercussions were called into question.

The experiment became famous for the results that ensued. Attempting to understand the intricacies of how societal roles impact behavior, the study was set to run for 2 weeks. Early on, several prisoners were so traumatized from their experiences that they were released from the experiment before its conclusion. Some of the guards became aggressive and cruel over time due to having too much power and control over the prisoners. After only six days, the experiment was shut down.

This film attempts to explore what that experiment might have looked like. As a historical dramatization of the real-life experiment, the movie was rated R due to the disturbing content and received relatively solid reviews from both critics and audiences. McAuliffe plays Henry "Hen" Ward, one of the volunteers who is assigned the guard role. Notably, he wasn't nearly as bad as some of the other assigned guards, like Christopher and Karl, who become two of the most abusive.

Hacker capitalized on the Dark Web fad

Based on true events, the 2016 movie "Hacker" stars McAuliffe in the lead role of Alex, a Ukrainian immigrant who uses illegal means to make ends meet. When his mother loses her job, Alex turns his wrath and his skills on the corrupt bank that fired her. The film focuses on his journey of taking revenge on his mother's bank and inevitably evolving into a much larger scheme. Alex launches cyber warfare against the banking system in its entirety, but somewhere along the way, he loses his grip on why he's doing this. It isn't just for his mom anymore and it isn't just to make ends meet either.

Becoming obsessed with his work, no amount of money is too much for Alex. The stakes escalate throughout the course of the film and although what Alex is doing is technically illegal, the audience can't help but root for him. He's rationalized that what he's doing is okay because he's hurting harmful people and anyone who's struggled or been a victim of such organizations themselves can identify with the motivation.

The film came out at the height of an era of horror where the "dark web" or "deep web" were fixated on. Video games like "Welcome to the Game" and movies like "Unfriended: Dark Web" were designed to simulate what it would be like to stumble into the underbelly of the Internet or fall victim to someone else who is.

McAuliffe also played Taylor in Summer Night

McAuliffe was in "The Walking Dead" from 2017 to 2022, but during that five-year stint, he also appeared in several movies, shows, and even the 2018 video game, "Return of the Obra Dinn." One of the movies he starred in was 2019's "Summer Night," a romantic drama coming-of-age story that explores young love and how finding your way in the world with a partner can be one of the most challenging things a person can do.

"Summer Night" breaks the mold quite a bit from the rest of the projects on this list. Usually starring in thrillers, horrors, and dramas, a film entirely focused on the complexities of romance seems a little out of place for the young actor. McAuliffe portrays Taylor, a young musician who grows increasingly attached to Dana (Ella Hunt), a woman who helps him after he's jumped by two men.

While growing closer to Dana, it can't be overlooked that Taylor is the object of someone else's affection. Vanessa (Melina Vidler) has a crush on him and it seems to be a somewhat longstanding one at that. This causes tension between the two girls and puts Taylor in an uncomfortable position of trying to intervene and keep the peace. Throughout the film, despite its ups and downs, though, Taylor stays firm on his interest in Dana.