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Why Wojchek From The Last Voyage Of The Demeter Looks So Familiar

Another vampire movie is flapping its wings toward the big screen, and this one takes a page — actually, make that an entire chapter — out of Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel, "Dracula," that focuses on the Russian ship that transported the Prince of Darkness' coffin from Carpathia to London. The film is titled "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" and it features many familiar faces, including "Game of Thrones" star Liam Cunningham as Demeter Captain Eliot and "Straight Outta Compton" star Corey Hawkins as Clemens, who is the ship's doctor.

Also starring in the horror thriller is David Dastmalchian, who plays Eliot's first mate, Wojchek. Directed by André Øvredal, "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" is based on a chapter in "Dracula" titled "The Captain's Log," where Eliot and his crew face peril when the vampire awakens on the voyage. The film, which is set for an August 11 release in theaters, is actually Dastmalchian's third horror film in 2023. Dastmalchian starred in the indie horror thriller "Late Night with the Devil" in March, and the actor is also set to star in the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling novel "The Boogeyman," which will be released in theaters June 2.

Some fans will know Dastmalchian from his behind-the-scenes work as the author of the "Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter" and "Count Crowley: Amateur Midnight Monster Hunter" Dark Horse comic book series. But he has done plenty of work on screen as well, which explains why he looks so familiar.

Dastmalchian's breakthrough role came as a haunting Joker henchman in The Dark Knight

David Dastmalchian's first feature film appearance was in a pair of scenes in writer-director Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" 2008 sequel "The Dark Knight," where he played the Joker's (Heath Ledger) henchman, Thomas Schiff. Dastmalchian's appearance in the film, while brief, is haunting, as he laughs in the face of Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), who is unnerved by Schiff wearing a nametag engraved with his assistant DA girlfriend's name, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Schiff's troubling amusement over withholding information about the Joker nearly causes Dent to shoot Schiff, as a flip of the DA's two-faced coin will essentially seal the henchman's fate. Luckily for Schiff, Batman (Christian Bale) intervenes in the coin flip and effectively spares the life of the Joker's thug.

Having appeared with Ledger on-screen in "Dark Knight" — which marked the iconic actor's last completed screen appearance — Dastmalchian recalled for Looper in an exclusive interview in 2021 the lasting impression of their work together. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the impact that film, and that experience, had on my life. I got to learn so much in such a short amount of time," he said. "I was only around Heath Ledger for just a couple of days, but I learned and was so inspired by the way he existed on set as an artist, as a person, his kindness, his gentleness of spirit, the way that he was invisible until it was time for him to be seen — and when he was seen, he made the most of every moment he had as an actor."

Dastmalchian will soon reteam with Nolan on the filmmaker's upcoming biopic "Oppenheimer," which is set for a July 21, 2023, release.

Dastmalchian became a go-to actor for Villeneuve after his work on Prisoners

There's no question that David Dastmalchian has found the good fortune to work with so many high-profile filmmakers in the past 15 years, and a major turning point in his career came in 2013 with director Denis Villeneuve, who cast the actor in his crime drama "Prisoners." An intense thriller that finds Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) looking for the person who kidnapped the daughters of neighbors Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Terrance Howard), the case turns tragic when an introverted neighborhood man, Bob Taylor (Dastmalchian), is wrongfully accused of the crime. Battered senselessly because of his perceived involvement in the kidnapping, Taylor, who as it turns out is a scarred victim of abuse, takes his own life.

Dastmalchian's heartbreaking turn in "Prisoners" appeared to have a lasting effect on Villeneuve, who cast the actor in supporting roles in "Blade Runner: 2049" and "Dune." The actor's role in "Prisoners" also opened the floodgates for Dastmalchian to explore his career as an independent filmmaker, as he wrote and starred in the semi-autobiographical film "Animals" for director Collin Schiffli. "The money I made from 'Prisoners' helped kind of float me to be able to go make 'Animals,'" Dastmalchian told Looper in 2021. "My wife [Eve] was able to quit her job as a bartender at the time to come and help us get the movie made."

Thanks to the film festival success of "Animals" in 2014, Dastmalchian was able to reteam with Schiffli and a future fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe star, Karen Gillan, in the 2018 crime drama, "All Creatures Here Below."

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Dastmalchian played two different characters in the Ant-Man trilogy

David Dastmalchian joined the MCU in 2015 in the role of Kurt, a Russian hacker who was part of Scott Lang/Ant-Man's (Paul Rudd) crew in "Ant-Man." In 2018, Dastmalchian reprised his role of Kurt along with his fellow "Ant-Man" crew members Luis (Michael Peña) and Dave (T.I. Harris) for "Ant-Man and the Wasp." He also voiced the character for the Marvel animated series "What If ...?"

Dastmalchian told Looper in an exclusive interview for the 2023 "Ant-Man" threequel "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" that he initially learned from director Peyton Reed that Lang's crew would not be appearing in the film. Fortunately, though, Reed later offered Dastmalchian the role of the curious alien, Veb, which the actor brought to life via motion capture in the Quantum Realm. "Bringing Veb to life was truly one of the most joyful experiences I've ever had as an actor," Dastmalchian recalled for Looper in an interview about the film. "It's a character that was completely filmed in a mo-cap suit where everything was up to my imagination, my voice, and my body, to create for my fellow actors, for my camera team, for our VFX artists — every detail of the voice and all of that. It was just my imagination."

Before working on his third "Ant-Man film," Dastmalchian got to experience another inspiring comic book movie experience when he got a call from his friend, MCU-turned-DC filmmaker James Gunn.

Dastmalchian marked the spot in people's hearts as Polka-Dot Man

David Dastmalchian is one in a rare group of actors who have had the opportunity to play live-action roles in both the MCU and DC. In addition to his film work, Dastmalchian appeared as a Joker acolyte on the Fox Television series "Gotham," and brought the villain Abra Kadabra to life in The CW's "The Flash."

Without question, the biggest role Dastmalchian played in DC to date came with Abner Krill, aka the Polka-Dot Man, in writer-director James Gunn's 2021 anti-hero action adventure "The Suicide Squad." While Dastmalchian's character had the deadly ability to shoot polka dots from his wrists, he mostly came across to audiences as a sympathetic character because of his troubles with an uncontrollable skin disorder and the revelation that he was suffering from depression. In an exclusive interview with Looper for the film, Dastmalchian said his real-life struggles with both disorders helped inform his portrayal of Polka-Dot Man.

"I know what it's like to be morbidly depressed. I've wrestled with it, and I nearly lost my battle to depression, and thankfully that was years ago and now I'm in a much better place, but I definitely know what it feels like to want to die the way that Abner does," Dastmalchian revealed. "I know what it feels like to be embarrassed of your body. I have a skin condition called vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disorder which corrodes the pigmentation in my skin. So, I have spots all over my body and my face, which I used to color pretty intensely. And now, I just started letting it go because I'm very much at peace with it."

Dastmalchian was a Queen (bassist) for a day in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Thanks to his rising star, David Dastmalchian has been asked to appear in various cameo roles over the past few years, including a stint as rock legend Queen's former bass player and songwriter John Deacon in the 2022 comedy "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." In a star-studded scene loaded with cameos, "Weird Al" Yankovic (Daniel Radcliffe) is challenged by legendary DJ Wolfman Jack (Jack Black) to come up with a song parody on the spot for the Queen hit "Another One Bites the Dust." Weird Al, without batting an eye, turned the Deacon-penned tune into "Another One Rides the Bus."

Also featured in the scene were several comedians including Conan O'Brien as Andy Warhol, Rainn Wilson as Yankovic's mentor Doctor Demento, and Emo Phillips as Salvador Dali, among many others. Meanwhile, Dastmalchian's friend, the real "Weird Al" Yankovic, was at the set. Dastmalchian told Looper that he was feeling the heat. "I felt like I had to deliver the funny, which is terrifying," he said. "But it was a great experience. Al was there on set. Everybody was super cool. They shot that whole movie in 18 days, so we had to bang it out very quickly, and we nailed it."