The Encounter cast features Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer and Lucian-River Chauhan. This info article contains minor spoilers for Michael Pearce’s 2021 Amazon movie. Check out more streaming guides in Vague Visages’ Know the Cast section.
Encounter follows a traumatized Marine who believes that parasites have infected American society. After serving two years in prison for a military assault, Malik Khan kidnaps his two sons and drives across the California border to Groom Lake, Nevada. As the veteran’s paranoia increases, a parole officer tries to determine if he intends to harm or protect his sons. Here’s every main performer and character in Encounter.
Encounter Cast: Riz Ahmed as Malik Khan
Character Profile: A Marine who believes in non-terrestrial microorganisms. He wants to be a neuroparasitology expert and theorizes that alien parasites are slowly infecting humans. Malik road trips with his two sons while hiding the fact that he recently spent two years at a United States penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Ahmed’s Resume: Rick in Nightcrawler (2014), Nasir “Naz” Khan in The Night Of (2016), Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Ruben Stone in Sound of Metal (2019), Zed in Mogul Mowgli (2020)
Encounter Cast: Octavia Spencer as Hattie
Character Profile: Malik’s parole officer for Shasta County. She describes her expertise as “drug ‘n’ thug.” Hattie believes that Malik can turn his life around but worries about the safety of his children.
Spencer’s Resume: Minny Jackson in The Help (2011), Wanda in Fruitvale Station (2013), Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures (2016), Sue Ann in Ma (2019), Poppy Scoville-Parnell in Truth Be Told (2019-)
Encounter Cast: Lucian-River Chauhan as Jay Khan
Character Profile: Malik’s oldest son who likes to draw. He bonds with his father on the road while sensing a dark energy. Jay stands by Malik during a confrontation with authorities.
Chauhan’s Resume: Stuart in Gabby Duran & The Unsittables (2019), Luke Kashani in Heartland (2019)
Encounter Cast: Rory Cochrane as Shepard West
Character Profile: An FBI agent. He believes that Malik could be a “family annihilator.” Shepard listens to Hattie’s advice but senses that Bobby and Jay could be in big trouble.
Cochrane’s Resume: Slater in Dazed and Confused (1993), Tim Speedle in CSI: Miami (2002-07), Lee Schatz in Argo (2012), Stephen Flemmi in Black Mass (2015), Daniel Lecroy in Antlers (2021)
Encounter Cast: Shane McRae as Lance Dunn
Character Profile: Shepard’s partner. He scoffs at Hattie’s belief that Malik won’t harm his children. Lance is significantly more skeptical than Shepard.
McRae’s Resume: Raleigh Leefolt in The Help (2011), Charlie Howland-Jones in Still Alice (2014), Taylor Bowman in Sneaky Pete (2015-19), Dickie Barrett in Paradise Lost (2020), Charlie “Lucky” Luciano in Lansky (2021)
Encounter Cast: Janina Gavankar as Piya Khan
Character Profile: Malik’s ex-wife. She appears sporadically throughout the movie with a morose look on her face. Piya has a new partner named Dylan who clashes with Jay.
Gavankar’s Resume: Luna Garza in True Blood (2011-13), Meredith Bose in The Mysteries of Laura (2014-16), Alison Namazi in The Morning Show (2019-), Angela in The Way Back (2020), Ren in Big Sky (2021)
The Encounter cast also includes Aditya Geddada (feature debut), Misha Collins (Girl, Interrupted, Supernatural), Stefan Sims (Queen Sugar, Double Cross with Blake Griffin), Brennan Keel Cook (Baskets, Love You to Death) and Bill Dawes (All My Children, Adam).
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.