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Why Edgar Allan Poe From Netflix's The Pale Blue Eye Looks So Familiar

After a run in theaters over Christmas, the Netflix historical thriller "The Pale Blue Eye" has launched on the streamer. The film is adapted from the 2003 mystery novel of the same name written by Louis Baynard and follows Detective Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) as he investigates a series of murders at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1830. While he is on the heels of the murderer, he receives help from a young military cadet, Edgar Allan Poe. Along with Bale, the film stars Gillian Anderson, Toby Jones, Timothy Spall, Robert Duvall, Lucy Boynton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Harry Lawtey, and Simon McBurney.

Before Poe became known as the poet and storyteller famous for spinning mystery and intrigue dealing with the macabre, he served in the military, including an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point. While that part is based on real life, "The Pale Blue Eye" is less an accurate historical account than it is an homage to Poe, with Bale's character paralleling Poe's detective, C. Auguste Dupin. Anytime you make a movie centered around the famous author, casting him is an integral part of nailing the darkness he is known for. The actor portraying Poe in "The Pale Blue Eye" is one that almost everyone will recognize. Even if his appearance has changed considerably since playing in his most famous role, his features are unforgettable. This is why Edgar Allan Poe looks so familiar.

Harry Melling was a menace as Dudley Dursley in Harry Potter

In "The Pale Blue Eye," Edgar Allan Poe is played by British actor Harry Melling. For many people, their first encounter with Melling's work would have been in the "Harry Potter" films.

Melling appears as Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliff) cousin Dudley Dursley in five of the eight films in the franchise. Dudley torments and terrorizes Harry at the beginning of the series before the young wizard takes off for Hogwarts. The product of his horrible muggle aunt and uncle, Dudley is a spoiled brat, but one who usually gets his comeuppance in the end. While getting the opportunity to begin your career as a young actor on the set of "Harry Potter" sounds fantastic, Melling reports that he had a very different experience than the rest of the cast.

"My experience was unique in terms of I wasn't in it throughout the entire shoot," the actor told Entertainment Weekly. "The earthly sequences would very much be an isolated filming block. So, I dipped in, and then I went back to school and normal life." It makes sense that he would have a very different experience from the others. While they spent the majority of their filming at Hogwarts or other magical places, Dudley rarely ventured anywhere outside his home in the muggle world.

He was Sysselman on His Dark Materials

After making his name in the Wizarding World, Harry Melling appeared in another popular fantasy franchise, this time on HBO's adaptation of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy of novels by Phillip Pullman. 

The series follows Lyra (Dafne Keen) as she discovers a dangerous secret that involves her father, Lord Asriel Belacqua (James McAvoy), and her mother, Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson). Season 1, Episode 4, "Armour," sees Lyra searching for allies when she comes across a bear named Iorek Byrnison. As the bear rampages through a town of people in search of his stolen armor, citizens and police come out to put him down, led by Sysselman, who is played by Melling. Like his Dursley role, Sysselman is a bit insufferable but gets what he deserves when Iorek nearly rips him apart, stopped only when Lyra begs him off.

Interestingly enough, right after Melling appeared on "His Dark Materials," he showed up again on the BBC in "The War of the Worlds," ensuring that fans got a healthy dose of the grown-up Dudley. Fans took to Twitter to express their love for the actor, with @DaveGolder tweeting, "Big night for Dudley Dursley tonight with roles in both #HisDarkMaterials and #TheWarOfTheWorlds." Meanwhile, @LazyLoverUK felt like she was experiencing deja-vu when she posted, "Wasn't he just stamped on by a bear!!" It was indeed a big night for Harry Melling as he broke out of his Dudley persona as two very different characters.

He was a billionaire bad guy in The Old Guard

In keeping with his penchant for appearing in fantastical productions, Harry Melling also had a supporting role in the Netflix original movie "The Old Guard."

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka, author of the graphic novel series the film is based on, "The Old Guard" follows Andy (Charlize Theron) as she and her gang of immortal warriors spend their unlimited time doing missions and using their skills to help people. They break their one rule of never working for the same person twice when they accept a job, which turns out to be a ruse pulled by a billionaire named Merrick. Melling appears as Merrick, the seemingly selfless billionaire searching for the secret to the team's immortality, who is eventually revealed to be searching only for himself. The character is fairly one-dimensional and meets his end when Andy puts her axe through his neck, and Nile (KiKi Layne) pushes him out the window.

That scene was one Melling was excited to shoot. "I say this with a huge amount of pride because often on this shoot I was sort of watching all the other actors do their amazing choreography bits and being exploded and all sorts," he told the Evening Standard. "And actually at the end, without giving too much away, let's just say I was sort of on a whole wire system levitating in the air. That was pretty exciting. You know, I don't usually get to do stunts. So for me that was a very exciting moment."

He went head-to-head with Beth Harmon on The Queen's Gambit

Chess is anything but a game of action. It is slow and methodical, and if you're not careful, you could get distracted by the paint drying in the middle of a match and miss your moment. That didn't stop Netflix from creating one of their most popular original series around the exhilarating game of wits and strategy. "The Queen's Gambit" follows Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she rises to fame as a chess master in the middle of the 20th century while dealing with drug and alcohol dependence.

Harry Melling appears as Harry Beltik, a competing chess prodigy who loses to Beth and, after that loss, disappears from the game to reevaluate his life. When he returns, he is not angry or bitter but instead spends his time helping Beth keep her life together. Melling sat down with Vulture to discuss his character and what drives him. "I thought that was one of the most fascinating things about him. Not only does she make him question his game of chess, but also question his life and what's important," Melling said. "He realizes that he can help Beth, and he shifts his life into perspective meeting this extraordinary human being. I found this moving, how he reevaluates what is important."

Whether you recognize him from tormenting Harry Potter or hearing "checkmate" from Beth Harmon, there are plenty of reasons why Harry Melling should look familiar.