I have noticed lately that there has been a notable uptick in popularity for Western TV shows, especially with Neo-Western series like Yellowstone, but also in plenty of old school period pieces. In fact, among those period pieces, a common recurring theme has been vengeful women, such as the titular protagonist from the new, Amazon Prime original Western from three-time Emmy nominee Hugo Blick.
Allow us to introduce you to the hero (and more characters) from this action-packed drama in our breakdown of who plays who in The English cast and where you may have seen them before, below.
Emily Blunt (Lady Cornelia Locke)
Leading The English cast as Cornelia Locke — a U.K. woman seeking to avenge her son’s death in the States in 1890 — is Emily Blunt, who is no stranger to playing badass women, from Rita Vrataski in 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow to fellow alien invasion survivor Evelyn Abbott in the A Quiet Place movies, to FBI agent Kate Macer in Sicario, to name a few. Some of the real-life U.K. native’s lighter credits in her acclaimed filmography include her breakout role in The Devil Wears Prada cast, the funny — but still quite dark — indie comedy Sunshine Cleaning, and Disney movies like 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns — for which she assumed the title role — and, more recently, the Jungle Cruise cast with Dwayne Johnson.
Chaske Spencer (Eli Whipp)
Locke enlists the help of Pawnee native and former calvary scout Eli Whipp — played by Lakota Nation member and Independent Spirit Award nominee (for 2021’s Wild Indian) Chaske Spencer, who debuted in 2002’s Skins before landing his breakout role in the Twilight movies as Sam Uley and, later, joining the Banshee cast as Billy Raven. His last role on a Western TV show was Micah Dawson on two episodes of Longmire, his last part on a historical drama series was Sachem on National Geographic’s Barkskins, and his next role on a Marvel TV show (following his recurring appearance on Jessica Jones) will be in the Echo cast as a currently undisclosed character.
Stephen Rea (Robert Marshall)
Local sheriff Robert Marshall is played by Irish actor Stephen Rea, who has played a cop in a number of other films and TV shows — such as 2005’s V for Vendetta (the Lana and Lilly Wachowski-penned adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel), BBC’s literary drama Dickensian, or the 2018 thriller Greta (in which he really played a private investigator, to be fair). He is even better known for his Academy Award nominated performance in 1992’s The Crying Game as IRA volunteer Fergus, starring in Interview with a Vampire in 1994 as Santiago, and appearing in one of the Underworld movies (namely 2012’s Underworld: Awakening) as Dr. Jacob Lane.
Valerie Pachner (Martha Myers)
As Martha Myers — a young widow who joins Marshall on a murder investigation — we have Austrian actor Valerie Pachner, who made her (partially) English-language debut in 2019 with Terence Malick’s A Hidden Life and went on to join The King’s Man cast in 2021 as Mata Hari, and play Henrietta Fischer in the Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore cast the following year. She has also received acclaim in her native country for roles in films like 2015’s Bad Luck and The Ground Beneath My Feet in 2019 as well as the German TV series, Bauhaus - A New Era.
Rafe Spall (David Melmont)
Someone who also has ties to the Harry Potter movies (purely through his father, Peter Pettigrew actor Timothy Spall, however) is Rafe Spall, who plays English aristocrat David Melmont in The English and has put his own stamp on popular franchises like the Men in Black series (namely Men in Black: International), the Jurassic Park films (specifically Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), the Alien movies (he was in Prometheus), and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy. You also might recognize him from Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Adam McKay’s The Big Short, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, David Bruckner’s The Ritual, and one of the best Black Mirror episodes, “White Christmas.”
Tom Hughes (Thomas Trafford)
Fellow English aristocrat Thomas Trafford is played by Tom Hughes — another horror anthology TV show veteran in The English cast, having led an episode of Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories in 2016 before starring on another period drama, PBS’ Victoria, and another hit British fantasy series, A Discovery of Witches, in its second season. Hughes’ most notable film credits include Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s 2010 dramedy, Cemetery Junction, the 2013 time travel movie favorite About Time, and the Mark Wahlberg-led sci-fi thriller Infinite from 2021.
Toby Jones (Sebold Cusk)
As stagecoach driver Sebold Cusk, we have fellow Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Infinite star Toby Jones, who is probably best known as the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter franchise, but has a few other blockbusters under his belt — including some MCU installments as Arnim Zola, the Hunger Games series as Claudius Templesmith, and the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 cast in an undisclosed role. He also made a great Truman Capote in 2006’s Infamous, stole the show in the devastating Stephen King adaptation The Mist, and was fantastic in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, among many, many other acclaimed efforts.
Ciarán Hinds (Richard Watts)
Yet another Harry Potter actor (he played Aberforth Dumbledore) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy star in The English cast is Oscar nominee (for 2021’s Belfast) Ciarán Hinds, who plays hotel owner Richard Watts, and who also worked with Steven Spielberg on 2005’s Munich, appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood in 2007, starred in Martin Scorsese’s Silence, and reunited with Daniel Radcliffe for The Woman in Black in 2012. The Irish actor also has a few comic book movies under his belt (he played Roarke in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and voiced Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder’s Justice League), has been a part of the Game of Thrones cast, leant his voice to both Frozen movies, and starred on a horror anthology series called The Terror.
With so many of the U.K.’s best actors, a very talented performer of Native American descent, and one of Austria’s most acclaimed actors rounding out The English cast, Hugo Blick’s Western series is sure to keep audiences captivated. Stream The English on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab) to see for yourself.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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