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Why Roy From Judas And The Black Messiah Looks So Familiar

Now available to stream on HBO Max, Judas and the Black Messiah has one of the most impressive ensembles we've seen on film this year. It's a gripping historical drama that follows FBI informant William O'Neill (Lakeith Stanfield), who's tasked with infiltrating the Black Panther Party and monitoring Chicago chapter chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). Because the film is based on a true story, each cast member was tasked with bringing a real person to life.

While Jesse Plemons' character, FBI agent Roy Mitchell, is less famous than the main players in Judas and the Black Messiah, the actor's face may be familiar to many who watch the movie. Though he's just 32 years old, Plemons has built an impressive career as a character actor in Hollywood over the last several years. He's appeared in award-winning films and many of the 21st century's most acclaimed television series.

Let's take a look at Plemons' career thus far to see why he looks so familiar.

Jesse Plemons was an awkwardly earnest sidekick in Friday Night Lights

Most actors are lucky to land a role on one beloved television series. Plemons has managed to do it multiple times — and always in scene-stealing roles. His arguable breakthrough role was as Friday Night Lights' Landry Clarke, the awkward-but-lovable best friend of Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford). Plemons was one of the principal actors in the first four seasons of the critically acclaimed NBC series, and he won many fans over with his earnest portrayal of Landry. 

Poor Landry went through a lot during his tenure on Friday Night Lights, at one point committing and covering up a murder. The whole time, he was also balancing one of TV's most heartbreaking cases of unrequited love. In the hands of a lesser actor, Landry's trajectory on Friday Night Lights might have seemed a little too over-the-top. However, Plemons made every twist and turn at least a little bit believable thanks to his performance. He never made Landry seem like anything less than a teenager trying — and often failing — to get things right.

Jesse Plemons mastered his performance as one of Breaking Bad's biggest villains

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) went up against a lot of foes during Breaking Bad's five-season run. Few of them were more chilling or more dangerous than Todd Alquist. Introduced midway through the AMC series' final season, Todd was a remorseless killer who would take out women and children without blinking an eye. Though his time on Breaking Bad was short-lived, Plemons did memorably reprise his role as Todd in the spin-off film El Camino. More importantly, Plemons' Todd ended up making life a living hell for both of the series' main characters in the final few episodes — including in Breaking Bad's most important episode ever

Plemons' portrayal of Todd may have been surprising to fans who knew him from series like Friday Night Lights. In taking on a character that was so unlike his previous roles, he proved that he has an impressive range as an actor. Through Breaking Bad, Plemons also solidified his place in television history by going toe-to-toe with two actors with multiple Emmy wins under their belts. 

Jesse Plemons gave an unsettling performance in I'm Thinking of Ending Things

A thriller could have a perfect script, but if the actors on screen can't nail their performances, it won't matter. Luckily, Plemons was more than up to that challenge for Charlie Kaufmann's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, the 2020 Netflix film that reminded us all what a multifaceted actor he can be.

In the film, Plemons plays Jake, a seemingly unassuming young man who brings his girlfriend (played by Jessie Buckley) home to meet his parents. As the story unfolds, the woman's perception begins to distort and both she and the viewer are taken through a bizarre sequence of events.

As Jake, Plemons had a lot of work to do in order to make I'm Thinking of Ending Things work. He serves as a kind of grounding force in the narrative, and it's his innate relatability that makes that possible. Plemons has shown throughout his career that he can showcase a huge range of personality traits, and he's equally convincing whether he's playing a character who's awkward or sinister. In I'm Thinking of Ending Things, he ends up being both to great effect.

Given his multifaceted talents, it's easy to see why Plemons has been such a mainstay on our screens over the past few years. After Judas and the Black Messiah, Plemons has roles in the upcoming Jane Campion film The Power of the Dog, and he'll appear alongside Dwayne Johnson in the 2021 Disney film The Jungle Cruise.