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

Why These Hulu Original Actors Look So Familiar

Now that the reign of cable seems to be officially over, streaming services are king. In the past couple of years, every premium service has launched its own collection of new series, many of which have attracted overwhelming critical acclaim. From Netflix shows like Stranger Things, BoJack Horseman, and Master of None to Amazon shows like Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to Hulu hits like The Handmaid's Tale and Castle Rock, there are almost too many prestige shows available to stream right this second, allowing TV junkies to binge award-winning series right from their own homes and on their own schedules.

As far as Hulu is concerned, it's been steadily producing shows for several years, a few of which have won some major awards — including The Handmaid's Tale, which walked away with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama — and if you check out their shows, you'll likely see a bunch of familiar faces. From Casual to Castle Rock to Letterkenny, here are a few actors from Hulu originals that you've definitely seen before. And if you haven't caught up yet, beware of spoilers to follow!

Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale

An adaptation of Margaret Atwood's seminal dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale is a gripping, frequently horrifying show that is often a little too close to real life. In the central role of Commander Fred Waterford, Joseph Fiennes has an incredibly difficult job, in that he has to play an entirely reprehensible human being but still find a way to make him a real, nuanced person. As Commander, he "owns" women who bear his name — specifically, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) — that he must also forcibly impregnate, particularly because Commanders maintain wives who can no longer bear children. Despite several attempts on his life, Waterford is still very much alive to torment Offred (whose real name is June), and Fiennes has remained a regular on the series through its third season.

Before his turn as Waterford, Fiennes played at least one other hateful character — during his one-season tenure on American Horror Story, he appeared as Monsignor Timothy Howard in Asylum, a man of the cloth running a corrupt and terrifying home for the criminally insane. However, his most famous role is definitely his most likable, as the Bard himself in 1998's Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. He also comes from a family of famous thespians; his brother, Ralph Fiennes, has played everybody from Charles Dickens to Lord Voldemort, and his nephew, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, played young Voldemort in the Harry Potter series as well.

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale is all about the oppression of women, and in a super-religious society run entirely by men, women from the world's formerly open LGBTQ+ community suffer worst of all. That includes Ofglen (whose real name is Emily), played by Alexis Bledel, who attempts to rebel as a Handmaid and ends up chemically castrated and exiled from society. Forced to work in the toxic Colonies as punishment, Emily is then passed around between commanders, taking on several names before finally escaping the republic to reunite with her wife and son in Canada at the end of the show's third season.

Bledel scored an Emmy Award for her heartbreaking work in this Hulu original, but most viewers recognized her from a show that is basically Handmaid's polar opposite — Gilmore Girls, the seminal WB series about a mother and daughter's life in a sleepy New England town. Bledel made her name as Rory Gilmore, a precocious quick-witted teenager close with her mother, Lorelei (Lauren Graham), reprising her role in the Netflix revival. She then went on to appear in other teen fare like both Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films and darker projects like Sin City. As far as dramatic work goes, she scored an arc in AMC's acclaimed series Mad Men in 2012, playing opposite Vincent Kartheiser's skeevy Pete Campbell (though Kartheiser must not be much like his character, considering the two got married in real life).

Max Minghella, The Handmaid's Tale

Men hold all the power in Gilead, the main republic in the world of The Handmaid's Tale, and Commander Nick Blaine is no exception. As the show begins, he's merely a driver for Commander Waterford, but he rises through the ranks despite some notably rebellious behavior, including carrying on an illicit affair with June and seemingly helping her escape before June discovers that he is secretly an "Eye" — a spy for the Republic. Nick's feelings for June seem to be real, but considering his deception, nothing about Nick is what it seems.

The man behind the character, Max Minghella, has worked in television and film for quite some time, racking up plenty of credits before he joined Handmaid's Tale. Minghella's breakout role came in Art School Confidential in 2006, and in just a few years, he scored a hefty role in David Fincher's Oscar-nominated film The Social Network as Divyra Narendra, friend and accomplice to the Winklevoss twins. You might also remember him from his other high-profile television role on Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project, where he popped up occasionally as Danny Castellano's (Chris Messina) younger brother Richie.

Jared Keeso, Letterkenny

Hulu's Letterkenny is a classic buddy comedy set in the fictional small town of Letterkenny, Ontario. The show follows the adventures of Wayne (creator Jared Keeso) and Daryl (Nathan Dales) as they survive Letterkenny life alongside Wayne's sister Katy (Michelle Mylett). Originally a web series, the show was eventually adapted by Crave and originally aired both there and on The Comedy Network in Canada. It's been so successful that it has earned its own animated spinoff called Littlekenny, which will focus on the same characters as young children. Hulu has gained exclusive streaming rights to the show through season 7 and beyond, joining the service's other original series in 2019. 

Creator and star Keeso has a small but well-stocked acting portfolio beyond his breakout show; before Letterkenny, he made a name for himself in Canada by playing the lead role on the police drama 19-2. Throughout the rest of the world, Keeso can be spotted in small parts in everything from 2013's Elysium to 2014's Godzilla to 2018's The Death & Life of John F. Donovan (alongside Game of Thrones star Kit Harington) to old episodes of Smallville, so if you're a Letterkenny fan, keep your eyes peeled for appearances from Keeso.

K. Trevor Wilson, Letterkenny

Letterkenny is home to a pretty small cast, so the core actors who appear on the show have to shoulder plenty of responsibility, requiring a solid amount of talent. K. Trevor Wilson, who plays Squirrely Dan on Letterkenny, is just one example of that. As Squirrely Dan, Wilson plays a total country boy, but apparently, he's nothing like his character in real life, proving that this comedian is definitely transformative in his performance. 

In the rest of the world (particularly in the United States), Wilson is better known for his stand-up routine, which he's performed on late night shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as his notable appearance on Comedy Central's Roast Battle. You're likely to see more of him as he continues to build up his comedy reputation beyond his work in Canada. You might also recognize a younger version of Wilson; as a child, he made frequent appearances on the hit children's horror show Goosebumps.

Tim Robbins, Castle Rock

Adaptations of Stephen King's work usually attract all-star casts, thanks to the quality of the horror author's original works. Hulu's Castle Rock is certainly no exception. In the series, which is based on not just one King work in particular but on the fictional Maine town in which he sets many of his stories, Tim Robbins plays a significant role in the second season. He's a standout even in a cast that includes big names like Bill Skarsgård (It and It: Chapter Two), Jane Levy (Suburgatory), and Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek. As Reginald "Pop" Merrill, Robbins plays the head of Castle Rock's resident crime family who also happens to be dying, who's still trying to fight his final battles.

Robbins is an extremely recognizable face, so it might be more difficult to pin down just where you know him from. His most popular role is undoubtedly Andy Dufresne in the 1994 Stephen King adaptation The Shawshank Redemption (proving that Robbins is fairly loyal to the author). But he's appeared in everything from Mystic River (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) to a perfect cameo in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to Top Gun. This versatile actor has spent decades working steadily, and clearly, he's not even close to finished.

Ann Cusack, Castle Rock

The Cusack family is extremely well known in the acting world, between John Cusack's iconic romantic comedy performance in Say Anything and Joan Cusack's Oscar-nominated turn in Working Girl. But don't forget about Ann Cusack, sister to both Joan and John and a storied actress in her own right. During the first season of Castle Rock, the third Cusack appears as Theresa Porter, the new warden at the very familiar Shawshank State Penitentiary. During her tenure, she covers up the existence of a supernatural force known as "The Kid" (Bill Skarsgård) who has been held at Shawshank without real cause for nearly 30 years.

Before she decided to spend some time in Stephen King's version of Maine, Cusack kept plenty busy, popping up in everything from Grey's Anatomy to Scandal to Criminal Minds to Boston Legal. Her biggest other television appearances have been a role on the first season of FX's anthology series Fargo and a part on AMC's lauded Better Caul Saul, where she has played Rebecca Bois since the second season. 

Nathalie Emmanuel, Four Weddings & A Funeral

When the news broke that Mindy Kaling would be adapting the classic romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral for Hulu, fans wondered who she might choose to lead her cast. True to form, Kaling went with an actress of color whose career is just starting to take off. As Maya, Nathalie Emmanuel plays an American who moves to London after her job and relationship simultaneously implode, joining her college friends who all lived there together already. As she navigates new romance, a new home, and a political career, Maya holds the show together. Though the cast is a definite ensemble, as the first character audiences meet, they can't help but identify with her.

Emmanuel has appeared in several projects in her native Britain, but two projects will definitely stand out for American audiences. Since 2015's Furious 7, she's been part of the Fast & Furious family as the hacker Ramsey, reprising the role in Fate of the Furious and the upcoming Fast & Furious 9. Even bigger than that, though, is her multiple-season stint on Game of Thrones, which concluded its run in the spring of 2019. As Missandei, the handmaiden, confidante, and likely best friend to the Dragon Queen herself, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Emmanuel made her mark on the international stage, contributing to the show's emotional core before she was controversially killed off during the final season, making her the perfect person to do the same for Four Weddings (hopefully without the killing).

Billy Eichner, Difficult People

As one half of the Difficult People duo, all Billy Eichner had to do was live up to the title, and thanks to his chemistry with his co-star (and the show's creator), Julie Klausner, he handled that challenge with aplomb. Playing Billy and Julie, the two made their way through New York City as two aspiring but completely unsuccessful comedians, insulting everybody from Jimmy Fallon to Blue Ivy Carter along the way and finding themselves in increasingly ridiculous situations. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after its third season, despite a rollickingly funny slate of episodes, an executive producing credit from Amy Poehler, and high-profile guest spots from stars like Nathan Lane and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

However, Billy Eichner's star has been on the rise long before Difficult People, and he's still got plenty of work ahead of him. For years, Eichner has been running an extremely original game show-type series called Billy on the Street, which originated as a web series where he screamed questions at complete strangers on the street. It's now evolved into a web series where he brings various celebrities with him, from Emma Stone to Paul Rudd, and, well, screams questions at complete strangers on the street. He was also seen in Parks & Recreation as Craig in the show's final two seasons and can be heard in 2019's hyper-realistic Lion King remake as Timon, receiving plenty of praise for his voice performance and improvisation.

Michaela Watkins, Casual

Casual may have been one of many dark comedies set in modern Los Angeles (see: Easy, You're the Worst), but it also played host to an incredibly talented ensemble cast — particularly Michaela Watkins. The extremely talented comedic actress plays Valerie, a recently divorced woman trying to find her way in the world alongside her daughter Laura (Tara Lynn Barr) and troublesome brother Alex (The Mindy Project's Tommy Dewey). Casual ran for four seasons from 2015 to 2018 on Hulu, telling Valerie, Laura, and Alex's stories with great heart, strong emotion, and plenty of excellent jokes to boot.

Watkins is likely recognizable to any comedy fan, thanks to her extensive slate of one-offs and cameo appearances throughout her career. Though she also played a leading role on the short-lived and little-watched Trophy Wife alongside Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Malin Akerman (Watchmen), she also did a one-year stint on Saturday Night Live and has appeared in films like Enough Said as well as other television shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Transparent.

Aaron Paul, The Path

Shows about cults and mysteries have been all the rage throughout the past couple of years. It's no surprise that Hulu got in on the craze with The Path, which focuses on a fictional, super-intense religion known as Meyerism. Founded by the late Stephen Meyer, Meyerism places a specific focus on healing your own suffering so that you can cure the suffering of others, but of course, there's plenty of corrupt elements involved. Hugh Dancy plays Cal Roberts, one of the biggest champions and leaders of Meyerism. One of his followers is the devout Eddie Lane, played by Aaron Paul, who changes his way of life after a rough past.

Of course, Aaron Paul is one of the most recognizable faces in prestige TV; for the entire run of Breaking Bad, he starred alongside Bryan Cranston as Jesse Pinkman, an addict who ends up making meth with Cranston's Walter White when the former chemistry teacher needs money for his cancer treatment. His time on the show netted him a whopping three Emmy Awards as well as international acclaim, and he clearly remembers his time on the show fondly, maintaining a good relationship with Cranston. Since The Path ended its run in 2018, he has provided his voice to Netflix's BoJack Horseman, on which he also serves as an executive producer. In the fall of 2018, it was announced that he would join the cast of HBO's Westworld for its third season.

Samantha Morton, Harlots

Since 2017, fans have followed the exploits of Margaret Wells, the leading lady of Harlots who works as a brothel madam while simultaneously trying to secure a better life for herself and her young daughters. A UK-based series which can be found on Hulu in the United States, both seasons of Harlots have netted great reviews, likely thanks in large part to the central performance of Samantha Morton as Margaret.

Morton, who has been acting for decades, has appeared in a huge number of projects throughout her career, so you've probably seen her somewhere before. Morton has acted in tons of period dramas, including Emma, Jane Eyre, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age; blockbusters like Minority Report and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; and the Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. In 2019, as she moved further into television roles, she took a role on The Walking Dead as Alpha, the leader of "the Whisperers," a group of zombie-like survivors who wear the skins of the dead to blend in.

Josh Hutcherson, Future Man

One of Hulu's quirkier projects, Future Man boasts a pretty stacked comedic cast, including Ed Begley Jr., Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), the late Glenne Headly, and Haley Joel Osment (as he attempts to break out of his past as a child star in The Sixth Sense and A.I.). But a particular standout is Josh Hutcherson, who stars as a janitor unexpectedly called upon to save the world when characters from his favorite video game, Biotic World, come to life and ask for his help. Alongside the main cast, comedians like Paul Scheer and Awkwafina hold recurring roles on the show, and just to add even more comedic pedigree, the whole thing is produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. In 2019, the series was renewed for a third and final season.

This marks the first starring television role for Hutcherson, who previously rose to fame in a series of blockbuster films. After appearances in films like Bridge to Terabithia and The Kids Are All Right, he hit box office gold with the Hunger Games franchise, where he made up a part of the main trio of characters with Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth. As Peeta Mellark, the baker's son who ends up competing in a fight to the death for his district, Hutcherson brought real heart to the dystopian franchise, appearing in all four films and cementing himself as a talented young actor with a great career ahead of him.