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Mike Flanagan’s Top Recurring Actors

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Mike Flanagan

The Faces of The Flanaverse

Since The Haunting of Hill House premiered on Netflix in 2018, Mike Flanagan has become a name associated with some of Netflix’smost popular limited series, Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and most recently, The Fall of The House of Usher – a slow-burning psychological adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story. The show follows the Ushers, a pharmaceutical company led by siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher, whose pursuits of money and power lead to demonic consequences. 

Known for their spooky, evil, and downright jaw-dropping visuals and storytelling, Mike Flanagan has given Netflix a run for its money every Halloween since 2018 with emotionally intelligent writing and visceral storytelling that hits the viewer right in the gut- often leaving a fulfilling or haunting message behind after its run-time has long ended.  

Flanagan is set to direct another adaptation of Stephen King’s work. This likely means he will include some familiar faces from his other works. Flanagan fans already know he likes to work with the same round-up of extremely talented actors, allowing them to flex their chops with each new film or TV show. So here is a list ranking Mike Flanagan’s top recurring actors!

10. Michael Trucco 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Michael Trucco

He made his name as a heartthrob in 90’s shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Battlestar Galactica, and 90210. Michael Trucco has a large resume of charismatic characters, but today’s viewers will most likely recognize him from the four projects he appears in with Mike Flanagan at the helm. Acting against his typical type cast in Midnight Mass as the less charismatic and more subdued character of Crockett Island’s Mayor Wade Scarborough, a father who is forced to make difficult decisions one after another. His character is portrayed as somewhat incompetent but well-meaning, but at the end of the day, Mayor Scarborough wants to help his community. However, there are moments when his choices as mayor are influenced and overshadowed by Crockett Island’s church. With so many unusual events occurring on the island and his citizens being drawn to a religious fanatic pulling off miracles, Mayor Scarborough essentially loses the reigns of his control and position. 

Trucco worked on Flanagan’s early film Hush, acting opposite two other Flanagan alums, Kate Siegel and Samantha Sloyan. He plays Rufus Griswold in The Fall of the House of Usher.

9. Bruce Greenwood 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Bruce Greenwood

After a sinister performance as the token Gerald in Gerald’s Game, Bruce Greenwood was cast in another Flanagan film called Doctor Sleep. Though his role was small, Mike Flanagan has a knack for creating ideal roles for underutilized actors. However, it’s hard to call Bruce Greenwood underutilized because of his resume. Before being cast as the lead role in The Fall of The House of Usher, audiences might recognize him from J. J. Abram’s Star Trek movies. Strangely enough, his leading role in The Fall of The House of Usher almost went to another actor. Greenwood was cast as a last-minute replacement due to some on-set misconduct with the original actor, who was cast as Roderick Usher. 

He has worked with Mike Flanagan on three separate projects, taking the leading role in Flanagan’s final series with Netflix. Roderick Usher is the looming figure that anchors the show around its storytelling. A story of a fallen patriarch whose family befalls the consequences of his actions in pursuit of power and wealth.

8. Katie Parker 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Katie Parker

Mike Flanagan’s first feature film, Absentia, is a compelling Kickstarter-funded horror film that stars Katie Parker as a woman searching for her missing husband with a monster based on myth on the loose. Flanagan wrote the film for his friends to star in while he was working full-time as an editor on reality TV shows. He tailor-made the script for his acting friends in a rare project with friends and acquaintances who get to make a film together. Parker also had a small role in Oculus, which was also directed by Flanagan, and she plays the role of Silent Sarey, a carnivorous member of a cult of psychic vampires in Doctor Sleep.

Parker has starred in five of Flanagan’s projects as well as many other projects. The two are long-time collaborators who worked together on Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Midnight Club, and now The Fall of The House of Usher, where she stars as Annabel Lee, a character originally written by Edgar Allen Poe for the poem. 

7. Rahul Kohli 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Rahul Kohli

As a fan favorite, Rahul Kohli’s role as Sheriff Hassan on Midnight Mass is a harrowing performance as a Muslim who is subject to playful but somewhat deep-seated racism from some of the Christian community members whom he is trying to protect. Kohli was known for portraying Ravi on iZombie but really began thriving with his role in The Haunting of Bly Manor. When he returned to play Sheriff Hassan, it was apparent he was a strong addition to Mike Flanagan’s arsenal of actors. Sheriff Hassan is a lone sheriff on Crockett Island; he and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) are two Muslims isolated on an island of Catholics. The message is that though the characters all believe in some form of religion, their fates could be the same. 

Kholi has acted in five of Flanagan’s projects, with the latest being his role as Napoleon Leo Usher in The Fall of The House of Usher

6. Alex Essoe

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Alex Essoe 

Notably, Alex Essoe portrays one of the core characters in Midnight Mass. Flanagan cast Essoe as Mildred Gunning and tells her story of Crockett Island through a number of flashbacks that show her as a young woman when, in the present, she is much older. Essoe is in her late twenties, playing a woman in her late eighties, and is virtually unrecognizable.

Because of the practical aging effects that the director chose to use, the job is extremely well done, As opposed to choosing VFX, which can sometimes be distracting VFX. Flanagan uses her character as a way to bring the show full circle in a subtle way. Mildred is framed as an unassuming church-going woman, but as the show continues, her story expands and blooms in a truly special way. 

Alex Essoe has acted in five of Mike Flanagan’s projects. She portrays a rare revival of Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance in Doctor Sleep and Charlotte Wingrave in 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor. Alex Essoe plays a smaller role in The Fall of The House of Usher.

5. Samantha Sloyan 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Samantha Sloyan

Samantha Sloyan worked with Mike Flanagan on one of his earliest films, Hush, where she plays the friend of a deaf writer. Flanagan has definitely kept her close because she is a prominent figure in some of his best projects, both movie and TV shows. In Midnight Mass, her enigmatic and absolutely infuriating religious fanaticism as the character Bev Keane is a testament to her acting ability. When a character is extremely unlikable, it is usually to the credit of the actor’s ability to turn on the charm or, in this case, the absolute opposite. Sloyan is incredible in Midnight Mass but also in her other roles written by Flanagan. Her ability to portray her characters as much trusting as they are devious. 

Among the familiar faces in The Midnight Club, Sloyan’s ability to keep the audience guessing as the character Shasta is another notch on her acting ability but also a nod to the great working relationship she and Mike have. She has appeared in four Flanagan projects, and considering her massive talent, it’s no surprise she is acting as one of Tamerlane Usher in The Fall of The House of Usher.

4. Zach Gilford 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Zach Gilford

In Midnight Mass, Flanagan tackles the human struggle of grief, faith, loss, and trauma as a creeping infection closes in on the people of Crockett Island. Flanagan cast Zach Gilford as the lead role of Riley Flynn, a man stricken with despair after killing a young girl in a drunk driving accident. Having served his time, he returns home to Crockett Island to his religiously devout parents, unready to accept the religion he grew up in and the idea that he could be forgiven. Gilford portrays Riley’s heavy guilt through his inability to lift his gaze from the floor in most scenes.

Gilford has starred in three of Mike Flanagan’s shows; he started his career under the spotlights, literally acting as quarterback Matt Saracen in Friday Night Lights for the first three seasons of the show. He acted in various shows until he was cast in Midnight Mass and The Midnight Club, now acting as young Roderick Usher in The Fall of The House of Usher.  

3. Carla Gugino 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Carla Gugino

One of the more prominent actors in Flanagan’s troupe, after a run of smaller roles, Mike Flanagan cast Carla Gugino as the horror heroine of Gerald’s Game, an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1992 novel. Gugino carries the movie practically by herself. Her character, Jessie, is tied to her bed for the majority of the movie after her husband dies during some spicy roleplay. It’s an arresting psychological thriller that unravels the mind of the character as she comes to terms with what happened, proving to be one of the better adaptations of King’s works.

She has starred in five of Flanagan’s projects, starting with Gerald’s Game and eventually starring in The Haunting of Hill House as Olivia Crain, a tragic character who slowly falls prey to the influence of the haunted mansion her husband (played by Henry Thomas) moved her and her five children into. Gugino plays Verna in The Fall of The House of Usher.

2. Henry Thomas

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Henry Thomas  

A standout in the Flanaverse, but like most child actors, the boy from E.T. was slightly forgotten after the success of the movie faded. Thankfully, Henry Thomas has paved a career well worth watching on the big screen, starring in eight out of thirteen of Flanagan’s projects, including large roles in all of his Netflix series. Beginning with Hill House, Thomas bears each of these roles with a level of dedication that distinguishes each from the next. He received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Hugh Crain in Hill House, a loving father of five who moves his family into an ominous manor with hopes of renovating it. A haunted horror story transforms into a family drama when past and present mesh into a single story. 

Thomas’ role as Jack Torrance in Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep will go down in history as one of two people to play the iconic role popularized by Stanley Kubrick’s legendary film The Shining. A milestone that any actor would be proud of. Thomas plays Frederick Usher in The Fall of The House of Usher.

1. Kate Siegel 

Mike Flanagan's Top Recurring Actors Kate Siegel

Flanagan’s partner in crime, both in film and in marriage, Kate Siegel, is undoubtedly one of the main staples in Flanagan’s works. She has acted in many diverse roles written by Flanagan. She first began working with him in 2013 on the horror film Oculus, in which she plays the role of Marisol Chavez, an evil spirit. Her role as Erin Greene in Midnight Mass is wistfully heartbreaking as someone who is attempting to recover from deep suffering after being in an abusive relationship and losing her mother. Deep suffering is a theme that is often included in Flanagan’s writing and makes his characters so much more relatable and based on real life, even though supernatural things are happening around them.

Siegel has gone on to appear in many of Flanagan’s projects since, including the critically acclaimed Gerald’s Game and Flanagan’s Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. She now stars in The Fall of the House of Usher as Camille L’Espanaye.

The Fall of the House of Usher (2023) Official Netflix Trailer 

Source: Dead Talk Live

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