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Why William Farrow From Netflix's Obsession Looks So Familiar

Netflix's "Obsession" is steaming up the charts.

The latest erotic miniseries from Netflix, "Obsession" features a simple but tried and tested theme: forbidden love. In the series, middle-aged surgeon William Farrow falls for his son's fiancée Anna (Charlie Murphy). Their chemistry quickly leads to an affair, which has disastrous consequences for Anna as William's obsession grows. Based on Josephine Hart's novel "Damage," this is the second adaptation of the iconic erotic thriller. Audiences were first familiarized with Hart's tall tale of love and lust in the 1992 film "Damage," which features Jeremy Irons and Miranda Richardson.

A modern take on Hart's source material, "Obsession" features a diverse cast. At the heart of the miniseries is William Farrow, the lead who spirals down a dark path of obsession. Slick, and confident, but far too corrupted for his own good, Farrow is played by Richard Armitage. For his role as the obsessed Farrow, Armitage received considerable acclaim. In a review for Rolling Stone, critic Chris Vognar praised the actor for bringing high intensity to the role and for conveying "the haunted eyes of a shellshocked war veteran."

As "Obsession" continues to become one of Netflix's most popular miniseries, audiences might be wondering where they've seen the William Farrow actor before. The British Armitage has appeared in a number of iconic and notable productions in the last few years, which is likely why he's so familiar.

Richard Armitage played a villain in Captain America: The First Avenger

Before "The Avengers" broke records, Marvel Studios introduced audiences to Chris Evans' Captain America in 2011. "Captain America: The First Avenger" opened to critical acclaim, showing off just how cool and complex America's greatest hero is. Serving as an origin story for the iconic character, "The First Avenger" takes place during the Second World War. For the Marvel flick, Richard Armitage was tapped to play Heinz Kruger, an undercover assassin sent to kill Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), the creator behind the Super Soldier Serum.

Though Kruger's role is brief, he's a part of one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most iconic scenes. The "Obsession" actor's character kills Erskine just moments after Evans' Steve Rogers is injected with the serum. Kruger then escapes with the serum, with Rogers in hot pursuit, making this the first time we see the future Captain America in action. In an interview for the film (via YouTube), Armitage expressed how his character is more of a patriot than a one-note villain. "But I really tried not to see him as a bad guy," Armitage shared. "I wanted him to be human and I wanted him to be the kind of spy who had a moral conscience. So he's not just a tool, he's actually...he really believes he's fighting for the Fatherland."

Following his work on "Captain America: The First Avenger," the William Farrow actor found himself in another billion-dollar franchise.

The William Farrow actor is Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit

After the success of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Warner Bros. was eager to bring J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" to life. An adaptation of the children's classic and "LOTR" prequel was stuck in development for nearly a decade, with several creatives taking a crack at the source material. Eventually, Peter Jackson, the shepherd behind the original set of films, came on board to bring "The Hobbit" to the big screen as a trilogy. Released anually between 2012 and 2014, the three films emerged as commercial successes.

The trilogy follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he embarks on a journey to help thirteen dwarves take back their gold from the nefarious dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). The dwarves are led by Thorin Oakenshield, who is played by Richard Armitage. The character appeared in the trilogy as a leading player, showing up in every installment.

For Armitage, playing Thorin Oakenshield was the role of a lifetime. In an interview with The Fantasy.News, Armitage explained how he was familiar with "The Lord of the Rings" but wasn't too aware of Tolkien's other works. After diving deep into Tolkien's expansive Middle-Earth, Armitage focused on the practical aspects of playing Oakenshield. "And then when we got to New Zealand, it was all physical," the actor shared. "Learning how to move like a dwarf, sing like a dwarf, fight like a dwarf...s**t like a dwarf. Then you put aside the work and start filming. Also the work about dressing Thorin and making him look right."

The Obsession actor played a king in Alice: Through the Looking Glass

Before Disney adapted "The Lion King" and "The Little Mermaid" for the big screen, they brought the rich, psychedelic world of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to life. Teaming up with Tim Burton, the studio released "Alice in Wonderland" in 2010 to box office acclaim. Grossing over a billion dollars, the live-action film's success led to a sequel in 2016, subtitled "Through the Looking Glass." The sequel sees Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returning to Wonderland, where she stumbles upon old, familiar friends and new acquaintances.

In "Through the Looking Glass," the "Obsession" actor plays King Oleron, the father of the dueling Red (Helena Bonham Carter) and White (Anne Hathaway) Queens. The actor's role in the film was brief but was certainly welcome. The role of Oleron came at a pivotal time for Armitage, as he was fresh off the heels of "The Hobbit," carving out the future of his career. After "Through the Looking Glass," Armitage's CV becomes less reliant on genre fare. Following his stint as an "Alice" supporting player, the actor lent his talents to "Ocean's 8" and the 2019 horror flick "The Lodge."

He played a serial killer in Hannibal

Richard Armitage has never shied away from performances on television. Before he was in "Captain America" or "The Hobbit," the actor occupied roles in several British television productions, including guest appearances in "Spooks" and "Doctors." Perhaps the actor's most well-known performance on television is his role on NBC's beloved "Hannibal." The actor appeared as the villainous Francis Dolarhyde in the third and final season of the series.

Dolarhyde, a key character from the "Red Dragon" novel, served as the final antagonist in the critically-acclaimed series. While the character only appeared for a few episodes, the serial killer is notable for the impact he left on Will (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen). In an interview with Pop Culture, Armitage revealed that he was a fan of Thomas Harris' novels, on which the series was based. Despite that, Armitage was hesitant to take on the role of a serial killer, especially in a show as graphic as "Hannibal." "The idea of taking on a character that does such appalling things has always been a worry for me," Armitage told TVLine. "I'm very conscious of what we depict on television, and it would've been a deal breaker had I been asked to actually commit those crimes on film, to portray those scenes in the graphic detail that Thomas Harris describes in his novels."

Since his stint on "Hannibal," the William Farrow actor has appeared on shows like "Berlin Station" and Netflix's "Stay Close."