Double Take: These Actors Played Multiple Characters In The Same Film

It may be a distraction to the audience at first when watching a movie or TV show but, sometimes actors play more than one character in the plot. While playing multiple roles may have previously been out of necessity due to a small cast, today, it is part of clever storytelling.
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It’s also a way to see more of an actor’s ability to personify another character. Sometimes it’s obvious when an actor takes on more than one role, other times a little less. You may be surprised at the following list of actors who were cast in more than one role in the same film,  but you certainly will be impressed!

Ryan Reynolds In Deadpool 2

Action, crazy characters, dark humor, and nonstop comedy; fans were elated with Ryan Reynolds’s performance in “Deadpool.” The film did so well that “Deadpool 2” was later released in 2018 with a whole new plot and set of characters.

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Along with playing the masked character, Ryan Reynolds took up the role of another character that was familiar to MCU fans. In the role of Juggernaut (who also donned a mask), Reynolds was nearly unrecognizable but still brought the same comedic genius to the character.

Benedict Cumberbatch In Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange premiered in 2016 as part of the Marvel Universe of superheroes. The actor who took on the role of the curiously withdrawn character was the highly talented Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Although those who were really paying attention might have missed it, Cumberbatch was also in another role in the film. He also is the voice behind Dormammu. That provides an ironic twist as the doctor is more or less fighting himself!  The role ended up being one of the best for Cumberbatch.

Ben Mendelsohn In Captain Marvel

Marvel is one of the best-known franchises worldwide and continues to make blockbuster films. The release of “Captain Marvel” was no different. The main protagonist was Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson), while the villain was the character of Talos (played by Ben Mendelsohn).

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Some viewers may not have realized it, but after taking a quick look at the credits, they will find that Mendelsohn played two different roles in the film. Other than playing the role of Talos, Mendelsohn also played the role of Keller, Nick Fury’s boss.

Michael J. Fox In Back to the Future Part II

Marty McFly has become one of the most beloved fictional characters in pop culture after the release of the “Back to the Future” franchise. Audiences became fans after getting to know the down-to-earth character.

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But fans may not have expected that Fox would play more than one character in part two of the franchise. Other than playing Marty McFly, Fox also appears as Marlene, the teenage daughter of McFly and his future wife, Jennifer. The resemblance was, of course, impossible to miss!

Warwick Davis In Harry Potter

“Harry Potter” soon became a film franchise with a massive fanbase. The audience was treated to a wide range of characters in each of the films, which meant that there were plenty of makeup choices to hide the actor’s faces.

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Because of this, those watching for the first time may not have noticed that Filius Flitwickthe, the goblin Griphook, and the Charms professor at Hogwarts are both played by actor Warwick Davis. Additionally, if viewers look closely enough, they will notice that the actor even played a third role in the franchise as the goblin bank teller at Gringotts.

Sylvester Stallone In Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

When most think of Sylvester Stallone, they picture him in very macho, action roles such as the “Rocky” franchise, “Rambo,” and other action and drama films, especially throughout the 80s. But there is a softer side to the action hero.

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Stallone had a role in the 2003 movie “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.” The Rocky star actually took on a few different characters in the film like Sebastian or “The Toymaker” and even some other smaller characters. Kids may not have noticed Stallone in the roles, but the adults probably didn’t miss it!

Margaret Hamilton In The Wizard of Oz

This dual role will be easily recognized by “Wizard of Oz” fans. Actress Margaret Hamilton played parallel antagonists in the classic fantasy tale. Viewers first see Hamilton as the heartless Almira Gulch, the woman who threatened Dorothy’s beloved dog, Toto.

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Fans will remember that she later appears in Dorothy’s dream as the Wicked Witch of the West, a metaphorical character for Almira. Hamilton will be remembered for easily personifying both villainous characters, but especially for the Wicked Witch of the West, who could forget that green skin!

Tom Hanks In Cloud Atlas

Many times, fan appreciation only deepens after seeing an actor bring multiple characters to life within the same story. Beloved by fans, Tom Hanks has been in a variety of films over the years but rarely has played more than one character in a project.

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In the sci-fi film “Cloud Atlas,” however, Hanks lent his talents to six (yes, six) different roles! Not surprisingly, Hanks brought unique life to each character. The artistic film premiered in 2012 and left audiences riveted by the various characters and storylines, especially Hanks’s characters.

Dick Van Dyke In Mary Poppins

Disney has created some of the most beloved films in movie-making history. Their classic stories are loved by young and old alike and are handed down from generation to generation. And, of course, one of the most iconic is “Mary Poppins.”

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The main cast of the film, including Dick Van Dyke, was multi-talented in acting, singing, and dancing. Van Dyke also played two roles, the main one being Bert, the jolly chimney sweep. But savvy viewers will also see him in the role of the bank director, Mr. Dawes Sr., later in the film.

Eddie Murphy In Coming to America

Comedic actor Murphy is known to play multiple characters in his films, and “Coming to America” was no exception. Fans loved seeing him in the quirky film about the African Prince who visits the U.S. The plot allowed room for quite a few interesting characters.

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Murphy, of course, plays the main character of Prince Akeem, but he also lent his comedy chops to a few other roles. That’s right; viewers can find Murphy as different characters in the New York neighborhood he moves into, primarily the barbershop.

Hilary Duff In The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Fans of the Disney show could not wait to see Lizzie McGuire in her very own movie. Hilary Duff, the actress, known for the wholesome, quirky, and relatable role, actually stepped up to play two different characters in the film.

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Along with playing Lizzie, the teen who is navigating the ups and downs of growing up, she also played the role of Italian pop star (and diva) Isabella. It was amazing how different Duff looked with dark hair, but it was still clear to see that it was her under that hair and Italian accent!

Armie Hammer In The Social Network

The film “The Social Network” chronicles the unusual beginnings of the social media platform giant Facebook. The story features a handful of characters who influence the plot, two of which are the Winklevoss twins. Based on the real-life Winklevoss twins, actor Armie Hammer played both brothers.

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At the time of the film’s release, Hammer was not a very well-known actor, so many assumed that there were twin actors who played the roles. What a shock it was to viewers to discover they both were played impeccably by Armie Hammer!

James Remar In Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is known for his niche films. “Django Unchained” was greatly anticipated by Tarantino fans and remains a favorite among many. While Tarantino has a few actors he repeatedly works with, the one who sticks out in multiple roles for this film is James Remar.

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Remar first appears in the film a Speck Brother, the adversary for Dr. King Schultz, played by actor Christoph Waltz. In an ironic twist, Remar later appears in the film as Butch Pooch, who killed Shultz, the man who killed Speck!

Michelle Williams In Oz the Great and Powerful

For those who were in love with the classic fantasy tale, the release of “Oz the Great and Powerful” came with both speculation and anticipation. The star-studded cast included James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.

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Michelle Williams took up multiple roles in the film, but her main role was that of one of the most beloved characters, Glinda the Good Witch. She also starred as Annie, who is later revealed to be the future mother of Dorothy from the original film.

Arsenio Hall In Coming to America

The film “Coming to America” had another comedic genius in its cast, and that was Arsenio Hall. Hall was becoming well-known for his stand-up comedy; being cast in “Coming to America” only helped bolster his career.

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He also played multiple roles, but his main one was that of Semmi, the right-hand man to Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem. Hall’s secondary roles were funny characters from the barbershop. Fans will certainly enjoy reminiscence about the film being led by the comedic duo of Murphy and Hall.

Ben Stiller In Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Ben Stiller has a couple of trademark styles of comedy, but his techniques lent themselves well to the “Night at the Museum” films. Cast as the main character, Larry Daley (a night guard for the museum), his sole purpose was to guard the museum at night – but the magic takes over, and the museum exhibits come to life.

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Some of the exhibits cause serious trouble for Larry, including Laaa, the Neanderthal, who is also played by Stiller. At first, it’s hard to distinguish Stiller underneath all of the prosthetics; but once you notice it,a it’s clear to see.

Mel Brooks In Spaceballs

Director, writer and comedian Mel Brooks likes to insert himself into the cast of his own comedic films. In fact, Brooks has appeared in several of his films, including “Young Frankenstein,” “Life Stinks,” and, of course, “Spaceballs.”

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Brooks appears as a number of characters in the “Star Wars” satire, such as the characters of President Skroob and Yogurt. Mel Brooks’s appearances may go unnoticed for some, but fans can easily recognize the veteran comedian underneath the makeup and elaborate costumes.

Dean-Charles Chapman In Game of Thrones

With its riveting storylines and a large cast of complex characters, the fantasy show “Game of Thrones” soon garnered a large fanbase that only grew every season. One of the actors even played more than one character in the trendy franchise.

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Dean-Charles Chapman was cast in the roles of the younger brother to King Joffrey as well as Tommen Baratheon, the 19th Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, and as the in-show performance of Martyn Lannister, the young man who was killed by Lord Rickard Karstark.

Frances O’Connor In Bedazzled

The movie “Bedazzled” centers on the concept of what would happen if everything you wished really came to be? The film opens with the main character, Elliot (played by Brendan Fraser), who sells his soul to the devil in order to win over the woman of his dreams.

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Elliot has a handful of different things he wishes for, but getting his crush Allison to fall in love with him is his primary goal. Actress Frances O’Connor plays the role of Allison, but she also plays another important woman in the film. At the end of the story, Elliot actually falls in love with a woman named Nicole instead, also played by O’Connor.

Mike Myers In Austin Powers

Mike Myers is one of the most recognizable talents in comedic films. Myers is a versatile comedian and has starred in both raunchy comedies and family-friendly films. He also starred as multiple characters in the wacky film “Austin Powers.”

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Myers’ primary role was that of the headline character, Austin Powers. Ironically, he also played the bald-headed villain, Dr. Evil, and, additionally, Myers played a handful of other characters within the subsequent films. Fans will recognize the voice he uses for one of the characters as the same voice he used for Shrek!

Eddie Murphy In The Nutty Professor

Eddie Murphy will appear multiple times on this list because he may be one of the few actors who has taken on so many roles in one project! He once again demonstrated his raw, comedic talent in the 1996 screwball comedy, “The Nutty Professor.”

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The film was released when Eddie Murphy was experimenting in producing a  family-friendly comedy, in contrast to his often adult-humor-laden projects. In “The Nutty Professor,” Murphy played four distinct characters in the remake of the film, including Papa Cletus Klump, Grandma Jenson, Ernie Klump Sr., and Lance Perkins.

Mark Hamill In Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Mark Hamill is, of course, one of the biggest stars of the entire “Star Wars” franchise. The role of Luke Skywalker forever changed Hamill’s life, but few may know that he also had another role in “The Last Jedi.”

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Hamill once again took up the mantle of Luke Skywalker in the 2017 Star Wars film, “The Last Jedi.” He played the highly criticized character that many fans were unsure about, Dobbu Scay. But Hamill did a great job bringing life to the motion-capture creature.

Elsa Lanchester In Bride of Frankenstein

Actress Elsa Lanchester is best known to audiences for her starring roles as the Bride in the film “Bride of Frankenstein.” Her costume and makeup have subsequently become a beautiful example for many women (and other films).

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But many may not be aware that Lanchester also took up the role of author Mary Shelley, who is first seen in the opening scene of the horror film, speaking to Lord Byron that she has much more of a story to tell him.

Christian Bale In The Prestige

In the 2006 Christopher Nolan film, “The Prestige,” Christian Bale stars as twins “The Professor” Borden and Berard Fallon. The riveting thriller uncovers the truth that the Fallon’s had been tricking the audience simply by being twins.

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All of the prosthetics (nose, beard, and glasses) became the perfect disguise for Bale’s second character in the film. Although the events that unfold eventually lead to the downfall of the rival magicians, audiences were enthralled by the plot twist and the two Christian Bales on screen.

Jack Nicholson In Mars Attacks!

Jack Nicholson brings his signature style of acting to every role that he takes. In the wacky film “Mars Attacks!” Nicholson plays President James Dale. But he also appears in the film later on.

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As the film progresses, savvy viewers will realize that he also starred as the character of Art Land, a sleazy land developer who meets his demise when a copy of the globe rolls over his hotel, crushing him inside. The film also starred Sara Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan.

Hugo Weaving In Cloud Atlas

With multiple storylines crossing six different time periods, Cloud Atlas was one of the Wachowski siblings’ most complex films. Based on the novel by David Mitchell, the sci-fi fantasy epic had a star-studded cast who could be seen in multiple roles within the various time periods.

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Hugo Weaving is one of the main actors in the film and stars as a number of villainous characters, including Tom Hanks, Nurse Noakes. and Halle Berry, who also appear in multiple roles in the film.

Anthony Daniels In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of The Clones

C-3PO is one of the most iconic and well-loved characters in the entire “Star Wars” franchise. The over-analytical droid is one of just a handful of characters who appeared in each one of the classic films.

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In the “Attack of the Clones,” actor Anthony Daniels stars as C-3PO and finds himself in quite the adventure when he swaps heads with the battle droid at The Battle of Geonosis. But Daniels has a random role (more or less as an extra) as a stranger in the club that Anakin and Obi-Wan enter.

Eddie Murphy In Norbit

Few actors have played as many roles in a single film as comedian Eddie Murphy. After wrapping production on the comedies like “Coming to America” and “The Nutty Professor,” Murphy decided to continue with that style and starred in the film “Norbit.”

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Murphy plays the lead role of the dull Norbit character but also plays his overbearing wife, Rasputia. Although his acting is good enough without the extra makeup and the magic of prosthetics, Murphy was able to really lend all of himself fully to the different characters.

Taika Waititi In Thor: Ragnarok

Ultra-charismatic director Taika Waititi is certainly a multi-talented individual. Along with being a director, the New Zealand native also writes and (at times) even stars in his own films. In the blockbuster Marvel film “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi played the loveable, rock-like character of Korg.

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The giant creature quickly won over audiences with his soft-spoken and witty one-liners and uncomplicated friendliness. Being so distracted by his performance of Korg, some may not realize that Taika also played Surtur, the fire giant.

Doug Jones In Pan’s Labyrinth

Although he may not be well-known for his actual face, actor Doug Jones has been the talent behind many creatures in various sci-fi films. Jones is typically covered in makeup and prosthetics, but it still takes a lot of talent to bring these fictional characters to life.

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Jones starred as the fawn character of Pan in Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.” In the film, Pan helps a young girl to process her childhood trauma. He simultaneously plays the Pale Man in the film, a terrifying monster who eats children.

Anthony Hopkins In Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The story of Dracula has been told many times, but when Francis Ford Coppola’s decision to create a film, it certainly was unique. One of the primary characters of the film, Van Helsing, is a vampire bounty hunter played by legendary actor Anthony Hopkins.

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Audiences may not have originally realized it, but upon watching the film again, they may notice that Hopkins also plays another character. He also plays the priest to whom Vlad Tepes confesses his renouncement of faith.

Jeremy Bulloch In The Empire Strikes Back

Despite all of the characters to choose from, the “Star Wars” franchise yielded a few favorite characters, including Boba Fett. Originally, fans were desperate to know who was behind the mask of the enigmatic bounty hunter. In the subsequent prequels, fans finally get a peek of the man underneath the mask.

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In the “Star Wars” installment, “The Empire Strikes Back,” actor Jeremy Bulloch wears both the Mandalorian armor and stars as an imperial guard who keeps Princess Leia from warning Luke of a potential trap.

Peter Sellers In Dr. Strangelove

Classic comedic actor Peter Sellers was the go-to actor to make audiences laugh. Sellers had a handful of iconic films, but one of his most memorable movies is certainly “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” The bizarre title was reflective of the 60s.

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The movie is a satire centered on the Cold War and casts Sellers as the Group Captain, Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, as well as the title character, Dr. Strangelove.

Dan Aykroyd In Nothing But Trouble

“Nothing But Trouble” was certainly a flop of a film, but the actors did see a lot of work on set being cast in multiple roles. Iconic actor Dan Akroyd starred in multiple roles and was also a first-time director for the film.

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He starred as the character Judge Alvin “J.P.” Valkenheiser, the ancient, 106-year-old grandfather of John Candy’s character, Dennis. Aykroyd also starred as Bobo, one of the two troll-like creatures who were the  Judge’s grossly deformed grandchildren.

Kevin Kline In Wild Wild West

Here we have yet another example of an actor who didn’t merely play two roles in the same film but whose roles converged in two pivotal parts in the plot. In the film “Wild Wild West,” actor Kevin Kline plays Artemus Gordon, the partner to James T. West (played by Will Smith)

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He later appears in the crossover film as President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s these two lead roles that end up protecting him from various perilous situations in the wild West.

Rose McGowan In Grindhouse

Robert Rodriguez is known for his unique style of films. The film grindhouse was a joint venture between Rodriguez and director Quentin Tarantino which is actually two films in one. Rose McGowan stars in both films as (of course ) two different characters.

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In the first film, “Death Proof,” McGowan plays Pam, the dull blonde who befriends Stuntman Mike. In the second film, “Planet Terror,” McGowan stars as Cherry Darling, a go-go dancer at a bar who ends up in the middle of a zombie attack.

Neil Patrick Harris In How I Met Your Mother

“How I Met Your Mother” had more than one actor playing different roles on the show. In the episode where Lily and Marshall promise to only start trying to have a baby when they discover all of their gang’s doppelgangers, an interesting character pops up.

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The couple was left with just one look-alike to find, and that was Barney Stinson’s doppelganger. They finally found him in the form of “Dr. Stangel” but were still in denial, believing that it was simply Barney playing dress-up.

Tatiana Maslany In Orphan Black

This will be an obvious duplicate role to any fan of “Orphan Black” since the entire plot of the show is about a young woman who is just one of many clones. Tatiana Maslany is the main character who plays the different female characters.

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Altogether, Maslany plays Sarah Manning, Alison Hendrix, Helena, Cosima Niehaus, Rachel Duncan, and many more at various plot points in the series. Considering the variety of characters she had to play, Tatiana Maslany really proved herself as an actor on the show!

Thomas F. Wilson In Back to the Future

The cult classic film “Back to the Future” is famous for using its main characters in the present, past, and future storylines. The actors had to adapt their characters from young to old and to different time periods. Viewers are used to seeing different versions of Marty McFly, but they will also remember different age versions of the character (and main antagonist) Biff.

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Biff is first seen in 1985 as a middle-aged, volatile character who has clearly been a lifelong bully. And, when we travel back in time, viewers see Biff as the same unpleasant character, just younger.

Lisa Kudrow In Friends

“Friends” had one of the largest fan bases in TV history. Viewers will most likely recall the episode where more than one Phoebe appeared on the screen. Actress Lisa Kudrow brought the quirky, artsy, and awkward character to life, yielding big laughs for audiences.

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In the episode where Phoebe’s twin sister Ursala appears on screen, viewers may have thought that Lisa Kudrow had a real-life twin who was also an actress. But Kudrow simply did a great job at creating two different on-screen personas.

Peter Capaldi In Doctor Who

The show “Doctor Who” is known for its numerous characters, specifically, the many actors who play the different doctors. Many stars have passed through the plot of “Doctor Who” only to appear years later as a different one. Though in his case, his one featured in an episode, his return years later turned out to be as the Doctor himself!

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Actor Peter Capaldi played one of the most well-known doctors on the show and appeared as different characters. He appeared earlier on the show as a Roman called Caecilius and later appeared as the alien time traveler just a few years later.

Amy Adams In Night at the Museum 2

In “Night at the Museum,” there was another actor who appeared in more than one role. One of the most notable characters was Amelia Earhart, played by Amy Adams. The determined, barrier-breaking pilot actually becomes a love interest for Ben Stiller’s character, Larry.

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But at the end of the film, when Amelia returns to her own exhibit, Larry soon meets another woman who looks just like Amelia. The woman is, of course, played by none other than Amy Adams.

Donald Glover In Atlanta

On the show “Atlanta,” Donald Glover’s character is pretty average, unassuming, and relatable at times. But, one of the most unusual episodes of the series revolves around the character of Teddy Perkins.

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If fans were not already impressed with Glover’s performance, they sure would be after this episode. That’s right, he was unrecognizable in the role and had to be covered in prosthetics to become the character. But for even diehard fans of the show, it was a strange episode!

Ewan McGregor In Fargo

The movie “Fargo” became a cult classic, and the TV series that followed also became well-liked by fans. The series is laced with interesting characters who are, quite honestly, not role models or people you would want in your inner circle of friends, but intriguing nonetheless.

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Actor Ewan McGregor played the two characters of Ray and Emmit Stussy on the show. Portraying two different characters allowed McGregor to demonstrate his range as an actor on the show as the roles required two very different personalities.

Ahmed Best In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

The “Star Wars” franchise overflows with characters, and even diehard fans can be overwhelmed with all of them. Many agree, though, that the most unliked character is Jar Jar Binks. Ahmed Best, who played the CGI character, had more than one role in “Episode Two, Attack of the Clones.”

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Observant viewers will notice at the beginning of the film that Best was hanging out with friends at the bar. It’s a shame that Best’s character was not well-liked considering his talent as an actor!

Cobie Smulders In How I Met Your Mother

Fans of the show “How I Met Your Mother” will be familiar with the doppelgangers that show up frequently throughout each season. One of these characters was a woman that the group dubbed “Lesbian Robin” since she seemed to be the ‘tougher’ version of their beloved friend Robin Shurbatsky, who is played by actress Cobie Smulders.

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Robin’s lookalike is seen only momentarily, but there is a short glimpse of her as she walks down the street, acting very tough and crass. Stereotypes aside, it’s safe to say that the similarities that are shared between Robin and her doppelganger stop at appearances.

Jake Gyllenhaal In Enemy

Fans were not ready to see Jake Gyllenhaal in two roles in the thriller “Enemy.” While some actors are completely hidden under makeup and costumes, Jake Gyllenhaal’s roles were overt as it was part of the plot.

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The 2013 film revolves around a man named Adam. who, after spotting his lookalike in a film, becomes obsessed with meeting the actor, Anthony St. Claire. The rest of the film chronicles the slow-boiling tension of Adam’s obsession and the two men’s lives slowly merging.

Jonathan Hyde In Jumanji

“Jumanji” is another classic tale full of adventure, mystery, and even peril. Similar to “Peter Pan,” Jonathan Hide appears as dual, metaphorical roles in the film. Hyde is originally introduced as the character of Sam Parrish, who is both a businessman and Alan’s (the main protagonist) father.

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Later in the film, the main antagonist to Alan, a poacher named Van Pelt who is always hunting him, is introduced. Van Pelt is also played by Jonathan Hyde and, although the two have very different appearances, they have similar character arcs.

Jesse Eisenberg In The Double

In the 2013 film “The Double,” actor Jesse Eisenberg has dual performances, and honestly, it would be pretty hard to miss! The plot of the film centers on the character of Simon James, who casually comes to work one day only to discover that there is a new co-worker who looks exactly like him.

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Eerily enough, no one but James can see the startling resemblance that the new coworker shares with him. And, of course, both characters are played by Eisenberg.

Jason Isaacs In Peter Pan

“Peter Pan” is one of the most beloved children’s tales, known by young and old alike. There have been a few film versions of the story, but one common thread in all of them is having actors play both a real-world and Neverland counterpart.

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In the 2003 version of Peter Pan, viewers first see actor Jason Isaacs as Mr. Darling, the children’s father. He also plays a metaphorical antagonist, Captain Hook in Neverland. Captain Hook is always in pursuit of the children in Neverland, and the character echoes the tension the children may have felt with their real-life father.