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Why Varnay From The Ice Road Looks So Familiar

Inspired by the classic film "Wages of Fear," Netflix's new action movie "The Ice Road" is a race against the clock as several long-haul truck drivers, led by Liam Neeson's Mike McCann, attempt to transport the equipment that's necessary to save several trapped miners in the far reaches of northern Canada. But their journey proves increasingly dangerous as they traverse the perilous ice roads, which are becoming thinner and thinner as the spring thaw quickly approaches and could crack open at any moment, swallowing them whole.

Benjamin Walker appears in the film as Tom Varnay, a risk-assessment professional whom the mining company insists makes the trip along with the drivers. However, it's eventually revealed that Varney isn't the person he claims to be, which complicates the mission further.

Walker has appeared in a number of TV shows and films throughout his career. He even starred on Broadway at one point. If he looks familiar to you, here's where you've likely seen Benjamin Walker before.

Benjamin Walker raised the flag for Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers

Shortly after making his film debut in 2004's "Kinsey," Benjamin Walker starred in Clint Eastwood's 2006 war film "Flags of Our Fathers." Based on the popular book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers, "Flags of Our Fathers" was one of two Eastwood-directed films that tell the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima. "Flags of Our Fathers" featured the American perspective, while its companion film, "Letters from Iwo Jima," was told from the Japanese perspective. 

Walker starred in the first film as real-life Marine Corporal Harlon Block, who was killed in action after raising the second flag at Iwo Jima — an act that photographer Joe Rosenthal caught on film, which eventually became the iconic photograph known as "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima." Rosenthal initially misidentified Block as Sergeant Hank Hansen, who'd been present at the first flag raising but not the second (via TracesofWar.com). It wasn't until 1947 that this mistake was revealed and corrected.

He killed vampires as Abraham Lincoln

In 2012, after a critically successful but unfortunately short run on Broadway as a reimagined (and emo) version of Andrew Jackson in the comedic rock musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," Benjamin Walker took on the role of yet another reimagined U.S. president. This time, he portrayed Abraham Lincoln in the 2012 film "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," an adaptation of the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith. 

The film — a mashup of action, horror, and historical fiction — follows a version of the 16th president of the United States who's also secretly a vampire hunter. This Lincoln is initially driven by revenge to kill the vampire who murdered his mother when he was young, but his story eventually expands to also depict a version of history in which vampires fight for the Confederacy and a powerful vampire known as Adam (Rufus Sewell) wants to turn the United States into a country of the undead.

Benjamin Walker was an ally for Jessica Jones

Benjamin Walker made his Marvel debut in Netflix's "Jessica Jones," which starred Krysten Ritter as the titular jaded, super-powered private detective. Walker joined the show in the third and final season to portray Erik Gelden, a man with enhanced empathic abilities that allows him to detect evil. 

The version of Erik in "Jessica Jones" is slightly different from the original comic book character, who was known as Mind-Wave, had mental abilities like telepathy, and was considered a villain. In the Netflix series, Erik initially uses his abilities to blackmail wrongdoers for money but eventually comes an ally and potential love interest for Jessica, as his ability to sense darkness in people is a unique and beneficial tool. However, after Jessica's friend Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) begins using Erik's powers to track down criminals to kill them, it's up to Jessica to stop her. 

The last fans saw of Erik, the police were approaching him with an offer to use his powers to assist them. Unfortunately, since Netflix pulled the plug on "Jessica Jones," we may never find out what ended up happening to Erik.

He had a small role in The Underground Railroad

In 2021, Benjamin Walker had a small but pivotal role on Amazon Prime Video's "The Underground Railroad." Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins directed the 10-episode limited series, adapted from Colson Whitehead's best-selling novel of the same name that imagines the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad running beneath the surface of the United States rather than a secret network of safe houses. 

Walker portrays Terrance Randall, one of two brothers who each control half of a plantation in Georgia. The more violent and sadistic of the two Randall brothers, Terrance appears in just two episodes of "The Underground Railroad," but he has a lasting effect on the story, as his actions in the premiere are the catalyst for what transpires. In the episode, Terrance publicly burns to death a slave who had been captured after running away, thus prompting the show's heroine, young slave Cora (Thuso Mbedu), and another slave, Caesar (Aaron Pierre), to flee in search of their freedom.