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Why Kayla From Jurassic World Dominion Looks So Familiar

"Jurassic World Dominion" is the newest entry in a series of films about people debating whether or not a zoo full of dinosaurs is really such a great idea (hint: It's not; it's a horrible, terrible, awful idea). This latest summer blockbuster stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, both of whom appeared in all the previous two "Jurassic World" adventures, as well as Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum, who are well-known as the original cast of "Jurassic Park," the 1993 movie that started the franchise.

"Jurassic World Dominion" also features a fresh-faced character to the property, Kayla Watts, a former Air Force pilot who will almost definitely have to outfly a dinosaur at some point. Maybe if Owen's (Pratt) calming arm thing were more effective, they wouldn't have to involve fighter jets, but that's beside the point.

Regardless, the actor behind Watts is relatively new to the professional film industry, with her first feature credit in 2007. Since then, she's rounded up nearly 30 roles in movies and TV shows. For those who feel she might look a bit familiar, she's DeWanda Wise, and here are some of her career highlights.

DeWanda Wise had a number of one-off roles on established TV shows

For the first five or six years of her career, most of DeWanda Wise's credits came in the form of one-off appearances on established TV series, like "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," The Good Wife," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and the American period crime drama "Boardwalk Empire." Wise portrayed Henny Walker, an enraged homemaker, in Season 2, Episode 4, "What Does the Bee Do?"

Why is she enraged? Well, "Boardwalk Empire" is set during the 1920s and 1930s, so it heavily covers the lethal racism that plagued — let's be honest, "plagues," present tense — America. In the episode, Henny's husband is murdered by the KKK while guarding a warehouse that stores liquor for his employer, Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), and she attends a neighborhood meeting to try to convince Chalky to take revenge in an attempt to seek justice.

Wise jumped into indie films in the early 2010s

As her career gathered steam, DeWanda Wise began appearing in feature-length films, like the hilariously titled 2016 indie film "How to Tell You're a Douchebag," a sort of romantic comedy about a freelance writer, Ray Livingston (Charles Brice), trying to find his more progressive self after getting publicly flamed on Twitter by Rochelle Marseilles (Wise) for aggressive comments against Black women, whom he doesn't treat with respect. Also, somewhere in the middle of all that, Ray and Rochelle fall in love.

Wise's character has been seen more as a megaphone for an idea rather than a developed person. The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the film wasn't innovative enough to merit its Sundance slot nor compelling enough for a mainstream release. The crux of their stance comes down hard on the writing, which they believe doesn't hold enough water to explore the subject matter that the film is purported to evaluate.

She got her own Netflix series in 2017

In the late 2010s, DeWanda Wise had recurring or starring roles on several TV shows. 2017 specifically was an incredibly busy year for Wise, because it saw the beginning of both "Shots Fired," on which she appeared for all 10 episodes, and her own Netflix series, "She's Gotta Have It," on which she starred as Nola Darling. The two-season project follows Nola's love life, which consists of three vastly different men.

"She's Gotta Have It," based on Spike Lee's film of the same name, explores the struggles of open relationships as well as the concept of sexual freedom. The series, which also stars Anthony Ramos, Lyriq Bent, and Cleo Anthony (all three of whom play her partners), was ultimately canceled by Netflix. In the wake of its cancelation, Essence praised the series for supporting Black women in a way that is rarely seen in popular media.

Wise swapped one Netflix project for another

DeWanda Wise began accumulating roles in bigger movies in the late 2010s. In 2019, she starred in "Someone Great," a Netflix original that tells the story of Jenny Young's (Gina Rodriguez) one last night with her best friends, Blair Helms (Brittany Snow) and Erin Kennedy (Wise), in New York City in the wake of an emotionally destructive breakup with her boyfriend of nine years, Nate Davis (LaKeith Stanfield), before moving across the country to pursue her dream job. Subplots include Blair getting a little too close to one of Jenny's former love interests and Erin learning the value of honest communication.

Wise's character, Erin, is a real estate agent, and the honest communication she struggles with is admitting her true feelings to her girlfriend, for whom she has much stronger feelings than she's comfortable admitting. A heart-to-heart with her two best friends convinces her to grow up and take that step.

She was a wonderful mother in Fatherhood

In 2021, DeWanda Wise had a part in "Fatherhood," a heartfelt drama about family. Based on the 2011 memoir "Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love" by Matthew Logelin, "Fatherhood" tells the broadly true story of Matt Logelin (Kevin Hart) as he struggles to care for his young daughter in the wake of his wife's sudden death. Along the way, he receives help from his friends, aggression from his mother-in-law, and the hope for new love in Lizzie Swan (Wise).

Wise spoke to ComicBook.com just after the film was released about how important it was to her for her character to be well-rounded from the start rather than rely on Matt to feel whole. "In her wholeness, that's how she can be most helpful, most loving, most generous. She's giving from a place of wholeness and generosity and not from a place of, I really need this to work," the actor said.