If you’re a real movie nerd, chances are you get as excited when you see a supporting character with a familiar face as you do when one of your faves is the star. Let’s celebrate these heroes!…
Back in the early World Wide Web days, defunct site Fametracker had an awesome column called “Hey, It’s That Guy!”, celebrating character actors and actresses from all your favorite things. So we’re showing our love for that idea every so often in our Friday Five by doing the same, and this week we’re battling hurtling through the galaxy with the Robinson family!…
Netflix’s reboot of Lost In Space was one of our favorite surprises of recent years – we actually interviewed showrunners Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless back when the first season was released. We’re huge fans of the core cast of Robinsons, headed up by the great Molly Parker and Toby Stephens – both of whom have done their tenure in “Hey, It’s That Person!” land before beginning to garner leading roles! But this is all about highlighting those faces that are sorta-familiar, familiar-yet-fleeting, or a combination of both. So check out this Friday Five round-up of Lost In Space 2K18 players…
Raza Jaffrey (Victor Dhar)
One of the coolest new apsects to the Netflix Lost in Space is the fact that the Robinson family are, unlike previous versions, not completely alone in their exile once their ship crashes; they are one of many families who are a part of the Resolute mission to colonize a new planet. Victor Dhar is the officious politician who seems hell bent on making everyone’s rescue efforts difficult, and British actor Raza Jaffrey makes him boo-worthy yet compelling. In the States he’s best known for the CBS procedural Code Black, but UK TV nerds probably remember him from the most excellent long-running BBC spy series Spooks (known as MI-5 over here) in which he was a regular for three seasons.
Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (Hiroki Watanabe)
Also among the Robinson’s co-castaways are the Watanabe family; dad Hiroki is a colleague and friend of mom Maureen (Parker), and the two’s scientific short-hand and knowledge of the precarious situation the crash survivors find themselves in posits him as a strong potential ally. You have definitely seen veteran actor Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa in loads of stuff before; his career spans decades, going back to the original Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot, “Encounter at Farpoint.” He played Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movies, and appeared in films including License to Kill, Tekken, and Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. Most recently, he starred as Tagomi in Amazon’s Philip K. Dick adaptation, The Man in the High Castle.
Sibongile Mlambo (Angela Goddard)
Among the more tragic survivors of the Resolute incident is Angela Goddard, who suffers from extreme PTSD after witnessing her husband’s death – something which the mysterious Robot, who has befriended young Will Robinson but whom the adults still don’t completely trust, may have been directly involved with. Zimbabwean-born actress Sibongile Mlambo has already racked up an impressive list of genre credits, including a recurring role in STARZ’s pirate epic Black Sails (alongside her Lost In Space co-star Toby Stephens!), as well as main roles in MTV’s Teen Wolf and the Freeform deep-sea thriller Siren. She’ll be a regular cast member when Lost In Space returns to Netflix for Season 2.
Selma Blair (Jessica Harris)
Outside of the main ensemble of Lost In Space, there are some pretty awesome bit-parts and cameos too. And hey look, it’s Selma Blair! – who, admittedly, has a bigger profile than some of the rest of the folks here, having starred in so many films and TV shows, most notably as Liz Sherman in Guillermo Del Toro’s two Hellboy films. Then there was her starring role in the WB’s Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane, and films like Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, the 2005 remake of The Fog and more. What’s great about her turn in Lost In Space is Blair turns up in literally one scene, but it’s an important flashback – she’s the sister of Parker Posey’s antagonist Dr. Smith who we find out right here is actually a sociopath named June Harris, who murdered her sister in order to take her place on the Resolute voyage. Yikes. Bye Selma, it was great seeing you while it lasted!
Bill Mumy (Dr. Zachary Smith)
In case you hadn’t noticed already, there are some cool Easter egg call-outs to the original Lost In Space throughout this reboot. The name “Angela Goddard,” for example – that’s a combination of the names of two actors from the original show, Angela Cartwright (the original Penny) and Mark Goddard (O.G. Don West). There’s definitely no greater Easter egg in the reboot, however, than in the scene during the Resolute crisis where, as chaos unfolds around her, Parker Posey’s June Harris steals the jacket and identity of an injured man named Dr. Zachary Smith – which, of course, was the name of the original Lost In Space villain played by Jonathan Harris. (See, Harris! – there’s another one!) The guy playing the doomed Dr. Smith here though? That’s Bill Mumy, who when he was known as Billy in his youth was of course the original Will Robinson on the 60’s Lost In Space. He was a prolific child actor, also well-known for his role as the most evil problem child of all time in the Twilight Zone episode “It’s A Good Life.” As an adult, he’s turned largely to a music career, and is best known as one half of the cult favorite comedy-rock duo Barnes & Barnes. (“Fish Heads! Fish Heads! Roly-poly Fish Heads!” – indeed, that’s Bill Mumy.)