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Why Infinity War's Proxima Midnight looks so familiar

In Avengers: Infinity War, intergalactic baddie Thanos is on a determined mission to acquire all six of the Infinity Stones so that he can decimate the universe's population. Assisting him on his quest are his minions, who in the comics are known as the Black Order. These "children of Thanos" consist of the Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian (a.k.a. the Black Dwarf), Corvus Glaive and his wife, Proxima Midnight. Put them all together and you've got one tall order for Earth's Mightiest Heroes to take on.

Although she's digitally rendered to look alien, Proxima Midnight's voice and facial structure are sure to make you ask yourself: "Where do I know her from?" It's actually American actress Carrie Coon, whose convincingly intimidating motion-capture performance in Infinity War is yet another impressive addition to her acting resume. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Coon admitted that although she didn't even know which Avengers film she was shooting, something pretty cool came out of it. "My sister-in-law was doing a charity auction for an organization that she works with, and they found some Proxima Midnights [action figures], and I didn't even know they existed! But I signed them for this charity, and I was like, 'I think I need to have this.'" This Ohio-born, Tony-nominated talent has certainly come a long way to reach the point of her career where she has her own action figure — here's why she looked so familiar in Infinity War, and where else you can see her work.

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The Playboy Club (2011)

In September of 2011, NBC took a gamble on The Playboy Club, an American drama series focused on the lives of the women who worked as "bunnies" at the original Playboy Club in the '60s. Despite that titillating premise and a talented cast that included future stars Amber Heard and Jenna Dewan, the show struggled to gain any traction, hindered by dismal ratings and protests from the conservative Parents Television Council. After only airing three episodes, the network decided to pull the plug.

Although it was only on for a brief period of time, The Playboy Club offered Coon her first role in a television series. In the show's third (and final) episode, she played Doris Hall, a Playboy bunny working at the infamous mansion. Coon, who had previously only acted in stage plays and small commercials, spoke highly of her time in television. "Those guest-star roles are highly coveted… because they give you a good chunk of change, and the theater doesn't pay anything." 

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2013)

It's no secret that Law & Order: SVU is a breeding ground for featuring future-famous guest stars. The show has helped jump-start the careers of actors of all pedigrees, including Bradley Cooper, Sarah Hyland, Amanda Seyfried, Zoe Saldana — and, of course, Carrie Coon.

Coon made her Law & Order appearance in "Girl Dishonored," the 20th episode of the show's 14th season. She played Talia Blaine, a college counselor at a school that was covering up rape allegations. This small gig might have helped her land more guest roles in 2014, as Coon went on to perform in NBC's Ironside, a police drama, and CBS's Intelligence, a spy thriller. 

In very flattering article about her in Chicago Magazine, one of Coon's closest friends made an interesting observation about some of her gigs. "A lot of the roles that Carrie has played are these very serious, dark, deeply emotional, and in some cases traumatic roles," the friend mused. "It is so interesting to me because the Carrie that I've known since I was 17 is this wacky, fun, silly person. She's such a goofball." This ability to portray personalities that are so unlike your own is a sign of a very talented actor.

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Gone Girl (2014)

Talk about a successful debut: For her very first feature film appearance, Coon starred alongside Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, the movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn's twisted, wildly successful novel of the same name. Coon starred as Margo Dunne, twin sister of Affleck's leading man, Nick Dunne. She got the part by sending in an audition tape — and must've really knocked it out of the park in order to get cast the old-fashioned way.

According to NBC News, Coon managed to "steal scenes with her spitfire delivery and pointed observations," and her natural rapport with Affleck really sold the pair's brother-sister relationship. "Ben's pretty quick and my family is a pretty sarcastic family…So we were able to fall into that rhythm right away."

As "Go," Coon really got to showcase the full range of her acting chops, and it definitely had an effect on the film's success. Gone Girl was a massive box office hit, bringing in $368.1 million worldwide. If the first movie you ever act in goes on to become one of the top 20 highest-grossing films of the year, you must be doing something right.

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The Leftovers (2014-2017)

HBO's psychological mystery drama The Leftovers focused on the lives of several remaining humans after two percent of the entire global population up and vanished in a rapture-like event. The series, based on Tom Perrotta's novel of the same title, ran from June 2014 through June 2017, consisting of 28 total episodes. Carrie Coon portrayed Nora Durst, a grieving widower who lost both her husband and children in the event. She was one of the series' main characters, starring alongside Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and Liv Tyler. 

Although the show's diehard fans claim that The Leftovers' final season got snubbed at the Emmys, Coon still views her work on the show with great regard. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she raved about how it affected her career. "I rarely get recognized and whenever I do, it has to do with The Leftovers because it came into someone's life at a particularly important time for them — if they were dealing with grief or loss or whatever tragedy — and they just caught it."

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Strange Weather (2016)

For her second film, Carrie Coon decided to go the indie route, starring alongside Holly Hunter in Katherine Dieckmann's Strange Weather. The story follows Hunter's character, Darcy Baylor, as she searches to confront the man who may or may not have had a part in her son's suicide. Coon plays Byrd Ritt, Darcy's road trip ride-or-die.

The movie premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival in late 2016, but wasn't released in the United States until July of 2017. Although it had built up a bit of buzz from its time in the festival circuit, the film didn't fare particularly well with critics or audiences. Still, in an interview with UPROXX, Coon dished about shooting in the American south and confessed her real motivation for taking the role. "It was just gorgeous. And the people I met down there — not just the crew, but also the members of the community in Jackson — I found them to be really incredible, incredibly welcoming in surprising ways… and of course then you combine that with working with the great Holly Hunter. That was the reason that I took that job."

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Fargo (2017)

In the spring of 2017, Coon's acting career really caught fire. While simultaneously shooting HBO's The Leftovers, Coon also jumped on the cast of FX's smash series Fargo for its third season. An aptly dubbed "black comedy" wrapped up in a crime anthology, Fargo is based on the Coen brothers' 1996 film of the same name. In its critically acclaimed third season, Coon starred as Gloria Burgle, the recently divorced chief of police in snowy Eden Valley, Minnesota. 

Despite starring alongside A-list actors Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Coon was the real scene-stealer, even earning an Emmy nomination for Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress. Although the award ultimately went to Nicole Kidman for her performance in HBO's Big Little Lies, to even be considered for such a prestigious award was a huge feat for Coon. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she opened up a bit about the "spring of Carrie Coon," saying, "Oh gosh, this year, this extraordinary year… It's funny, I feel like I'm still processing this year that I've had."

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The Keeping Hours (2017)

In Karen Moncrieff's The Keeping Hours, Coon played Elizabeth, a grieving mother of a dead son. Ten years after her son's death, supernatural occurrences reunite Elizabeth with her ex-husband Mark, played by Lee Pace.

It's interesting that in this film, which is largely a drama with elements of horror and mystery mixed in, Coon yet again played a grieving, lonely mother. In The Leftovers, her husband, son and daughter all vanished, and in Fargo, she was a divorced mother. Apparently, Coon has a real knack for bringing a maternal vibe to her performances, embodying a down-to-earth human being. As the New Yorker put it, "Her shrewd eyes and inconspicuous beauty allow her to play 'ordinary' women — or women who tell themselves they're ordinary while suppressing an inner wildness or desperation." That's high praise from such a prestigious magazine.

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Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town (2017)

Christian Papierniak's indie flick Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is an energetic, charming pseudo-comedy. The story follows MacKenzie Davis' Izzy, an unapologetic, hungover punk rocker who decides to crash her ex's engagement bash that just so happens to be a day's trek away; Coon plays Izzy's sister, Virginia. Although her screen time was brief, Coon surely made the most of it, as she and Davis memorably perform an acoustic cover of Heavens to Betsy's "Axemen."

Her appearance in Izzy marked the first time Coon ever had to sing on camera, and although it sounded wonderful in the film, it was a nerve-wracking experience. "We ran through it a few times [that evening] and tried to find the right octave," she recalled. "Of course it never goes the way you think it's going to go on the actual day — all the conditions are different…I was nervous about it!" Clearly, Carrie Coon has never been one to shy away from trying new things.

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The Post (2017)

It's generally considered a great honor to work on a Steven Spielberg film, and Carrie Coon is one of the lucky talents who can flaunt that achievement on her IMDb page. In The Post, she portrayed journalist Meg Greenfield, a proud member of the Washington Post team responsible for publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The film, which starred mega-celebs Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, went on to become one of the year's best pictures, bringing in nearly $180 million at the worldwide box office and nabbing two Oscar nominations

Although her role was fairly minor, Coon's time on set with an acclaimed director and two of the biggest names in Hollywood history is not an experience she will soon forget. "It was pretty extraordinary and an actor's dream," she told Parade. "The thing that I loved about working with Meryl, Tom and Steven is that they all so clearly still love what they're doing. They've been making films for decades and it's still magical for them, still moving for them, and important." 

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Widows (2018)

Steve McQueen's Widows featured an all-star cast led by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Daniel Kaluuya. Although her role was small, you can't forget Carrie Coon on the list. The film follows four women forced to embark on a heist of their own after their gangster husbands are killed; Coon plays Amanda, one of the widows who decides not to partake in the plan. Although it garnered a decent amount of buzz prior to its release, the film ultimately didn't fare well at the box office, only earning $76 million with a production budget of $42 million.

In an interview with Observer, Coon dished about her favorite parts of working on Widows, which was shot in her hometown of Chicago. "Steve [McQueen] brings his particular point of view to a genre picture," she pointed out. "That's why I wanted to do this film — that and working with the great Viola Davis and running into Liam Neeson and, best of all, finally getting to sleep in my own bed for a change." In the acting world, you can't put a price tag on working close to home.

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The Sinner (2018)

In the first season of USA's dark mystery thriller The Sinner, Jessica Biel absolutely shined in the role of a woman coming to grips with the demons of her past. For its second season, the showrunners needed to find another leading lady to fill Biel's shoes. Although she wasn't their first choice, the role of commune leader Vera Walker eventually went to Coon. "As always happens in Hollywood, that actress said no, and a week later they came to me."

The really interesting part of this story is that Coon hadn't even intended to be on the show at all. It was actually her husband, Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts, who received the casting call. Since Coon had just delivered their first child, she was looking forward to taking some time off from acting to spend with her new baby. When the role of Vera was reopened, they offered it to Coon, and the rest is history.