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The Good Lord Bird: Why The Actor Who Plays J.E.B. Stuart Looks So Familiar

Historical drama The Good Lord Bird tells the fictional tale of young Henry "Onion" Shackleford (Joshua Caleb Johnson) in events leading up to the Civil War and features many historical figures in key roles. Alongside Onion is the abolitionist John Brown (Ethan Hawke), whom Onion joins in his travels, encountering Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and others as they fight to abolish slavery and oppression in 1800s America. This leads to the famous 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry, an important moment that helped kickstart the Civil War.

Along with Onion, Brown, and other abolitionists, The Good Lord Bird also focuses on a few characters from the opposing side. One of these characters is James Ewell Brown "J.E.B." Stuart. Stuart fought for the U.S. Army until Virginia seceded from the Union, then joining the newly-formed Confederate Army in 1961, alongside his close ally Robert E. Lee. He also played a key role in the capture of Brown during the Harper's Ferry raid. Wyatt Russell, who plays Stuart, has a strong connection to Hollywood and acting, as his parents are Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Unsurprisingly, Russell has racked up quite a few major roles over the past few years, and you're bound to have seen him in something.

Wyatt Russell played Cooper Redfield in the Black Mirror episode 'Playtest'

Russell joined the British dystopian anthology series Black Mirror for the second episode of season 3, called "Playtest," which also stars Hannah John-Kamen, Wunmi Mosaku, and Ken Yamamura. The story follows Russell's character Cooper Redfield, an American traveling in London to avoid facing personal issues back home. He stumbles upon an opportunity to test a new augmented reality game and volunteers. Cooper has a small device implanted that allows him to enter the augmented reality experience, accessing his brain to target his specific fears. The simulation gets creepier and creepier until Cooper — and the audience — aren't sure what's real anymore.

The episode got mixed reviews from critics and fans but many praised Russell's performance as Cooper. David Sims from The Atlantic commented, "When the jokey horror turns into the real thing, [Russell] makes the tonal shift feel subtle, and never loses grasp on his cheerful American fish-out-of-water vibe."

Russell played the main antagonist in Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Wyatt Russell then appeared as ultra-tough hockey player Anders Cain in the sports comedy Goon: Last of the Enforcers, the 2017 sequel to 2011's Goon, starring Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber and Alison Pill. The franchise is a send-up of the hockey tough guy role known as the enforcer; Scott's character, Doug Glatt, is unwittingly pulled the ranks of minor league hockey enforcers after beating up a player who uses a homophobic slur in the stands. In Last of the Enforcers, Doug is awarded the captaincy of his team, the Halifax Highlanders, only to be beaten into retirement by the cheap-shotting Anders of the Reading Wolfdogs, who just so happens to be the son of Highlanders owner Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie). After Anders is signed to Halifax and takes over his old team, Doug must find a way to battle back and overcome his fears to rescue his old teammates from Anders' raging temper and reckless play on the ice.

Russell brings an unexpected edge to his role as Anders Cain: he's a former professional hockey player, which, when combined with being action star Kurt Russell's son, makes him ideal for the role. Entertainment Weekly writer Clark Collis praised his performance, saying his "troubled villain is worthy of a redemptive spin-off film."

Russell starred as a U.S. soldier battling mutated Nazis in Overlord

In 2018, Russell led the cast of the historical horror film Overlord. Also starring Jovan Adepo, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, and John Magaro, the movie focuses on a group of American soldiers in World War II sent on a simple mission behind enemy lines the day before D-Day, only to uncover unnatural horrors. Russell's character, Corporal Lewis Ford, is the ranking surviving officer guiding the soldiers on the mission after their plane crashes. They move through a small village occupied by the Nazis and encounter a young woman named Chloe (Ollivier), who is doing everything in her power to protect her kid brother from the Nazis and the experiments they are conducting. Soon, the soldiers find themselves face to face with the product of these experiments — a serum that turns a person into a mutated, violent superhuman.

Overlord, an alternate history horror film, combines a classic creature-feature with a grounded World War II story. It's a combination that some might not think would work so well, but surprisingly, it does.

Lodge 49 featured Russell as an ex-surfer grieving the loss of his father

From 2018 through 2019, Russell starred on AMC's Lodge 49. The comedy-drama focuses on Russell's character Sean "Dud" Dudley, a man who joins a fraternal order in Long Beach in an attempt to live a simpler life after the death of his father. Also starring Brent Jennings, Sonya Cassidy, and Linda Emond, the show was unfortunately cancelled after only two seasons, despite a very positive response from critics. 

Lodge 49 has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes — 100% for its second and final season — and was praised for its unique story and emotional characters. Glen Weldon of NPR stated that "In its oddly gentle, gently odd and entirely distinct way, Lodge 49 makes as good an argument for the existence of a kind of shabby everyday magic as you'll find anywhere." The series is definitely hard to define, but if you like surrealistic character studies that explore the bigger mysteries of life, Lodge 49 is an enjoyable and touching find.

Russell appears in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Continuing on a steady rise of bigger and bigger projects, Russell appears in one of the most-anticipated series of the year, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The second MCU original show on Disney+ stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan returning as their MCU characters Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, and is a more grounded action story than its predecessor, WandaVision. It includes a handful of characters fans already know, like Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), along with some new faces, like Russell.

Russell appears briefly at the end of the first episode and is introduced as the "new Captain America," something we're guessing will cause Sam and Bucky to feel some feelings. A spoilery peek at IMDb, however, reveals that Russell's character is John Walker, also known as U.S. Agent. Although his character has an extensive history in the comics, Marvel is known to switch things up when adapting comic book characters and storylines, so there's no telling what Walker will be like.