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Why Brother Day From Foundation Looks So Familiar

The science-fiction series "Foundation" premiered on Apple TV+ on September 24. Adapted from the Isaac Asimov book series of the same name, the show takes place in the centuries-old Galactic Empire. The empire is ruled by Brother Day (Lee Pace), who is one in a series of genetic clones of the former Emperor Cleon I. Brother Day's reign is challenged by scientist and mathematician Hari Seldon (Jared Harris), who predicts the superpower's decline and intends to build a "foundation" of knowledge to shorten the dark ages he believes will ensue when the Galactic Empire falls. The show jumps backward and forward in time as Seldon's followers defy the superpower in order to save humanity from oblivion.

Pace has already been singled out in the AV Club's review for his "wonderfully hammy, decadent" performance as the emperor, making him one of the many reasons to tune into the Apple TV+ show. Audiences may recognize the actor from some previous film and television roles, including a Marvel movie set in space, a YA blockbuster trilogy from the 2010s, and an acclaimed AMC drama about the birth of computers. Here's where you most likely have seen Pace before "Foundation."

Lee Pace first broke out on Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies

Originally coming from a background in theater (via Broadway World), Lee Pace first garnered recognition for his performance as a transgender showgirl in the 2003 TV movie "Soldier's Girl" (via New York Magazine). He then went on to star in two early, beloved, and short-lived shows from "Hannibal" showrunner Bryan Fuller: the Fox network series "Wonderfalls" and the magical surrealist ABC dramedy "Pushing Daisies."

In "Pushing Daisies," Pace plays neurotic, loveable Ned, a pie-maker with a surprising secret: With one touch, Ned can bring a corpse back to life, but, if he doesn't touch them again within sixty seconds, they continue living and something else dies instead. Ned teams up with private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) so they can use his gift to solve crimes. However, things get complicated when he "wakes up" his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel), and doesn't want to let her go. The series was tragically canceled after only two seasons and 22 episodes (via E! News), but Pace continued to stay busy in both film and television.

He plays an enigmatic sofware salesman on Halt and Catch Fire

In 2014, Lee Pace joined the AMC drama series "Halt and Catch Fire" (via IMDb). Pace plays Joe MacMillan, a charismatic sales executive who joins computer company Cardiff Electric in 1983. He enlists engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) and programmer Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) to help him build a personal computer called the Giant, hoping to revolutionize the computer industry. Throughout the AMC series' four seasons and 40 episodes, Joe and the other characters regularly reinvent themselves and their companies while trying to push the field of computing forward, struggling both with greedy investors and their ambitions.

Pace was praised for his performance even as "Halt and Catch Fire" became more of an ensemble series, with Variety noting in their review of Season 3 that "Lee Pace is capable of ferocious intensity even when silent." The show ended in 2017 on what appeared to be a high note, critically speaking, with a 100% approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

He is a member of many major movie franchises

Lee Pace has also had a healthy and prolific film career. He first marked himself as a notable onscreen talent as Roy Walker in the Tarsem Singh fantasy cult favorite "The Fall" (via IMDb). Following this memorable turn, he secured parts in several blockbuster movies. In 2012, he had supporting roles in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," per his IMDb profile. In the final "Twilight" film, he plays a vampire named Garrett, and, in "An Unexpected Journey," he appears as Elvish ruler Thranduil. He later reprised the morally ambiguous Thranduil in the following two "Hobbit" films.

Pace received perhaps his biggest film role to date when he played villainous Kree rebel Ronan the Accuser in the MCU romp "Guardians of the Galaxy." The actor acknowledged in a 2014 interview with Georgia Straight that he often enjoyed playing more nefarious characters. He shared, "Having a good time is a big part of it. Playing Ronan, he was like this big, bad, bombastic character, and you have to have a good time with that. You can't take it too seriously. And it's the same with ['The Hobbit' franchise character] the Elvenking: it's important to enjoy playing the character."

You can see Pace playing this kind of role in "Foundation," now in its first season and releasing new episodes every Friday on Apple TV+ through November 19.