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Why Elizabeth From The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society Looks So Familiar

Apart from being a solid contender for the best movie title of all time, Mike Newell's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a lovingly crafted romantic drama that explores the English Channel island of Guernsey in the aftermath of Nazi occupation. After some correspondence, writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) visits the island to meet the titular club, which is a loose collection of charming locals at various stages of eccentricity. Eventually, Juliet learns that the society used to have another member — the elusive and absent Elizabeth McKenna — and she becomes a bit obsessed with discovering her ultimate fate. 

Though much of the story progresses in the movie's present day of 1946, the plot very much revolves around the mysterious Elizabeth ... who might, in fact, seem pretty mysterious to the viewer as well, thanks to the nagging feeling that you might've seen her somewhere before. Here's why Elizabeth from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society looks so familiar.

Jessica Brown Findlay is Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey

Jessica Brown Findlay appeared in a couple of short films in 2009, but the very next year she became part of one of the most talked-about period dramas around. From 2010 to 2012, she played Lady Sybil Crawley on Downton Abbey, the hottest depiction of early-20th-century Yorkshire County aristocrats on early-'00s TV. Lady Sybil is one of the gentler figures on the show, and a thoroughly modern person who treats everyone equally. She eventually becomes the centerpiece of a little scandal of her own, thanks to her close relationship with the Crawley family's chauffeur, Tom Branson (Allen Leech).

Findlay's fame came early on, and in an interview with Channel 4's Sunday Brunch (via British Period Dramas), she described the moment she was first truly shocked by the show's success. "It was the end of the first series, and it was right as the last episode had aired, and I was in Soho," she described. "I was still at university, I was at art school, and I walked past a newsstand and there were the three [Crawley] sisters on the front of two or three different newspapers, saying that 14 million people had watched it. I had a big freak-out." 

The then-rookie actress may have been stunned by the popularity, but she certainly wasn't chained by it. In fact, she made the decision to leave the smash-hit show in 2012 after only 20 episodes, because she wanted to seek out new opportunities to hone her craft. "I was incredibly grateful for what Downton became and did, but it was my second job and I knew nothing about what I was doing," Findlay said of the decision. "I really wanted to learn more. I had so much more I wanted to go and learn." 

Jessica Brown Findlay is Abi on Black Mirror

If Jessica Brown Findlay's Downton Abbey-themed running start to professional acting isn't impressive enough for you, then consider the fact that in 2011, she starred in the very second episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror. The disturbing and dystopic vision in "Fifteen Million Merits" features Brown Findlay as Abi, an aspiring superstar who, like pretty much everyone else, is stuck in a high-tech underworld where the only currency is "merits," which you earn by logging miles on an exercise bike. When Abi's admirer, Bing (Daniel Kaluuya), comes across the titular amount, he uses them to facilitate Abi's entry in a talent contest — which goes roughly as well as you can expect anything to go in the grim world of Black Mirror. 

A pivotal moment in the episode is the moment when Abi delivers her entry in the contest in front of the judges. The song she chooses is Irma Thomas' "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)." Her alluring, but not-quite-good-enough-for-the-judges rendition came courtesy of Findlay herself, who's actually got a pretty nice set of pipes. "I was terrified," she revealed in an interview with IndieWire. "I was sick that morning out of nerves. But I just told myself that it's not my job to be nervous and went for it. The shakes in her nervous voice were mine."

Jessica Brown Findlay is Lenina Crowne on Brave New World

Considering the pitch-black Brave New World stylings of her episode of Black Mirror, it's hardly surprising that Jessica Brown Findlay eventually ended up on this stylish adaptation of the O.G. dystopian novel (all due respect to George Orwell). In 2020, Findlay appeared in the lead role on Peacock's Brave New World as Lenina Crowne, a B+-class worker in one of the dystopia's "Hatcheries." She becomes involved with John (Alden Ehrenreich), a mysterious arrival from the Savage Lands who somehow already exists in their society's complex social ranking system as an A-class person. 

Unfortunately, the show never made it past its first season, but that definitely can't be pinned on Findlay, who gave it her all from the very second she read the script. "When I started reading the script and it had that energy, I was just really taken with how unusual that was, how bold it was and how exciting it would be to make something that sort of takes a novel, making the world and runs with it," she told People. "I completely fell in love with it. The writing was brilliant. It made me laugh out loud. I just adored it."

Check out her feature film work in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix.