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Why Sam From Gunpowder Milkshake Looks So Familiar

Truly great action movies have a good cast, great set pieces, and an elusive ability to bring something to the table that the competition simply can't answer to. Netflix's "Gunpowder Milkshake" ticks all these boxes with ease.

The story of two generations of professional female assassins taking on a dangerous gangster organization while dealing with their own issues features excellent fight choreography, and a stunning cast that includes stars like Lena Headey ("Game of Thrones," "Judge Dredd"), Angela Bassett ("Black Panther"), Michelle Yeoh ("Star Trek: Discovery"), Carla Gugino ("The Haunting of Hill House"), and Paul Giamatti ("Sideways," "Billions"). What's more, the movie also features an excellent protagonist in Sam — a young assassin and surrogate mother of an eight-year-old, who can deliver on both thriller and action parts of the movie. 

As the rest of the star-studded cast implies, the actress portraying Sam is also very well-known, even though you might not immediately remember where you've seen her. Here's why Sam from "Gunpowder Milkshake" looks so familiar.

Karen Gillan shot to fame as Amy Pond in Doctor Who

Karen Gillan's biggest early role was in the BBC's sci-fi classic, "Doctor Who." Her Amy Pond starts out as a young girl who stumbles into Matt Smith's freshly regenerated 11th Doctor — or rather, the other way around — but despite the Doctor's promises, a temporal misunderstanding means that they won't meet again until Amy is all grown up. From that point on, the Doctor, Amy, and her long-suffering eventual husband Rory (Arthur Darvill) have all sorts of adventures, until Amy and Rory finally get their "happily ever after" ... even it if comes in a way they might not have anticipated.

As a character, Amy is inseparably tied to Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor. Not only is she his trusty and resourceful companion, but thanks to a bunch of the show's patented timey-wimey stuff, she's also the mother of the Doctor's wife, Melody "River Song" Pond (Alex Kingston). She meets the 11th Doctor in the very first episode of Smith's inaugural series in 2010, and though she's long gone by his last Christmas Special in 2013, a vision of her still drops by to say a final goodbye. To this day, her "Raggedy Man, goodnight" cameo remains one of the more effective ways to send a "Doctor Who" fan chopping onions.  

According to a poll by BBC America, Amy is one of the most beloved companions of the show's history, and out of all modern companions, only Catherine Tate's brash and soulful Donna Noble ranks above her. Gillan's portrayal was certainly noted within the industry, and her next role would raise her star even higher. 

Karen Gillan shaved her hair to play Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The role most people likely know Karen Gillan from is, ironically enough, the one in which the actress looks least like herself. Since 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy," the actress has portrayed Nebula, Thanos' (Josh Brolin) adopted, blue-skinned cyborg daughter, who starts out as a sadistic villain and an adversary of her adopted sibling, Gamora (Zoe Saldana). However, a series of encounters with the Guardians and various other heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe helps the main continuity's version of the tortured character overcome her traumatic past, and become a hero of sorts herself.  

Gillan clearly knew that an opportunity to join the MCU was a huge opportunity, as the way she transformed into Nebula was nothing short of epic. The actress famously revealed that she'd shaved her head for the role in the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con (via US Magazine), and the lengthy makeup process required to bring Nebula to life was almost enough to rival castmate Dave Bautista's famously arduous process to become Drax.

Nebula's role in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" is considerable, and her prominence in the MCU has only increased since. She is a pivotal part of "Avengers: Endgame," and seeing as Gillan is set to reprise the role in "Thor: Love and Thunder," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," and the Disney+ series "What If..?", you can expect to see a lot more of the cynical cyborg in the future. 

Karen Gillan is Ruby Roundhouse in the "Jumanji" franchise

In 2017, Gillan took her talents to a new, exciting franchise, in which she stars with Hollywood luminaries like Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart. The movie that started this part of her professional life is, of course, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" — the reboot-slash-sequel of the original "Jumanji" movie, which reimagines the titular board game as a mysterious video game cartridge, which transports the players into the game. Gillan plays one of the game's characters, a martial artist called Ruby Roundhouse. Of course, her actual personality is that of the real-world person playing Ruby. As such, the character is technically Morgan Turner's meek Martha Kaply in the first movie, and in the 2019 sequel "Jumanji: The Next Level," Ruby's player alternates between Martha and Ser'Darius Blain's high school jock, Fridge. 

The movies have been successful enough that the next installment of "Jumanji" is already on the way, and frankly, it would be a shock if Gillan wouldn't reprise her highly entertaining role. With a pair of hard-hitting roles in major franchises, and a starring role in "Gunpowder Milkshake," she has certainly turned her sci-fi beginnings into a full-blown action career. However, the actress has told Entertainment Weekly that this was, by and large, a complete accident. 

"I completely stumbled into it," she said about the action genre after "The Next Level" came out. "I grew up in the top of Scotland doing theater. So no, I hadn't anticipated it. It's just kind of something that happened to me, and I've been working really hard to get good at it. And I think I might be there now." We're inclined to agree with this line of thinking.