Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Oppenheimer: Why Jackie Looks So Familiar

Already one of the highest-earning films in Christopher Nolan's filmography, "Oppenheimer" puts longtime Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy front and center as the so-called father of the atomic bomb. The other main cast members are equally impressive, with Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon leading the charge.

"Oppenheimer" captures the physicist's singular mission to craft a devastating weapon. In the process, he is surrounded by countless colleagues, detractors, and figures from his political past, resulting in a huge ensemble cast that gathers the likes of Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Rami Malek, Matthew Modine, and Josh Peck, to name a few.

One integral character in the film is Oppenheimer's brother, Frank, played by Dylan Arnold. Frank's ties to the communist party are a source of tension, and he gets engaged to Jackie — a Berkeley student and member of the Young Communist League — against his brother's advice. Here is where you may have seen the actress who plays Jackie before.

Emma Dumont pirouetted (and played roller derby) in Bunheads

Emma Dumont's career began at the age of 5, when she started modeling in catalogs. By the time she was eight, Dumont was already a triple threat after discovering a love for musical theater and dance. She parlayed those skills into her first roles filmed in her native Seattle, including the indie productions "True Adolescents" starring Melissa Leo and Mark Duplass and "Dear Lemon Lima."

In 2012, Dumont synthesized her many talents in Amy Sherman-Palladino's ballet-centric series "Bunheads." The ABC Family series follows Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster), a former ballerina-turned-Vegas showgirl. After Michelle marries her dogged admirer, she moves to the small town of Paradise, California, where she begins to teach dancing at her mother-in-law's ballet studio, Paradise Dance Academy.

Alongside Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins), Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles), and Ginny (Bailey Buntain), Melanie — played by Dumont — is one of the students at the academy. While acting on "Bunheads," Dumont simultaneously pursued a dance career. "I recently went to a ballet intensive with the Joffrey Ballet School," the performer told Beautylish. "And some of the girls were like 'You're Melanie from Bunheads!' It's so funny to think that a lot of people only know me from that aspect of my work and have this idea about me based on the character I play."

Dumont's dance background wasn't the only thing she brought to "Bunheads." She also skated in a roller derby league in real life — a hobby that Melanie adopts in "Bunheads."

She fell in with the Manson Family on Aquarius

Following her breakthrough role on the first and only season of "Bunheads," Emma Dumont appeared in the TV movie "Starving in Suburbia," as well as Paul Thomas Anderson's 2014 Thomas Pynchon adaptation, "Inherent Vice." (Dumont would collaborate with Anderson again for a small role in his 2021 film "Licorice Pizza.")

Dumont secured her big post-"Bunheads" role with the period drama "Aquarius." A far cry from the bubbly comedy of "Bunheads," "Aquarius" takes place in 1967 and follows Charles Manson's rise as a sinister cult leader. David Duchovny stars as Sam Hodiak, a veteran LAPD detective contending with the generation gap between himself and the young undercover cop Brian Shafe (Grey Damon). Together, they investigate Manson's growing influence — particularly among vulnerable young women. Dumont plays one of those women — Emma Karn — who joins his cause. "Aquarius" ran for two seasons from 2015 to 2016.

For Dumont, it was illuminating to play someone so wide-eyed. "I remember reading [the script] and thinking, 'Emma is so naive,'" Dumont recalled to Icon Vs. Icon. It was, she admits, a challenge to play someone who ended up in Manson's orbit. "It is so hard for me to understand the choices she makes as a person...A lot of the things that play into that is my research into the real Manson girls and why they did what they did."

Dumont played Zoe on T@gged

Despite its humble beginnings as a web series, the psychological thriller series "T@gged" turned out to be a launchpad for a bevy of young talent, including Lukas Gage and Noah Centineo. In 2017, Emma Dumont joined "T@gged" for Seasons 2 and 3.

Created by Hannah Macpherson, "T@gged" examines the pressures and deadly consequences of social media. In Season 1, three high school students are targeted by the mysterious "monkey-man," an online stranger who tags the girls' accounts in violent videos. Dumont plays Zoe Desaul, a new student who also happens to be a ballerina.

Dumont compared "T@gged" to "Pretty Little Liars," though it also shares DNA with social media cautionary tales like "Unfriended" and "Assassination Nation." "I loved PLL, but I honestly enjoy T@gged as least as much as I did PLL," one Redditor wrote on the "Pretty Little Liars" subreddit. "But T@gged is genuinely scary. It's a bit edgier and it comes with much higher stakes. And the villains are all BELIEVABLE."

Initially a web series on the now-defunct go90 platform, "T@gged" moved to Hulu for its third and final season. The series experienced a wave of renewed interest when it began streaming on Netflix in 2021.

Dumont gave a magnetic performance in The Gifted

Given Emma Dumont's background in dance and roller derby, it was a matter of time before she signed onto a physical, action-adjacent role. The same year that Emma Dumont joined the cast of "T@gged," she also joined the world of superhero media with Fox's "The Gifted."

Much like FX's "Legion," "The Gifted" takes place in an alternate timeline within the world of the "X-Men" films. In "The Gifted," the famed X-Men no longer exist, and mutants exist on the fringes of society. As in the comics and films, "The Gifted" examines clashing ideologies among mutants.

Dumont plays Lorna Dane, also known as Polaris, who can control the force of magnetism. As Magneto's daughter, she also carries a certain amount of familial baggage. For her performance, Dumont was featured in IndieWire's roundup of TV's breakout stars. The article reads, "In a role that combines physicality and emotion, Dumont makes Lorna a completely captivating character, one who is full of rage, bravado, and desperation, and yet still has a youthful sweetness and resilience."