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Why Jack Horne From The Magnificent Seven Looks So Familiar

While many people felt that the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven failed to live up to the 1960 original – itself a reimagining of The Seven Samurai from 1954 — the movie made a decent effort to live up to its source material. 

One of The Magnificent Seven's keys draws in 1960 was the cast, including some of the day's most prominent names like Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and Yul Brenner. Likewise, the remake filled out its top billing with big stars. Denzel Washington plays the lead role of Sam Chisholm, alongside Chris Pratt as Joshua Faraday, and Ethan Hawk as Goodnight Robicheaux. The 2016 version also made an effort to reflect the American West's historic diversity, casting actors such Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez, and Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest. While it is unlikely that The Magnificent Seven will attain the classic status of its 1960's predecessor or The Seven Samurai, its strong cast makes it a watchable story of a misfit crew of bounty hunters squaring off against the ultimate evil — Peter Sarsgaard.

In a film with so many central characters, all played by talented actors vying for screentime, it can be easy to miss Jack Horne, the devout mountain man whose faith informs his role as one of the Seven. However, if you can look past the thick beard and grizzled exterior, you might see a familiar face: Vincent D'Onofrio, a celebrated character actor whose career spans decades.

The tragic Pvt. Pyle in Full Metal Jacket was played by Vincent D'Onofrio

Vincent D'Onofrio got off to a slow start, spending years bouncing between small roles on low budget movies, and work in theatre. However, his third credited film role, in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, would become one of his most iconic, and help position D'Onofrio for a long career as an actor.

Kubrick divided Full Metal Jacket, a film which many consider one of the best war movies ever made, into two distinct parts. The first half of the film follows Private Joker (Matthew Modine) through boot camp, while the second section of the film show Joker and his unit travel through Vietnam. While both halves feature memorable and shocking scenes, it is the first section, which prominently features Vincent D'Onofrio, that many viewers remember.

During the first half of Full Metal Jacket, drill instructor Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) ruthlessly torments Joker and Private Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio). The film opens with Sergeant Hartman's elaborate rant aimed at the recruits and sets up a pattern of abuse that ends tragically for Private Pyle. To play the role of Private Pyle, D'Onofrio underwent a striking physical transformation, gaining 70 pounds, an experience that D'Onofrio said changed his life (via The New York Times). However, the effort proved worth it, as Private Pyle remains one of the most memorable characters from the landmark film.

Vincent D'Onofrio became a bug disguised as a human in Men in Black

Throughout D'Onofrio's career, some of his most memorable roles have embraced the actor's ability to contort his physical presence. While those transformations have often helped him portray disturbed or antagonistic characters, D'Onofrio showed in Men in Black that he could imbue even overt villains with an element of humor.

In Men in Black, D'Onofrio plays Edgar, an angry farmer killed when an alien Bug crashes into his pasture and takes over his skin as a disguise. From that point forward in the film, every time D'Onofrio appears on camera he seems stretched out and as uncomfortable in his skin as anyone physically controlled by a hidden bug alien monster should be. His halting, lurching presence adds a level of comic relief to his sinister goal — the outright destruction of the galaxy.

D'Onofrio's performance is all the more impressive for how alien he manages to make himself appear using only makeup and exaggerated physical performance. While Men in Black may look dated today, the film was an award-winning special features extravaganza in 1997, with multiple depictions of fully CG extraterrestrials. Vincent D'Onofrio's performance in the movie is a testament to the actor's impressive acting abilities, and makes the villain's time on screen, while he's still human, as memorable as the his transformation into the massive CG alien Bug at the climax of the film.

Vincent D'Onofrio spent over a decade playing Detective Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent

While D'Onofrio has made a career out of physically transforming himself to fit the parts he has played, one of his most recognizable roles, as Detective Robert Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent, seems straightforward. After all, to play a detective over the show's ten-season run, all D'Onofrio had to do was wear a suit and tie while solving New York's most sensitive cases.

However, D'Onofrio was still able to employ his wide range of talents as an actor to set Detective Goren apart from the other characters on the show. Detective Goren's defining characteristics as a detective were his innate deduction and obsessive attention to detail. However, his intense intelligence is hinted to be a mask for hidden mental instability. Over the show's run, it is revealed that Goren's mother had schizophrenia, and his biological father was a serial killer.

In fact, in Law & Order: Criminal Intent's seventh season, Detective Goren goes undercover in a mental health ward, allowing D'Onofrio to once again transform in front of the camera. While the show gradually brought Detective Goren back from the edge, it just goes to show how willing D'Onofrio is to tackle roles that other actors might avoid, even in a role where the audience might not expect it.