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Why Van From Atlanta Looks So Familiar

Donald Glover's masterfully made series "Atlanta" manages to evade the constrictions of any single genre, be it comedy, drama, or horror; that's due in part to its talented cast's portrayal of a nuanced ensemble of characters. The show tends to focus on Earn (Glover) and Alfred, aka Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), as they foray into the music business, supported by their delightfully eccentric friend Darius (LaKeith Stanfield).

However, the person holding Earn accountable more than anyone else would have to be Van, his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, who gets plenty of well-deserved screen time of her own. The actor behind this beloved character is Zazie Beetz, who has appeared in a number of other significant roles. For those watching "Atlanta" and swearing you've seen her somewhere else that's just on the tip of your tongue, there's a good chance it's from one of these three films.

Beetz is the actor behind the luckiest mutant in the X-Men universe

Like so many other prominent actors, Zazie Beetz has made her mark on a movie based on Marvel Comics. In the "X-Men" antihero spin-off "Deadpool 2," she stars as Domino, a sardonic mutant who is wildly lucky. That's right — Domino's actual power is that she has extraordinarily good luck. The ability serves her well as she finds herself wrapped up in Deadpool's (Ryan Reynolds) affairs. Domino enters the story as an applicant to join the newly formed X-Force, but she proves her good fortune by being the sole survivor of their ill-fated initial parachuting mission.

The character of Domino was not introduced until the second "Deadpool" movie, after which Beetz made it clear that she was interested in working more with the role, whether in a future "Deadpool" film or even a standalone origin story for Domino (via Screen Rant). "I am crossing my fingers ... I love Domino so much," Beetz said.

She appears as the Joker's love interest

Fewer actors can boast of having their credits in the realms of both Marvel and DC. In Todd Phillips' "Joker," Zazie Beetz has a much different kind of role. She plays Sophie Dumond, a single mom who lives on the same floor as the man whose downward spiral of nihilism transforms him from Arthur Fleck into the eponymous Gotham villain.

Sophie doesn't have any powers — this really isn't that kind of movie — but the few scenes she appears in are significant in the character study of Arthur, who seems to quickly fixate on her. Within a city that appears rotten, she is one of the few people to show him kindness, and she becomes a small beacon of light in the fantasy that he builds for himself.

When asked to comment on worries that "Joker" portrays a violent anarchist too sympathetically, Beetz responded, "I think that it's kind of an empathy towards isolation and kind of what is our duty as a society to address people who've slipped through the cracks in a way" (via IndieWire). If anything, the controversy surrounding the film might have only elevated Beetz's acting reputation.

One of her characters interviews for a chance to be born

One of Zazie Beetz's more recent noteworthy projects is her role in "Nine Days," the feature directorial debut of Edson Oda. Described as "ethereal and evocative," the film has received favorable reviews (via Rotten Tomatoes). It centers on a premise that in order to fill a vacancy on Earth, five souls must undergo an interview process, after which an arbiter will decide which soul gets the opportunity to live as a human being.

One of these souls is named Emma, portrayed by Beetz. Throughout the movie, Emma exhibits her unrepressed nature and even pushes Will, the arbiter (Winston Duke), to reflect more on his own trauma and growth journey. Beetz has shared some of her thoughts on what makes her character stand out, emphasizing the way Emma is concerned with the present and full of wonder regarding it (via Collider). "Emma, particularly, is just very moment by moment oriented, and not the future or the past. Some of the other spirits are a bit more concerned about the future and what's gonna happen with them," Beetz said.

In terms of Beetz's own future, it will be exciting to witness what new projects arise as her career continues to grow.