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Why Claudius From Ophelia Looks So Familiar

Fans of William Shakespeare may have noticed that Claire McCarthy's "Ophelia" is currently streaming on Netflix. A fresh take on the "Hamlet" narrative, the cinematic adaptation of the theatrical classic tells the story from the perspective of Ophelia and reframes what audiences think they know about the Denmark-based tragedy. The film has a massive cast list of beloved actors, including Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, George MacKay, and Tom Felton. However, one particularly familiar actor in the cast is the one in the larger-than-life role of Hamlet's uncle, Claudius.

That actor who plays Claudius in "Ophelia" probably looks familiar because British actor Clive Owen portrays him. Though he has taken a backseat from leading man roles in recent years, Owen was once arguably one of the biggest movie stars in the world. With his long list of IMDb credits, let's look at his lengthy filmography and check out some of the films you likely known him from.

He hunted Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity

One of the critical narrative elements that seem to define the "Bourne" franchise is one agent or assassin who always seems to be hot on the heels of Matt Damon's titular rogue spy. In Doug Liman's "The Bourne Identity," the film's climactic foe is The Professor, played by Clive Owen. An expert sniper, The Professor tracks down Jason Bourne and Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) to a house in the French countryside –- leading to a tense showdown in which Bourne uses a shotgun to take him down.

In his final moments, The Professor reveals his connection to Bourne through the Treadstone program, setting up much of the conflict that would characterize the remainder of the "Bourne" series. Clive Owen's performance as The Professor started a trend that would largely characterize much of his subsequent career. Thanks to the impression he made in "The Bourne Identity," Owen quickly became one of Hollywood's go-to actors to play mysterious, gun-toting Brits with questionable morals.

He played the legendary King Arthur

One of Clive Owen's first major crossovers as a star in major, mainstreaming blockbuster filmmaking came under the direction of "Training Day" filmmaker Antoine Fuqua with the release of 2004's "King Arthur." This version focused less on fantasy elements, and more on an examination of real socio-political turmoil taking place in Europe during the 5th Century, not to mention some incredibly brutal battle sequences. Taking on the role of King Arthur, Owen portrayed his version of the legend with a far grittier take than most versions that preceded it – arguably helping to pave the way for the dark franchise reboots that would follow in subsequent years.

In addition to Owen, the film's cast also included Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone, Hugh Dancy, Ioan Gruffudd, and Mads Mikkelsen. Despite the talent behind the film, "King Arthur" did not do well enough to earn a sequel for itself. Though it cleared its $120 million budget, the film's $200 million worldwide gross was a disappointment. As such, Clive Owen ultimately moved on from Arthurian legend to other projects.

He went full noir in Sin City

Few actors can play a lone gunslinger quite like Clive Owen, and one of his most brooding roles of all time came with his performance as Dwight McCarthy in "Sin City." The 2005 Robert Rodriguez film faithfully adapted Frank Miller's comic series of the same name and focused on multiple intersecting stories in the fictional Basin City. In the film, Owen's Dwight is a loner mercenary with a soft spot for the city's prostitutes. Initially unwilling to get involved in the war brewing within the criminal underworld, Dwight quickly finds himself embroiled in a battle with crime lords and crooked cops as they encroach on Old Town. Not only is Dwight one of the coolest characters in "Sin City," but he is also the only one of the three main characters (including Bruce Willis' John Hartigan and Mickey Rourke's Marv) to survive the events of the film.

Dwight remains a fan-favorite member of the "Sin City" ensemble to this very day, but unfortunately, Clive Owen did not return to the heightened world of Basin City for the long-awaited sequel. Instead, "Avengers: Endgame" star Josh Brolin took over to reflect Dwight's prequel story before his facial reconstruction surgery. Even in the sequences taking place after the surgery, "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" kept Brolin in the role.

He pulled off a stunning bank robbery in Inside Man

Clive Owen and Denzel Washington matched wits in the 2006 bank heist thriller "Inside Man." Directed by Oscar-winner Spike Lee, "Inside Man" centers its story on expert bank robber Dalton Russell (Owen) as he orchestrates an elaborate heist at a New York bank against hostage negotiator Keith Frazier (Washington). Owen's charisma carries the portions of the film that take place inside the bank, and "Inside Man" embraces Spike Lee's knack for stylish filmmaking by utilizing numerous fourth wall breaks in which Owen's character directly addresses the audience about the events of the film.

"Inside Man" proved itself a critical and commercial success when Lee unleashed it upon the viewing populace in 2006. The film was successful enough that there were even long-term discussions about a sequel. This follow-up would once again bring back Owen and Washington in their respective roles for another game of cat-and-mouse. However, the project languished in development hell for years (via ScreenRant), a proper sequel was declared dead. A sequel, "Inside Man: Most Wanted," did eventually materialize years later, but it went straight to video and made almost no impression on mainstream audiences.

He protected a young pregnant woman in Children of Men

Though film opinions can vary wildly, there's a strong case to be made that "Children of Men" is the best film in Clive Owen's filmography, and much of that is due to the arguments made that it's one of the best sci-fi films ever made. "Children of Men" was considered a flop when it debuted in 2006. However, it received widespread critical acclaim and has been consistently reevaluated as one of the century's best films. Though the film contains clear technical and narrative expertise, much of its high quality can also be traced back to Owen's performance as Theo.

As the film's main character, Theo is a tired man who learns new purpose when he finds himself introduced to a young woman named Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), the first woman to get pregnant in 18 years. Tasked with shepherding her to safety in a society on the brink of collapse, Theo embarks on an odyssey that explores themes of hope, faith, and religion as he grapples with the death of his own child years earlier. As the film's focal character whose introduction and climactic death bookend the story, Theo's journey in "Children of Men" is about a man choosing to believe in the future again.

He ate carrots and shot guns in Shoot 'Em Up

Clive Owen has appeared in numerous action films over the course of his career such as "Gemini Man" and "The International," but arguably none fit the traditional action movie bill quite like 2007's "Shoot 'Em Up." A non-stop firefight of a movie, the campy, gun-focused romp follows Clive Owen as a deadpan marksman named Mr. Smith who reluctantly steps in to protect a sex worker (Monica Bellucci) and a baby from a maniacal hitman named Hertz (Paul Giamatti). Despite its relatively straightforward premise, "Shoot 'Em Up" stands apart due to its insanely kinetic action sequences and commitment to pure camp. At one point, Owen even murders a man with a carrot – so that's the kind of movie it is.

"Shoot 'Em Up" generated a lot of buzz when it debuted due to its over-the-top action and absurd premise. The film received mixed reactions from critics upon its release. Still, it generated enough enthusiasm that Clive Owen even considered hopping on board for a second installment (via Rotten Tomatoes), which would've turned "Shoot 'Em Up" into a franchise. Alas, the sequel never materialized, and as such, the first and only "Shoot 'Em Up" remains a bizarre artifact that perfectly exemplifies the excesses of mid-2000s action movies.

He portrayed Bill Clinton on American Crime Story: Impeachment

One of Clive Owen's most recent performances also happens to be one of his most prominent characters to date: President Bill Clinton. Appearing on "American Crime Story: Impeachment," Owen took on the role of the 42nd President of the United States amid the historic Clinton-Lewinsky scandal that grabbed headlines in the 1990s. Owen is nearly unrecognizable in his role as Clinton as he immerses himself in impressive prosthetics to replicate the former president's visage.

Clive Owen dug deep to bring Clinton to life as the only character on this list of roles to be a true modern historical figure. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Owen revealed that the makeup process to become Clinton took two hours every day, and during those sessions, he would obsessively listen to tapes of Clinton in order to nail his voice and accent. However, it all paid off as fans have widely praised Owen's performance in the FX series.