Although you might not believe it, a day in the life of a Hollywood actor is extremely long and arduous. The actors wake up at 6 in the morning and don’t finish shooting until 9 or 10 at night. This can take a toll on anyone, and is one of the many reasons why films love casting twins.
Especially when it comes to children, actors can be fussy or moody after hours of working. However, if they have a twin brother or sister, you can just swap them out and continue shooting for the rest of the day. Also, according to California law, child actors between the age of two to six are only allowed to work three hours a day, and babies under two can only work two hours per day. With a twin, you can double that time and finish filming scenes faster and more efficiently.
Children are not the only twins that Hollywood seeks out, though. Sometimes it’s simply cheaper and more convenient to use a twin than to find a stunt double or use CGI for certain scenes, so adult twins are also highly valuable in the entertainment industry.
Whatever the reason, twins have been used in Hollywood for years, and are quite possibly in some of your favorite movies and television shows.
So, get ready to start seeing double, because here are the 15 Roles You Never Knew Were Played By Twins.
15. Sophia & Marcus from Orange is the New Black
Transgender actress, Laverne Cox plays the role of Sophia Burset, a transgender inmate in the popular Netflix series, Orange is the New Black.
In the episode “Lesbian Request Denied”, viewers are introduced to Burset’s emotional backstory and shown her transition from fireman Marcus to beautiful Sophia. What many viewers don’t know though, is that the actor who plays Marcus is not Laverne Cox, but instead her twin brother, musician M Lamar.
Originally, Cox insisted that she could play the part, but it was decided during a hair and makeup test that Cox simply didn’t look masculine enough. Therefore, they held auditions for the role and invited Cox’s twin brother to audition. Although he had no acting experience, Lamar landed the role.
Don’t call him an actor, though. Lamar told his sister that he was mistaken for her on the subway and, although Laverne was offended someone thought she was a man, her brother also said that he was offended someone mistook him for an actor.
14. The T-1000 Terminator from Terminator 2
The T-1000 Terminator in Terminator 2 could become the spitting image of anyone it wanted. To bring its abilities onto the big screen, James Cameron didn’t use CGI magic, though. Instead, he used one of the cast’s twins.
The hardened warrior and all-around beast, Sarah Connor is played by Linda Hamilton. However, the world is lucky enough to have two of these strong women. When the T-1000 Terminator morphs into Sarah Connor, the duplicate is played by none other than Linda’s twin sister, Leslie. You then watch Linda shoot Leslie in an epic twin vs. twin battle.
In another scene, the T-1000 transforms into a security guard named Lewis, and once again the viewer is seeing double. Twins, Dan and Don Stanton were cast to play the T-1000 killer and the original guard Lewis, instead of opting for any CGI effects. However, this time good doesn’t triumph evil and the evil twin defeats the good twin.
13. Abel Teller from Sons of Anarchy
Abel Teller is the troubled son of Jax in the television series Sons of Anarchy. It’s a challenging character for one single kid to play, so the role of Abel was given to a set of identical twins, Evan and Ryder Londo.
Ryder, who is the oldest by a whole two minutes, played more of the sensitive and delicate scenes, while Evan was the favorite for the action-based scenes. Together, they brought Abel Teller’s personality to life.
They played the role of Abel interchangeably for four seasons, and although the show was very violence-heavy, the twins’ dad says it never brought their spirits down. To get ready to play their parts, their dad would tell them to simply pretend it’s Halloween and the twins immediately understood it was all just an act.
12. Agent Training Scene in the Matrix
Were you paying attention? Or were you looking at “the woman in red?” If you’re like Neo, you may have been distracted from spotting the twins and triplets during this scene in The Matrix.
The scene takes place when Morpheus and Neo are in the Agent Training Program and are walking through a city filled with people dressed in black and white. Originally, the crew wanted to digitally duplicate the extras to create the scene but it was too expensive to do so. Instead, they hired as many twins and triplets as they could find in Sydney, Australia. Their hard work added an extra layer and depth to the scene that many people don’t even notice.
During an interview posted on the Warner Bros website, the Wachowskis said that “people don’t realize how important this scene is because we are all staring at the woman in the red dress! There’s actually twins and triplets that we hired in the scene.”
11. Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In “Replacement”, the third episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s season five, Xander jumps in the line of fire to protect his best friend Buffy from a blast of lightning issued by the demon known as Toth.
The light from Toth’s rod hits Xander and he falls back into a pile of trash. The gang comes to help him up, but as they walk away, the camera zooms in on another Xander, still lying in the trash. This Xander, the real Xander, wakes up in the dump the next day and returns home to find the other Xander living his life.
While Xander has always been played by Nicholas Brendon, the other duplicate Xander is not a Hollywood special effect. He is actually Nicholas Brendon’s twin brother Kelly Donovan. The TV show was working on a budget and recruited Kelly to provide a cheaper solution.
After he played the duplicate Xander in this episode, Kelly Donovan went on to play his brother’s stunt double for the remainder of the series. He then launched his career in entertainment and landed a role as a stunt double in Alias.
10. Claire Kincaid from Law & Order
“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups – the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
That is the opening line of Law & Order. However, not only are “the people” represented by two groups, but they’re also represented by two different actresses playing the role of their assistant district attorney.
Claire Kincaid appeared in over 69 episodes of Law & Order, however she wasn’t always played by the same actress. Jill Hennessy played Claire exclusively between 1993 and 1996. However, Jill became extremely busy, but, lucky for the producers, Jill has a twin sister.
While Jill was in Baltimore filming for the “Homicide: Life on the Street” episode, her twin sister, Jacqueline Hennessy filled in for her and filmed the “Corpuss Delicti” episode.
9. Carrie Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie
In the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie, the role of Carrie Ingalls is credited to Lindsay Sidney Greenbush. However, Lindsay Sidney Greenbush isn’t one person but the combined name of two different actresses.
Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush were twins that had done commercials and a made-for-TV movie called Sunshine in 1973. Michael Landon, the actor that played Charles Ingalls, saw the movie and recommended the twins to audition for Little House on the Prairie. At only three years old, they landed the role of Carrie and alternated playing her from season one to season eight.
The two girls actually appeared on screen at the same time during the episode titled “The Godsister”, where Carrie creates an imaginary friend named Alyssa who looks exactly like her. Even in this episode, Lindsay and Sidney alternated playing the two parts.
8. Baby William in The X-Files
Baby William was seen as a miracle child in The X-Files. Based on his mother’s health and infertility, it was nearly impossible for William to be born.
This is why there was speculation around his birth, including one theory that suggested that William was created by scientists. In the episode titled “Essence”, Lizzy Gill tells William’s dad that “one could only hope to create that in a lab: a perfect human child.”
Well, the perfect human child was actually two children. The twins Travis and James Riker were cast to play Baby William in 2002 when their mom found out about the role from a friend.
The boys have no memory of working on the show and didn’t even know they were Baby William until they were seven years old. Actually, as of last year, neither of the boys had even watched the show that gave them their Hollywood debut.
7. Julian from Big Daddy
It might be hard to picture Adam Sandler, or his character Sonny, handling one kid, let alone two. However, there were actually two Julians running around the set of Big Daddy in 1999. Dylan and Cole Sprouse both played Julian, the biggest Scuba Steve fanboy.
Although they argued as kids on who did more scenes, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody stars equally shared the role of Julian at the young age of 6. On the Jay Leno Show, the kids said that the audience could tell the difference between them because of Dylan’s freckles and Cole’s mole. According to the kids, Dylan also had two teeth missing during the filming and Cole had four.
Julian isn’t the first role the two shared. Dylan and Cole started acting at just eight months when they appeared in a diaper commercial, switching on and off camera every couple of seconds.
The twins also shared the role of Patrick Kelly on Grace Under Fire, and even switch roles in real life. They did a twin switcheroo and accepted each other’s college degrees at their NYU commencement ceremony in 2015.
6. Little Ricky from I Love Lucy
Most people know Little Ricky as Keith Thibodeaux, but he actually didn’t join the cast of I Love Lucy until the sixth season. For three seasons prior, Little Ricky was played by the twins Joe and Mike Mayer.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz welcomed a son into the world at the same time as their I Love Lucy characters, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. However, Lucille and Desi didn’t want their child playing the role of their on-screen child, so the show searched for actors that looked like the baby.
Arnaz picked Joe and Mike Mayer after seeing a picture of them at a picnic. The twins then debuted on the episode called “No Children Allowed” in 1953 and played Little Ricky for three seasons.
They earned $150 per week, but their parents pulled them out after their third season because they believed that child actors never became “functional adults.”
5. Liz and Julia Nolan on Big Brother
In the reality television show Big Brother, contestants live together in a house that is isolated from the rest of the world. Every week, houseguests are voted out until there’s only one left to claim the prize.
During season 17, a houseguest named Liz entered the American competition during the second episode. However, it was later revealed that Liz was actually two people.
Twins, Liz and Julia played the game as one houseguest, switching off every couple of days. They would go into the Diary Room and take 15 minutes to switch outfits and brief each other about what was happening in the house.
Eventually, one of the house guests, Da’Vonne Rogers, started noticing small differences between the girls and confided in another contestant about his suspicions. The suspicions grew and the houseguests finally learned the identity of the twins.
4. Emma Geller-Green on Friends
Maybe one of the most iconic and well-known babies of the early 2000s, Emma Geller-Green was not just one baby, but two. Noelle and Cali Sheldon together took turns playing Rachel and Ross’ baby in Friends.
Although they were too young to remember the role, their mom said everyone on the set loved them and treated them like princesses. In an interview in 2015, the twins, then twelve years old, said thath they had never actually seen a whole episode of Friends because their mom wouldn’t let them yet. Their mother promised to show it to them when they were thirteen– so hopefully they’ve binge watched the entire series by now.
3. Court from The Man in the Moon
Twins Jeremy and Jason London both auditioned for the role of Court in The Man in the Moon. Jeremy was the one who originally wanted to audition for the role, while Jason didn’t want to go because he had a date with his girlfriend.
Unfortunately for Jeremy, Jason was cast for the role of Court. Jeremy however, still got to play Court as his brother’s stunt double. He handled the dangerous stunts while Jason played the sensitive parts opposite Reese Witherspoon.
Throughout their career, Jeremy always seemed to get the short-end of the stick. He was the star in I’ll Fly Away, but only got the part after Jason had turned it down. Jeremy did eventually make a name for himself and held reoccurring roles in 7th Heaven and Party of Five.
2. Baby Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Boy Who Lived was way too powerful to be contained in one actor. It took three babies to bring the role of baby Harry Potter to the big screen in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. No wonder Voldemort had a hard time defeating him.
The Saunders triplets, who comprised of two boys and one girl, were credited with playing Harry Potter as a baby. Not much is known about them though, because their first names were kept a secret. Much like the little boy they portrayed, they remain a magical mystery.
Although rumors spread saying baby Harry Potter is the same actor as Harry Potter’s son, Albus Severus Potter in The Deathly Hallows Part 2, this is simply just a rumor, and has since been proven wrong.
1. Lily from Modern Family
Everyone who watches Modern Family can remember the iconic scene when Mitchell and Cam introduce Baby Lily to the family, as if she was Simba from the Lion King. But, which baby did Cam introduce?
Lily was originally played by identical twins Jaden and Ella Hiller. In an interview, their parents said, “We saw an ad on Craigslist looking for identical Asian girl twins, so we sent in a picture and they were cast.” Jaden and Ella played Lily for 36 episodes between season 1 and 2, earning about $200 a day without an agent.
However, during season 2, their parents noticed that the girls hated playing Lily. They became agitated and unhappy whenever they had to film a scene, so the Hillers took their daughters out of the business and turned down an offer of $34,000 an episode.
Now, Jaden and Ella have a chance to be normal little girls, playing gymnastics, swimming, and running around outside. Lily is currently played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who adjusted to the role much better.
Were you surprised by any of these roles? Do you know of any other roles played by twins? Let us know in the comment section!
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