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Why Alby From Maze Runner Looks So Familiar

For fans of dystopian sci-fi dramas like The Hunger Games and Divergent, you've probably already heard of The Maze Runner. Based on the young adult trilogy by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is about a group of kids who wake up one day stuck in a field in the middle of a huge maze. They have no memories besides their first name — and common sense. Similar to Lord of the Flies, the group must form their own society and rules, and work together to figure out how to get escape.

The Maze Runner stars Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Ki Hong Lee as Minho, and Aml Ameen as Alby. When Thomas first arrives in the maze, Alby is one of the first people to welcome him. He is the leader of the community, responsible for keeping the peace and making big decisions. Thomas, eager to find a way out, challenges Alby's control. One night, everything changes, and strange creatures called "grievers" attack. Alby is killed along with a few others, and Thomas uses this loss to fuel their mission going forward. 

After The Maze Runner, Ameen has gone on to have quite a few big roles, with his career only growing from there. If you can't quite place where you've seen him before, let us help you out.

Aml Ameen played Capheus in season 1 of Sense8

In 2015, Ameen starred in the Netflix sci-fi series Sense8, created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, and J. Michael Straczynski. Also starring Tuppence Middleton, Jamie Clayton, Bae Doona, and a boatload of other talented actors, the series focuses on eight individuals from across the world who suddenly discover that they are emotionally and mentally linked. Ameen's character, Capheus Onyongo, is an extremely optimistic matatu driver who lives in Nairobi, Kenya with his mother. His only goal in life is to make enough money to buy his mother her HIV medication and have a successful career as a driver.

While everything went smoothly during production for season 1, the second season was another story. In the middle of shooting, it was announced that Ameen would be leaving the show, and Toby Onwumere would be recast in the role. While there was no official statement about why he left so abruptly, according to Deadline it was likely due to tension and creative differences between Ameen and Lana Wachowski.

Ameen starred as D in Idris Elba's directorial debut film Yardie

Idris Elba, well-known for acting roles in projects like Luther and Beasts of No Nation, made his full-length film directorial debut in 2018 with Yardie. Based on the novel by Jamaican-born author Victor Headley, the film stars Ameen as Dennis Campbell, known as D. 

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, a young D witnesses the murder of his brother as a result of an ongoing gang war. As an adult, he becomes involved with one of the local gangs working as an enforcer. For a new job, D is sent from Jamaica to London to deliver a package of cocaine. When the client insults D's late brother, he flees with the cocaine and tries to sell it on his own. As all his recent trouble catches up with him, D comes face to face with his past and must finally come to terms with his brother's death.

The film got mixed reviews from critics, but overall, many praised Elba's vision and skill in capturing D's journey into the dark world of drug trades and murder in London.

Ameen portrayed Simon in the critically-acclaimed drama I May Destroy You

In 2020, Michaela Coel, a criminally underappreciated creator and actress known for Chewing Gum and Been So Long, released the first season of her new drama, I May Destroy You. The British drama from BBC and HBO stars Coel as a young, successful novelist whose life is redefined after she is sexually assaulted during a night out in London. As she slowly learns what really happened that night, Arabella (Coel) discovers just how little society understands and respects sexual consent.

Ameen plays a character named Simon, one of Arabella's closest friends who has been in an eight-year-long relationship with his girlfriend Kat (Lara Rossi). Despite truly caring for Arabella, Simon fails to stay by her side the night of the assault, leaving his vulnerable friend to fend for herself. I May Destroy You explores not just Arabella's perspective but also those of the people around her, pondering how responsible they are for the consequences of their choices that night.

I May Destroy You has been lauded by critics, with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic calls Coel "volcanically talented," commending how "I May Destroy You questions why risk and vulnerability have become such accepted components of sex and dating that they're generally shrugged off altogether." Coel combines her signature sense of humor with biting critique on how society handles sexuality in a story that somehow manages to also be extremely watchable.