To celebrate the release of THE WORLD’S END, we take a look at the best movie duos…
When you think of famous double-acts who do you think of? Tango & Cash? Woody & Buzz? Mickey & Donald? Ant & Dec? Linda Martin & Twink? For us… The ultimate pairing is that of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, sure… they sometimes make movies apart but they’re at their best when they’re side by side fighting zombies, aliens and evil villagers.
They first entered our living room in 1999 when their Edgar Wright directed TV show SPACED first aired on Channel 4. They’ve gone on to make SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, PAUL and now THE WORLD’S END together. Not only are the two good friends in real life, they invariably play characters who end up becoming BFFs.
With this in mind, Brogen Hayes takes a look back and find some of the most dynamic duos that cinema has brought us.
Jack Black and Kyle Gass
Black and Gass met through Tim Robbins’ The Actor’s Gang at UCLA, and even though the pair didn’t like one another at first, they soon learned to understand one another, became firm friends and formed Tenacious D.
Since 2000, the pair have released three albums, which have been met with mixed reviews – some delighted in the duo’s profane antics, others dismissed the band as a novelty. As well as this, the film TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY was released in 2006.
The dynamic of TENACIOUS D works as Jack Black plays the egotistical loud mouth, but audience sympathy goes to Gass, who seems put upon and bullied by his more rambunctious colleague.
Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller
BOTTLE ROCKET brought Owen Wilson to rising actor Ben Stiller’s attention. Stiller gave Wilson a role in THE CABLE GUY; a film that he directed. Since then the pair have worked on many films together, including THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, ZOOLANDER and MEET THE PARENTS.
Like Gass and Black, the on-screen dynamic between Wilson and Stiller works because they almost always play the odd couple; Wilson favours the laid back and easy going roles, whereas Stiller has made a name for himself playing tightly wound, neurotic characters. The duo have been compared to the great Abbot and Costello for their double act and, although they may not have appeared on screen together lately, it is always a joy to watch their performances in ZOOLANDER.
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd
Amazingly, the genius pairing of Fox and Lloyd almost didn’t happen. John Lithgow was the first choice for Dr Emmet Brown and Eric Stoltz was originally cast in the role of Marty, as Fox was caught up filming FAMILY TIES. However, Lithgow was unavailable and four weeks into filming it was agreed that Stoltz was miscast, and Fox worked nights to make the film happen.
Marty and Doc Brown defined the BACK TO THE FUTURE franchise; the age difference between the two only served to turn movie expectations on their heads.
The friendship works as both are on the fringes of their societal groups; Doc has been ousted as a crackpot, and Marty has a reputation as a troublemaker. Great Scott!
Laurel and Hardy
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were one of the most acclaimed and beloved double acts of the Classical Hollywood Era. Before they joined forces, both were wellestablished actors, but when they started appearing in short films together in 1926, a star pairing was born. Together, Laurel and Hardy appeared in 107 films, and toured their stage show around England, Ireland and Scotland in 1944.
Much like the successful duos that followed in their wake, Laurel and Hardy worked so well because of their contrasting personas; Laurel was easily confused and bewildered, while Hardy was often irritated and enraged by his partner, leaving the scene set for hilarious juxtaposition.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Fred and Ginger were dance partners who made 10 iconic films together between 1933 and 1949; the height of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
The first film that Fred and Ginger appeared in together was FLYING DOWN TO RIO in 1933. Both actors had supporting roles, but it was not long before their talent was recognised and they had starring roles in THE GAY DIVORCEE in 1934. The two went on to make some iconic films together, including TOP HAT and SHALL WE DANCE. The partnership ended in 1949, when both actors wished to work on solo projects.
THE WORLDS END is at cinemas from July 19th
Words: Brogen Hayes
Photo: Mary Burke