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Why Alistair Adana From The Boys Looks So Familiar

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to deliver the blockbuster goods, The Umbrella Academy earning raves on Netflix, and DC course-correcting in increasingly fascinating fashion, it's safe to say we're living in the golden age of superhero cinema — even if we're also dangling perilously on the precipice of superhero saturation. The super-powered landscape got a little more crowded (and a whole lot meaner) in 2019 when Amazon unleashed the unmercifully brutal beast that is The Boys on the masses. 

Amazon's agonizingly violent, anti-superhero saga takes its cues from a graphic novel series by comics legends Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, which itself pulls no punches in depicting the potential perils of a world in which supers are not just a reality, but utterly uncontrollable. And if you're already among The Boys' viewership, you can vouch that the first season reveled in violence, misogyny, and unabashedly nihilistic menace with near apostolic devotion.

With season 2, it's clear that the series is bent on outdoing even itself across the board. It's doing so with a few fresh faces in tow — notably You're The Worst star Aya Cash, who's already made a splash as the quippy new super Stormfront. The sophomore run also has another familiar face coming aboard with the mid-season addition of an entirely new character to Ennis' twisted world.

That character is named Alistair Adana, the charismatic leader of a mysterious church who is slotting in as a secondary antagonist for the new season of The Boys. Adana is portrayed by celebrated character actor Goran Višnjić, and yes, you've definitely seen his face somewhere before. Here's why Alistair Adana from The Boys looks so familiar.

Goran Višnjić led the second wave of good doctors on an iconic NBC drama

Whether you recognize Goran Višnjić by name or by face, you no doubt know the Croatian-born actor has been working in and around Hollywood for a couple of decades now. You might also know he's done extensive work on television over that time, recently appearing in NBC's short-lived sci-fi drama Timeless and Netflix's suburban zombie romp Santa Clarita Diet. And as it happens, television is where most U.S. audiences were first introduced to Višnjić's rugged features.  

That introduction came in 1999 via NBC's long-running, critically-adored medical drama ER. Set in the titular department of Chicago's fictional County General Hospital, ER followed the day to day travails of several medical professionals trying to make their way in the fast-paced, often tragic world of emergency medicine. The series premiered to raves in the fall of 1994, with many praising the work of its brilliant ensemble cast, fronted by George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Marguiles, and Noah Wyle.

Given its setting alone, ER proved more suited to sweeping cast changes than most series. Over its near two decades on air, ER fully indulged in ensemble rotations, some of which worked better than others. Goran Višnjić is unquestionably among the cast additions that worked. In fact, the actor's addition didn't just work, it proved pivotal to the series' success once O.G. players like Clooney started making their exits. Višnjić was more or less brought into ER specifically to replace the outgoing Clooney in season 5, and went on to portray Dr. Luca Kovač for 185 episodes of the show between '99 and 2008. During that run, Višnjić's Dr. Kovač essentially became the heart of the entire ER enterprise.  

Goran Višnjić went blonde for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Though he's worked extensively in television throughout his career, Goran Višnjić has just as frequently turned up in big screen offerings. He's appeared in a handful of legit high profile projects too, doing so at the behest of some of the more intriguing directors currently working, including Ridley Scott (The Counselor), Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo), and Mike Mills (Beginners). In 2011, Višnjić got the call many actors dream of when the great David Fincher cast him opposite Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in his adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

If you're struggling to recall just who Višnjić played in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, try replacing his signature floppy black hair with closely cropped, grayish-blonde locks. Yes, that was actually Goran Višnjić portraying Dragan Armansky in the early moments of Fincher's tragically underrated thriller. He's the CEO of Milton Security, the very company which employs Mara's hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander; which also makes him the man who puts Lisbeth on the track of Craig's wayward journalist Mikael Blomqvist in the first place.

That fateful assignment is what sets the entire wickedly convoluted plot of the film in motion. So even if Goran Višnjić doesn't have a ton of screen time in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he's as vital to the film's plot as any of the characters. And we have to say, Višnjić delivers one of his finest performances to date in the film, doing so in a supporting role that, in lesser hands, could easily have been tossed off and forgotten altogether. 

Goran Višnjić was a Marvel man before the MCU even existed

As solid as Goran Višnjić's career path has been, he did, in fact, play a key role in one of the more forgettable, pre-MCU Marvel confections. If you're wondering which one, it's likely because you either never saw 2005's Elektra, or you've spent the last 15 years trying forget it.

If you're in the second group, we'd encourage you to consider revisiting the film, because (like the Ben Affleck-starring Daredevil which preceded it) Elektra isn't as bad as you might recall. For those in the first group, you should know Elektra still isn't exactly a classic, so temper your expectations. 

More succinctly of Elektra, it's one of those cash-grabbing spin-offs that just never really needed to exist. The film starred a then red-hot Jennifer Garner (still reveling in full Alias glory) in the titular role, which she reprised even after the character was killed in Daredevil. Plot absurdities aside, it's worth noting the Elektra Nachios character was one of the worst-written in Daredevil, and the Elektra team didn't do much better in bringing the the ass-kicking femme back to life. 

That being said, Garner is actually pretty good in the role, and Elektra really does boast a handful of first-rate set pieces. It also boasts a better-than-solid supporting turn from Goran Višnjić, who portrays Mark Miller (potential assassination target and Elektra's would-be love interest) in the film. Like Garner, Elektra's script doesn't really give Višnjić much to do, but the gifted actor still manages to make a three-dimensional human of the screenplay's one-dimensional character sketch. In turn, he almost single-handedly keeps the stakes real in Elektra, even as the movie spins off into mystical silliness.