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Why Lola From The Power Of The Dog Looks So Familiar

The critically-acclaimed western drama "The Power of the Dog" follows Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), a callous rancher who delights in making life miserable for others. However, when his brother George (Jesse Plemons) marries one of his targets, Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst), he slowly comes to embrace his sister-in-law's son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee).

The long-awaited Jane Campion film has received praise for its exploration of masculinity, psychological cruelty, and family dynamics. Additionally, it racked up seven Golden Globes nominations, including Best Picture Drama, Best Screenplay Motion Picture, Best Score Motion Picture, Best Director Motion Picture, Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture (Dunst), and Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture (Smit-McPhee) (via Golden Globes).

"The Power of the Dog," which is currently streaming on Netflix, also features rising star Thomasin McKenzie. The New Zealand actress plays the minor role of Lola, a housemaid to the Burbank family. Here's where you might recognize McKenzie from.

Thomasin McKenzie's first major film was The Hobbit

Following her first couple of roles in the 2012 drama "Existence" and the 2014 TV movie "Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story," Thomasin McKenzie knew she wanted to act. In an interview with Collider, she explained that the latter film had "opened [her] eyes to the potential of, like, sharing really important stories through acting [and] through film." After she committed to staying in the entertainment industry, McKenzie joined the "Lord of the Rings" franchise in the 2014 film "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." She portrays Astrid, a young girl living in Lake-town, where Smaug launches his fiery attack.

McKenzie reflected on her experience working on Peter Jackson's film with Collider, explaining that she was struck by the sheer size of the production. "[The green screen] was massive," she told the outlet. "And just the sets that they made ... it was so incredible, absolutely incredible to see a creation like that." Because she was so young, she admits that her most memorable moment on set was seeing shelves full of elf wigs in a hair and makeup trailer. McKenzie added that, ever since, she's been "obsessed" with the idea of portraying a fairy or an elf.

She's had various TV roles over the years

In addition to her major film roles, Thomasin McKenzie has also starred in several TV shows over the years. In 2015, she starred as Pixie Hannah in the long-running New Zealand soap opera "Shortland Street." After Hannah passes away following cancer complications, McKenzie memorialized her character on Instagram. "I had an unforgettable time on Shortland Street, I learnt so much and made so many friends," she wrote, "RIP PIXIE."

McKenzie later starred as Annabel in a 2015 episode of the sci-fi show "End of Term." In 2016, she also had a recurring role as Petra Quince in the Shakespeare-inspired millennial drama "Bright Summer Night," along with another recurring role as Willa on the teen survivalist drama "The Cul De Sac" in 2017.

Most notably, McKenzie starred as the titular character in "Lucy Lewis Can't Lose." The comedy web series follows Lucy, a student with a physical disability and a fear of public speaking, as she works to make her high school a better place. McKenzie's mother, Miranda Harcourt, appears in the web series as her principal and adversary as the class representative, Ms. Parker. "I'm usually watching her coach other actors, so it's fun acting with her and she helps me a lot," McKenzie said of working with her mother (via Roger Ebert).

Thomasin McKenzie broke out with Leave No Trace

Thomasin McKenzie's breakout role came in Debra Granik's 2018 drama "Leave No Trace." The film follows Will (Ben Foster), a veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder who lives in isolation with his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (McKenzie). When the tight-knit duo is caught living in a public park, social services intervenes. As Tom comes to understand their situation, Will's illness worsens, and he resists adapting to the modern world.

McKenzie's performance as the emotionally conflicted teenager is critically acclaimed, with Vogue saying it "heralded the arrival of a star" and a Roger Ebert critic praising her as a major "discovery." The film opened doors for the actress, though she admits that she thought people wouldn't like it. "I think I was surprised at how well it did," she told Collider, adding that she is "beyond proud" of the film but thought people would find it "slow" and "quiet." "I was so relieved and so honored when people just were so moved by it," she went on, explaining how that role changed her career.

She portrayed Elsa in Jojo Rabbit

Following the success of "Leave No Trace," Thomasin McKenzie was booked and busy in 2019. She starred in the historical drama "The King" alongside Timothée Chalamet and Robert Pattinson, as well as the Australian true-crime drama "True History of the Kelly Gang." But her most popular film that year was "Jojo Rabbit," a satire about World War II. McKenzie stars in the Taika Waititi film as Elsa Korr, a Jewish teenager who is being hidden in a German family's attic. The film explores the war through the eyes of Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), a young German boy who has joined the Hitler Youth. When he discovers that his mother is protecting Elsa, his political beliefs clash with his morals as they form an unlikely friendship.

In an interview with /Film, McKenzie explained that she went into the role knowing that she needed to do as much research as possible. She also spoke about how "Jojo Rabbit" is a must-see film for everyone. "I think it's important to those people and every kind of people, of all ages, to see this film and be reminded to think of our past, and be reminded what led to World War II, what were the causes of the Holocaust," she told the outlet. "There are some similarities between what caused World War II and how we got to that place of anger, and how things seem to be escalating today."

She recently starred in Old and Last Night in Soho

Most recently, Thomasin McKenzie starred in the 2021 films "Old" and "Last Night in Soho." The former film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is a psychological thriller that sees a group of vacationers attempting to escape a secluded beach that causes their health to deteriorate as they rapidly age. McKenzie plays the teenage version of Maddox Cappa, who watches in horror as the group struggles to find a way out. She and her brother Trent (Alex Wolff) find a notebook that offers some explanation as to the terrifying nature of the beach, but before they can get away, she becomes middle-aged.

Then, McKenzie starred alongside Anya Taylor-Joy in the Edgar Wright-directed thriller "Last Night in Soho." The film follows fashion student and 1960s enthusiast Ellie Turner (McKenzie) as she begins to experience realistic dreams about a charismatic singer named Sandie (Taylor-Joy). As her vision-like dreams take a dark turn, Ellie finds herself trying to solve a crime that she witnessed via time travel in her sleep. 

In her interview with Collider, McKenzie said that certain parts of the ghostly film were "quite daunting" and called it an "amazing challenge" for her as an actress."Old" holds a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, while "Last Night in Soho" fares better with a 75%. Unsurprisingly, McKenzie's rising star status was pointed out in reviews for both films.