Here's Where You Know The Cast Of Archive 81 From

Netflix has had good luck with the horror genre, including breakout hits like "The Haunting of Bly Manor" and, of course, "Stranger Things." At the time of this writing, the latest series to spook the streamer's subscribers is "Archive 81," which dropped in January 2022 and quickly climbed to the top of Netflix's ratings (via Forbes). The show, which is based on a podcast of the same name, is about a video archivist who is hired by a mysterious company to restore a collection of burned videotapes; as he gets to work and starts to watch the footage he's bringing back to life, he becomes embroiled in a creepy mystery about a strange apartment building in the '90s. The series takes place along two timelines, showing what happened back when the tapes were recorded, as well as what's happening in the present to the man who is watching them.

One of the reasons why fans have quickly become addicted to the show is undoubtedly the memorable performances of its strong cast; The Guardian, for example, noted that its "strong performances" are part of what has made it "the horror series humanity needs right now." The cast list is one that boasts relative newcomers in addition to genre veterans, so as viewers watch, they may be wondering why they recognize certain actors. 

Never fear (well, never fear for this reason, at least; definitely fear while you watch the show!): We've got your roundup of why you know the cast of "Archive 81."

Mamoudou Athie was drawn to Dan

Mamoudou Athie plays Dan Turner, the main character of "Archive 81." Dan is an archivist hired to restore a collection of tapes; when he dives into the footage, he realizes he has a personal connection to the material. "I just like him. He's just a great guy," Athie told Nightmarish Conjurings of his character. "He's been really damaged by his past and wants to be different for other people. I just really liked the character a lot." He also said he is often drawn to playing a "romantic" like Dan, "somebody who has a lot of heart."

Fans may recognize Athie from his film roles, including in the horror movie "Underwater." The star was also in "The Circle," a neat coincidence given the creepy show-within-the-show of the same name in "Archive 81." Athie is a regular on television, too, having been in "Sorry for Your Loss," "The Detour," and "The Get Down," where he played Grandmaster Flash. He told Interview magazine that he didn't realize who he was auditioning for on "The Get Down," which wound up being a good thing, because he didn't have time to get nervous about playing such an iconic DJ. "I was not cool about it at all," he recalled. "I'm so glad I didn't know before the audition."

Meanwhile, "Archive 81" co-star Dina Shihabi told W magazine that she and Athie have known each other since they were starting out in the industry, saying, "To do this with him felt really special."

Dina Shihabi has a history with streaming shows

On "Archive 81," Melody Pendras — the main character of the 1994-set timeline in the show — is played by Dina Shihabi. Melody is a filmmaker who is researching the residents of the Visser Apartments, and she finds herself drawn into a mysterious plot. Offscreen, the actor hails from Saudi Arabia, but she has been working in Hollywood for years

Viewers may recognize Shihabi from "Jack Ryan," where she played Hanin on the show's first season, the wife of the main villain who takes her children and leaves Syria. Shihabi also portrayed Dig 301 on the second season of Netflix's "Altered Carbon," which led directly to her job on "Archive 81," as the two shows share some overlap in their creative teams. As the star told W magazine, she was very happy to receive the script. "I was like, 'This is the best thing I've been sent in a long time,'" Shihabi remembered. "The pilot's incredible." She also said that casting went back and forth on who to cast, but Shihabi eventually received the role, and the rest is history.

For his part, co-star and longtime friend Mamoudou Athie told Nightmarish Conjurings that working with Shihabi was a great experience. "We just helped each other and we just talked and we listened but primarily we just helped each other, which I thought was really beautiful," he gushed. "There's no ego in the way and you're just doing the work for the sake of the work and being devoted as you possibly can."

Billie Eilish loves Ariana Neal

Ariana Neal provides a fresh face on "Archive 81," playing Jess, the knowledgeable little girl who was born and raised in the mysterious Visser Apartments. The Netflix series marks Neal's first major television role, though she has appeared in small parts in high-profile film projects like "Hidden Figures," "Mother's Day," and "Fruitvale Station," where she played Tatiana, the daughter of Michael B. Jordan's character, Oscar Grant.

The latter role led to a memorable red-carpet interaction with Billie Eilish, whose favorite movie is "Fruitvale Station." At an event hosted by Hit Network, Neal sent in a video message to the singer, telling her, "You're one of my favorite artists of all time." Eilish replied, "I love you, oh my god, bro, what?! That is crazy."

Neal was also cast as the young Nicki Minaj on "Nicki," an autobiographical comedy about the rapper that failed to be picked up to series. Nonetheless, when the show was announced, Neal stopped by "The Real" to promote the project, and she revealed that she bonded with the show's subject. "She gave me lots of advice," Neal said. "She gave me advice on how to have fun and be myself, and especially rapping advice, because I did not know how to rap." She recalled trading bars with the so-called Barbie herself during the casting callback, which must have been incredible to witness.

Character actor Martin Donovan is used to this by now

Martin Donovan plays Virgil Davenport on "Archive 81," the mysterious, super-rich owner of the tapes that Dan has been hired to restore. Donovan's character turns out to be connected to the sinister happenings at the Visser Apartments, and Dan must navigate how to maintain his relationship with his overbearing new boss while also uncovering what happened in 1994.

Donovan is a character actor who's worked for a long time in Hollywood. Some of his biggest credits include "Big Little Lies," where he played the father of Zoë Kravitz's character, Bonnie, as well as "Weeds," in which he portrayed Peter, a DEA agent who gets involved with the drug-dealing Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker). Donovan has also appeared on the big screen, popping up in films like "Tenet" and "Ant-Man," where he respectively played a government agent and a government agent ... but in a world where superheroes exist.

In an interview for Fansided, Donovan explained that he doesn't really consider the "process" of acting at this point in his career. "Whatever the character is, whatever part I'm playing, I do it unconsciously. I don't even think about it," he said. "I've been doing this for so long. When I first started out, I was much more conscious of the process." Okay, brag!

'Woke bae' Matt McGorry plays Mark

On "Archive 81," Matt McGorry plays Mark Higgins, the best friend of Dan Turner. Mark hosts a podcast about the supernatural, which makes him the perfect research sidekick for Dan as he investigates the strange happenings on the video tapes he's restoring.

Fans will recognize McGorry from his roles on "Orange Is the New Black" and "How to Get Away with Murder." In the former, he played Officer Bennett; in the latter, he was Asher, a frat-boy law student. McGorry is also known for his online activism, in particular his embrace of feminism and other social justice causes. In 2015, he was both lauded and ridiculed on the internet, named a "woke bae" by various outlets. "I don't think the things I'm saying are so groundbreaking," he later told Vice, recognizing that his status as an actor gives him "a bit of a platform."

McGorry may also look a bit different in "Archive 81" than viewers are used to; in 2020, he went public with the body image issues he has faced his whole career, writing a piece for Human Parts about what he called "radical body positivity." He explained, "I've gained quite a bit of weight. I mean, I've really let go. And as a result, my health has been impacted. I have a healthier relationship with my body than ever before. I've let go of internalized fatphobia, and all correlating notions that I have to look a certain way to deserve love, dignity, and respect."

Evan Jonigkeit loves horror

Evan Jonigkeit plays the mysterious and alluring Samuel in "Archive 81's" 1994 timeline, a resident of the building where Melody shows up to research a disappearance. The two discover a mutual attraction even as Melody grows increasingly suspicious of Samuel's motives.

Though he is perhaps best-known as Toad in "X-Men: First Class," Jonigkeit is no stranger to the horror genre, having starred in two critically-adored horror films in 2021. In "The Empty Man," Jonigkeit anchored the film's eerie prologue, and in "The Night House," he played the dead (but possibly not departed) husband of Rebecca Hall. The actor told Nightmarish Conjurings that he likes working in horror, explaining, "I also think that there's a thing with horror as a genre that's really wonderful. It's a sense of relief. What happens is that you get a moment to regroup, so you're pushed to that precipice." He added, "The good ones have this metaphorical undertone where it's making you inspect all these things about yourself."

Jonigkeit is also known to fans for his personal life, specifically for his relationship with "Girls" star Zosia Mamet, whom he met while acting opposite one another in a play. He also played her onscreen boyfriend, Parker, in several episodes of the hit HBO show, and they later married in real life. "I suppose it's life imitating art," Mamet told Vogue alongside a spread of their wedding photos.

Charlie Hudson III is grateful for his family

Thanks to the twisting timelines on "Archive 81," another character in the show is Dan's dead father, Dr. Stephen Turner, played by actor Charlie Hudson III.

The star may be familiar to viewers from his single-episode stints on shows like "The Good Fight" and "Shades of Blue," but Hudson is likely most recognizable as the improbably-named Duane Reade from the critically-acclaimed miniseries, "The Night Of." In a memorable late-series twist, one character seems to have made up the name by looking at a Duane Reade pharmacy across the street, but Hudson's character is revealed to truly have the name, and he becomes a suspect in the show's central murder mystery.

He also acts regularly on stage. Promoting his role in a production of "A Raisin in the Sun," Hudson told Broadway World that he'd always had "the full support of [his] family" in pursuing a career in entertainment, which he has wanted since he was younger and dreamed of being on "The Cosby Show." The actor recalled, "I've been extremely blessed," noting how "everyone readily made themselves available to give me a ride to and from rehearsals and they were always in the audience for my shows. My mother and father went above and beyond to make sure that my dream was a priority."

Kristin Griffith's Cassandra is creepy

Kristin Griffith plays one of the residents of the Visser Apartments, a creepy woman named Cassandra who hosts eventful dinner parties for certain building-dwellers.

Griffith got her big break in Woody Allen's "Interiors," playing Flyn, the sister to Diane Keaton and Mary Beth Hurt. She has worked regularly ever since, more recently in two Netflix films, "The Devil All the Time" and "Things Heard & Seen." In the former, she played Emma, the grandmother of Tom Holland's character, Arvin. In the latter, she was Audrey Claire, the mother of James Norton's character. In a review of "The Devil All the Time," Consequence wrote that Griffith was "one of the film's secret weapons" for her performance.

She has also worked at SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artist's retreat, as part of the Ensemble Studio Theater, where she and her husband, actor Peter Maloney, are often available to read parts of plays that playwrights on retreat are working on. "It's also nice when there's the casual time when you don't have to run off and do something in the city, and you can talk with the writers," she explained to the retreat's blog. "It's just a very relaxed atmosphere."

Eden Marryshow acts in memory of a student

When Melody Pendras first arrives at the Visser Apartments, she is shown around by the enigmatically named John Smith, a building handyman who seems to pop up at the worst possible moments for her investigation.

The latter "Archive 81" character is played by Eden Marryshow, an actor who previously mostly had bit parts on shows like "New Amsterdam" and "Boardwalk Empire." Most famously, Marryshow had an arc on the Netflix Marvel show, "Jessica Jones," where he played Shane, a prisoner with healing abilities.

Outside of acting, Marryshow has also written and directed, including the comedy "Bruce!!!!" — which he starred in, as well. The 2019 film won the Grand Jury Prize at the American Black Film Festival. As the multi-talent told Shadow and Act, he used to be a teacher's assistant, but decided to make a go at a career in film in honor of one of his former students who was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting: "She would say, 'You're gonna be famous? You're going to make movies?' and I'd say, 'I'm gonna try,' and she always believed in me."

Michelle Federer is wicked on Archive 81

At an explosive dinner party hosted by Cassandra on "Archive 81," the guest of honor turns out to be Evie, an actor interested in the supernatural. It's a small role but a memorable one, made all the more memorable by the actor who plays her: Broadway star Michelle Federer. Though she has had recurring roles on television in shows like "New Amsterdam" and "Smash," Federer is best known for originating the role of Nessarose in "Wicked." She is even married to Norbert Leo Butz, the musical's original Fiyero; they have a daughter together, according to Broadway Buzz.

Federer previously told Broadway Buzz back when she was cast in "Wicked" that her family was always extremely supportive of her acting career. "My family's absolutely beside themselves," she gushed. "What I love about this is that for as long as I've wanted to do this, they've wanted me to do it. To see this come true is so rewarding for them, and I love that."

Zach Villa is a TV horror vet

As Melody gets to know more about the Visser Apartments, she meets fellow resident Chris, played by Zach Villa. Villa is proud of the success of "Archive 81,' and when the show hit No. 1 in the U.S., he shouted out his scene partner, Dina Shihabi, on Instagram. "You are incredible... we had so much fun," he wrote. "What a pleasure and an honor."

The actor is most recognizable for his role in "American Horror Story 1984," where he played notorious Los Angeles serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker. He told MTV News that the role was the breakout he'd always wanted, and that he was particularly relieved he was cast so quickly, even though the specifics of the role were kept under wraps at first. "I mean, I once went in for 'Pippin' on Broadway 11 times and didn't get the job. So, to go in once for this, and then to find out what it is and the scope of what it is, I freaked out," he said. 

Other credits for Villa have included an arc on "Shameless" as Dax, and a part in the film "Destroyer" opposite Nicole Kidman. He's also released original music, writing on Instagram in 2019, "Connecting and sharing with you is why I make music. It is an honor and a privledge [sic]. Thank you for listening and letting me create for you."

Sol Miranda has escaped her bunker

In a pivotal arc on "Archive 81," Sol Miranda plays Beatriz, a resident of the Visser Apartments who attends the aforementioned dinner party hosted by Cassandra. To describe the character further would require spoilers about what kind of show "Archive 81" becomes, so we will leave it at that!

Miranda most famously played one of the "mole women" on Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," entertaining viewers as Donna Maria Nuñez, a Spanish-speaking woman trapped down in a bunker alongside Ellie Kemper's titular Kimmy. Miranda told The Journal News that getting cast in the Tina Fey sitcom "was a life-changing event," saying, "I'm very grateful for it. I've been doing this for 30 years and I know it's 99% rejection." She added, "I know there are no guarantees: you can work hard all your life, you can be praised and respected, but there are no guarantees."

Having also co-founded an arts center in Peekskill, New York, Miranda told Remezcla that she hopes for expanded roles for Latina women on screen. "The entertainment industry, as liberal as it is, still wants to portray us as the helpers, the sufferers, the best friends with great intentions," she explained. "But no, we Latinos are more than that."

Jacqueline Antaramian is a TV regular

While Dan is working for Virgil Davenport restoring the Visser Apartments tapes, he is secluded at a research compound in the woods. However, it turns out he may not be alone: Bobbi, an emissary of his boss, shows up at inopportune times, offering help but perhaps really keeping an eye on him. Bobbi is played by Jacqueline Antaramian, a working actor who has appeared on numerous television shows, including "Search Party," "Jessica Jones," and "Succession," among many others. She also starred on the Hulu season of "Veronica Mars," playing Amalia Maloof, the mother of scandal-ridden Congressman Daniel Maloof.

Like many members of the "Archive 81" cast, Antaramian is also a theater actor with an extensive list of Broadway credits. When she was based in Denver, she performed in a musical called "I Am Alive" about the Armenian genocide, an event that has a lot of meaning to her family. "I am as proud to be an American citizen as I am to be Armenian," she told The Denver Post in 2016 (via the Denver Center for the Performing Arts). "I have an Armenian history that I am very interested in remembering and maintaining. We can all only benefit from knowing more about every part of the world and all its different cultures." 

Julia Chan related to her Katy Keene character

On "Archive 81," Julia Chan plays Annabelle, Melody's best friend and occasional roommate. Annabelle is an artist who gets drawn into the strange happenings at the Visser Apartments, and Melody's mission soon becomes about rescuing her friend as much as it is about learning what else is going on in the building. 

When filming on "Archive 81" concluded, Chan shared a photo of herself with co-stars Evan Jonigkeit and Dina Shihabi on Instagram. "I am beyond grateful to everyone for being so good to me when I turned up in PA bleary eyed with 3 month old Henry in tow," she wrote, referencing the fact that she had given birth to a son just before joining the cast.

Chan will be recognizable to viewers as Dr. Maggie Lin on "Saving Hope," a Canadian medical drama streaming on Hulu. The series aired for five years, and when it wrapped up, Chan wrote on Twitter, "Thank you so much for watching! Putting the scalpel down now." After "Saving Hope," Chan joined the CW's "Riverdale" spinoff, "Katy Keene." She played Pepper Smith on the show, the fashionista of the friend group revolving around Lucy Hale's titular character. Chan told "Jam TV" that she enjoys experimenting with her fashion as much as her character does, saying, "We're really not that far apart." After shooting what would be that show's only season in 2020, Chan tweeted that the experience was "truly the highlight of [her] decade."