Jesse Plemons Is So Good In His One Scene In Civil War The Internet Can't Stop Talking About It. How He Landed The Role

 Jesse Plemons holds a gun in one hand while scratching his face with another in Civil War.
Jesse Plemons holds a gun in one hand while scratching his face with another in Civil War.

This past weekend Civil War set an A24 box office record as the studio’s first debut at the top of the box office charts. Writer/director Alex Garland’s contribution to the 2024 movie schedule has been raking in praise alongside that cash, and the internet can’t stop talking about how good Jessie Plemons is in his one pivotal scene. And as Garland himself revealed, the process of Kirsten Dunst’s husband landing that role was a very quick and surprising process at that.

Jesse Plemons in Civil War
Jesse Plemons in Civil War

The Internet’s Reaction To Jesse Plemons’ Civil War Role

Jesse Plemons has a reputation for being a memorable actor that can crush in a scene, and I’m totally in agreement with the world boosting that signal. I even highlighted the Killers of the Flower Moon actor in my Civil War review, as his presence was further proof that Alex Garland assembled a cast of absolute titans to deliver his electrifying war epic. So naturally, seeing this message on the internet brightened my day, as I’m not the only person who was impressed:

There’s plenty more where that came from too, as Civil War’s massive wave of positive responses only provided further opportunities for the Plemons Squad to plug his appearance. Admittedly, we should have probably seen this coming when his roughly 10 minute scene was featured prominently in the first Civil War trailer. Whether you called that shot or not, seeing responses such as these is still pretty exciting:

  • @NikkoCaruso - *brings in chair and sits down* Jesse Plemons. Let’s just appreciate him. He elevates any scene he’s in. He can work as major supporting role, a cameo, etc. In the last 6 yrs he hasn’t been in a bad project. Guy has great talent & a great eye An actor you see & say “hell yea”

  • @NewbyRichard3 - It’s wild. Regardless of the genre of the film, Game [Night], Killers of the Flower Moon, Judas and the Black Messiah, he comes on screen and it’s ‘oh shit, Jesse’s here. The vibe just shifted.’ I also think his performance in I’m Thinking of Ending Things deserves more praise.

With that sort of attention, you’d think that Jesse Plemons was baked into Civil War’s fabric right from the start. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth, as the Friday Night Lights vet was actually a last minute addition. One that writer/director Alex Garland was severely appreciative of when it happened.

Jesse Plemons in Civil War
Jesse Plemons in Civil War

How Jesse Plemons Landed His Civil War Role At The Last Minute

During his recent appearance on our in-house ReelBlend podcast, Garland spoke with co-host Jake Hamilton about the various ins and outs of this A24 blockbuster. So while discussing the importance of the scene where Plemons’ character is interrogating Kirsten Dunst and her group of fellow journalists, the man behind fellow tension builders like Ex Machina and Annihilation shared this story of last minute heroism:

… what happened was there was another actor who was gonna do that part. And around about a week before we started shooting, because we were in the rehearsal period, for various reasons that actor had to drop out. I was really worried, because that scene is kind of a pivot point in the film. It contains a lot of really important information in the film, actually. … Got the elevator up, went into the place that we were rehearsing, and thought ‘I should tell the cast this immediately, because it’s the right thing to do.’ And Kirsten immediately said, ‘Oh, I bet Jessie’d do it. Let me find out.’ And 24 hours later, Jessie said, ‘Yeah, yeah. I’ll do it,’ he read the script. So it was a huge result.

Much like the internet love for Plemons’ Killers of the Flower Moon performance, the focus of this joy has come from a scant amount of screen time when compared to the film at large. Yet Jesse once again makes every moment count, and in another ensemble of actors that make Civil War’s Oscar potential something to keep in mind throughout the rest of the year.

Alex Garland certainly isn’t immune to Jesse Plemons’ talents as an actor, as he too threw some praise onto the pile. More specifically, the writer/director had this to say:

He’s pretty stunning. It’s a great bunch of actors, but that thing he does, arrive, encapsulate something, leave, film love that. It wasn’t exactly a pleasure to shoot that scene, but it was like a masterclass. It was very, very impressive to watch. All of them together joined him in the tension of that moment.

Yet another reason to see Civil War in its theatrical release is to watch Jesse Plemons do his chilling, terrifying thing on the big screen. And you can do just that, as Alex Garland’s picture is currently playing at a theater near you. As for Mr. Plemons, you can bet the world will watch eagerly to see where he pops up next, and how he continues to captivate the screen.