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Why Martin From Army Of The Dead Looks So Familiar

It's been a long, anxious wait for zombie fans to get their eyes on Zack Snyder's "Army of the Dead," but the director's latest cinematic feast of the undead is now playing at a theater near you, and is mere days away from making its streaming debut on Netflix. Word on the street, so far, is that the film is more than worth the wait, with Snyder pushing the bounds of zombie fiction into bold, bloody new terrain.

That terrain is, of course, Las Vegas, which "Army of the Dead" depicts as a wasteland overrun by legions of flesh-hungry hordes. It also finds a crack group of mercenaries tasked with navigating the undead legions to pull off a daring casino heist promising a payday beyond belief. That group is led by Dave Bautista's former special forces boss Scott Ward, and his heavily armed crew quickly find themselves outmatched and outnumbered once setting foot into Sin City as zombies of all species look to make them dinner.

Boasting blockbuster thrills and chills, "Army of the Dead" is certain to become of one Netflix's biggest hits to date when it finally hits the platform. And when it does, fans will no doubt find themselves trying to determine where else they've seen some of the movie's cast. The actor who portrays the group's inside man, Martin, will surely be one of the most recognized. He is Garrett Dillahunt, who has become one of the pre-eminent supporting players in Hollywood of late.

Garrett Dillahunt played a couple of roles on HBO's Deadwood

Perhaps because of his square jaw and rugged features, Garrett Dillahunt has found steady work in Westerns of all shapes and sizes over the years. And it was indeed a beloved Western confection that gave the actor his first big break. That break came in HBO's masterful Western series "Deadwood," which explored the transition of a lawless old West mining camp into, well... a slightly less lawless mining city. Renowned for its stylish period specificity and profound affinity for obscene language, "Deadwood" made instant stars of Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane when it debuted in 2004, and remains one of the best original series HBO has ever produced. And fans of the frustratingly short-lived show might be quick to point out Garrett Dillahunt featured prominently in both the first and second seasons of the series — doing so in two different roles, no less. 

Season 1 of "Deadwood" found Dillahunt portraying Jack McCall, who's best known to history as the cowardly drunk who shot Wild Bill Hickock in the back after losing money to him in a card game. That devious act put several overarching "Deadwood" narratives into motion. And while Dillahunt's character didn't make it past Season 1, the actor positively wowed in the role. So much so, that series creator David Milch brought Dillahunt back for Season 2. And that's where Dillahunt really left his mark on "Deadwood," appearing as Francis Wolcott, an exceedingly well-spoken geologist with a penchant for sexual violence that lands him in serious hot water. 

Played with a gracefully understated menace by Dillahunt, Wolcott instantly became one of the worst of the show's big bads, and remains a signature early role for the actor himself. 

Rian Johsnon cast Dillahunt as Looper's big bad Gat Man

In 2012, Dillahunt claimed a small role in the new film from Rian Johnson. That film was Johnson's critically-adored third feature "Looper" which — after 2005's immaculate "Brick" and 2008's wondrous "The Brothers Bloom" — firmly established the writer-director as one of the most exciting new voices in cinema.

Without spoiling it's many head-spinning twists, "Looper" told the futuristic tale of a low-level mob goon named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who makes his way in life as a "Looper," helping a Kansas City crime syndicate dispose of future victims by actually killing them in the past. Things get complicated when Joe's new target turns out to be his older self (played by Bruce Willis), which sets in motion a mad dash for survival that's far too complicated to summarize here. Just know that both Joe's eventually get on the wrong side of a very bad man, who sends his army of hired guns (called "Gat Men") to close the rebellious hit man's loop for good. 

That's about as spoiler-free a synopsis for "Looper" as you'll find, by the way. But we'll go ahead and spoil the fact that Garrett Dillahunt indeed appears in the film as one of those merciless "Gat Men," initially getting the drop on Joe and his new lady love Sara (Emily Blunt) before Sara's son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) takes spectacular control of the situation.  

No Country for Old Men found Garrett Dillahunt playing an affable deputy

On the topic of Garrett Dillahunt working with some of the best filmmakers of the modern era, you can count Joel and Ethan Coen among them. And as far as Coen Bros. debuts go, Dillahunt's is more than memorable as it found him trading lines with the legendary Tommy Lee Jones, and doing so in arguably the brother's best film to date: 2007's nihilist, neo-Western masterpiece "No Country for Old Men."

That film found Josh Brolin's savvy everyman, Llewelyn, happening upon a million dollar payday deep in the West Texas hills, only to have his apparent clean getaway spoiled by the arrival of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a relentless, near-demonic gun for hire sent to find out who made off with all those greenbacks. What unfolds is as taut and ruthless a cinematic tête-à-tête as you'll find in modern cinema. And as the bodies begin to pile up, the local Sheriff (Jones) puts himself in harms way as he sets out to try and save Llewelyn from not just himself, but fate itself.

Now, if you've seen "No Country for Old Men," you know Brolin, Bardem, and Jones are at the top of their prospective games throughout, with each actor delivering work that an only be described as towering. So brilliant are those three actors in the film, it's almost easy to overlook the yeoman's work of its esteemed supporting players. That's particularly true of Garrett Dillahunt, who embraces his inner doofus and earns some of the film's biggest laughs as Wendell, the adorably slow-witted Deputy assisting Jones' grizzled old lawman in their increasingly tricky investigation.

Garrett Dillahunt spent a couple of seasons stealing scenes on Fear the Walking Dead

If you call yourself a fan of zombie tales, you know "Army of the Dead" is far form Garrett Dillahunt's first z-fiction narrative. In fact, by the time Dillahunt signed onto Zack Snyder's latest blockbuster, he'd already become old hat in the zombie game thanks to his multi-season run on AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead."  

The long-running series debuted in 2015, depicting the struggles of a troubled family in the early days of the zombie apocalypse. Since that debut, the focus of "Fear the Walking Dead" has changed dramatically, however, with series creators expanding their crumbling world in ways even diehard "The Walking Dead" fans couldn't have anticipated. And one of the more wonderfully unexpected expansions brought the arrival of the Pioneers, a group of survivalists riding out the end of days in Wild West fashion. 

The Pioneers didn't make their "FTWD" appearance until Season 5, however, and while Dillahunt's wayward lawman John Dorie is no doubt best remembered for his time by the side of duplicitous Pioneer leader Virginia (Colbie Minnifie), and his devastating exit from the series at the hands of Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti), he'd actually been burning up the screen on the series since Season 4, where he first linked up with Lennie James' Morgan. Series entrances and exits aside, Garrett Dillahunt spent his time on the show building so many layers of moral complexity into his character that John Dorie became, arguably, the most intriguing presence to ever grace "Fear the Walking Dead." And yes, that's saying a lot for an actor who's made great sport of playing morally complicated characters in his career.