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Why Martin From The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent Looks So Familiar

Of the Nicolas Cage skeptics out there (is there such a thing?), none could knock the man for his versatility. The actor has starred in acid horror freakouts, poignant explorations of grief by way of a pig, and even traveled to the Spider-Verse — and that's just in the last few years. Nor is Cage unfamiliar with surreal, deeply meta scripts, as fans of Spike Jonze's "Adaptation" can attest. Still, nothing could prepare the actor for "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" – save scrolling through his own IMDb page, perhaps.

In the upcoming film, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who's been invited to meet mega-rich superfan Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). When Gutierrez is revealed to be a notorious arms dealer, Cage must access his own former film roles to work up the gumption and know-how to save his family.

While Cage plays himself in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," the rest of the film is fleshed out by real stars playing purely fictional roles. Two central characters are CIA agents Vivian and Martin. The former is played by Tiffany Haddish, but if you're not sure where you may have seen the actor who plays Martin, that may be because he's been in a number of recognizable TV shows and movies over the past few decades.

Ike Barinholtz got his start on MADtv

Actor and comedian Ike Barinholtz has been a fixture of television and film since the early aughts. In 1999, he launched his career by joining the famed comedy troupe Boom Chicago, where he performed alongside Jordan Peele, Josh Meyers, and Nicole Parker.

In 2002, Barinholtz joined the cast of "MADtv." Inspired by MAD Magazine, the sketch comedy series aired on Fox from 1995 to 2009, where it helped launch the careers of Alex Borstein and Michael McDonald, among others. Over the course of his five years on "MADtv," Barinholtz overlapped with the likes of Mo Collins, Bobby Lee, and Keegan-Michael Key, not to mention his old peers from Boom Chicago (via IMDb).

Between Seasons 8 and 12, Barinholtz left his mark on the series, skewering early aughts targets like Abercrombie & Fitch and Dane Cook. Barinholtz and Meyers, in particular, excelled as a comedy duo on the series, using their well-established chemistry to mine laughs. While a "MADtv" cast member, Barinholtz began padding his resume with film credits, including the 2008 parody films "Meet the Spartans" and "Disaster Movie."

Barinholtz played Nurse Morgan Tookers on The Mindy Project

Barinholtz's success on "MADtv" led him to other cushy TV gigs, including recurring roles in "The League" and Season 3 of "Eastbound & Down." In 2012, Barinholtz joined the cast of "The Mindy Project." The brainchild of Mindy Kaling, "The Mindy Project" follows OB/GYN Dr. Mindy Lahiri as she navigates her personal and professional life in New York City.

For his first major recurring role on a narrative series, Barinholtz plays Nurse Morgan Tookers, a rehabilitated ex-con who goes from stealing cars to stealing hearts. A key member of Mindy's quirky medical practice, Tookers is an oddball with a knack for mispronunciation and poor people skills. Nonetheless, he is a caring, considerate nurse at the practice. Barinholtz played Tookers for the entirety of the series' six seasons, appearing in 116 episodes from 2012 to 2017. In addition to starring on "The Mindy Project," Barinholtz also served as a producer and story editor (via IMDb).

Barinholtz got schooled by frat brothers in Neighbors

It's hard to stand out next to comic heavyweight Seth Rogen, but Ike Barinholtz achieved exactly that in "Neighbors." The 2014 comedy is a beer-soaked look at one couple's adjustment to adult life with the arrival of their newborn. Unfortunately for Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), a noisy fraternity moves in next door, with hard-partying president Teddy (Zac Efron) at the helm.

What ensues is an all-out war between the frat and its adult neighbors. Mac enlists his friend Jimmy Blevins, played by Barinholtz, so they can participate in some hazing of their own. The results are less than pretty for Jimmy, who endures airbag abuse and a horrifically mangled leg at the hands of Delta Psi. Barinholtz brings physical comedy and one-liners to the role, with scheming that conjures a novice attempt at recreating "The Sting." Barinholtz reprised the role in the 2016 sequel "Neighbors: Sorority Rising," where his plotting graduates to the world of bedbug infestation.

He played prison guard Griggs in Suicide Squad

After exhibiting the talents of his comedic chops in a number of projects, Ike Barinholtz dipped his toes into the world of superheroes with 2016's "Suicide Squad." His collegiate pranks are no match for the level of antagonism that he achieves as Captain Hunter Samuel Griggs, the senior security officer at Belle Reve Prison. "It's a very different side of me that you haven't seen on 'The Mindy Project' or 'Neighbors,'" he teased ahead of the film's release (via the Chicago Tribune).

As one of Amanda Waller's (Viola Davis) henchmen, Griggs relishes in tormenting the members of Task Force X. He has Deadshot (Will Smith) eat bread that contains rat feces and fingernails, and he electrocutes Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). However, Griggs gets his comeuppance when the tables are turned. After being tortured by the Joker (Jared Leto), Griggs switches sides to save his own skin. 

"Suicide Squad" wouldn't be Barinholtz's only brush with superherodom. In 2019, he voiced Lex Luthor in "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part."

Barinholtz directed, wrote, and starred in The Oath

Barinholtz first caught the directing bug when he helmed a few episodes of "The Mindy Project." That was enough to set the ball rolling on his 2018 directorial debut "The Oath." "I think most writers want to be directors on some level," he told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, calling his decision to direct a feature a "no-brainer." He also told the publication that the idea for the movie came to him at Thanksgiving dinner in 2016, right after that year's presidential election.

A dark political comedy, "The Oath" details one family's disparate reactions to the news that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the president. Thanksgiving becomes a familial pressure cooker, with the meal escalating into paranoia and violence. Tiffany Haddish stars as Barinholtz's wife, Kai, marking just one of many collaborations between the two actors, including the upcoming "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." 

2018 would prove to be a busy year for Barinholtz, who also starred in the sex comedy "Blockers" with Leslie Mann and John Cena.

Barinholtz is a murder suspect in The Afterparty

Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish teamed up once again in "The Afterparty." The murder mystery series from Apple TV+ looks at a high school reunion afterparty gone wrong. When the afterparty ends in a shocking death, each attendee is a suspect, and Haddish plays the detective trying to put the pieces together.

Each episode is framed as a separate confession, with every character telling their account of the evening in a different way. In Episode 2, Barinholtz's character, Brett, breaks down his story in the style of an action movie. Replete with a blue-washed tint, Brett's episode brings thrills to the most mundane scenes, including a lengthy urinal sequence. The complications of Brett's real life are just as sordid, including his affair with another classmate.

The series, which dropped in 2022, boasts an impressive cast that includes Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ilana Glazer, Jamie Demetriou, Dave Franco, and John Early. Barinholtz has more work with ensemble casts on the horizon; he'll appear next in the Watergate miniseries "The White House Plumbers."