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Why Sam From A Quiet Place: Day One Looks So Familiar

"A Quiet Place: Day One" features one of today's best working actors in a leading role. Director John Krasinski stunned the world in 2018 with "A Quiet Place," which imagines a world that has been overtaken by aliens who are sensitive to sound. To avoid being feasted upon, humans have no choice but to remain silent and live low-key, simple lives. The intriguing premise led to the film grossing over $334 million worldwide, making it a bona fide success for Paramount Pictures. Naturally, a sequel manifested in 2021, which grossed over $296 million during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know a lot about "A Quiet Place 3," but the threequel won't be hitting cinemas anytime soon. Instead, all eyes are on "A Quiet Place: Day One," which details humanity's first encounter with the terrifying aliens. Set in New York City, the prequel is on track to be one of 2024's biggest hits. Directed by "Pig" filmmaker Michael Sarnoski, the movie follows Sam as she attempts to navigate the metropolis, trying her best to understand what is happening as a full-scale invasion takes over the Big Apple.

Plot details for the prequel are relatively slim, as the film's main selling point is its high-scale concept that should hopefully lead to major thrills. Audiences can also look forward to another rousing performance from Sam actor Lupita Nyong'o, who has proven herself as one of our greatest modern-day screen icons.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Every actor prays for a debut like Lupita Nyong'o. In 2013, she immediately launched into the mainstream with director Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave." Her first major role, Nyong'o stars as Patsey, a slave who encounters Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the film's protagonist. Upon release, the drama became a critical and financial success, emerging as one of the best films from the 2010s. Nyong'o earned widespread acclaim for her role as the real-life Patsey, a woman who is on the receiving end of slave owner Edwin Epps' (Michael Fassbender) cruelty.

"In this key role, newcomer Lupita Nyong'o is a revelation, quite the most bold feature debut by an actress in recent memory, her performance fiery, fragile and fiercely proud," wrote Mark Kermode in a 5-star review for The Guardian. Kermode wasn't alone in singing Nyong'o's praises — she would go on to win best supporting actress at the Oscars for her emotional performance. She undoubtedly worked hard, as the star found "12 Years a Slave" to be a grueling, draining experience, revealing in an interview (via CTV News) that she was going through insomnia during production. "I was in pain, but I was looking forward to going there, because I felt really privileged and honoured to have the responsibility of telling this incredible woman's story," she said.

Winning an Oscar so early in her career proved to be a major moment for the star. With advice from Emma Thompson, Nyong'o has navigated her post-Oscars career with grace, starring in a number of diverse and exciting roles.

Non-Stop (2014)

Fresh off her "12 Years a Slave" performance, but months before her Oscar win, Lupita Nyong'o starred in the severely underrated action thriller "Non-Stop." Starring Liam Neeson and directed by his frequent collaborator Jaume Collet-Serra, the film emerged as a major box office success, grossing over $222 million worldwide. The pic follows Bill Marks (Neeson), an Air Marshal who thwarts the plans of terrorists on a flight between New York City and London. Nyong'o plays Gwen, a flight attendant who aids Marks on his mission. 

The Oscar winner's role is brief and supporting in nature, but it's an assured performance that proves she can add gravitas to any character. In an interview with The Film Experience, Nyong'o explained how pleased she was to work on a project that wasn't as intense as her previous production. "[...] It was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do something in a totally different genre after '12 Years a Slave' and 'Non-Stop' was so much fun," she said, adding how it was great working with Neeson and Julianne Moore. "Even if it was about a terror attack, it was still a lighter emotional place for me to have to be every day," Nyong'o concluded. 

Following the release of "Non-Stop" and the critical acclaim of "12 Years a Slave," Nyong'o doubled down on blockbuster efforts, breathing life into one of the most fascinating Star Wars characters to date. 

Black Panther and Wakanda Forever (2018, 2022)

In 2018, Lupita Nyong'o joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe with "Black Panther." Directed by Ryan Coogler and featuring Chadwick Boseman in the titular role, the superhero pic emerged as a cultural phenomenon, grossing a whopping $1.3 billion. The Sam actor stars as Nakia, one of the key members of the Wakandan intelligence agency War Dogs. She also happens to be T'Challa's (Boseman) lover, which leads some to interesting tension between the two.

Even before the film came out, Nyong'o knew that "Black Panther" was going to be a bona fide success because of how it was a genuine, honest force for change in a medium that frequently casts aside Black stories. "The fact that this particular image has natural hair, and dark skin, and women in positions of power, it's just a whole lot of things that are really just going to change the way children see themselves in the back of their heads," she boldly told gal-dem.

She returned as Nakia in the 2022 sequel "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which explores T'Challa's death. The film sadly doesn't feature Boseman, as the actor died prior to production. Nyong'o's performance was praised by fans and critics alike, with the actor finding strength from Boseman's widow to nail her "Wakanda Forever" performance. The character has proven to be extremely popular, and Nyong'o has expressed interest in exploring Nakia's origin story.

Us (2019)

After her Marvel Cinematic Universe appointment, Lupita Nyong'o headlined Jordan Peele's hotly anticipated "Us." Following his Oscar-winning "Get Out," Peele set out to make another modern horror classic and largely succeeded — "Us" has a whopping 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The thriller focuses on the Wilson family, who are terrorized by a group of lookalikes on a vacation. Nyong'o stars in the pic alongside Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

While speaking with Deadline, the actor discussed how pleased she was to work with Peele. "I already had such a big artistic crush on Jordan," Nyong'o explained. "I had already expressed to myself after seeing 'Get Out' how I'd kill to work with him. Then, by the time I was reading the script, I was biased in his direction." As expected, she delivered another memorable (and arguably her most iconic) performance with "Us," which became a smash hit at the box office.

It's great that Nyong'o was praised for her efforts, as she had to do double the prep work than normal. "I had to do ballet for Adelaide, learn that voice for Red, and do fight choreography as well, so it was very physically and emotionally and psychologically demanding," she told Entertainment Weekly about playing two characters. Though she got her kudos from critics and horror fans, Nyong'o was notably snubbed for an Oscar nomination for "Us," which lead to considerable backlash.