Let’s face it, some actors are just too darn talented that they deserve more than just 1 role in a movie. There are those who do it quite obvious – playing both male and female characters – and others who do it subtly.
So we’ve collected some of our favourite double appearances in movie history. This list also includes actors who have played more than 2 parts. Whether it is one character in disguise or one playing multiple-personality characters or twins, here are our top 10 favourites in no particular order.
1. Lindsay Lohan in “The Parent Trap”
- Year released: 1998
- Characters: Annie and Hallie Mills
Before Lindsay Lohan spiralled out of control and became a tabloid queen, she was the cutest 12-year-old ever in “The Parent Trap”. She effortlessly played twins who became separated at birth and raised by each of their biological parent. Fate brought them together at a summer camp and they spend the rest of the movie trying to reconnect their parents. “The Parent Trap” was Lohan’s 1st movie.
2. Christian Bale in “The Prestige”
- Year released: 2006
- Characters: Alfred Borden and his twin, Fallon
Directed by Christopher Nolan, this masterpiece follows 2 rival magicians who spend their careers trying to out-perform the other. When both men – Alfred Borden (portrayed by Christian Bale and Robert Angier (played by Hugh Jackman) – decide to use doubles in their illusion performance, things take a turn for the worst. While Angier opts for a drunken lookalike named Root, Borden chooses to go with his right hand man, who is actually his own twin.
3. Edward Norton in “Leaves of Grass”
- Year released: 2009
- Characters: Bill and Brady Kincaid
To quote New York Times, who doesn’t love a good-twin/bad-twin story? Or in the case of “Leaves of Grass”, a straight-twin/stoned-twin story? Bill is an Ivy League philosophy professor, while Brady grows pot in home in Oklahoma. After being tricked into thinking that his brother has been murdered, Bill returns to Oklahoma only to find himself in the middle of Brady’s hot mess.
4. Armie Hammer in “The Social Network”
- Year released: 2010
- Characters: Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
The self-righteous Winklevoss twins – Cameron and Tyler – are known for claiming that Mark Zuckerburg stole their idea for Facebook during their college days. But in the movie, Armie Hammer portrays both of the brothers with the help of body double Josh Pence. They were sent to a “twin boot camp” for 10 months to learn each other’s subtle movements and mannerisms. It clearly paid off because the dialogue between those 2 characters were tied throughout “The Social Network”.
5. Adam Sandler in “Jack and Jill”
- Year released: 2011
- Characters: Jack and Jill Sadelstein
“Jack and Jill” was heavily slammed by critics for its poor cinematography and sloppy humour. Still, this comedy has provided us with a few good one liners. Jack’s life is perfect – he has a gorgeous wife and 2 adorable kids. However, his life is turned upside down when his annoying, clueless twin sister called Jill shows up during Thanksgiving.
6. Tom Hanks in “Cloud Atlas”
- Year released: 2012
- Characters: Dr. Henry Goose, Isaac Sachs, Dermot Hoggins, Zachry
Based on the epic novel by David Mitchell, “Cloud Atlas” covers 6 different stories, spanning 500 years, in which the core actors take on multiple roles. For example, Tom Hanks – who seems to appear the most throughout the film – portrays everything from a scientist to a doctor to an actual murderer. They are all separated yet connected – drawing the motif that all humans are essentially the same.
7. Tilda Swinton in “Hail, Caesar!”
- Year released: 2016
- Characters: Thora and Thessaly Thacker
In her 2nd Coen brothers film, Tilda Swinton plays rival identical twin gossip columnists in “Hail, Caesar!”. Thora and Thessaly Thacker are relentless journalists, who are each threatening to publish competing stories exposing various scandals about Baird Whitlock (played by George Clooney) as their latest Hollywood scoop. From the fashion choices to the accents and mannerisms, the Oscar winner captured the spirit of her characters and made it look effortless.
8. Woody Harrelson in “Now You See Me 2”
- Year released: 2016
- Characters: Chase and Merritt McKinney
What happens when Woody Harrelson meet Woody Harrelson? Double doses of magic! Although Chase and Merritt are twins, they are some obvious differences. Chase has perfect teeth, perfect hair, and a weird tan. On the other hand, Merritt is more subdue. “Woody was able to come up with a different character that has in many ways the same charm as Merritt does, but in a very different way and coming at it from a different angle,” producer Bobby Cohen said.
9. James McAvoy in “Split”
- Year released: 2016
- Characters: 24 different personalities
James McAvoy masterfully plays a kidnapper with multiple personalities in M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller, “Split”. At forefront is Kevin, but his other personalities can buoy themselves to the surface. For example, Dennis is a self-loathing neat freak; Patricia reminds us of Dolores Umbridge; Hedwig is a 9-year-old kid who loves dancing to Kanye West; and fashion designer Barry who dislikes snoods. It was truly impressive to watch McAvoy’s dynamic range as an actor – going back and forth between emotions and comportments.
10. Steve Carell in “Despicable Me 3”
- Year released: 2017
- Characters: Gru and Dru
When Gru discovers that he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru, he brings his family to visit Dru in the rural island country of Freedonia. Dru is, essentially, the opposite of Gru – everything from his vivacious personality to his fashion sense, and of course, his flowing blonde hair. If you thought the Minions were annoying, wait till you meet Dru.
Out of all these performances, which are some of your favourites? For us, it’s a tie between #1, #2, and #9.