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Why Martha Weiss From Pieces Of A Woman Looks So Familiar

In late December 2020, Netflix dropped the tear-jerking drama Pieces of a Woman, which, going by title alone, could have been taken in a completely different direction. The film tells the tale of a young couple in Boston expecting its first-born child. When complications arise during the home birth, with the midwife they've never met, tragedy ensues and a young woman is left to pick up the pieces, which, we hope, makes the title make sense. The story is told with excruciating emotional depth and is leaving viewers reeling. 

In addition to causing movie fans to cry buckets of tears, Pieces of a Woman may also be causing viewers to wonder why some members of its cast look so familiar. While everyone should recognize expectant father Sean as Even Stevens and Transformers star Shia LaBoeuf, and the woman behind midwife Eva, Molly Parker, is likely known to many from her time on Deadwood, House of Cards, or Lost in Space, some may be left scratching their heads as to why Martha Weiss looks so familiar. The role is brought to life by Vanessa Kirby and she's been in more than you might realize.

Vanessa Kirby portrays Princess Margaret on The Crown

Viewers who recognize Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman know this isn't her first rodeo with Netflix — she previously appeared on the streaming platform's royal drama, The Crown. Over the first two seasons of the series, Kirby played the role of Princess Margaret, the younger daughter of King George VI (Jared Harris) and Queen Elizabeth (Victoria Hamilton) and Queen Elizabeth II's only sibling. While the historical drama is focused on the life and reign of Elizabeth (Claire Foy), her sister's life is also historically important, though perhaps less impactful. 

Kirby appeared in 17 episodes of The Crown and portrayed Margaret during the aftermath of WWII, through the death of her father. During this time, she has an affair with a married man, Group Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), her father's former equerry, and hopes to marry him upon his divorce. Kirby was nominated for the 2017 BAFTA for Supporting Actress for her turn as Margaret and won the award in 2018.

Vanessa Kirby appeared in Mission: Impossible — Fallout

Movie fans may recognize Vanessa Kirby for a completely different kind of film: the action-packed kind. She played Alanna Mitsopolis, a black-market arms dealer known as the White Widow, in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, the sixth installment in the franchise that sees Tom Cruise's Agent Ethan Hunt making more and more unbelievable things seem totally doable. There's more to Kirby's character, though. You see, arms-dealing is something of a family tradition: Alanna is actually the daughter of Max, one of the supporting antagonists played by Vanessa Redgrave in the very first Mission: Impossible movie from more than 20 years ago (really?!).

Kirby is slated to reprise her role in not one but two scheduled future installments — the seventh and eighth, respectively — which are currently filming, according to the Internet Movie Database. Details are slim for both projects, but it looks like they should feature a lot of the usual suspects: Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, and Henry Czerny returning Eugene Kittridge!

Vanessa Kirby also appeared in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Vanessa Kirby made further use of her ability to operate outside the law as Hattie Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Kirby plays an MI6 agent trying to keep a deadly super virus out of the hand of self-described "Black Superman" Brixton Lore, played by Idris Elba. 

But since this is part of the Fast & Furious franchise, we've got Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Agent Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw along for the ride. If you're at all paying attention to last names, Kirby plays the brooding Statham's fiery sister, with the mountainous hunk of man Johnson hanging around. That actually sounds almost like a plot summary

Kirby proved she's got the chops to make action sequences look seamless and perhaps should stick to adrenaline-fueled fare. Obviously there's a lot of butt that needs to be kicked!