Want to know a great way to bring double the drama and fun? Add twins to the mix. Maybe the siblings are the best of friends. Perhaps they are foes until the end. They might not even know about each other for much of their lives. No matter the situation, the twin dynamic can be the perfect vehicle for plot twists, character switches, and just plain old tomfoolery.
Brothers, played by Tony Hale, simultaneously trying to destroy and save the world? Twins separated at birth and living on different continents until they meet in Hong Kong as adults? The entertainment is two-fold and the possibilities are endless when the story includes identical characters.
Tony Hale – ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ (2021-)
Tony Hale is known for his supporting characters in Arrested Development and Veep. In his first lead role, he’s being challenged times two. The Mysterious Benedict Society is based on the books by Trenton Lee Stewart. Hale plays Mr. Benedict, a man teaming up with four children to stop “The Emergency.” The evil man behind this global threat is Mr. Curtain. He also happens to be Mr. Benedict’s identical twin.
The second season of The Mysterious Benedict Society premiered (with two episodes!) on Disney+ in October 2022. It sounds like Mr. Benedict and his team will continue to work against their nemesis. Tony Hale seems to be adjusting well to playing two very different characters.
Lindsay Lohan – ‘The Parent Trap’ (1998)
The beloved classic, The Parent Trap, is updated with Lindsay Lohan portraying the twins at the center of the story. She’s able to pull off a British accent playing the proper and more-reserved Annie. On the other hand, she can play the outgoing California native, Hallie, with the same believability.
When Lohan’s identical characters randomly meet at summer camp, they spend the rest of the movie plotting to get their parents, played by Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, back together. The twins are often together in the same scene. Somehow Lohan pulls it off perfectly.
Lisa Kudrow – ‘Friends’ (1994 – 2004)
While one twin is a rude waitress named Ursula in Mad About You, the other is the free-spirited Phoebe Buffay in the Friends group. Lisa Kudrow shows off her acting chops by playing polar opposite, yet identical twins. Ursula is passive-aggressive and sarcastic, while Phoebe has an almost child-like optimism.
When the two come together in Friends their only similarity (besides their looks) is that they shared the same sad childhood. With Phoebe wanting to learn more about their family and Ursula not caring to pass on what she knows, there is always tension between the two. Maybe a (twin) spin-off starring the sisters will happen in the future?
Leonardo DiCaprio – ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ (1998)
Premiering in 1998, The Man in the Iron Mask is a captivating story. Leonardo DiCaprio‘s ability to simultaneously play an evil-hearted king, and his innocent castaway twin, makes the film that much stronger. King Louis XIV sends a man to the front lines of France’s war to steal his fiancé. Beyond that, he holds the identical brother prisoner, his identity hidden behind a permanent iron mask.
While four musketeers work to take down the king, they discover his twin, Philippe. This reveals how deep and troubling Louis’ insecurities truly are. Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich play two of the morally just musketeers, while Peter Sarsgaard portrays the engaged man killed in battle. The range shown by DiCaprio in this period film makes the exciting tale even better.
Jackie Chan – ‘Twin Dragons’ (1992)
In Jackie Chan‘s double feature, Twin Dragons, the twins head off to different continents after being split up as newborns. For the next couple of decades, they are apart, living very different lives. Ma Yau stays with their parents, goes to the United States, and becomes a professional concert pianist and conductor. Bok Min is raised in a less structured environment, becoming a martial artist and street racer.
As with most separated-at-birth movies, the twins reconnect and get mistaken for each other in a comedy of errors. Jackie Chan always adds his touches to the movies he stars in. He brings his humor, one-liners, and intricate martial arts moves to make the film unique and fun.
Michael Keaton – ‘Multiplicity’ (1996)
Not exactly twins, but there are two of him in Multiplicity. Then there’s three and finally four. Doug, played by Michael Keaton, is overextended between his personal and professional responsibilities. He’s able to make a clone of himself but is still feeling behind. When a third Doug is made, the two clones decide to make a fourth.
There are too many cooks in the kitchen with Doug and his clones Lance, Rico and Lenny. The whole situation creates many comical moments, but the cons begin to outweigh the pros. No worries though. The three extra Dougs take their strengths and have success far away from Doug and his family.
Nicolas Cage – ‘Adaptation’ (2002)
With Spike Jonze, Meryl Streep and Nicolas Cage involved, it’s no wonder Adaptation was nominated for several Oscars in 2003. The film is based around twins, played by Cage. Charlie is a serious writer. His brother, Donald, needs a place to stay. While the twins live together, Donald has success with his writing while Charlie continues to have writer’s block.
The identical twins get into trouble with the author of the book Charlie is trying to adapt. The actual protagonist in the book is also involved. It’s a tale of two brothers coming together (and then losing each other again) due to unsettling circumstances.
Adam Sandler – ‘Jack and Jill’ (2011)
He’s been a water boy, a grown man attending elementary school and a golfer named Happy Gilmore. In this film, Adam Sandler plays twins. Jack and Jill is all about an annoying sister visiting her brother for Thanksgiving. As the time together is suddenly extended without Jack’s permission, he ends up needing his sister’s help after Al Pacino reveals he has his sights set on Jill.
Although the film isn’t one of Sandler’s most popular, it did sweep one particular award show. Adam Sandler’s flick earned a Razzie in every single category. It is (at least) the first movie to achieve this.
Blake Lively – ‘A Simple Favor’ (2018)
First, she’s missing. Then there are two of her. Blake Lively wows critics and audiences with her performance as Emily in A Simple Favor. It is revealed that she is actually one half of a truly destructive identical duo. Hope and Faith seem like the wrong names for these twins considering the chaos they have created together and apart.
This dark comedy, directed by Paul Feig, is strong on its own. With Blake Lively playing her roles so believably, andAnna Kendrick stunningly portraying Emily’s new friend, Stephanie, a sequel is in the works.
James Marsden – ‘Dead to Me’ (2019-)
One James Marsden megawatt smile is great, and seeing two of them is even better. In Dead to Me, another dark comedy from the list, there are twists and turns throughout its first two seasons. Marsden begins the series as a deceased fiancé named Steve.
It is revealed later that Steve is alive. Throughout the first season, you learn more about Steve and the two main characters. Jen and Judy, played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, have ups and downs in their friendship. That’s what happens when the entire thing is based on lies. With Steve murdered by Jen by the end of the first season, viewers get to meet his twin brother, Ben, next. Same great smile, and similar to his dead twin, he has secrets, as well.
NEXT: 10 Best Twin Superheroes and Villians, Ranked By Power Level