Next week, Adam Sandler looks to make a splash at the box office with his
new film Jack & Jill, a comedy which finds the talented actor taking on two
roles within the same film. This will mark the first time that the veteran
thespian has donned make-up in an attempt to play dual roles but the move is
hardly revolutionary. Bud Abbott and Stan Laurel were doing double and
sometimes triple acting duty on films before even color was introduced to
our viewing reels. And watch any Eddie Murphy film today and you will notice
during the end credits that his name can appear as many as five or six times
beside different character listings.
But the technique doesn’t always work. Make-up and effects will help hide
an actor in another character, but the actor themselves has to pull off the
convincing. Killer Reviews looked back on the best and worst of the Dual
Roles and came up with our Best and Worst List for each. Starting with the
Top 5, our list begins here:
Nicholas Cage – Adaptation (2002)
In this wickedly funny and dark drama, Nicholas Cage plays both Charlie
and Donald Kauffman. One is a forever stressed screenwriter looking to adapt
a non-fiction book and the other is his twin brother who is as easy going as
the California wind. Cage was nominated for an Oscar for his dual roles in
this Spike Jonze film and is able to show us enough acting range that the
two brothers feel like completely different characters even as their looks
remain almost identical.
Mike Myers – Austin Powers: The Spy Who
Shagged Me (1999)
Myers plays not one, not two, but three separate roles and is able to
make each one of them unique and memorable. Myers embodies the title
character of Austin Powers, the antagonist role of Dr. Evil and throws in a
humorous, kilt-clad Scotsman named Fat Bastard to the mix for good measure.
All three of the characters have become part of 21st Century pop culture,
each carved with the wit and flamboyance of the talented star.
Jeremy Irons – Dead Ringers (1988)
Veteran actor Jeremy Irons played both Beverly Mantle and Elliot Mantle
in David Cronenberg’s sly masterpiece, Dead Ringers. Irons plays the twin
brother combo of gynecologists that are eventually torn over the love of a
woman. 1988 didn’t have the special effects that might be used to pull off
such a feat in today’s films, so the onus lay squarely on Irons’ shoulders
and he nails both roles.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Last Action Hero
With so many to choose from, we decided to go off the path and pick
Arnold Schwarzenegger for his dual roles as both Jack Slater and….himself in
John McTiernan’s Last Action Hero. The film is a film inside a film and in
one particular scene, we get to see Schwarzzie play himself while watching
as Jack Slater. It’s meta-extreme, but is done with a grace and
tongue-in-cheek to make it warrant the final spot on our list.
Arnie Hammer – The Social Network (2010)
So convincing was Arnie Hammer as real life-twins Cameron Winklevoss and
Tyler Winklevoss in David Fincher’s depiction of the birth of Facebook that
many still don’t realize that it was actually one actor playing both roles.
Camera trickery helped pull off the stunt with incredible effectiveness, but
still, nothing should be taken away from Arnie Hammer’s embodiment of both
Jackie Gleason – Smoky and the Bandit II
It pains me to put such a talent on the list (and Jack Nicholson barely
escaped for his dual roles in Mars Attacks!), but Jackie was so bad in the
three roles of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Galyord Justice and Reginald Van
Justice in the dreadful sequel Smokey and the Bandit II, that I can’t let it
escape mention. Jackie barely tries to separate the three characters and the
result is a groan worthy performance in a bad bad film.
Eddie Murphy – Meet Dave (2008)
Eddie has almost made a career out of playing multiple characters on
screen. He played 4 characters in Coming to America, 3 in Vampire in
Brooklyn, 2 in Bowfinger, 7 in The Nutty Professor and 3 in Norbit. But we
will circle the wagons around his two roles in 2008’s Meet Dave as the worst
of a terrible bunch. In Meet Dave, Murphy plays both Dave Ming Cheng and The
Captain, an alien inside of Dave’s brain. Unfunny and just plain
embarrassing, Eddie’s depiction of the multiple characters on screen prove
that no matter how much talent you may have, you can sometimes bite off more
than you can chew.
Jean Claude Van Damme – Double Impact
Believe it or not, Van Damme has played dual characters in films three
times. He had double duty in Maximum Risk (1996) and with The Order (2001).
But we single out 1991’s Double Impact as the worst of the bunch. Here he
plays Alex and Chad Wagner, two twins that were separated at birth – one
becoming a good citizen, the other a crook – only to come face to face after
the death of their parents. Van Damme doesn’t have the acting range to
barely convince us that he is from Brussels, but here, he shows that two bad
English accents and four flying legs can make one bad movie.
Lindsay Lohan – I Know Who Killed Me
Where to start. The same actor that was able to pull off dual roles as a
youngster in The Parent Trap shows us that a thin paper bag might be all we
need to contain Ms. Lohan’s talent. As Aubrey Fleming and Dakota Moss, Lohan
gives a Razzie Award winning performance (that’s not a good thing) and
embarrasses herself more than showing up at a morgue with a plate of
DELUXE 3-DISC SET
Release Date: August 14, 2012 COMPLETE
MOVIES REVIEWED The Innkeepers, Monster Brawl, Attack the Block,
The Woman, Grave Encounters, Paranormal Activity 3, Red State, A Serbian
Film, More Brains Documentary, The Incredible Melting Man, War of the
Worlds (1953), Ghoulies, Troll Hunter, and more!