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Why Cyclone From Top Gun: Maverick Looks So Familiar

When people go see "Top Gun: Maverick" in theaters later this month, it's not going to just be Tom Cruise that they see gracing the big screen. Joseph Kosinski's critically-acclaimed follow-up also features numerous Hollywood A-listers, including Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer. While some of these big names are playing characters connected in various ways to the first "Top Gun," there are several actors who took on roles that are completely new to the franchise. And the one that people will likely recognize the most is also the one they'll probably hate the most — Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson.

Played by actor Jon Hamm, Simpson serves as the proverbial thorn in Maverick's (Cruise) side through his leadership at Top Gun (via Uproxx). Tom Skerritt's Viper held the same position in the first film. Most people will likely immediately recognize Hamm when they see "Top Gun: Maverick" on May 24, with him having acting credits all the way back to 1997. Here's some of the most famous stuff he's been in.

Jon Hamm played Don Draper in AMC's Mad Men

It's the role that earned Jon Hamm his most acclaim, and deservedly so. Not only did Don Draper from AMC's "Mad Men" help revolutionize the network and television as a whole in the late 2000s, but the character basically carried the industry torch during TV's last leg of its second "Golden Age" — earning him 16 Emmy nominations and a win in 2015 (via Variety). With "The Sopranos" long gone and "Breaking Bad" ending in 2013, Hamm's Draper served as the era's last great leading man. And if you ask him about what he expected to come of his "Mad Men" fame before the drama series premiered in 2007, the Hollywood vet will tell you that he believed things would be great from the start.

"We all, just every step, would kind of pinch ourselves and say, 'Well this is still good. It's getting better ... Are we going to get picked up for another season? How long do we get to do this? This is gonna be great,'" Hamm recalled thinking during an interview on the "Off Camera with Sam Jones" podcast and video series in July 2021. He remembered finding out that Draper would be the lead of the show, which for him, truly meant a lot — and not just story-wise. "I had to set a proper example," Hamm said. "You know, showing up on time and being prepared." Looking at how important "Mad Men" and the role of Draper was to Hamm, it's easy to see why he has also had so much success playing other parts throughout his career, which is also largely focused on movies.

Hamm had an uncredited role in Bridesmaids

Dubbed "The King of Cameos," Jon Hamm is no stranger to bringing his acting skills — and in many cases, comedy chops — to atypical Hollywood projects. That's exactly what he did in Paul Feig's 2011 comedy blockbuster "Bridesmaids."

Hamm — who wasn't even credited for his work in "Bridesmaids" — played Ted, the lover of Kristen Wiig's character Annie Walker. In the movie, Ted is wealthy and extremely vain, which admittedly wasn't a stretch for Hamm, as he told The Guardian in 2011 that he seems to be typecast as a jerk. "I don't know if that's something I'm particularly proud of," Hamm added. "I guess it's a bizarre thing to be able to play a terrible person convincingly, but I was honestly just so happy to be asked to be part of the film that I said, 'I'll play whatever you want.'" 

Throughout his career, Hamm tried to do stuff that was different and outside the box for the most part, as he revealed in a 2015 interview with IndieWire. And while he still ended up playing a slimy character, out-of-the-box is exactly what fans got with this next acting job ...

Hamm starred in an episode of Black Mirror

Appearing in the 2014 "Black Mirror" holiday special, "White Christmas," Jon Hamm portrayed Matt Trent, who is part of a digital programming company that makes devices called "cookies" — which are digitized copies of one's consciousness. In classic "Black Mirror" fashion, Matt's role and motivating factors aren't initially revealed at first — we do see at first that he used to work as a dating coach of sorts, and in the second of the episode's three acts, we see how Matt deviously manipulates the cookie of a young woman named Greta (Oona Chaplin) into accepting her role as Greta's personal assistant. It isn't until viewers peel back each sci-fi soaked layer of the "White Christmas" onion that the character's true purpose is made clear.

"It delivers on the central, dystopian, Twilight-zoney unsettling situation that Black Mirror has delivered in the past," Hamm explained in a 2014 interview with Channel 4. "There's always a deeply unsettling aspect to 'Black Mirror,' and we definitely deliver on that." According to Hamm, he was first introduced to the British anthology series by his friend Bill Hader from "Saturday Night Live," who got him hooked immediately. "[Hader] told me I had to watch this show. So I watched it, and I thought it was really, really good," recalled Hamm. "There are a lot of moving parts to a television show, especially one that's very ambitious. That's why I was so blown away when I first watched 'Black Mirror.' I found it so ambitious, it was trying to achieve so much, and it succeeds."

Hamm played Buddy in Baby Driver

While television will always be Jon Hamm's most successful cash cow, the longtime actor has also done some impressive work on the big screen as well, with one of his most recognizable roles coming in Edgar Wright's critically-acclaimed action hit, "Baby Driver."

"The only person who is in the movie who I wrote with them in mind is Jon Hamm," recalled Wright in a 2017 interview round table with Hamm (via The National). The role of Jason "Buddy" van Horn — who is a drug-fueled bank robber making scores with his girlfriend Monica "Darling" Castello (Eiza González) — was one that the former "Mad Men" star didn't just enjoy playing; he relished every second of it. "It's fun to be the bad guy," Hamm said. "It's fun to be a person that obviously very few of us have personal experience with. How many of us get to steal cars and do crimes and shoot guns?"

Throughout "Baby Driver," we see Hamm's Buddy going through a number of stunts and explosive scenes, which he says required intense training for everyone involved. "We all had a couple days of sort of intense kind of work behind the wheel and just be comfortable in doing stuff if it comes up," Hamm told Collider in 2017. "Baby Driver" wound up being his second most successful movie at the box office behind "The Day the Earth Stood Still," with the film reportedly raking in a little over $227 million (via The Numbers).

Hamm played FBI Agent Tom Shaw in Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell biopic

When it comes to Hamm's TV and movie roles over the years, his part in the Clint Eastwood-directed 2019 biopic "Richard Jewell" — as FBI Agent Tom Shaw — is one that may have been the Missouri native's most rewarding, mainly because of the fact he got to work with a certified Hollywood legend. "I loved going to work everyday," gushed Hamm in a 2019 interview at the film's Los Angeles premiere (via The Irish News). "He's a legend. The guy has worked for 60 years in the movie industry, if not longer. I don't know what to say about him other than he's an inspiration and he's incredibly talented."

In the movie, Hamm's Shaw is a determined FBI agent who is constantly chomping at the bit to put the film's titular character, Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), behind bars for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Hamm had a much different outlook on the situation. "[Jewell] was tried in the media before any of the facts were in," Hamm said at the 2019 AFI Fest. "And he was wrongfully accused by law enforcement agencies, several law enforcement agencies, that didn't have their facts correct and (which were) operating under agendas that weren't right."

As for Hamm's future projects, the hard-working Hollywood vet has a number of things lined up in addition to "Top Gun: Maverick," including three movies and an animated series for Fox (via Deadline).