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Why Paper Boi From Atlanta Looks So Familiar

"Atlanta" premiered in 2016 as a show endeavoring to bring not just compelling characters on the journey to rap stardom but also to bring the city of Atlanta itself as a character. The primary protagonist of "Atlanta" is Earnest "Earn" Marks (Donald Glover). He serves as a down-on-his-luck man who quit an Ivy League school and attempts to make it in the city as a rap producer. His former girlfriend, Van (Zazie Beetz), raises their son and comes in and out of the storylines to complicate his life. One of the most dynamic characters in the series is Earn's estranged cousin and rap artist, Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles, played by Brian Tyree Henry. His hesitance to allow Earn to manage him is eventually changed by the end of the first season when he finally accepts him. The series ran two seasons before a COVID delay caused a four-year hiatus. Seasons 3 and 4 are coming soon.

Brian Tyree Henry is an actor who spent the majority of his early career as a one-off character in multiple shows, including "Law & Order," "The Good Wife," and "Boardwalk Empire." However, his role as Paper Boi propelled him to bigger and better things "I never thought in a million years I'd be going from project to project," he told Vanity Fair. "Nothing ever taught me this was possible." When you watch the newest seasons of "Atlanta," Paper Boi will seem more familiar than ever, with all the projects Henry has appeared in over the past few years. This is where you have seen him before. 

He was mortally wounded in Hotel Artemis

Henry found himself standing among Hollywood royalty in his first major film in 2018. "Hotel Artemis" saw him cast alongside Jodie Foster and Jeff Goldblum in an artistic interpretation of a similar storyline to 2014's "John Wick." The film served as a display piece for a collection of actors reaching deep to find intriguing characters.

Also starring Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Zachary Quinto, and Charlie Day, "Hotel Artemis" takes place in a fictional 2028 where water has been privatized and rioting has broken out in Los Angeles. The majority of the film happens within the titular hotel that caters exclusively to criminals who have subscribed to their service. The film directorial debut of writer Drew Pearce follows a set of brothers, Waikiki (Brown) and Honolulu (Henry), seeking refuge in the hotel after a botched bank robbery. Unfortunately for them, one of the items stolen during the theft carries a worth of $18 million, inducing the wrath of the owner, the Wolf King (Goldblum).

Henry's character is badly wounded in the bank robbery, and he spends the majority of the movie in a hospital bed. An assassin named Nice (Boutella) inadvertently kills him when she cuts the power in her attempt to kill the Wolf King. Although limited to conversations with his brother, Honolulu proved to be a pivotal part of the movie, and Henry showed what he could do even with limited screen time.

He lent his voice as Jefferson Davis in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

It isn't often we see the ordinarily divisive comic book community come together and universally declare a movie adaptation a work of art. But that is precisely what happened with 2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." Beloved by both critics and audiences, the flick went beyond the traditional comic book adaptation big-budget affair by electing to use an animated approach.

The movie follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he becomes the Spider-Man of his universe after witnessing the death of Peter Parker (Chris Pine). To stop a threat that could destroy multiple universes, he unites with other Spider-Beings from different realities. The voice talent in the film is a who's who of names in Hollywood. Credits include Jake Johnson, Lily Tomlin, Nic Cage, Zoë Kravitz, and Liev Schreiber. Even Oscar Isaac can be heard in a post-credits cameo. Along with those names are a handful of current Marvel actors — Kathryn Hahn, Mahershala Ali, and Hailee Steinfeld. There is also a bevy of Marvel easter eggs for viewers to feast their eyes upon.

Henry lends his voice as Jefferson Davis, the father of the hero. His character is at odds with the new Spider-Man after he mistakes him for the killer of his brother, Aaron Davis (Ali). While his character is not a central cog in the storyline, his relationship with Spider-Man runs parallel with the police department's. He begins as a hesitant officer and ends as a supporter.

He appeared as an Arkham clerk in Joker

How many versions of Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker, exist in the throngs of film history? From Cesar Romero's campy iteration in the sixties to Mark Hamill's animated masterpiece, every fan of The Dark Knight has their own personal favorite. Whether you loved it or hated it, Joaquin Phoenix's version of the Clown Prince of Crime in 2019 brought a different (maybe refreshing?) take.

"Joker" follows loner Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) as he takes the audience on a journey of discovery, while viewers had difficulty telling what was real and what was not. In the film, writer/director Todd Phillips ("Old School," "The Hangover," "War Dogs") implied that Arthur Fleck was not only connected to the Wayne family but the illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen).

During the story, Fleck finds a letter his mother wrote to Thomas Wayne, telling him he is the father. She tells her son that she once worked for the man, and he sets out to discover the truth. He finds himself in Arkham Asylum searching for his mother's medical records, and the clerk who provides them is none other than Brian Tyree Henry. It is a small part with only a few moments of screen time. However, handing Fleck the proof he needed to show that his mother suffered from a myriad of mental conditions and sending Fleck into a mental break of his own allowed Henry to once again have a massive impact despite limited screen time.

He was part of the conspiracy trinity in Godzilla vs. Kong

For decades, Godzilla and King Kong owned the monster arena. Finally, audiences were treated to a big-budget showdown in last year's "Godzilla vs. Kong." The film brought fantastic imagery and special effects to give viewers exactly what they needed in this kind of action head-to-head. The film did well with audiences and even became worthy of a rewatch.

The film continued the story of the revelation of The Monarch Project from previous installments, bringing beast vs. beast when two of the most powerful monsters (known as kaiju) battle each other for dominance over their territory. Along for the ride is a trio of characters who look to bring the truth of The Monarch Project and villainous corporation APEX to light. Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) seek out a conspiracy wack job named Bernie Hays (Henry) to form the trio.

In an interview with Collider, Henry talked about what it was like taking on the character and his favorite aspect of him. "I think that this is a lighter side of me that people are going to see — a completely different side of me that people are going to see. What I like about Bernie is that there's joy in him, and he's going to make people feel joyous about going on this journey that is incredibly insane."

He was an Eternal

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is perhaps the biggest blockbuster franchise in film history. Spanning two dozen films and establishing connectivity for 15 years, the sprawling series has challenged other franchises like James Bond and "Star Wars" for the king of the hill. 2021's "Eternals" looked to continue that trend and establish the world post-Thanos (read our review here).

The film follows the titular group of immortal beings as it leapfrogs through history, vowing never to interfere with humans and their wars or politics. As something known as the emergence nears, the group discovers they are harbingers of death used to build worlds and races to incubate new celestial beings. The group, led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), includes Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), and Druig (Barry Keoghan). Last on this list is one that, while important on-screen, is arguably more critical off-screen. Phastos, played by Henry, holds the distinction of being the MCU's first openly gay hero. In an interview with Variety, Henry called it a "dream come true" and "life-saving" when he opened up about the impact it has. "I wish I had that when I was a kid to see this. My god. I wish! Can you imagine how many lives this is going to be saving — kids, young queer folk, who are being bullied, committing suicide, and not seeing themselves being represented? And now they get to see this — it's above and beyond,"

You can see Henry next in this summer's "Bullet Train, starring Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock, according to his IMDB