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Why Wade Porter From Felon Looks So Familiar

2008's "Felon" didn't make a splash when it was released on July 18, 2008, opening opposite "The Dark Knight" and, in an act of sheer hubris, "Mama Mia." However, the prison flick is getting a second chance at love thanks to the delightful cinematic Island of Misfit Toys that Netflix has carefully cultivated.

And with a new generation of viewers comes renewed interest in a largely forgotten ensemble cast. "Felon" boasts an impressive list of names — Val Kilmer, at that point representing a full 20% of all on-screen Batmen, appears with more neck tattoos than ever before. Harold Perrineau, Sam Shepard, and "Sons of Anarchy's" own Johnny Lewis fill out an all-star group of actors. And they're all brought together thanks to the story of the film's main character, Wade Porter. 

It would be perfectly understandable if you didn't recognize the actor behind this performance — he's rocking significantly less hair than usual — but it's none other than Stephen Dorff. He's enjoyed a career stretching back to the 1980s, and once came within spitting distance of killing Blade. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Stephen Dorff started strong with Still the Beaver

The transition from aspiring performer to blockbuster star is rarely a smooth one. To paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkein, "It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing whether you'll wind up on 'Still the Beaver,' dressed like a viking and pummeling Ollie with retractable boxing gloves while shouting 'Gladiator! Gladiator!'"

Let's backtrack. In 1983, audiences were delighted by a "Leave It to Beaver" reunion special, leading the people in charge to greenlight a full-blown Disney Channel revival beginning the following year. Wholesome hijinks ensued.

In the 1985 episode "The Gladiators," young Oliver (John Snee) found himself in an absolute ethical barrel of molasses. A gang of prepubescent young bucks with a stalwart enthusiasm for Viking cosplay had caught his young eye, but the group's no-girls policy and penchant for beating one another with polystyrene fists on sticks threw a wrench in the gears of his milquetoast suburban upbringing. Among the ruffians was Stephen Dorff, playing the rough-and-tumble Tony, whose skepticism regarding Ollie's perceived worth as a potential new member of the group served as a real stumbling block. Check out that razor-sharp glare on that kid. He was born to be a star.

Stephen Dorff got extreme with Blade

It remains almost unfathomable that "Blade" even made it to the screen. In 1998, comic book movies were still a couple of years away from establishing themselves as a sure thing, and big budget blockbusters with a Black lead were few and far between. Nonetheless, against all odds, the story of fiction's most "catchphrasy" vampire hunter hit theaters, marking the start of financially viable Marvel movies. The titular Blade, played by Wesley Snipes, would go on to star in two more movies, before spinning off into a live-action TV series, a bevy of animated appearances, and a future role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Of course, a karate-chopping nineties antihero is only as good as his questionably computer animated villain. Luckily, "Blade" had that corner of its narrative covered in hair-gelled style, and introduced viewers to the nefarious bloodsucker Deacon Frost, played by Stephen Dorff. Here, Dorff's character overthrows a society of vampires in a quest to obtain the powers of a vampiric god. What he doesn't count on is two heaping spoonfuls of Wesley Snipes jumping, kicking, spinning, and glaive...ing his way to victory.

Also, if you've never seen it, the deleted original ending of the film saw Dorff turning into a tornado of blood and kind of spinning menacingly for a while. Watching it will make your eyes bleed ... which, if nothing else, is appropriate.

Stephen Dorff blew critics away on True Detective

"True Detective" has built a reputation for itself as a ten thousand-pound test line designed to reel in underutilized, underappreciated talent. Its first season reminded viewers how good Matthew McConaughey could be back when "Dallas Buyers Club" was still the outlier in a career that was, at the time, just alright.*

In season three, the anthology series paired Stephen Dorff with Mahershala Ali, with the duo playing partner detectives across three decades thanks to a deep well of acting chops and a few hundred combined hours in the makeup chair. The season was critically acclaimed, and Dorff was praised for giving what was widely considered one of the best performances of his career as Vietnam War veteran Roland West. In an interview with Variety, Dorff referred to Roland as "the richest character I've ever gotten to play," excitedly explaining the complexity of portraying a guy who "can get into a bar fight, but he can kind of try to protect the person that's suffering."

*alright, alright.