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Who Plays Vance In The Black Phone?

Released in the Summer of 2022, Scott Derrickson's supernatural creeper "The Black Phone" hit theaters with no particular shortage of expectation. That's largely because the film — based on a story by celebrated horror scribe Joe Hill — marked Derrickson's return to true-blue genre territory after a tricky stint with Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange" franchise. It is also re-teamed Derrickson with his "Sinister" star, Ethan Hawke, with the beloved actor making a rare villainous turn as a vile child murderer in 1970s Denver.

Hawke's role as "The Grabber" is, of course, more supporting in nature, with "The Black Phone" focusing largely on his latest victim, a clever teen named Finn Blake (Mason Thames). Trapped in The Grabber's basement cell, Finn begins encountering the spirits of past victims who call him on the titular communication device hoping to help him find a way to escape captivity. One of those victims is the volatile, pinball-loving punk Vance Hopper, who fell prey to The Grabber sometime between beating the pulp out of some kids who interrupted his record-smashing game and Finn getting grabbed. 

The role is played with a powder keg of energy by Brady Hepner. And if he looked familiar under that hair-metal teased wig, it's because Hepner has logged a couple of impressive gigs in the early days of his career. Here's where you might've seen him before. 

Brady Hepner is already assembling an impressive screen resume

Brady Hepner's name has not yet made its way into the pop culture pantheon, as he hadn't logged many roles prior to "The Black Phone." But if you saw Hepner at work in his Season 9 episode of "Chicago Fire," you know his talent was well on display before he landed the role of Vance Hopper.

As it was, "Chicago Fire" marked Hepner's first legit screen credit. The episode found Kelly Severide and company responding to a call at his childhood home. And it's there that Severide encounters one of the current residents, a youngster named Dylan (Hepner), who's on the verge of running away. Dylan believes his pricey medical history has made him a burden to his parents. Severide naturally finds a way to talk him down, and the moment that passes between the pair is arguably not just a highlight of the episode, but the entire season.

Since "The Black Phone," Hepner has also made an appearance in the indie drama "Resisting Roots." But according to IMDb, Hepner's pre-"The Black Phone" roles also include the b-movie fright-fest, "Killer Babes and the Frightening Film Incident," in which he appears alongside low-key scream queens like Linnea Quigley, Lisa Wilcox, Jenna Kannell, and Tiffany Shepis. Despite that impressive lineup, the film has somehow not yet been released. So keep an eye out for it. Ditto for Hepner's upcoming project, "The Holdovers," which will see him working with Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne and sharing the screen with Paul Giamatti.