Chicago's hidden gem: David Dastmalchian's rise to stardom in blockbuster films

You might not know his name, but when you see his face, you feel like you know David Dastmalchian from — something.

Maybe you just can’t quite put your finger on it.

He’s starred in superhero movies, science fiction blockbusters and this year’s winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards: "Oppenheimer." And yet, there’s a good chance you’ve walked by him on the streets of Chicago without even doing a double take.

If an actor’s job is to disappear, David Dastmalchian is one of the best working today. But before he corrupted the streets of Gotham City, haunted the planet Dune, was a member of the Suicide Squad, squared off with Jake Gyllenhaal, teamed up with Ant-Man or was killed off in Blade Runner, he learned what acting truly was on the Chicago stage.

"I can’t imagine going anywhere other than Chicago," Dastmalchian said. "I learned every day being in Chicago, if it was watching the best storefront theater in America, companies like Shattered Globe. Chicago tolerates no bull----, so if you’re not willing to get on the boards and bleed a little bit, people are going to see right through it."

Dastmalchian cut his teeth on the Chicago stage at the Shattered Globe Theatre, but can be seen on the big screen now starring in the new horror movie Late Night with the Devil.

David Dastmalchian arrives for the premiere of "Leo" at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on November 19, 2023. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)