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Why This Black Widow Actress Looks So Familiar

Marvel fans have wanted Black Widow to get her own movie for some time, and now, the super assassin is finally going to headline a film. Of course, it should come as no surprise to moviegoers (well, maybe a bit of a surprise if you've seen Avengers: Endgame) that Scarlett Johansson is topping the bill as the titular spy. But there's a name in the credits that might not sound so familiar to most moviegoers, and that's got a lot of people asking, "Who is Florence Pugh?"

As of this writing, it's unconfirmed who Pugh will be playing in Black Widow, but all signs point to Yelena Belova, a fellow spy who trained in the same facility as Natasha Romanoff. But where have we seen this actress before? Well, for anyone who watches wrestling biopics, Shakespeare adaptations, or incredibly gnarly horror flicks, then chances are good you've seen Pugh in a few different things. And today, we're going to dive into her filmography and take a look at the some of the bigger roles Pugh has played leading up to Black Widow.

Florence Pugh is fantastic in The Falling

Florence Pugh's big screen debut came alongside another up-and-coming English actress—Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams—in director Carol Morley's 2014 thriller The Falling. The film takes place at a private girls' school in 1969 and features Pugh in the role of Abigail Mortimer.

Abbie has recently started exploring her sexuality, and she's become pregnant in the process. She soon starts to suffer from mysterious fainting spells and dies after going into convulsions. Soon, Abbie's fainting starts spreading to the other students and staff, and then the entire school has to be closed down in order to investigate the source of the fainting.

Naturally, there's more going on than meets the eye, and it's actually a pretty impressive film, especially considering how many young and relatively inexperienced performers are involved. Even from her first role, Pugh proved that she was destined for bigger things.

She was marvelous in Marcella

If you're a fan of British TV, you may have spotted Pugh on the first series (or season, to viewers outside of Britain) of the crime drama Marcella. The show was created by Hans Rosenfeldt, who also created The Bridge. Pugh only appeared in the first few episodes of Marcella, but she actually played a pivotal role in the case that drives the action.

Marcella focuses on a detective returning to three unsolved murder cases after it appears the killer may have resurfaced. Pugh plays Cara Thomas, a cam girl who meets clients through an app for people looking to have affairs. But Cara doesn't have romance on her mind, as she has a bad habit of robbing and blackmailing her dates. However, she soon starts receiving threats from one of her victims, who may also be the killer.

Police realize Cara's connection to the killer too late, and they're unable to rescue her in time. Even after Cara is killed, her name pops back up throughout the show as the police try to track down the Grove Park Killer, so Pugh's undeniable presence is felt throughout the show.

Pugh gave an all-time performance in Lady Macbeth

Pugh really got to show off her acting chops in 2016's Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd. The film is based on a novella entitled Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, and revolves around a devious woman and her rejection of 19th-century gender roles and subjugation.

Pugh plays the lead role of Katherine who, throughout the film's run, murders multiple people, openly has affairs (at one point even sleeping with a servant as her husband watches), and eventually takes control of her husband's estate, after murdering him, of course.

Lady Macbeth features some of Pugh's best acting we've seen yet. Her character is tough but vulnerable and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. Critics have called her "mesmerizing" and "a wrecking crew, communicating pure malevolence with a simple glance." So basically, if you want to see Pugh at the top of her game before Black Widow, Lady Macbeth is the place to start.

The actress killed it in The Commuter

Remember The Commuter? It was that Liam Neeson thriller that wasn't quite Taken but sure seemed like it was trying to be. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, it features Florence Pugh in a small but memorable role. Pugh plays Gwen, a fellow commuter alongside Neeson's character, who sports tattoos, a nose piercing, and dyed-pink hair. If you didn't know you were looking for Pugh, it would be easy to miss her.

As Neeson's character Michael grows more and more paranoid, he starts eyeing everyone on the train he's on with suspicion. As the stakes raise and he begins investigating the other passengers he thinks may be conspiring against him, he realizes that Gwen is very protective of the bag she is carrying with her.

Again, it's a small role, but it does showcase Pugh's ability to embody whatever part she's given to work with. She also got to star in a film with some big names like Neeson, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Neill, plus The Commuter marked her first of five projects in 2018, which is pretty impressive.

Florence Pugh goes to Shakespearean heights with King Lear

Shakespeare's King Lear has been reimagined dozens of times, and one of the most recent was a collaboration between BBC Two and Amazon Prime, with Anthony Hopkins starring in the title role. This version of King Lear is directed by Richard Eyre, is set in an alternate 21st century, and imagines England as a highly militarized country. This helps bring the warring factions of Shakespeare's story into the modern day. Hopkins' King Lear is set to divide his estate between his three daughters—Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia—but cuts Cordelia out of the deal after she refuses to publicly praise him.

Pugh plays Cordelia, who must fight to survive as the power struggle between her sisters threatens the entire country. Besides Hopkins and Pugh, this version of King Lear features a pretty impressive cast. Emma Thompson and Emily Watson play Lear's other daughters, and actors like Jim Broadbent, Jim Carter, Andrew Scott, and Christopher Eccleston also appear. Starring in a Shakespeare film with such a respected cast is a fine feather in any young actress' cap.

Pugh projects power and grace in Outlaw King

If you ever wondered what happened to England and Scotland after Braveheart, Outlaw King might be just what you're looking for. Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, it's a Netflix original directed by David Mackenzie of Hell or High Water fame. Florence Pugh features heavily in the film as Elizabeth Burgh, goddaughter to King Edward. The king marries her to Robert the Bruce, and she offers encouragement and strategic advice as he seeks to unite Scotland's clans against English rule.

Pugh again shows an ability to portray quiet strength in her role as Elizabeth. Women in the 14th century had very little true power, but Pugh has a knack for imbuing strength and personality into a role that could otherwise be a bit of a throwaway part (just look at William Wallace's wife in Braveheart). She spends much of the film either counseling her husband or being used as a bit of a bargaining chip, but she never feels totally helpless, even when the situation dictates it.

She proves her espionage abilities in The Little Drummer Girl

Based on John le Carre's 1983 novel, The Little Drummer Girl is a TV miniseries and one of the very best tales of backstabbing and espionage. It features Pugh as Charlie, an actress and double agent who switches allegiance between the Israelis and Palestinians during a period of heightened conflict. It also features Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon. On top of all that, the series is directed by Park Chan-wook, the South Korean filmmaker who directed Oldboy and the rest of the "Vengeance Trilogy." So yeah, there's a whole lot of talent here, on both sides of the camera. While Pugh's character in The Little Drummer Girl is most likely based on the real-life journalist Janet Lee Stevens, in the show, she plays an actress pulled into a world of spies and suitcase bombs, giving a brilliant performance as a woman caught in a tricky and terrifying situation. If nothing else, The Little Drummer girl proves Pugh is totally ready to get involved in top secret adventures of Black Widow.

The actress is a champion in Fighting with My Family

Like to see your entertainers playing entertainers? Then check out Pugh in Fighting With My Family, Stephen Merchant's biographical film about real-life WWE wrestler Paige. Pugh plays the titular character (real name Saraya-Jade Bevis), a British wrestler who works her way through the independent wrestling circuit to eventually become the youngest WWE Divas Champion. Fighting With My Family also features Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, and Lena Headey. Plus, several WWE wrestlers appear in the film either as themselves or in archival footage provided by the WWE.

The film was made in collaboration with the WWE, so it definitely portrays the company itself in a positive light. However, Pugh and the rest of the cast are totally game to tell the story of the underdog who makes it big based on her heart, innate talent, and ability to learn. The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and it proved again how versatile and tough Pugh could be.

Florence Pugh got scary in Midsommar

Want to see Florence Pugh in a slow-burn horror tale? Check out Ari Aster's sophomore effort and follow-up to the absolutely nightmarish Hereditary, the grisly and gruesome Midsommar. Pugh stars in the film as Dani, who travels with her friends to a remote Swedish town to experience a once-in-a-lifetime festival. Things quickly go south when the group becomes entangled with a pagan cult, and all the flowers and sunshine in the world can't mask how nasty things are about to become.

When Pugh's character Dani decides to travel with her boyfriend to Sweden, they're trying to patch up their relationship. On top of that, Dani is suffering from a family tragedy. Tension is already running extremely high when the group arrives at their destination, and then all the terrible cult stuff starts happening. Basically, no one is having a good time on this vacation, and it allows Pugh to reach deep to play such a traumatized character. Midsommar features some other impressive young talent, including Will Poulter (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) and William Jackson Harper (The Good Place), but this movie is definitely a showcase for Pugh.

Pugh was absolutely lovely in Little Women

Chances are good that everybody on Earth has a passing familiar with Little Women, as the 2019 version is the eighth adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel. This version of the film is directed by Greta Garwig (Lady Bird), and it follows the life and times of the March sisters in 1860s Massachusetts. Pugh plays Amy, the youngest of the four sisters, and this version of the story focuses more on their lives as young adults, although the movie skips back and forth through time to better illustrate the story's themes.

Gerwig's Little Women features an absolutely amazing cast. Besides Pugh, there's also Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Saoirse Ronan, Eliza Scanlen, and Bob Odenkirk. That right there is quite a line-up. Even so, Pugh managed to stand out from the crowd, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. While she lost the award (to the same actress her played her "marmee," in fact), she definitely won over new fans with her fantastic performance.