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Then there is the flip side to how characters who are supposed to be siblings never much look alike: actors who, while unrelated, could easily play siblings, but don’t: e.g., all the movies in which Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, two unrelated actors who have much in common, play unrelated friends instead of the big brother and little brother roles they were born to play.

I can recall walking into the living room while my wife was watching the first of the Judd Apatow Gang movies, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and seeing Rogen and Hill on-screen together for the first time, and saying, “Wow, that’s great casting, they’re playing brothers, right?”


I expect to soon see a movie in which Jonah Hill and his look-alike little sis Beanie Feldstein play strangers.

In general, there isn’t much demand for actors to play brother and sister in movies except for low-budget prestige dramas on the theme of “Mom/Dad is going senile, what should we do?”

My favorite of this genre is Robot & Frank.

This is a 2012 sci-fi drama in which Broadway star Frank Langella plays a retired cat burglar who is beginning to suffer dementia.

So his children, played by the extremely good-looking James Marsden and Liv Tyler, buy him a robot to be his minder.

I want a robot to be my life caddy, to follow me around and to hold things I hand to him.

Granted, in real life, there probably aren’t many siblings as good looking as Tyler and Marsden, but that’s why we go to the movies.

Hollywood is nepotistic so it’s striking how seldom the many sibling pairs of movie stars have been cast as siblings: e.g., James and Dave Franco in “The Disaster Artist” being cast as friends is the norm, while Jeff and Beau Bridges in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” as brothers is the exception.

For example, Casey Affleck has appeared in a half-dozen movies with with his brother Ben Affleck’s buddy Matt Damon, but I don’t recall the Affleck brothers ever playing brothers on-screen. They seem to get along: Casey starred in the first movie Ben directed, the pretty good thriller Gone Baby Gone, but they don’t get cast as brothers.

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  1. There were four movies where Jerry Stiller played the part of Ben Stiller’s father. It Runs in the Family had three generations of Douglas actors. On Golden Pond had Henry Fonda playing the role of Jane Fonda’s father.

    But siblings playing siblings seems to be rarer.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  2. The extreme case here would be “Twins”, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as somewhat unlikely twins who were separated at birth.

    Apparently someone figured this was not far out enough: according to Wikipedia, “In March 2012, Universal announced the development of a sequel titled Triplets with Schwarzenegger and DeVito due to return with Eddie Murphy as their long lost brother… In 2015, it was announced that plans for the film were put on hold.”

    Probably because they decide to make “Quadroplets” instead, starring Bruce Jenner as the long lost sister struggling to convince Arnie, Danny, and Eddie that he is indeed their long lost sister.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  3. SFG says:

    Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal were real and fictional siblings in Donnie Darko.

    • Replies: @Thea
  4. SFG says:

    FWIW, Breaking Bad is a nice as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for more inhibited (i.e, normal) men who fantasize about doing bad things. So it makes commercial sense. Artistically, I can’t comment.

  5. The Gyllenhaal siblings played brother and sister in Donnie Darko.

  6. In The Game, Michael Douglas and Sean Penn look so plausible as siblings that I ruined the movie for my wife: every time they were on screen together I’d say out loud, “They really look like brothers! What great casting!”

    Honestly, I’m so accustomed to seeing siblings who couldn’t possibly be related in movies that I find it actively distracting when the casting is good.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  7. “The Young Riders” included three sets of brothers playing brothers
    David, Keith, and Robert Carradine
    Dennis and Randy Quaid,
    Chistopher and Nicholas Guest

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Ancient Briton
  8. Jeff and Beau Bridges played brothers in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

  9. Bob Elliot played Chris Elliot’s dad very effectively on Get A Life.

  10. I remember The Long Riders where the Carradines played the Younger brothers, the Keach brothers played Jesse and Frank James, the Quaid brothers played the Miller brothers, and the Guest brothers played Charlie and Bob Ford. Four sets of siblings playing siblings. I think the whole pitch of the movie was that we can cast all these brothers to play the Younger-James gang.

  11. anonymous[238] • Disclaimer says:

    David Brenner and Barbra Streisand could be cast as trans doppelgangers! They could have shared the role in Yentl. And Sandra Bernhard and Menachem Begin …

    • LOL: slumber_j
  12. The best showcase of sibling casting was the 1980 movie The Long Riders.
    Where they had real life siblings play the various factions of the James/Younger Gang. The Keach brothers played Frank and Jesse. The Carradines were the Youngers. The Quaids played the Miller brothers. The Guest brothers played the dirty coward Bob Ford and his brother.

  13. The Long Riders cast four sets of brothers as four sets of brothers…

  14. How about John Cusack and Joan Cusack playing Hit-man Boss and Secretary in Grosse Pointe Blank ? I don’t know how this would have worked if they had been cast as siblings, except perhaps as a team of hit-person fraternal twins who both go home to find romance.

    • Replies: @Glaivester
  15. Bonner Tal says: • Website

    This doesn’t seem to hold in movies but in real life it is somewhat disturbing to see so many couples that could easily pass for siblings. I wonder whether these people ever reflect on that or whether it’s all subconscious.

    • Replies: @Ancient Briton
  16. Macaulay Culkin’s younger brother played his character’s cousin in Home Alone…not quite a sibling but at least a reasonably close genetic relative, and given the large number of characters I could never keep track anyways. It was very effective, too. Even my 7 y/o self thought the character seemed very plausible as a relative.

    • Replies: @1661er
  17. This is well after my time but apparently the Disney TV production The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had real life twins playing characters who were twins…kind of like Aunt Becky’s kids from Full House except as main characters instead of props.

  18. I think the Wilson brothers played the Wright brothers in the Night at the Museum franchise.

  19. There’s so much nepotism in Hollywood, why insert that reality into movies?

  20. As usual, the best set of brothers, dramatically, is Shakespeare’s (FFS, what DIDN’T that guy come up with?!?) — meaning Edward, the libertine, George/Clarence, the cowardly weasel, and Richard, the scheming brilliant charismatic deformed weirdo.

    I guess they tried doing this on Game of Thrones, making Edward into a nephew instead of a brother. But then they got more interested in dragons and nudity, so they didn’t really play much with the combination.

    I’d like to see somebody try it, though: maybe Matt Damon as Richard, Joaquin Phoenix as Edward, and Zack Gafawhatthefuckishisname as George.

    The other great brothers combination yet to be filmed, is the Bundren brothers from As I Lay Dying.

  21. hhsiii says:

    Yeah, Long Riders was good.

    Not siblings, but a good father/daughter scene:

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
  22. @Sergeant Prepper

    No, they didn’t make that movie because it would be impossible without breaking the fundamental basis of the plot. Remember, DeVito is both short and ugly and stupid and venal because his embryo was the sucky-gene sink in the experiment. How could they do that with a black? In fact, even without a black, the movie is dangerously anti-PC in positing a connection between beauty and virtue.

    What would be funnier than another loud Eddie Murphy film would be to re-make twins with the addition of Andre the Giant and Franco Columbu:

    Arnold and DeVito discover a failed prior experiment in which some goods genes were given to an embryo (Columbu), but not the genes for height, which went to the other embryo (Andre).

    • Replies: @prosa123
  23. @Bagpipes-Guffaws

    I thought that was very convincing casting too, but I’m not it was purely about looks. That’s one of the few movies I’ve watched twice, but it wasn’t nearly as good the second time.

  24. Paul Rise says:

    I bet it’s hard to direct siblings on the same set.

    I bet it’s especially hard fo direct the Affleck brothers on the same set …

  25. TWS says:

    How are Marsden and Tyler even remotely related?

  26. Gordo says:

    The McGann brothers from England, all four of them, played in this TV miniseries.

  27. anonymous[354] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dr. DoomNGloom

    Four…Stacy & James Keatch.

  28. El Dato says:

    OT: Completely de-biased “AI”

    Apple programs Siri to not bother its pretty little head with questions about feminism: Cyber-assistant taught to duck sensitive topics

    Between waiting to be told what to write by the PTB, the Graun is on the case:

    From a tranche of documents leaked by a former contract worker who evaluated Siri responses to user questions for accuracy, The Guardian obtained a set of guidelines drawn up last year to ensure Siri’s responses to “sensitive” topics comes across as neutral.

    In keeping with these guidelines, Siri’s responses were revised to endorse “equality” while avoiding the word “feminism,” even if asked directly. Where once Siri responded to the question, “Are you a feminist?” with “Sorry [user name], I don’t really know,” it has since been reeducated to provide more harmless and generally acceptable responses like “It seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.”

    Engage in conversation about feminism with the equivalent of a toaster? Why not.

    From the Groan, I mean the Graun:

    Sam Smethers, the chief executive of women’s rights campaigners the Fawcett Society, said: “The problem with Siri, Alexa and all of these AI tools is that they have been designed by men with a male default in mind. I hate to break it to Siri and its creators: if ‘it’ believes in equality it is a feminist. This won’t change until they recruit significantly more women into the development and design of these technologies.”

    I hate to break it to Sam Smethers, but there is nothing which believes “there”.

  29. Lugash says:

    Judd Apatow cast his real life wife and their real life kids in ‘This is 40’. In an interview he said he did it because he hates kids who don’t look like their parents in movies.

    • Replies: @baythoven
  30. JimDandy says:

    If Martians were studying America solely by watching American films and TV, they would conclude that roughly 85% of our population was Jewish. And that more than half of our judges were black women.

  31. Jpilot77 says:

    Actually Ben and Casey Affleck played brothers in Good Will Hunting.

    • Replies: @education realist
  32. Siblings don’t necessarily look much alike.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  33. Woodsie says: • Website

    When they were still in their twenties I would have loved to see a film of Faulkner’s SARTORIS (still un-adapted for the screen) with Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estebez as the sons of real-life dad Marty. Martin would play the Colonel in flashbacks (he was still young-looking himself). Then Marty played Robert E. Lee in GETTYSBURG and stunk it up. Turns out he can’t play ‘southern’. His perf ruined that mini-series.

  34. dfordoom says: • Website

    In the Metzengerstein segment of Spirits of the Dead (1968) Peter Fonda played Jane Fonda’s lover. I thought that was very very creepy.

  35. Dumbo says:

    1. I thought JayMan had disappeared for good, too bad he hasn’t, and keeps harping on about the same dumb things.

    2. Breaking Bad is pretty good, except that like all series contains some filler material that dilutes the drama, it could have been a bit more concise. But the finale is great.

    4. There are some distracting details such as the name of the main character and the villains with swastikas tattoos, which of course intend to put white people in a bad light, but those are more details.

    3. The idea of the series is that Mr. White (ahem…) clearly had evil tendencies right from the beginning but was inhibited for other reasons (family, society, etc), and the discovery of cancer works as a catalyst for his change. Not completely implausible.

    4. Psychopathy may be largely genetic, but people can change their behavior (up to a certain limit) also due to ambiental factors. This is so obvious that doesn’t even merit a discussion.

  36. Seeing as how you’re a fellow film enthusiast, Steve, I can’t help but think you should publish a list of some of your all-time favorite films. Then many commenters here likely would follow suit. And then maybe I could find something to watch….

    • Agree: Travis
  37. Anonymous[536] • Disclaimer says:

    I just watched A Bridge Too Far last night. Was amazed by how much historical detail and sort of sweep of the map was in the movie. There were some cheesy parts, but in general, just thought it was a very well done history lesson. Great photography also.

    Oops, nothing to do with siblings. They did have the real Kate van Horst dictating the opening.

    Supposedly US critics shit on the movie when it came out. Sorta shows the doughboy follow the crowd aspect of them, to not appreciate such an epic. They also didn’t like Final Countdown. Which granted has its cheesy parts too…but is an amazing feel for being on the Nimitz and F-14s. More so than Top Gun. (I did a special project for 3 weeks on the CVN in the 90s…also had a roomie who flew Tomcats.)

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    , @Bill B.
    , @guest
  38. MEH 0910 says:

    Fun Fact: Lance and Stephen once played twin brothers on an episode of the TV show Beauty and the Beast.

  39. It is hard to cast a show where the family looks like a family. For example, on the Lost in Space show, we always presumed that Judy Robinson’s real father was the mailman.

  40. Bugeater says:

    Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce were completely convincing as brothers on ‘Frasier’.

    • Agree: JMcG
  41. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) had the unlikeliest siblings in movie history. John Wayne (b. 1907) played the brother of Michael Anderson Jr. (b. 1943). With 36 years difference in their ages, Wayne was easily old enough to be Anderson’s father; not-so-easily, his grandfather. Another brother was played by the very Italian-looking Dean Martin (also old enough to be Anderson’s father). The other brother, played by Earl Holliman, didn’t look much like any of the others.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  42. MEH 0910 says:


    Jessica Chastain Says Ron Howard Once Confused Her with His Daughter Bryce Dallas Howard
    By Scott Baumgartner‍ 5:19 PM PDT, July 8, 2019

    It turns out one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses often gets mistaken for another.

    In a new video interview, Jessica Chastain revealed the one other actress who she most often gets confused with — Bryce Dallas Howard. In fact, she admits she’s even gotten mixed up herself.

    “Before my career took off, I remember one time being on the subway and I was looking at a magazine and there was a picture of her, like a small picture, and I was like ‘What am I doing in this magazine?’ I actually had that thought,” she told Dark Phoenix co-star Sophie Turner, via the Associated Press.

    And, it turns out, she managed to fool Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard’s own father as well!

    “Another time I was at the Apple store and Ron Howard was there,” she shares. “And I was walking by and I was like, ‘That’s Ron Howard’ and then my friend was with me [and] he said he turned to someone and said ‘I think I just saw Bryce.’ We look so much alike.”

    The 42-year-old went on to explain that when she and Bryce were both cast in 2011’s The Help, her co-star admitted that she had been mistaken for Chastain.

    “When we finally got to film The Help, the first time we met, we went to the table read and looked at each other, because we both get it all the time, and we grabbed each other’s hands and we said, ‘Let’s go to the mirror.’ And we went to the mirror and we looked at each other… and we were like, ‘Yeah, we look exactly alike,’” she explained.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
    , @Lurker
  43. B36 says:

    Close to 50 years ago James and Stacy Keach played Orville and Wilbur Wright in “Orville and Wilbur”.

  44. Alfa158 says:

    I had always thought that in Breaking Bad Walter White took such a protective interest in Jesse Pinkman because he was unconsciously looking for a replacement son. Walter’s actual son was a cuckoo, who looked nothing at all like either Skyler or Walter, and was both physically handicapped and not particularly bright. Walter stuck his neck out, and ultimately destroyed a good deal he had by mentoring and protecting Jesse, because the kid looked more credibly like Walter, and had interest and ability in chemistry (although admittedly of a very specialized variety).

  45. I expect to soon see a movie in which Jonah Hill and his look-alike little sis Beanie Feldstein play strangers.

    But please, not lovers. If anyone needs an emetic, read about the Czech “Peters” twins:

    Speaking to Refinery29, adult entertainment giant GameLink’s Jeff Dillon said that “family roleplay” or “fauxcest” is growing in the porn industry.

    Most viewers of this branch of porn are women or couples, and it ranges from fake father-daughter relationships, to sister sex.

    Meanwhile, PornHub says that incest porn is one of its top trending searches – also among women.

    The first time I saw Penn & Teller, it struck me how much Teller resembled Henry Gibson. Well, others in Hollywood noticed, too. They played son and father in the cable TV movie Long Gone:

  46. Steve, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen “40-yr old Virgin” but I’m pretty sure Jonah Hill was not in that movie. You’re probably confusing it with “Knocked Up” which did have both Rogen and Hill.

    • Replies: @Corn
  47. Mr. Anon says:

    The ne plus ultra of siblings who look nothing alike was in the movie Suture:

    in which Dennis Haysbert was supposed to be the near look-alike half-brother of a tall slender white guy.

    However, it was done in a purposefully Brechtian Verfremdungseffect kind of way.

    It’s not a bad movie by the way, as I a recall: a serviceable thriller filmed in a very artful way. An example of the neo-noir fad that ran from the mid-80s through the early 90s.

  48. Mr. Anon says:

    I just watched A Bridge Too Far last night. Was amazed by how much historical detail and sort of sweep of the map was in the movie. There were some cheesy parts, but in general, just thought it was a very well done history lesson. Great photography also.

    It was one of the best movies about WWII ever made – not just a movie set in WWII, but about it. The film makers also took great care to cast actors who actually looked like the people they were playing.

    Attenborough agreed to direct it because he was promised that if he did, he would be allowed to make Gandhi, which is rather cucky. A Bridge Too Far is the much better movie.

  49. Bill B. says:

    OT but about beautiful people.

    Why are these stylish women posing with scientific instruments? Instrument makers in the 1960s used “lovely ladies” to sell their wares, complain two women at the Science History Institute.

    Self-awareness does not appear high here.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  50. @MEH 0910

    At least they’re not Koreans.

    These days it seems like every aspiring actress and model in South Korea goes to the same plastic surgeon and gets exactly the same “work” done.

    So having two Korean actresses who look alike is an everyday occurrence.

    Someone once did a photo series for which all the contestants for the Miss Korea patent morphed into the next one. They all looked almost the same.

  51. Bill B. says:

    Audrey Hepburn was a Dutch teenager living in Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  52. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Another example of siblings not playing siblings was Luke and Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums.

    That movie includes another example of Ziel’s observation: Ben Stiller (5’7”) is cast as the son of Angelica Houston (5’10”) and Gene Hackman (6’2”).

    The ultimate example of this, though, was on the Showtime series Shameless, when William H. Macy’s child with a white woman turned out to be black because Macy’s character allegedly had black ancestry.

    • Replies: @Tomfrom Texas
  53. Corn says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Jonah Hill did have a small part in The 40 Year Old Virgin. He played a kid who came into the Ebay store of Steve Carell’s love interest to buy or sell something.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  54. BB753 says:

    Regarding Breaking Bad and Walther White and his son, isn’t the story that Skyler had had a previous affair with her boss, Bernenke, and that Walther Jr. is not Walther Senior’s biological son?

  55. baythoven says:

    “…kids who don’t look like their parents in movies.”

    Not long ago I saw a bit of Terms of Endearment on the tv. And I thought, “Why in the world did they cast Debra Winger as Shirley MacLaine’s daughter?” Then a moment later, “Oh yeah, right.”

  56. 4th Amboy says:

    And as everyone on the internet asks, if characters played by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had a kid…

    Or maybe it’s a secret plot thread: Han didn’t shoot first.

    • LOL: MEH 0910
  57. Hhsiii says:

    The Marx Brothers. Usually not playing brothers.

  58. Robot & Frank sounds somewhat similar to Safe House, a 1999 dramedy starring Patrick Stewart as a retired CIA agent on the verge of senility:

    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
  59. The Battlestar Galactica reboot series had an unusual number of actors who strongly resembled more famous actors including Daniel Craig and Tom Sizemore doppelgangers.

  60. Dwright says:

    Jerry Van Dyke and brother Dick played brothers on Dick’s tv show.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  61. Anonymous[129] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve Sailer:

    “So his children, played by the extremely good-looking James Marsden…”

    I remember watching a lot of teenage dramas with Marsden back in the late 1990’s, early 2000’s. He was usually cast as the most popular boy in school in these films: the star jock, the cool aloof bad boy that had all the girls going crazy, prom king, etc. Marsden complained in an interview that he wanted to play sensitive, artsy roles where he would play sensitive young men, artsy types, or nerdy intellectuals who wax philosophically about their own dramas, etc. However, casting agents would absolutely insist that in teenage high school/college dramas he would play the Captain of the football team, the star quarterback, the cool badass rebel, the Crown Prince of the high school, the beautiful boy with superior genes, etc. He said it was very frustrating to him, because they wanted to always cast him for sexyness and coolness, while he wanted to play roles with content. I can understand them casting Marsden in these roles, because he is a taller and even better looking version of Tom Cruise. There was this one film where he played an outcast unpopular boy, and none of the teenagers in the audience were buying it. In real life, he would immediately become the most popular boy in school in any high school he enrolled in. I always assumed that Marsden would become a huge star. I guess he didn’t because he doesen’t have the personality of a star.

  62. But if you go to TV, to one of my wife’s shows, The Property Brothers, the brothers are not only really brothers, they are twins.

  63. Breaking Bad:

    Silly, contrived plots and preposterous characters in service of an immoral message.


    Macgyver where Macgyver is a drug dealer.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  64. Gimeiyo says:

    The casting that stands out to me is the two leads of Valerian, who don’t just look like they could be brother and sister — they honestly look like fraternal twins.

  65. prosa123 says:

    Franco Columbu died about a week ago, when he drowned while swimming in the sea off the coast of Sardinia. He was 78. According to some reports he may have suffered a heart attack, which led to the drowning.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  66. prosa123 says:
    @the one they call Desanex

    In the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, Angela Lansbury (b. 1925) played the mother of Laurence Harvey (b. 1928). Guess that’s taking teen motherhood to an extreme level.

  67. Lurker says:
    @MEH 0910

    It would be interesting to know via DNA, family trees whether they are in fact related in some way.

  68. Thea says:

    For years celebrity publications pushed the unfortunate looking Maggie as a great beauty. I had no idea that family had the wherewithal to buy such publicity.

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
  69. Well, everyone beat me to The Long Riders and Good Will Hunting. We can add that Sean Penn and his brother Chris played brothers in At Close Range, and Walken looked kind of similar as their father. Strangely, I don’t think the Baldwin brothers ever did anything together (maybe their uneven levels of talent), nor the Dillon brothers (even though they are both quite good). I want to say there was a movie where Keifer Sutherland played Donald’s son, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    • Replies: @guest
  70. Altai says:

    OT: Democracy is now officially over, if Colbert with his audience is cheering on this insane carry-on in the British parliament, it’s over. And I do mean, insane, the things that have been done you can’t go back from.

    I am still waiting on somebody, let alone a supposed progressive, to tell me why it’s such a problem that the UK is leaving an entity that it always had one foot out of and through which any ideals of a Gaulist foreign policy were thwarted and constant neoliberal economic policies were brought through or gained the additional needed support.

    I don’t understand why progressives don’t like the idea of an EU with greater potential for banking regulation, high-frequency trading taxes and a potentially independent Gaulist foreign policy that eschews all future aggressive against Russia or the Middle East.

    It’s not as if the UK will actually be leaving the common market proper and if it does, only in name only. So what’s the problem? Is the immigration of Eastern and Southern Europeans into the UK to the further immiseration and ethnic-cultural displacement of the indigenous working classes such a thing to aspire to that the wholesale destruction of any legitimacy of democracy worth ending over? This is utter madness.

    To hell with the 1%, the upper middle classes will be the death of the West.

    I’m still in shock thinking about all the other crises the Westminster parliament had to contend with and yet just leaving the EU, not even the common market, but just the EU (When the UK wasn’t even a part of the EMU) and potentially (We’ll see if it happens) freedom of movement after the neocons demanded the accession of all the former Soviet bloc and Yugoslavia, is what broke it.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  71. @Jpilot77

    I thought they were brothers, too, which is why Chuckie was so rude to Morgan, but Wikipedia says no.

    • Replies: @guest
  72. Eric and Julia Roberts played siblings in Blood Red, a movie famous only for their joint appearance. The Wayans had to have played siblings at least once. The Savages did, although the movie was dumb.

  73. @Anonymous

    The good-looking popular kid who secretly yearns to be an unpopular dweeb … interesting.

    “I’m so sick of having the cheerleaders throwing themselves at me … why can’t I score with any of the fat smelly goth chicks? And why do I have to go to wild parties on Saturday night? Why can’t I just stay home and make Skyrim mods?”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  74. Anonymous[138] • Disclaimer says:

    A major reason people get cast they way they do AFAICT is because the audience must believe them in their role, which is dictated by the screenplay.

    *spoilers* for The Accountant, go watch it…

    For example in The Accountant, the director could have Ben Affleck’s brother (and he is a great actor no doubt), but Jon Bernthal just owned the part. Believability as siblings is often just one aspect of the casting.

  75. MEH 0910 says:

  76. Anonymous[380] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stan Adams

    It’s not really along those lines…is that, from the point-of-view of an actor, playing a popular good-looking/masculine/cool guy is very, very easy: all you have to do is be handsome and pretend self-confidence. For actors that are serious Thespians, the macho man/genetically superior pretty boy/cool aloof stylish guy, etc, offer no challenged because there are no struggles. If you are in high school and you are a handsome 6’3 star quarterback with a pretty face and a rich lawyer daddy that buy you everything you want, your life is easy and pretty much pointless. There is nothing to be learned from such a life except that pleasure feels good and there is nothing to be discovered about oneself. Because it is out *struggles* that defines us as human beings, and we only learn about ourselves, our limitations, our passions and our potentials when we are put in difficult situations where we must dig deep inside ourselves and find the mettle to face the challenges. And we only discover what we are truly about and truly discover our personalities at a deep level when we face struggles that force us to compromise, to work, to make alliances, to develop specific skills, to learn about other people, toi learn how to balance self-esteem with humility, etc.

    From the point of view of an actor, a guy that has everything represents the worst possible role because such characters have the lowest range of emotional expression. Actors are only praised for playing roles where the characters have limitations, and must struggle against others, against the World and above all against themselves If you read Shakespeares plays, pretty much all the characters, even the kings – guys who are supposed to have it all -, are ridden with colossal levels of angst. *Those* are the roles where the skills of an actor are required at a high level. Square-jawed macho man who is better than everybody else? Boring, no challenge. Beautiful teenage boy who is the Crown Prince of the school and has all the girls swooning for him? Boring, no challenge.

    This reminds me of the story about Julius Caesar when he was a questor in Spain. There was a statue of Alexander the Great next to the port of a city he was visiting. He payed homage to the statue. After a few minutes in silence, Caesar started to cry, the only time he would ever cry as a grown man(he didn’t cry even when his only daughter died). Many have said he cried because Alexander had accomplished so much more than him at that age. But the real reason why he cried was not that. The reason why he cried is because he knew that Alexander was the *only* man that could have been a worthy rival to him. He knew that he was vastly superior to everybody else at pretty much everything. He knew that he was so able and gifted that the gap between him and gifted people was even larger than the gap between gifted people and average people. So he knew that his struggles would be easy. Julius Caesar cried staring at the statue of Alexander for a lack of worthy rivals, that the one man that could have been a worthy rival had been dead for 200 years. Ofc ourse, eventually Caesar would take on the whole World and his struggle woudl become titanic, but that is a different story. Again, it is our *struggles* that give meaning to our lives and makes us grow as people. Likewise, it is the struggles of a character that makes an actor struggle to push his craft to the peak.

    BTW, Marsden is not the only one to complain about this. Brad Pitt has also said that casting agents always want to cast him in the same two roles: either square-jawed macho who is badass, or Casanova-style handsome cads who get all the ladies. There are no challenges in these roles. Also, in the case of Brad Pitt, casting him as a macho man is kinda silly because he’s never done anything macho in his life(he is a former underwear model). Another example of this would that useless actor, Cary Grant. He was considered the protopycal “leading man”, but he was absolutely a fraud as an actor: he always played the same role: the reserved man who is secretly the greatest cad and seducer of women in the World – and variations on the theme. He was a “star”, just for being handsome, but he was a hack as an actor, with no range. People payed to watch his face and him seducing woman. If people are buying the movie/theater ticket because they like your looks and/or personality and not because they like your interpretation of the character, then you have failed as an actor. The whole point of acting is to pretend to be someone *else* . If you are playing yourself, then by definition you are not acting. A good example of this is Schwarzenegger: he always plays exactly the same guy: Arnie. The cool muscular badass man that kills people(Dutch from Predator, the Terminator, John Matrix from Commando, etc). No range. No talent.

  77. Anonymous[143] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill B.

    Thanks, Bill. Good stuff. Content-rich article.

  78. @Stan Adams

    Wow, I didn’t know that. So basically, he’s playing the same role he plays in “American Dad”.

  79. guest says:

    We’re led to believe the main character of Breaking Bad had something rotten in him that stayed unexposed most of his life. His experience in the first episode, learning he’s going to die and starting a life of crime, he finds cathartic. Which is why, when his partner asks him about “breaking bad,” he says:

    As for criminal bloodlines, there is a Mexican family with cartel ties called the Salamancas on the show. Tuco, who was plain loco; his wheelchair-bound strongman uncle; and the Cousins, who were a couple of Terminators.

  80. guest says:

    I remember Bridge Too Far having a poor reputation. Possibly because critics were tired of all-star large ensemble casts in WWII movies at that point in time. Also, at the same time it may have been cheesy, it was also cynical. And though they loved them some anti-war movies, they wouldn’t accept this tale of official incompetence and wacky, haywire shenanigans. A WWII movie that’s very Hollywood despite also being sour and ends on a down note is tough to reconcile, I guess.

    The Hail Mary Crossing with Robert Redford is my favorite part.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
    , @Joe Stalin
    , @Anonymous
  81. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill B.

    In the electronic surplus stores in St. Louis, some very stylish women would buy all kinds of surprising stuff on a regular basis. Usually they very well knew how to use it, but also liked the style of it. Tek 485 scopes were especially popular, in fact, which is what is shown on top of the 19 inch rack here.

    I went to the local Apple II collectors’ meet, Kansasfest, a couple of years ago (it’s actually in Missouri) and the female or ostensible female attendees included some freaks and some fat nerd chicks but also a couple of very decent looking women. All orts of vintge computrs show up. one woman who looked entirely presentable told me she had a collection of early workstations including PERQ and a gate array Symbolics LispM and it was obvious she knew exactly what she was talking about.

  82. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stan Adams

    “I’m so sick of having the cheerleaders throwing themselves at me … why can’t I score with any of the fat smelly goth chicks? And why do I have to go to wild parties on Saturday night? Why can’t I just stay home and make Skyrim mods?”

    Said no teen male ever.

  83. guest says:

    The Baldwins went with standing in for Alec, instead of beside Alec, because they look alike. With Billy playing Pretty Baldwin, Daniel as Fat Baldwin (Alec can play that himself now), and Stephen as Pauly Shore Baldwin.

    The Sutherlands played father and son in a Western called Forsaken. They were also both in A Time to Kill, but their characters were quite unrelated (judge and murderer).

    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
  84. Hhsiii says:

    And genetics play a big part of the scene. Both con artist naturals. The daughter slightly better, and not just because adults trust children more. Although dad is fairly good, too, if dumber. The daughter claims they both have the same chin so he must be her dad. The father says I know a woman who looks like a bullfrog but that don’t make her the damn things’s mother. Classic scene.

  85. guest says:

    Bill Murray frequently appears with his brothers, of whom there are probably 15 or 20. But we see three: Brian Doyle, John, and Joel. All three appear in Scrooged, I believe:

    John played Bill’s brother and Brian played his father.

    Brian is fairly well-known in his own right, and shows up in many other Murray films.

    John played the role of Fake Bill Murray in the terribly Murrayesque Moving Violations:

    Joel recently had a sizeable role in Mad Men:

  86. Mr. Anon says:
    @James Braxton

    Breaking Bad:

    Silly, contrived plots and preposterous characters in service of an immoral message.

    How was it immoral? Decent normal man becomes bad man, does evil things, destroys pretty much everyone around him. He didn’t get away with his crimes, and there is a terrible price to be paid for them.

    In outline, it’s not so different from MacBeth.

    I read in it another theme as well: Men need a way to be men. If they can’t channel their masculinity in constructive ways, they will channel it into destructive ones.

    • Replies: @James Braxton
  87. 1661er says:
    @Jokah Macpherson

    And a 3rd brother, Rory, played a younger Igby/Kieran’s character during flash back in Igby Goes Down. Rory also played a younger Macaulay flashback in Richie Rich.

    Elle Fanning also performed similar younger self in flashback to Dakota Fanning.

    So acting families should gain an advantage by spacing out the age difference between siblings.

  88. @Paleo Liberal

    It Runs in the Family had three generations of Douglas actors.

    Don’t forget that Michael’s mother was in the movie as his mother.

    This was a time when Michael was so hot as an actor that he was able to convince Hollywood to not only make this piece of garbage but to cast his drug-addict son in it.

  89. Liv Tyler seems to be a nice person. She does a little charity, not to much, only respectable stuff, (cancer and UNICEF, she likely doesn’t know better regarding the latter) she keeps to herself and family life, else I can’t remember her ever screeching progressive craze. I suspect her father to be a conservative of sorts as is Mick Jagger, so possibly the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    • Replies: @theo the kraut
  90. @Bugeater

    David Hyde Pierce was cast specifically due to his resemblance to Kelsey Grammer.

    Much like Vicki Lawrence was cast on The Carol Burnett Show.

  91. @theo the kraut

    Her father is registered as a Republican, just wikied it… so there.

  92. @Dwright

    On Coach Jerry went a family reunion where he saw Dick in a non-speaking role.

  93. J.Ross says:

    Foreign interference is only bad when Russians do it.

  94. @Anonymous

    If you are in high school and you are a handsome 6’3 star quarterback with a pretty face and a rich lawyer daddy that buy you everything you want, your life is easy and pretty much pointless. There is nothing to be learned from such a life except that pleasure feels good and there is nothing to be discovered about oneself.

    You might not learn anything about yourself, but you do learn a lot about other people.

    You learn that while Becky can suck a golf ball through a garden hose, Stacy can suck a baseball through a straw. Lauren is hot, but she’s also really … stinky. Heather is saving herself for marriage, but her definition of “relations” is downright Clintonian. And Brittany has chlamydia. (And now you do, too. Thanks for nothing, Brittany!)

    And Lauren’s mother … wow. She was smokin’ hot back in the day, and she still looks pretty well-preserved. No one can blame her for wanting to relive her glory days. But what happened on Saturday night was … something else. The entire starting offense … one after the other. Yikes. (No doubt you were the best of the lot, ha ha.) No wonder Lauren doesn’t make eye contact with you anymore.

    And Brad, the starting tight end and your best friend since kindergarten, totally does not need to know what you and his girlfriend Jennifer did that weekend when he and his family flew to St. Louis attending his grandmother’s funeral. It wasn’t your fault – she came on to you. And you were totally smashed. And it’s not as if he’s going to find out, anyway, so why does it matter?

    Oh, wait … Katie knows about it. And Katie is hot for Brad and would love to publicize Jennifer’s little indiscretion, just to get her out of the way. Fortunately, you have those pictures of Katie at that party a couple of months ago. If she cares about her reputation, she’ll keep her mouth shut. That’s your insurance policy.

    But, yeah, incels are wiser than jocks.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
    , @Anonymous
  95. @baythoven

    Sorry, I don’t get this. Could you please explain? Thank you in advance.

    • Replies: @baythoven
  96. @Corn

    Yes, but I think Hapalong Cassidy is right because Jonah Hill wasn’t famous when The 40 Year Old Virgin came out and Hill and Rogen weren’t on screen together.

    Of course in Superbad Hill essentially played Rogen.

  97. On Everybody Loves Raymond the children don’t look like their parents, but they all look like each other because they’re actual siblings. They weren’t able to make the successful transition to adult acting and one of the brothers shot himself in the head at 19.

    Real-life sisters Danica and Crystal McKellar played rivals Winnie Cooper and Becky Slater on The Wonder Years, but they look nothing alike.

    David Cassidy’s TV mom was his actual stepmother Shirley Jones on The Partridge Family, but that doesn’t count since they aren’t blood.

  98. @Bugeater

    There was an episode where they suspected their father was a different man who had worked with their mother, who was much more like them than Marty. The show had fun with how little the sons resembled their father.

    • Replies: @Glaivester
  99. There is an episode of Arrested Development where Jason Bateman’s character suspects that Justine Bateman is his sister, but turns out to be a prostitute who was involved with his father. But that was the joke.

  100. @guest

    I remember Patrick McGoohan also playing a judge in “A Time to Kill”. He seemed to have had a career renaissance in the 90’s, what with “Braveheart” and all.

    • Replies: @guest
  101. @Glaivester

    Good catch! Wonder why they didn’t get Susie to join them.

  102. My memory is that Joan Cusack has a small role as John Cusack’s sister in “Say Anything.”

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
  103. @Alfa158

    This seems right to me. The driving force behind his descent is both his inability to secure a literal patrimony to pass on to his family by playing by the rules but also the appeal of the symbolic patrimony he wants to cook up with Jesse. That, and escaping from the emasculation of being an ordinary middle aged suburban dad. The original pilot script which you can find online has him 40 rather than 50 and really plays up his humiliation and abject horniness in the first episode. (I think the pilot they actually shot is more effective; the original script is boringly reminiscent of American Beauty.)

  104. @Mr. Anon

    He does get away with it in the sense that he goes out on his own terms, exacting revenge on all his enemies and enriching his family along the way.

    And his little helper guy and his wife get off scott free.

    To Walter White’s mind going out like he did, selling drugs and murdering people until dying a violent death himself, was better than quietly dying of cancer. This is immoral.

    Total trash.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  105. Glaivester says: • Website
    @william munny

    Who turned out to be gay, and was played by David Ogden Stiers (Major Winchester from M*A*S*H).

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  106. Hhsiii says:

    Grant in Bringing Up Baby isn’t the same as Grant in North by Northwest, or Grant in The Philadelphia Story. He’s similar in To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest, but slightly different. And yes, played that type a lot. Something to be said for doing one thing and doing it well.

    And although he often played upper crust types, he was a working class kid. Although, yes, apparently a popular kid in school.

    • Replies: @pontius
    , @Anonymous
  107. Hhsiii says:
    @Stan Adams

    The jock who breaks his leg then runs for class president in Election is great. When he’s praying and thinks to himself, God, You’ve given me so many things, good health, nice parents, a nice truck, and what I’m told is a large penis, but I’m sure worried about Tammy.

  108. Hhsiii says:
    @Spotted Toad

    They’re both in 16 Candles.

  109. Steve’s interest in movies is now officially more boring than his interest in golf course architecture.

    I’m not sure which is worse–reading comments full of emotive statements like “Loser!”; or, reading comments full of people demonstrating their knowledge of trivia that can be Googled in 3 seconds.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @ScarletNumber
  110. Hhsiii says:

    I saw it fairly young. I remember the river crossing scene.

    Mostly I remember everyone laughing when someone said as the credits came up The bridge was too far and the movie was too damn long.”

    Coincidentally, the other big laugh I ever heard during credits was after Saving Private Ryan,. As people in a dazed state shuffle out my friend said “Let’s wait for the wacky outtakes.”

  111. Anonymous[536] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill B.

    It’s still done. Varies how much. But there’s even a term for it. Maybe they call them bodies. Can’t remember. But it’s the norm for women and men. You’ll even see it in ads for DuPont or the like where there’s very little product connection.

  112. @Alfa158

    Walter’s son was portrayed as a lovable goodhearted kid, and Walter had no reason to be disappointed in him despite the congenital handicap. Yet another “well done” tv show or movie that gets us rooting for an evil bastard (like The Sopranos did).

  113. @Thea

    “the unfortunate looking Maggie”

    You’re much kinder than I am. The kindest thing I could say about Maggie Gullywhosis is that I know she can’t help being ugly, but she could stay home.

  114. @guest

    “A WWII movie that’s very Hollywood despite also being sour and ends on a down note is tough to reconcile, I guess.”

    I’ve read the theme song makes that journey from exuberance to a discordant end.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  115. pontius says:

    I always thought Cary Grant would have been a great pitch man for Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

    Well my impression of that cracks my friend up anyway.

  116. @Chrisnonymous

    Didn’t Gene Siskal say it was honor being movie critic because he was advising people on how they spent their limited free time?

    Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality

  117. baythoven says:

    Debra Winger is of the type particularly favored in that biz.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  118. Anonymous[195] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stan Adams

    In other words, you proved my point: you learn that pleasure and fun are good, and that’s about it. Your post was completely unnecessary, since you pretty much agreed with me.

    And of course, my point that such a role represents no challenge for an actor due to the lack of emotional depth of someone who never had to struggle for anything. It is struggles that makes you develop emotional complexity through learning and self-reflection. Someone that already has everything is bland and one-dimensional for an actor to play.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  119. guest says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    You’re right. Sutherland played the old mentor role in A Time to Kill. McGoohan was the judge.

  120. @Dave Pinsen

    Really? I only watched the first season, It seemed everybody but Macy’s character assumed he wasn’t actually his kid.

  121. Anonymous[195] • Disclaimer says:

    Anyone can do what he did. Very easy. All you have to do is be handsome. And playing the same thing over and over well is much, much easier than playing varied roles well, like Daniel Day-Lewis and Al Pacino.

    Cary Grant wss a hack.

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    , @Jim Don Bob
  122. @Anonymous

    I’m sure the fact that the star quarterback is usually the third or fourth lead, and the brooding outsider is usually the protagonist had nothing to do with his angst.

  123. guest says:
    @education realist

    Though I like Coach from Friday Night Lights, it would have been nice to have Ben play Casey’s brother in Manchester by the Sea.

  124. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Jewish movie mavens are not especially fond of Jewess actresses. It’s the one thing in Hollywood that is probably neutral to be a Jew. And Winger is a good actress, not magnificent, but good.

  125. @Glaivester

    The irony of this is that I always considered the character of Frasier Crane to be the cultural descendant of Major Winchester.

  126. @Anonymous

    Another example of this would that useless actor, Cary Grant.

    Plus he’s never been in my kitchen.

  127. @Chrisnonymous

    Steve’s interest in movies is now officially more boring than his interest in golf course architecture.

    Steve is a former professional movie reviewer.

  128. Ian M. says:

    …Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, two unrelated actors who have much in common, play unrelated friends instead of the big brother and little brother roles they were born to play.

    Were Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill born to play anything?

  129. Anonymous[284] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    I like that musical feature. Yes, you have the foreshadowing very obviously of concerns. But it’s also important to show the places where the operation worked and how audacious it was, as well.

  130. Ian M. says:

    What was really incredible was the casting for Three Identical Strangers. Those guys not only looked like brothers, they looked like identical triplets!

  131. Anonymous[284] • Disclaimer says:

    There have been plenty of war movies with some cynicism. Command Decision, Twelve O’Clock High, The Best Years of Our Lives, All Quiet…, MASH, etc. I think the bigger issue for critics was they value the story and not the non-story aspects of the film.

    Now story is great, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think there is only one formula for a film. If you do it right, it’s possible to violate some 3 act patterns. And also felt that Attenborough did an awesome job of showing many, many vantages, but in a way, we didn’t get lost. Maybe a bit with the 101st and 82nd commanders, where it is reasonable to say the actors weren’t distinctive. But otherwise, it was very easy to sort between the different Brits, Hollanders, Germans (even within nationality). And then even with the Americans, Redford and Caan were distinctive (although the writing was a bit cliched). But still very easy to keep track of the plot thread.

  132. @Anonymous

    My tone was quasi-facetious.

    “I can’t get laid to save my life; therefore, I am a more worthy human being then the drooling jocks who spend their weekends swilling beer and banging cheerleaders. They are mindless zombies; I dwell on a higher plane of existence. I am the gamma and the omega. I am the Secret King.”

    The actor in this clip skillfully conveys the soul-crushing desperation and existential despair of a tormented incel:

  133. In “The Krays” (1990), Reggie and Ronnie were played by brothers Martin and Gary Kemp, best known for being members of insipid 1980s pop group Spandau Ballet. It’s an OK film – the Kemps were decent enough actors, although they don’t look conspicuously like each other, which is a bit of a problem when they’re portraying identical twins.

    I always thought Bruce Willis and William Hurt should have been cast as brothers. Too late now unfortunately.

  134. Correction! It is still possible. I thought that William Hurt had died but he hasn’t – I beg his pardon.

  135. Ian M. says:

    Also, in the case of Brad Pitt, casting him as a macho man is kinda silly because he’s never done anything macho in his life(he is a former underwear model). Another example of this would that useless actor, Cary Grant. He was considered the protopycal “leading man”, but he was absolutely a fraud as an actor: he always played the same role: the reserved man who is secretly the greatest cad and seducer of women in the World – and variations on the theme. He was a “star”, just for being handsome, but he was a hack as an actor, with no range.

    Who cares? There is something to be said for an actor is who is very good at one particular role. Pitt is great at playing the laconic, modern tough guy. At other sorts of roles, not so much. Range is sometimes overrated, as it leads actors to take on roles that they are not really well-suited for and to over-acting.

    Grant had great comedic timing and was also a very good physical actor. But yeah, he played the same role a lot. But then, so did many other golden age actors like John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart. My impression is that typecasting was more common for leading men until Brando came along. But Brando’s success led to every A-lister and his brother wanting to play the idiot savant or crazed madman, and to actors taking their ‘profession’ way too seriously (like staying in character for months).

  136. Ian M. says:

    Is Al Pacino that great? He is great in the first two Godfather movies. Beyond that, I find him to be way too over the top, but granted, there are a lot of movies of his I’ve never seen.

  137. Tim says:

    What about Patty Duke. She had an Identical cousin who, apparently, played her identical cousin.

    They laugh alike, they walk alike,
    At times they even talk alike –

    You can lose your mind,

  138. @Anonymous

    Burt Reynolds said he wasn’t much of an actor, but he played Burt Reynolds pretty well.

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