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Why Sonya From A Man Called Otto Looks So Familiar

"A Man Called Otto" is a story about aging, loneliness, and letting people in. It's the sort of understated film that benefits from some star power to draw audiences to theaters. Tom Hanks did exactly that, and a month after its January release, "A Man Called Otto" reached a box office milestone when it surpassed the $100 million mark. Now the film is enjoying a second life as a bonafide Netflix hit.

A remake of the 2015 Swedish film "A Man Called Ove," the film sees Hanks play Otto, a curmudgeonly widower who is preparing to end his life after retiring. The film oscillates between the present day — which sees Otto forge an unlikely bond with his new neighbors — and flashbacks that tell the story of Young Otto and his eventual wife, Sonya. Although Sonya dies six months before the events of the film, the flashbacks show her and Otto's meet-cute, the early days of their marriage, as well as the accident that resulted in her paralysis and miscarriage. 

Hanks may bring the curmudgeonly Otto to life, but Rachel Keller, who plays Sonya, offers insight into how Otto became his present-day self. Here's where you may have seen Keller before.

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Rachel Keller was part of a crime syndicate in Fargo

Like so many young performers, Rachel Keller left her native Minnesota for Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue an acting career. There she worked on a juice truck, as a hostess, and hawked vegan baked goods while she auditioned around town, eventually landing single-episode roles in "The Mentalist" and "Supernatural," as well as the film "Hollidaysburg."

Keller may have decamped for the city of angels, but her breakthrough role took her back to the upper midwest, where the prodigal actress appeared in a recurring role in Season 2 of FX's "Fargo." She plays Simone, a rebellious member of the Gerhardt family crime syndicate, co-starring alongside Jean Smart and Jeffrey Donovan.

In preparing for the series, Keller used her Minnesota roots to her advantage. "My parents have a slight accent and my sister, but my family that lives out in the country in Minnesota, they have a really strong accent," Keller told The Hollywood Reporter. "Without wanting to offend anyone, I definitely would call my cousins just to get into it."

Keller's family also came in handy when it came to fielding questions about growing up in the 1970s. The second season of "Fargo" takes place in 1979, and Keller's Simone sports a feathered Farrah Fawcett-style do.

Keller starred as Syd in Legion

Following her scene-stealing turn in "Fargo," Rachel Keller reunited with showrunner Noah Hawley for his next FX project, "Legion." At the beginning of the series' 2017 debut, Keller served as a conduit between the eccentric Hawley and the rest of the cast. "I felt a little like I was the gatekeeper to Noah's mind or something," the actress told Vulture. "But I quickly learned that we were all in the same boat. There's no unlocking Noah and there's always more learning as we go."

"Legion" is certainly more unconventional than "Fargo," owing to its premise and its unorthodox way of structuring scenes. Based on characters from the "X-Men" comics, Dan Stevens stars as David Haller, a mutant who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. On paper, Keller's Syd echoes other canonical mutants. Syd's powers cause her to switch bodies with anyone she touches, creating a fascinating dialogue about trust and bodily autonomy. Keller played Syd for the full three-season run of "Legion."

She played a savvy club hostess in Tokyo Vice

When "Legion" came to an end in 2019, Rachel Keller followed up the series with more television roles. She nabbed a main role on Netflix's short-lived mystery drama, "The Society," and in 2020, she appeared in eight episodes of the true-crime series, "Dirty John." Keller joined the second season of the anthology series alongside Amanda Peet and Christian Slater.

In 2022, Keller starred in HBO Max's "Tokyo Vice." Based on Jake Adelstein's memoir of the same name, the series follows a young Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) as he joins the staff of a Tokyo newspaper in 1999. As the only other American expat in "Tokyo Vice," Keller's Samantha Porter is less of a fish out of water than Adelstein. To convincingly portray a savvy nightclub hostess, Keller spent a few months brushing up on her Japanese.

"The Japanese language is so difficult, partly because the sentence structure has no relation to English grammatically," Keller said in an exclusive Looper interview. "It's almost opposite." Strangely enough, her family came in handy once again for the role. "My mom grew up in Japan — a random thing," Keller said, explaining that her grandfather worked for an airline company. "When I was little, I always learned how to count to 10."

Season 2 of "Tokyo Vice" is currently in production in Japan.