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Why Willis From Things Heard And Seen Looks So Familiar

A tale of a secret-riddled marriage, a move to a creaky house in rural New York, and the strange phenomena that occur therein is coming to Netflix April 29 in the form of "Things Heard and Seen." Adapted from the novel "All Things Cease to Appear" by Elizabeth Brundage, the movie promises to be a scary one, as can be inferred from the trailer alone, which dropped earlier this month. The movie does not appear to rely solely on cheap jump-scares to get viewers out of their seats. This supernatural psychological horror film boasts an A-list cast, with Amanda Seyfried and James Norton in the starring roles as Catherine and George Clare.

One strain on the couple's marriage is George's infatuation with Willis, a student at the college where he teaches, who is played by Natalia Dyer. Dyer might look familiar, as she's landed quite a few leading roles over the past decade. Here's where you may have seen her before.

Natalia Dyer's acting debut was in Hannah Montana: The Movie

Dyer's first acting gig came in 2009, when she landed a small role in Disney's "Hannah Montana: The Movie." Dyer plays Clarissa Granger, one of the daughters of journalist Oswald Granger (Peter Gunn), the villain of the movie who tries to uncover Miley Stewart's (Miley Cyrus) secret double-life as Hannah Montana. 

While she didn't have much to do in the film, Dyer has been getting a lot of press for it lately. She reflected on playing Clarissa Granger in a 2020 interview with Access Hollywood, saying, "I played, like, this British girl, and I'm sure my accent couldn't have been anything good, but ... it got me on my first, like, red carpet premiere situation." 

She also spoke with People in 2020 about the role's effect on her social life as a then-12-year-old girl, saying, "I don't know how much that directly impacted my popularity. I don't feel like I ever really talked about a lot of the stuff I was doing when I was in school. It was just kind of, yeah, that happened." When prompted to talk about the role, Dyer seems somewhat embarrassed about it, but since "Hannah Montana: The Movie," her acting career has really taken off, so she's got plenty of other roles to talk about.

One of Dyer's first starring roles was in I Believe in Unicorns

In 2014, Natalia Dyer played Davina in "I Believe in Unicorns," a coming-of-age drama that follows a young girl as she falls in love for the first time against the backdrop of her difficult upbringing. Davina cares for her mother, who has Multiple Sclerosis, and longs for "normal parents who take care of me, instead of me taking care of them." 

To escape the home life she finds so dissatisfying, she fantasizes about dragons, unicorns, and Prince Charmings in a fairytale alternate reality, and that's where the soft-but-damaged bad boy Sterling (Peter Vack) comes in. The two run away together on an adventure that, according to Variety's Joe Leydon, evades clichés and delivers a believable story of two young lovers trying to figure life out. Having nailed the part of the coming-of-age adolescent in "I Believe in Unicorns," Dyer continued to explore the nuances of this role in later films, like "Yes, God, Yes" and "Mountain Rest."

Natalia Dyer plays Nancy Wheeler on Stranger Things

Dyer is perhaps most famous for playing Nancy Wheeler on Netflix's "Stranger Things," since the start of the series in 2016. 

Nancy is a smart and kind — if a bit impressionable — girl in her late teens who discovers her detective abilities (a la Nancy Drew) when her best friend Barbara Holland (Shannon Purser) is taken to the deadly parallel dimension known as the Upside Down. Dyer was delighted to tell Elle U.K. in 2020 that "Nancy has grown so much through the seasons of Stranger Things ... she's just a lot more confident in herself and in her instinct, um, and her capabilities than where she was Season 1." 

Nancy's strong character arc is just one example of the capable writing that makes "Stranger Things" so beloved by fans. That fan love has earned the cast some impressive salaries, too. Dyer reportedly earns between $150,000 and $250,000 per episode. It's certainly well-deserved, and we're looking forward to Nancy's continued growth on Season 4 of "Stranger Things."

From short film to feature-length movie, Dyer stuck with Yes, God, Yes

"Yes, God, Yes" stars Natalia Dyer as Alice, a Catholic teenager who struggles to reconcile her faith with her budding sexuality. The movie, released in 2019, builds off the success of a 2017 short film of the same name, also starring Dyer. After discovering a world of sex in AOL chatrooms during the early 2000s, Alice becomes obsessed, and subsequently decides to go on a religious retreat in order to save her soul from eternal damnation. But things don't go as planned, as the retreat gives her plenty of opportunity to socialize with boys.

The subject matter of the short film led Dyer to realize her passion for portraying adolescent girls as they learn who they are and what they want from life. She told Clash Music in 2018, "I read pretty young ... so I often read for that coming-of-age 16/17-year-old who's losing their virginity and discovering their sexuality, in a high school drama setting. I like that, because it is a very important, impactful, transformative and muddy time of life."

Natalia Dyer's career has exploded since the start of Stranger Things

Dyer became a prolific actress in the late 2010s, leveraging her success as Nancy Wheeler to earn more starring roles. In 2018 and 2019 alone, the actress landed four lead roles in major movies. Dyer starred opposite Frances Conroy in "Mountain Rest" in 2018 as her granddaughter Clara. The two form a quick bond when Ethel (Conroy) invites Clara and her mother to a party at her home, but Clara soon learns that Ethel is preparing to die, and she begins to uncover the reasons behind her mother's strained relationship with her.

Natalia Dyer played a different Clara a year later in the eco-thriller "After Darkness," which follows a wealthy family during a climate crisis in which the sun burns out. As the family waits in their grand estate for their turn to be taken to a protected cave dwelling, they must deal with their various grudges and resentments in order to survive the climate apocalypse.

In a completely different role that the same year, Dyer played Virginia in "Tuscaloosa." Set in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement, the movie stars Devon Bostick as Billy, a young white man who falls in love with Virginia, a patient in his father's mental hospital who might have multiple-personality disorder. Billy befriends a black man, Nigel (Marchant Davis), who becomes involved in Civil Rights activism. With Virgina and Nigel both pulling Billy away from the status quo, the young man must figure out who he is and how he sees the world.

It's clear that Natalia Dyer's star is on the rise.