The great thing about movies and television is its diversity of actors. Actors and actresses will get the opportunity to play all kinds of roles in kinds of different genres. In the course of one year, an actress might star in a dramatic, Oscar-nominated film, a fun, upbeat musical, and a romantic comedy.
And while diversity is one of the foundations of the ever-shifting entertainment world, actors and actresses also enjoy the familiar. In fact, stars may work with the same writers, producers, directors, and fellow actors on multiple films throughout the years. This list is in recognition of those stars who enjoy working together so much that they’ve embarked on multiple projects together.
12. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson
Evans and Johansson are most known these days for their respective roles as Captain America and Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two have embarked on multiple projects together within the franchise, including Captain America and The Avengers, and they are set to work together more in the future.
However, Evans and Johansson also starred together in the The Nanny Diaries, back in 2007 – a cute, albeit not critically beloved romantic comedy. What makes these two such good on-screen partners is the fact that either of them could have chemistry with a rock. Evans’ easygoing, relaxed attitude coupled with Johansson’s comedic and dramatic nuances make these two an impeccable on-screen duo.
11. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter
If there’s a Tim Burton film that is being made, you can probably bet that these two will be in it. What exactly is it, though, about Depp and Carter that makes them a seemingly perfect fit to consistently share the screen? Perhaps it is the way that both are impeccable at dark humor. Or, maybe it is the way that they typically (and easily) embody creepy, scary characters.
Whatever the case, it is clear that Depp and Carter are Burton’s favorite on-screen duo to write for, and it’s easy to understand why. With such natural ease and chemistry, these two are the perfect fit for whatever dark characters may come their way.
10. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts
Not only did these two share the screen together in Pretty Woman, but they also teamed up to star opposite each other in another romantic comedy – Runaway Bride. What’s so captivating about Gere and Roberts together is that they’re usually tonal opposites in the way they are typecast.
Gere usually plays the part of the stiff, slightly-colder older man who is jaded by something that happened in his past and cares more about business than finding love. And usually, Roberts embodies characters who are idealistic, or at least flawed in a believable “everywoman” way. And that’s precisely the magic behind this pairing. The two have natural chemistry and an ease, challenging one another as actors and characters while still maintaining both believability and a sense of magic.
9. Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi
Adam Sandler typically has a revolving door of people he enjoys starring against throughout his films (you’d be hard-pressed to find a Sandler film in which Rob Schneider fails to appear), but perhaps one of the most common combinations is that of Sandler and Steve Buscemi. The latter is usually relegated to the role of the “crazy” person in the comedy – he actually allows Sandler’s (generally off-the-wall) characters to be the straight man for once.
But what works so well is that Sandler and Buscemi know how to walk the line between funny and overbearing, so Buscemi’s presence in films like Big Daddy doesn’t eat up a lot of screen time, while still remaining notable and funny. The two have really perfected the art of collaboration.
8. Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Rogen and Gordon-Levitt, on the surface, are two totally different kinds of actors. Rogen usually goes for roles that are more outlandish, full of crass humor and over-the-top comedy; Gordon-Levitt, meanwhile, typically prefers indie comedies and dramatic films. But odd as it may seem, the two have collaborated on more than one project, and their on-screen relationship is one that truly works.
It works, of course, because Rogen and Gordon-Levitt manage to strike the balance between the absurd and the grounded. While Rogen has the freedom to be off-the-wall, Gordon-Levitt’s comedy is more subdued, but no less humorous. The two have a new film debuting around the holiday (The Night Before), which will likely serve to highlight their partnership more.
7. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
Will Ferrell is known for his outlandish, bold, loud personality, his characters on SNL and comedies like Step Brothers, Elf, and Talladega Nights. Though John C. Reilly’s ventured into comedy, often he will stick to dramatic roles.
But together, Ferrell and Reilly have proven – multiple times – that they work extremely well together and are utterly hilarious. Reilly brings a sort of poise to his characters, who are usually not as overtly charismatic as Ferrell’s. While Reilly is, indeed, funny, his humor is more understated and complements Ferrell’s wild eccentricities perfectly on numerous occasions. The two have become a comedy tour de force, and their projects together (Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights) are iconic.
6. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
McConaughey, now better known for his dramatic roles in series like True Detective or films like Dallas Buyers Club, is an exceptionally funny actor. And he’s proven that he works really well with Kate Hudson. The two debuted together in the romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, then went on to star together in yet another (less loved) comedy, Fool’s Gold.
What makes these two work together on screen so well is the fact that they are entirely unafraid to go for broke when it comes to their characters. They’ve both played slapstick-silly moments, and they’ve both played emotionally complex and heartfelt ones. But the chemistry is palpable between the two, and the believability translates on screen. The fact that they seem to sizzle every time they share a rom-com is the primary reason why they need to collaborate all the time. Or at least more frequently.
5. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
In spite of the fact that the two have ever starred opposite one another in a major motion picture once, to date (in Baby Mama), there is hope for more Fey/Poehler collaboration. The pair starred in their own film, Sisters, which is out this month. There is something exceptionally magical about the way that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler complement one another while they’re on screen. Whether they’re hosting an awards show, roasting celebrities and politicians, playing aforementioned politicians in SNL sketches, or butting heads over baby-proofing an apartment, the fact of the matter is that Fey and Poehler have some of the best chemistry around.
It’s clear that the two women genuinely love one another and are close friends, which translates to whatever scene they’re in or sketch they’re doing. And they’re both absolutely hilarious, of course, to boot. If Tina Fey and Amy Poehler starred opposite one another in everything, comedy – and the world – would never be the same.
4. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
There is something about the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan that is simultaneously believable, and also extremely romantic, whenever the two share the screen for a romantic comedy. Between Sleepless and Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, the pair proved that they had what it took, together, to ground the films and drive them into legendary “rom-com” status.
What is it about Hanks and Ryan, though? Quite simply, it’s the way that they both manage to bring a subtle and gentle humor to whatever roles they play. Hanks and Ryan are two exceptionally talented actors, and both have the ability to convey a complex range of emotions with just a flicker of their eyes or a whispered phrase. They deserve to star in more films together.
3. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
With the release of Joy, Cooper and Lawrence will have worked together four times. Both are amazingly talented actors apart, but together they have proven to be larger-than-life forces in both drama and comedy. Their film, Silver Linings Playbook, proved that Cooper’s dramatic prowess was a match for Lawrence’s. But both are also incredible talents when it comes to comedy.
What allows the pair to work so well together is the fact that both Cooper and Lawrence challenge one another on-screen, in the best way possible. Their strengths only serve to elevate one another, and as Cooper ups the power behind his acting, so does Lawrence (and vice versa). The best kind of actors are those who continue to grow and to learn with each experience, and it’s clear that Cooper and Lawrence have not only learned a lot from one another already, but have also become better individual actors for it.
2. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
When discussing why certain comedic pairings work well together, the answer is often found in the balance – typically one character plays more of the straight man, while the other is the over-the-top, zany goofball. But occasionally, there are comedic relationships that work because both sides go a little zany. Enter Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
This iconic duo – most known for their worn together in Zoolander – works simply because they both have the ability to play toward comedic absurdities and to do so with the kind of grace and delicacy that allows those characters to be memorable without being completely and totally unbearable. These two have done pretty much everything together, from Night at the Museum to Meet the Parents, and the upcoming Zoolander 2. What makes them work so well, too, is that both excel at physical comedy. Together, Stiller and Wilson are absolutely wonderful.
1. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Affleck and Damon are one of the most oft-referenced actor pairings in Hollywood. Their friendship off-screen translates to incredible partnership on-screen, especially when it comes to dramatic work.
What Affleck and Damon do so well is embody characters who are flawed, but who are relatable. The beauty of the two is that they often get the chance to play these characters in the same film. Off-screen friendship is extremely important in films, because it allows the audience to fully believe in the plausibility of the characters’ relationships, and Affleck and Damon manage to convince audiences of this. The two have done some of their strongest work together (Good Will Hunting) and will hopefully continue this partnership in more and more films.
Can you think of any other pairings that work great on screen together? Let us know in the comments!