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Why Edward From Firebrand Looks So Familiar

"Firebrand" is a historical drama that you can't watch yet. At this point in its life cycle, only those who attended the 2023 Cannes Film Festival have seen it. Based on a 2013 novel by Elizabeth Fremantle called "Queen's Gambit," of no affiliation with the Netflix series of the same name, the film stars Alicia Vikander as Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII, played by a nearly unrecognizable Jude Law.

Alongside these headliners are Erin Doherty, Sam Riley, Simon Russell Beale, and Eddie Marsan. That last name might sound familiar to those who enjoy trolling through IMDb. Marsan, who portrays Edward Seymour in "Firebrand," a nobleman that enjoys a close relationship with Henry VIII after his now-deceased sister became the king's third wife, crops up in new blockbuster and arthouse cinema every year. You've definitely seen him before, even if you don't recognize him by name.

Marsan began his professional acting career in the late 1980s and has since garnered almost 150 projects to his name, including "Deadpool 2," "The Illusionist," "Atomic Blonde," "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," and "Snow White and the Huntsman." Here are some of his many, many high-profile credits.

Eddie Marsan played Killoran in Gangs of New York

In 2002, Martin Scorsese taught half of Hollywood how to do an Irish accent. And that's almost not an exaggeration. "Gangs of New York" is Miramax Films' historical drama that chronicles a very real and very violent feud that occurred between the Catholics and the Protestants in the late 1800s. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Amsterdam Vallon, a young Irish immigrant driven by the need for revenge against the man who killed his father. He gets his revenge, but it's a long bloody road that leads him to it.

Among others, DiCaprio is joined onscreen by Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Cara Seymour, and Brendan Gleeson. And somehow, there are even more actors in this critically acclaimed drama because Eddie Marsan is involved, too. As Killoran, Marsan played a smaller role in "Gangs of New York" with only a few lines of dialogue.

But it wasn't written to be small. During an interview with Venice Magazine, Marsan admitted that he spent nine months working on the film but that most of his footage was scrapped in the edit. "That was a fantastic experience, but it almost destroyed my career. I did nine months on it and had a great storyline with Jim Broadbent, which ended up being cut and I only had one line in the final cut. So at the end of all that, I had no work to show for it and was unemployed for a while. But I loved it."

In V for Vendetta, Marsan was The Ear of an authoritarian government

"Remember, remember the fifth of November" didn't originate from "V for Vendetta." However, the dystopian political drama is the reason that the little excerpt haunts your Facebook timeline every holiday season.

The 2005 film, which is based on Alan Moore's graphic novel series of the same name, takes its audience into an unspecified year in Britain's future where the government is run by authoritarian fascists. Curfews are mandatory, immigration is illegal, and all citizens are required by law to abide within the confines of a singular, heteronormative religion. Failure to follow the rules always ends in death. 

"V for Vendetta" stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, an employee of the state-run British Television Network who gets embroiled in a political uprising. Hugo Weaving costars as the titular, masked V.

"V for Vendetta" also features Stephen Fry, Stephen Rea, and John Hurt. Eddie Marsan portrays Brian Etheridge, who serves as the head of Norsefire's audio-surveillance division, known widely as the government's "Ear." If that sounds like an invasive job, that's because it is. Brian listened in on anything that Norsefire deemed politically dangerous. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to stop V from blowing up everything, so maybe he was just really bad at his job.

Marsan is Inspector Lestrade in Warner Bros.' (technically ongoing) Sherlock Holmes franchise

Quirky detectives are usually insufferable but they're a little less insufferable when they're Robert Downey Jr. In 2009, Warner Bros. joined Hollywood's long-held tradition of adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mystery novels for the silver screen. Simply entitled "Sherlock Holmes," the film starred Downey as the titular detective as he explores the depths of London to decipher the mysterious "dark magic" that allowed a man to rise from the dead. Jude Law also stars as Dr. John Watson, Sherlock's reluctant partner. The film must have done something right because it landed a sequel, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," in 2011, and a third film is still technically in development, even though more than a decade has passed since the second installment.

Aside from Downey and Law, the franchise features Rachel McAdams, Jared Harris, Mark Strong, and Eddie Marsan. Marsan portrays Inspector Lestrade, a begrudging ally of Sherlock. As an officer of Scotland Yard, Lestrade prefers to take a more conventional approach to law enforcement. The only trouble is that Sherlock stumps him at every turn. In this particular adaptation, Lestrade is a bit more bumbling, something Marsan plays up to great effect.

During a 2023 interview with Comic Book, Marsan expressed his doubt of there ever being a third entry into the series but said that he would be interested in returning to "Sherlock Holmes," if ever the chance arose.

Jack the Giant Slayer transformed Marsan into a knight ... and later, giant food

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack should avoid magic beans at all costs, lest he accidentally set a horde of carnivorous giants upon the land. But if Jack were smart, there would be no fairy tale to reimagine. In 2013, Warner Bros. -– yes, nearly every film covered here is owned by that studio –- released "Jack the Giant Slayer," a version of the tale as old as time that features significantly more giants and significantly more Stanley Tucci. It's a win-win, really. The fantasy adventure stars Nicholas Hoult as Jack, a love-struck village boy batting way out of his league with the princess of Cloister.

The film also features Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, and Bill Nighy. Eddie Marsan portrays Crawe, a knight in the princess' guard. He works closely with McGregor's Elmont to rescue the princess, even though he's terrified at the prospect of encountering giants. The problem is, though, Crawe's fear of giants is well-placed –- he ends up in the stomach of a two-headed monstrosity. It's not a pretty sight, and it probably didn't feel too great, either.

Marsan told Den of Geek in 2013 that director Bryan Singer drew him to the project. "I wanted to work with Bryan Singer because I like his films," said Marsan. "It's good to do big movies like this, it's good for your career. I do a lot of small, indie movies, and the more you're in big movies like this, it's easier for you to get smaller movies funded ... I cover all bases."

Marsan played the titular character's brother in Ray Donovan

Hey, we finally made it back to something that isn't owned by Warner Bros.! In 2013, Showtime released "Ray Donovan," a serialized crime drama that followed the titular fixer, a term that does not mean the guy unclogs sinks. Instead, he handles the dirty work for America's wealthy elite, which includes everything from drug deals to cleaning up crime scenes. "Ray Donovan," which did major numbers for the network, so much so that it received seven seasons and a movie to serve as its finale, starred Liev Schreiber in the titular role. The show balanced his character's work and personal lives, which are far more intertwined than should be considered healthy.

Alongside Schreiber, "Ray Donovan" starred Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Pooch Hall, and Jon Voight, among numerous others. Marsan portrayed Terry Donovan, a former boxer and Ray's older brother who suffers from Parkinson's disease.

During a 2018 interview with Schön! Magazine, Marsan shared that "Ray Donovan" caused him to fall in love with television. "I never thought I would enjoy doing television because I've never really been a television actor," he said. "I enjoy playing Terry because I really understand him. I have a lot of affection for him. It's funny, I usually come in to play a character ... and leave after four or five months. The longest I've played a character was Scott in 'Happy-Go-Lucky,' which took a year to create. But Terry's been six years, so I really feel like he's somebody I really admire and I have a lot of affection for."