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Why Espin From Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Looks So Familiar

Jack Reacher, released in 2012, was based on one of many books about the eponymous character by author Lee Child. The film, a box office and critical success, opened the door for star Tom Cruise to have another action-thriller franchise on his hands (because he needs more of those), with plenty of sequel storylines on tap in the book series. As such, it's likely Jack Reacher's producers had the potential for sequels in mind upon the film's conception, as long as it delivered financially. A proper sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was released in 2016 and the franchise is currently expected to continue with a TV series currently in development at Amazon.

Cruise, of course, returned for the second film. Captain Anthony Espin, a U.S. Army officer who ends up at odds with Reacher at certain points throughout the film, is among the new characters introduced in the sequel. Espin was portrayed by actor Aldis Hodge, whose credits go beyond action movies like Jack Reacher and span across genres and decades of work.

Hodge got his start in the Die Hard franchise at a young age

While Hodge's career may not be defined by action roles, his first role was nevertheless in an action movie classic. In Die Hard With a Vengeance — the third film in the oft ripped-off Die Hard franchise, 9-year-old Hodge played a character named Raymond. Raymond and his brother, Dexter (portrayed by actor Michael Alexander Jason) are the nephews of Zeus, an electrician and shop owner played by Samuel L. Jackson. In their first of two scenes, they attempt to sell a stolen boombox to their uncle. Later on in the film, the brothers think that they're going to be arrested when detectives Kowalski and Lambert visit their elementary school.

Hodge also appeared in a later Die Hard film, though not as Raymond. In A Good Day to Die Hard, released in 2013 as the fifth entry in the Die Hard film franchise, Hodge played a CIA agent named Foxy. He only appeared in one sequence in the film, in which Bruce Willis' John McClane requests an extraction from him. Things go south with McClane, however, and Foxy has to cancel the planned extraction.

Hodge portrayed real-life rapper MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton, the biographical drama chronicling highly influential rap group N.W.A.'s rise to prominence in the 1980s — was a runaway success at the box office and with critics. Though some members of the group are still alive today, including de facto leader Ice Cube, their ages necessitated hiring actors to portray them in their youth. In Straight Outta Compton, Hodge took on the role of MC Ren. Though his name isn't as recognizable as Ice Cube or N.W.A. producer Dr. Dre, (who have a storied relationship), MC Ren was nevertheless one of the group's core members, and thus a marquee role for Hodge.

Straight Outta Compton was among the more successful films of 2015, receiving a nomination for "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" at the following year's Screen Actors Guild Awards. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Hodges played a historical figure's significant other in Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures, released in 2016, told the real-life story of a group of African American women whose work on the space program was influential at NASA. Mathematician Mary Jackson, who was portrayed in the film by Janelle Monáe, is among the three women at the heart of the story. Hodge played Levi Jackson, Mary Jackson's husband, in Hidden Figures. In a brief interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hodge explained that he prepared for the role by reading the book on which the film was based. He went on to describe his character as supportive of his wife and her trailblazing work to an extent that was "avant garde" for the time.

The majority of award nominations for Hidden Figures were ultimately for its central cast, which included Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer alongside Monáe, as well as the film as a whole. However, Hodge was once again included in a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, this time winning the award alongside his co-stars.