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Why Dylan From Lovesick Looks So Familiar

Have you ever been so absorbed in a TV series that you don't even recognize an actor when he shows up in another role? Now that's a sign of some great character work, and Johnny Flynn has it down as Dylan on Netflix's "Lovesick." Watching him play "Mr. Big Soppy Feelings," it's difficult to imagine him as anything but the original nice guy, burning through relationships, sure, but always so sweet about it, really investing himself each time he meets someone new.

While Dylan reads as a sort of male ingenue (despite the STD diagnosis driving the plot), the actor playing this part is no newcomer to the screen. In fact, whether you realize it or not, you've probably seen him before in roles so unlike his character on "Lovesick" that flicker of recognition may feel more like déjà vu that doesn't fully register. Rest assured you can trust your instincts; there are real reasons this guy's face rings a bell.

Flynn had a breakout role in Beast

In 2017, Flynn played Pascal, a charming suspect of several violent crimes, in the movie "Beast." He described the film as a dark fairytale and told The Guardian he didn't mind making viewers uneasy, especially if he could be involved in a project that opened people's eyes and made them question things they hadn't thought about before.

As he explained, part of his job as an actor involves finding his way into a character from a very real place. When talking about Pascal, he described the character as a person who "believes in himself." "I had a lot of sympathy for him — it's important when you're playing a character to believe in your own validity," Flynn said.

At the end of the day, navigating his way out of a very dark role was just as important. "Our job as actors is to invent the things that bridge ourselves with the characters, so you have to build something if it's not there — you try and learn what makes people behave in a certain way," he explained. "It's interesting coming back to neutral and remembering who you are and what your moral standing point is in the world."

Flynn is Mr. Knightley in Emma

When Flynn appeared as George Knightley in 2020's "Emma.," much was made of his nude scene, deemed "gratuitous" by the Daily Mail. In the scene, Mr. Knightley strips down to get dressed with assistance from his valet. Flynn's feelings about this: It was all good. He recognized the importance of humanizing the character and even objectifying him in this way. After all, Mr. Knightley was a bit of a mansplainer, who needed to be seen as a real and likable person.

"(W)hat I like is that he's tortured about it, and he, I think he'd rather not be (a mansplainer)," he told Radio Times. "He apologizes for it, and I think he explains what the feeling is behind it, and I think there's a lesson for men in there somewhere, like being open to evolving."

The man behind Mr. Knightley is further along in that journey than his "Emma" character, and said he felt director Autumn de Wilde made his experience throughout filming entirely comfortable. "It was such a gentle and loving and sweet and family-oriented set," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I'm always grateful to be in a female-led environment."

Flynn plays Bowie in Stardust

When the David Bowie biopic "Stardust" released in 2020, it wasn't universally well-received. A good number of Bowie fans were less than appreciative of a film that failed to feature any of the subject's original music. And that's because Bowie's estate — down on the project from the beginning — refused to lend filmmakers the rights (via Entertainment Weekly). But frankly, we can't help but admire the end result, a fascinating take on Bowie's origin story that wouldn't have been nearly as engaging without Flynn at its center.

The point, for Flynn, was to tell a story people don't know about Bowie, and to show him as a real and vulnerable person on a journey. "I was very keen for it not to be an impersonation which people could pick holes in," he told The Observer. "We wanted to tell an alternative story to the Bowie that you know ... it's really a creative invitation to not have the music and look at all the other stuff he was doing in this time."

Flynn's Bowie isn't always likable (one reason, perhaps, for the estate's lack of support), and he nails the narcissistic edge that often seems to accompany eventually-recognized greatness. Not only that, he's the man behind the music in the movie; a talented musician in his own right, he performed all of the songs. 

Flynn has plenty more projects in the works, including "The Dig," now on Netflix, as well as "Ripley," a Showtime TV series. We can't wait to see what he brings to the screen next.