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Why Austin Dennison From The Diplomat Looks So Familiar

Keri Russell has come a long way since her days as the lead star in "Felicity." While she has already won a Golden Globe and shown exceptional talent throughout her career, the part of Kate Wyler in Netflix's "The Diplomat" feels like a role she's been waiting two decades to play. Netflix viewers are sold on the political drama that is reminiscent of "The West Wing," and Russell's scrappy, battle-worn ambassador to the UK is every bit as spellbinding to watch. But Russell wouldn't be able to shine without a formidable supporting cast.

One of these is David Gyasi as UK Foreign Secretary Austin Dennison, who once coveted the prime minister position. The lack of respect from the man who did get the job — Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge (Rory Kinnear) — gives us a clue as to what is bubbling beneath his show of etiquette and manners. Dennison is a complex character, but he trusts Wyler almost immediately, thanks to Kate's unfiltered and self-deprecating way of talking. While the relationship between Dennison and Kate doesn't go beyond flirting and an obvious bond, he shows vulnerability in her presence and lets his guard down.

David Gyasi may not be a recognizable name, but his performance in "The Diplomat" makes him hard to forget. And it's very possible that viewers have already seen him before.

He played three different characters in Cloud Atlas

After several walk-on and guest appearances beginning in 2003, David Gyasi's first major television role was in the British comedy series, "Mike Bassett: Manager," playing Jeremy Hands in a five-episode arc. That same year, he also played François in "Shooting Dogs." But it would be 12 years later before he finally got global recognition, first as Harvey in a Season 7 episode of "Doctor Who," and then as three different characters in "Cloud Atlas." 

"It was one of those jobs that's just a bit life-changing," Gyasi told Red Carpet News TV. "Great actors, just artists. The filmmakers were artists, it was quite beautiful. It's a project I'm very proud of."

As Autua, he's a slave in 1849 who stows away on lawyer Adam Ewing's (Jim Sturgess) boat, later pleading with him to hire him as a free man. Later, he saves Ewing's life when Dr. Goose (Tom Hanks) tries to poison him. Thanks to his actions, Ewing decides to become an abolitionist. In 1973, he's shown in a photo to be Luisa Rey's (Halle Berry) father, whose decision to become a journalist inspired her to follow the same path. He appears again in 2321 as Duophysite, presumably the captain of the Prescient vessel that allows Zachry (Tom Hanks), and his niece, Catkin (Raevan Lee Hanan), permission to come with them.

He traveled through a wormhole in Interstellar

In 2014, David Gyasi played Romilly in "Interstellar," the dystopian drama co-starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Romilly is one of the scientists who decide to see if they can go through a wormhole that has been discovered, and find a new planet suitable for humans to live on. He is also the most nervous about their journey and asks Dr. Amelia Brand (Hathaway) for Dramamine shortly after arriving in space. Gyasi ends up stealing most of the scenes he's in, such as when he's explaining how much time passes where they're going compared to Earth with the comment, "That's relativity, folks."

"Interstellar" was Gyasi's second film with Christopher Nolan, who also directed him in the role of Skinny Prisoner in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises." While he recalled to blackfilm.com that his part in "The Dark Knight Rises" was ultimately trimmed down, he was thrilled to get to work with Nolan again. After sending in an audition tape for "Interstellar," he decided to make sure a similar situation didn't occur. "They pretty much offered me the job in the room, but this time I wanted to read the part beforehand just to see that the part matched up to what we were doing and all of that sort of thing," Gyasi said.

He played a moral captain of the guard in the Maleficent sequel

In 2019, David Gyasi co-starred in "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," playing Percival, the head of the guards in Prince Phillip's (Sam Riley) kingdom. He refuses to believe that Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is anything but evil and a murderer. He does exactly what Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) wants, and only begins to see reason when Prince Phillip saves him from Borra (Ed Skrein), who is about to kill him. At the end, he exchanges glances with one of the fae — a sign that his hatred has truly thawed.

In an interview with HeyUGuys, Gyasi talked about his role as the moral and righteous Percival, and how it was ironic to be playing a character that hates creatures that are different. "When they introduced it to me, there are a lot of people at the moment in the world that are like, 'I know what I know and I like what I know and I'm not moving from that,'" he said. "So it's nice to jump into the head of someone like that, and then for that person to just be hit with different experiences and new knowledge."

He starred in Carnival Row as a faun

In 2019, David Gyasi began playing the role of the faun Agreus Astrayon in "Carnival Row,” alongside Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. Agreus works as a skipjack, tracking down workers who have run away. As a wealthy faun, he's a rarity in the Burgue, and humans keep assuming he's a servant or part of the help.

When he takes up residence in Cheswith House, the rich neighbors are aghast at his presence, even going as far as talking to a lawyer to see if it's legal for him to buy the house. But his neighbors, the Spurnroses, are in need of money, and decide to see if they can bargain with him to save themselves. Against the odds, Agreus and his prejudiced neighbor, Imogen Spurnrose (Tamzin Merchant), fall in love.

When it was announced that "Carnival Row" was to be canceled without a Season 3, fans were devastated, especially since they had to wait four years between the first and second season, thanks to the pandemic. Gyasi was also disappointed with the cancellation but told fans that he hoped they would feel closure with how the series would end. "I hope that we've done you proud," Gyasi told Backstage Features. "We know that we fought for the characters that you came to know, and we've tried to dig as deep as we could to try and deliver something that would resemble and kind of give a sense of completion."