Talk:List of actors who have played multiple roles in the same film

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Articles for deletion This article was nominated for deletion on 29 August 2006. The result of the discussion was keep & move.


Since this page appears to be destined to survive AfD (and I'm not really upset about that -- it's an interesting concept), I would like to encourage the editors to change the criteria designed to keep the list managable to be objective criteria, not subjective ones. Relying on a consensus to form whether or not there were different personalities is not going to cut it. I don't particularly care which way it comes out (whether the Matrix guy comes in or the Multiplicity guy goes away), but I think one or the other is necessary. Erechtheus 07:03, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

  • I think that both Matrix and Multiplicity should not be here. While I could make a case for Multiplicity being included, it just opens too big a can of worms. Danny Lilithborne 07:25, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Explanations for the criteria
  • Actors who play a character with multiple names and/or a secret identity (e.g. superheroes);
  • Actors who play a single character that displays multiple personalities, either as a result of possession or dissociative identity disorder, or because the character is acting;
Both of these involve cases of the multiple personalities being in actuality the same person. Clearly, Clark Kent and Superman are distinct personalities, but it's really just the hero using a secret identity in order to conceal his true nature, and thus doesn't qualify. As for the second example, if you allowed multiple personalities played by the same character, you'd have to pretty much include every Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and Eddie Murphy movie ever made, as they're famous for doing impressions like that in most of their roles. And there are certainly many others who have done this on a frequent, if not quite so consistant basis.
  • Actors who play multiple copies of a single character (e.g. Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith in The Matrix series);
I'm not dead-set against having Agent Smith included. It's just that in the case of Multiplicity, it's more like Michael Keaton is playing 4 essentially different characters who happen to have the same name, whereas in the case of the Matrix, Hugo Weaving basically plays the same role 100+ times on the screen. A similar case would be the actor who played all of the Umpa-Lumpas in the recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's really just one role, even if you see dozens of him on the screen at once. I'm willing to put this to a vote as to whether this rule should be removed or modified, however. There probably aren't that many cases where it will apply.
  • Voice actors who do not physically appear on screen in multiple roles (e.g. John Rhys Davies as Gimli and Treebeard in the The Lord of the Rings movies - Gimli is on screen, but Treebeard is a voice-only role);
The main reason I excluded voice actors is that if you allowed them, then a large portion of the cast of practically every cell-animated or pure-CG movie ever made would be included, as many voice actors will often play multiple roles within a single movie. It might be better to modify it just to not include animated films, which would allow Treebeard to qualify.
  • Non-speaking extras, or stock characters (e.g. Redshirts);
This is just common sense. Listing somebody as "Guy in crowd" and then again as "Guy at bar" would just get ridiculous.
  • Compilation films (e.g. Charlie Chaplin Festival), or anthology films with separate, unconnected stories (e.g. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).
Not my rule, but I agree it makes sense. Hence "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian" may be used, but including "The Meaning of Life" or "And Now For Something Completely Different" doesn't make sense, since those were just collections of mostly un-related sketches.

--Lurlock 15:46, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that setting the criteria will be the biggest challenge. For instance, there is at least one entry at present that would seem to violate the multiple personalities standard. It's complicated because one does not know that the characters are actually the same person until the third act. As this article expands and more editors come aboard, hopefully there can be some consensus one way or another on these issues. Erechtheus 23:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Tagged for verification[edit]

No sources are cited... without sources, this is original research. If sources are added, this tag can be boldly removed.--Isotope23 20:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Good point. Perhaps the best method in this case would be to hang a link to the IMDB entry after each entry? Erechtheus 23:51, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so sure. What about filmographies on actors' pages? Do they cite sources? Danny Lilithborne 01:05, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I think the IMDB link that should be present is considered the citation (so long as the data conforms to what is also there). Erechtheus 02:15, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Alright, everything is citated. Added years, too. Hopefully future contributers will continue to uphold this, but I've got the page watched, so if they don't, I'll catch it if someone else doesn't. --Lurlock 16:16, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Nice work... I removed the tag.--Isotope23 17:53, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Another idea - Reverse of this page.[edit]

I was considering, after seeing how well this page was received, creating another one which would be the opposite - Characters played by multiple actors in the same film.

The best example would be someone like Darth Vader, played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones in the original Star Wars trilogy. He also bears the distinction of being one of the few characters played by THREE actors in a single film, as in Return of the Jedi, he was played by Sebastian Shaw after being un-masked. In addition, he was played by two actors in Revenge of the Sith, as James Earl Jones reprised the voice role, while Hayden Christensen played the physical part.

However, there are certainly other examples. The two main characters in Face/Off would be rare examples that would exist on both pages. Also characters who age over the course of the film and are played by multiple actors would qualify. Things that would be excluded:

  • Stunt-doubles/body-doubles. Far too many of them.
  • Twins or triplets playing the role of an infant or very young child. That list already exists under twins, I think. Since pretty much every very young child in a film is almost without exception played by twins, this would be too big a list.
  • Actors playing an younger/older version of a character in a brief flash-back/flash-forward. If the film follows a character throughout a long life-span, e.g. The World According to Garp, then both younger and older actor would qualify.

One question would be what to do about characters with shape-shifting or soul-transferring abilities. For example, technically, several actors played the role of Mystique in the X-Men trilogy, but to credit anyone other than Rebecca Romijn with the role would be improper, because the other appearances were mostly brief, and she always quickly morphed back into her default-form afterwards. Another unusual example would be the villain in Fallen, who transfers himself from host to host by contact, and is not definitively played by any one actor. This kind of thing would be much harder to keep track of, and should possibly be excluded just for that reason. Another question arises in movies where multiple characters play different roles which all have the same name. The only example of this I can think of would be "Casino Royale" (1967), which had a good half-dozen people playing James Bond, but in that case, "James Bond" was just a sort of assumed name, not the characters' real names, so it doesn't really count. (For the record, James Bond would not count in general, because though he's been played by many actors, you don't see more than one in the same film in any of the "official" movies.)

What do people think of this idea? Worth pursuing? Any other ideas for inclusion/exclusion criteria to use to keep the list managable? --Lurlock 21:27, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

  • It sounds interesting. Danny Lilithborne 00:41, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree that it sounds interesting, but the concerns about original research would be great given what has been said about who would be excluded. I understand why it would be difficult to do it in another manner, but it would seem to me that you'd actually have to make the standard a set amount of screen time and would have to have a citation that indicated how much screen time "young character x" had in order for this to be encyclopedic. Erechtheus 03:22, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
      • Well, if we loosened the criterion to just not include flash-back/flash-forwards, which can be easily defined, or simply remove that criterion altogether, and just exclude differently-aged actors who don't have a speaking role, that might make things easier. Another possibility that was suggested to me was to separate the list into 3 subsets: #1) Actors who played the same role via body/soul swaps, e.g.: The two main characters in Face/Off, or Freaky Friday. #2) Actors who play the same character at different ages, as per above, and #3) Actors who cooperatively play a role, e.g.: Darth Vader in my original example. Right now there's too few entries to sub-divide the list, but if it gets longer, and we're more lenient in including the differently-aged actors, that might be a way to handle it. --Lurlock 13:30, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Wizard of Oz[edit]

I have removed the five Wizard of Oz references (The Wizard himself, Witch, Lion, Tin Woodman and Scarecrow) as I do not believe they are doubles. For example, Bert Lahr as the farm hand has the same personality as he does as the lion etc. In Dorothy's dream she is seeing the characters represented symbollically; they are not totally different characters.

That is true however the actor who played the Wizard played several other unrelated characters. BenW (talk) 05:35, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed - the other actors are just playing the same role in real-life and dream versions, but Frank Morgan is definitely playing different parts in his five roles. I put him back in, but the rest should be left out, I think. Lurlock (talk) 14:03, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

The Nutty Professor[edit]

I'm not sure Buddy Love in Nutty Professor (either version) counts, since he's just an alternate form and personality of Professor Kelp/Klump (the various actors who've played Jekyll and Hyde aren't listed, after all). Obviously, all the other roles Murphy played in the remake count, and in the sequel to Murphy's version Buddy Love has an independent existence, so that might be a grey area. (talk) 23:33, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

I'd say from your description that the original Nutty Professor wouldn't count, per the "superheroes" rule. (It's pretty much the same secret-identity thing even if he doesn't actually have super powers.) Eddie Murphy, as you say, did play many other characters, so he would count. (I haven't actually seen either of these films, so I'm just going by cast lists here. I'd defer to somebody else who knows them better in this case.) Lurlock (talk) 15:31, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Star Trek: Nemesis[edit]

Would Commander Data and B4 be considered "multiple versions of the same character"? They're physically identical androids, but very distinct charcters. (talk) 23:39, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

The only Star Trek film I haven't yet seen, so I can't say for sure. I would say, however, that Data and Lore from the series would count, except that we're not including TV shows (that would get ridiculous very fast), and I don't think Lore ever appeared in any of the movies. So if B4 is anything like Lore was in the series, I'd say it counts. Lurlock (talk) 15:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


Should you count actors in the John Candy film Delirious, since some of these actors are playing actors and their characters within the fictional soap opera, "All My Dreams". Robert (talk) 23:46, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

The Prestige[edit]

I added Christian Bale in The Prestige, although it may be a spoiler in that it reveals the twist at the end of the film that Alfred Borden hasn't been using the prestige device as Robert Angier has and actually has an identical twin brother, Bernard. However, this information can be found on the Wikipedia page for the film. Do we have an obligation not to list an actor if it could actually be deemed a spoiler? (talk) 19:51, 14 May 2013 (UTC)