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Why Graham From The Last Days Of American Crime Looks So Familiar

It's always difficult when a booming industry gets shut down by emergent technology. The new Netflix original film The Last Days of American Crime imagines a future where the government has developed a signal that can halt criminals in their tracks, effectively ending crime as we know it. Of course, there's always time for one last hurrah. Professional thieves Kevin Cash (Michael Pitt) and Graham Bricke (Édgar Ramírez) intend to pull one final heist while they still can.

The movie is as gritty and action-packed as they come, and features committed performances from its cast. Of note is Ramírez, who brings all the hardened skepticism and drive you'd expect from a career criminal facing the end of the road. If you watched and are wondering where you've seen the Venezuelan actor before, we've got a few possible answers for you. Ramírez has had a number of high-profile film and TV roles in his two-decade long acting career. He's even nabbed a few Emmy and Golden Globe nominations to boot.

Édgar Ramírez tested his morality in Carlos

Ramírez's first big splash on the international scene was as the star of French director Oliver Assayas' three-part film Carlos. In this five-and-a-half-hour epic, Ramírez plays the real-life Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal. The biopic focuses on the bombings and kidnapping plots that Carlos organized throughout Europe and the Middle East in the name of Palestinian liberation. After premiering at the Cannes film festival to rave reviews, all three parts of the movie were shown on the Sundance Channel as a miniseries, garnering more glowing reviews from the American press, as well as several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

In an interview with IFC, Ramírez spoke about what he struggled with most in making the film. For a shoot that took seven months to complete and required the actor to gain a significant amount of weight as his character aged, Ramírez was most troubled by the psychological aspects of the role: "[N]o ideological or political conviction would justify the sacrifice of a human life. For me, the value of life is absolute, with no concessions... But for this character, and a lot of the characters in this movie, it's different... And there's sort of a taxonomy of the value of life: some lives are worth less and some lives are worth more. And I had to struggle with that idea."

Given the amount of praise Ramírez received for his performance (including a César Award, known as the French equivalent of an Oscar), it's clear that those struggles were worth undertaking.

Édgar Ramírez played a titan of the fashion industry on The Assassination of Gianni Versace

The other real-life figure that Ramírez is known for playing couldn't be more different than Carlos the Jackal. In Ryan Murphy's follow-up to his critically acclaimed miniseries American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, Ramírez played iconic fashion designer Gianni Versace. The Assassination of Gianni Versace tells the story of Andrew Cunanan, a young spree killer who stalked Versace for years after meeting him at a bar and later murdered him outside of his home in Miami.

Like The People vs. OJ Simpson before it, the miniseries was a massive success and was praised for its sensitive portrayal of its subjects, as well as the innovative approach it took to the true-life story at its center. Critics were also impressed with Ramírez in the title role. Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, David Wiegand said of his performance, "Ramírez is... convincing as Versace. His physical resemblance to the designer is uncanny, but the performance is what makes the story so credible."

Ramírez received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his part in the miniseries.

Édgar Ramírez got magical in Bright

In the Netflix original film Bright, Ramírez took on a role that was a sharp contrast to his prior work in biopic projects. The film depicts an alternate world not dissimilar to ours, but where magical creatures like orcs and elves live among humans. Ramírez plays Kandomere, an elvish federal agent who gets involved with Daryl Ward's (Will Smith) quest to stop the criminal leader of a radical sect of elves, Leilah (Noomi Rapace).

Kandomere works for a federal agency specifically dedicated to the policing of the use of magic. In an interview with ScreenRant, Ramírez gave his thoughts on why he was drawn to his character and what he represents in the world of the film. "In the case of the Elves, they are on top of the food chain, and they are supposed to be the rulers... but Kandomere rebels against that," he explained. "He wants that power to be contained... he's ready to step down and say no."

Although the film was derided by critics, it quickly became one of Netflix's most-viewed original productions when it dropped on the streaming service (via Deadline).