No, we’re not talking about Arnie and Danny DeVito. We’re talking about one actor playing two people, who happen to be identical twins! With the upcoming release of Legend (now showing in cinemas), featuring Tom Hardy playing both of the terrifying gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray, here’s a look back over some of the best performances by one actor in two roles. (Note: we didn’t include Multiplicity or anything that involves cloning or time travel, because that would be cheating!)
NICOLAS CAGE as CHARLIE and DONALD KAUFMAN in ADAPTATION (2002)
While it can be a little dispiriting to look at Nic Cage’s current CV and think he can no longer act, but for those looking for a reminder of his immense talent, look no further than this scalpel sharp attack on Hollywood and the depths of despair to go hand in hand with attempting to create something original. Written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) as he tries to adapt the unadaptable novel The Orchid Thief, Cage plays both brothers as screenwriters, with one becoming a talentless hack that Hollywood can’t help but find irresistible. Seriously, his idea for the movie ‘The 3’ and its enormous awfulness is truly a wonder to behold.
LINDSAY LOHAN as HALLIE PARKER and ANNIE JAMES in THE PARENT TRAP (1998)
Back when she young and talented and had her entire life waiting in front of her, Lindsay Lohan played separated-at-birth twins who both team up to try to get their single parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together. A very cute and enjoyable remake of the 1961 Disney movie, Lohan actually attempted the identical twins thing again in 2007’s I Know Who Killed Me. It involved serial killers, one legged strippers and it wasn’t very good.
ARMIE HAMMER as CAMERON and TYLER WINKLEWOSS in THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)
David Fincher’s Oscar-winning take on how Facebook was created was most likely the world’s first exposure to the Hammer, who played the smarmy, visions of perfection Winklewoss twins to perfection, throwing their toys out of the pram when things don’t go their way. Hammer even went so far as to do all of those rowing scenes himself! Did you know that his first ever time in front of the camera was in an episode of Arrested Development? Why are we mentioning that, you might wonder? Well, keep reading…
JEREMY IRONS as BEVERLY and ELLIOTT MANTEL in DEAD RINGERS (1988)
Nobody does psychological horror quite like David Cronenberg, and at the height of his terrifying powers, he cast Batman’s new butler as a pair of twin doctors who use their indistinguishability to their advantage. Things take a turn for the worst however (as they are often prone to do in Cronenberg movies) when their shared love for one woman begins to tear them apart. A darkly reflected version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, this is probably the least-seen but most-deserving movie on this list. Seek it out if you can.
JEFFREY TAMBON as GEORGE and OSCAR BLUTH in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (2003 – ???)
Instead of mentioning Jean Claude Van Damme in Double Trouble, or Adam Sandler in Jack & Jill, we’re going to talk about two of the best twins on TV, and the constant threat that the creators of the show will eventually make all of our dreams come true and give us a movie about the Bluth family. Jeffrey Tambon is fantastic as both the money/power/woman hungry George, as well as the consta-stoned uncle (or is he?) figure Oscar. One episode finally had the two brother have it out with a fist fight, but being identical twins, neither one could successfully land a blow. Funny stuff!
LEGEND is now showing in cinemas – watch the trailer below
Words – Rory Cashin