It goes without saying that there are thousands of memorable characters in iconic movies and television shows. Countless examples of each medium are produced, released and aired every year, so it’s hard to keep up with who’s playing who.
Of course, in a lot of cases – particularly when the actor is well-known – it’s easy to know which actor played which role (everyone knows, for example, that Robert Downey, Jr. has played the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes) but, in other cases – such as when the actor isn’t well-known, is hidden behind make-up/a costume, played a character many years apart or played two characters so different that you simply wouldn’t associate them with each other – it’s often a surprise to find out the same person portrayed said characters.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at ten pairs of fairly iconic (or, at the very least, extremely well-known) movie and television characters who you won’t know were played by the same actor.
10. Samantha Darko & Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase)
Back in 2001 and 2002 – within the space of a year – young actress Daveigh Chase played two characters who really couldn’t be more different from each other. In 2001’s Donnie Darko, she played the titular character’s sweet younger sister Samantha Darko (whom Donnie mistreated quite a lot) and, a year later she played the creepy ghost child Samara Morgan in the American remake of The Ring.
Chase reprised the role of Samantha (albeit an obviously much older version of the character) in the 2009 sequel to Donnie Darko entitled S. Darko, but she didn’t appear in the sequel to The Ring in 2005.
9. Abin Sur & Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison)
It’s actually quite hard to believe that an actor barely anybody has heard of has played either of these quite iconic roles, but the fact is he has played both of them. Temuera Morrison is an actor from New Zealand who has played both Abin Sur (who only had a small role in the Green Lantern movie, but is a major character in the comic books) and Jango Fett.
Abin Sur was the Green Lantern Corps member who passed his power ring onto Ryan Reynolds‘ Hal Jordan when he died and Jango Fett is the bounty hunter “father” of the clone Boba Fett – whom Morrison also voiced in the 2004 special edition of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
8. Judy Geller & The Sorceress (Christina Pickles)
Remember Ross Geller’s mother in Friends? Well her name was Judy Geller and she was played by an actress called Christina Pickles in nineteen episodes between 1994 and 2003. However, in 1987, she also played a character as far removed from Judy Geller as you could possibly imagine
She was the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull in the live action Masters of the Universe movie which, of course, also starred her Friends co-star Courtney Cox as Julie Winston. The Cannon Films production was a box office bomb and a critical shambles, as it strayed a long way from the popular cartoon and the Sorceress character was a prime example of that.
7. Troy & The Long Haired Fiend (J. Larose)
Two memorable supporting characters in two iconic horror movies were played by the same actor – and they were on completely opposite ends of the horror spectrum. One of the characters was a helpless victim who suffered an unspeakable death, the other character was a terrifying villain who terrorised his own victims – and they were both portrayed by J. Larose.
J. Larose is the professional name of Navajo actor J. Adam Larose and he played both Troy – a victim of one of Jigsaw’s disciple Amanda’s inescapable traps in Saw III – and the evil undead entity known as the Long Haired Fiend AKA the Ghoul in the Insidious movies.
6. Weapon XI & Hector (Scott Adkins)
Ryan Reynolds takes a lot of flak for his portrayal of Deadpool in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie – but the fact is it wasn’t even him! Reynolds portrayed Wade Wilson – the mouthy mercenary – and he did a really good job of it (as he is expected to do in next year’s Deadpool movie), but the Frankenstein’s monster version of Deadpool AKA Weapon XI that Wilson was transformed into in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was actually played by Scott Adkins.
Adkins is an English actor and martial artist who has played multiple roles in movies but, arguably most prominently, he portrayed Hector – the right-hand man of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Jean Vilain – in The Expendables 2.
5. Tim Murphy & Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello)
Admittedly, this is the one that most people are likely to know on this list, but for some people it’s often a surprise to see that these two characters were played by the same actor – a certain Joseph Mazzello.
The two characters are Tim Murphy from Jurassic Park and Dustin Moskovitz from The Social Network. Tim Murphy is the grandson of Jurassic Park owner John Hammond and Dustin Moskovitz is the co-founder of Facebook. Mazzello played the characters seventeen years apart (1993 and 2010) and was really only playing low-profile roles in between, so it was something of a surprise to see him re-emerge in such a high-profile role as Moskovitz.
4. Saul Berenson & Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin)
Who would have guessed that either of these characters – both beacons of masculinity – were played by a man called Mandy? And who would ever have guessed that they were played by the same person? Very few, we imagine, but the fact is they are.
Mandy Patinkin currently plays Saul Berenson – the CIA’s Middle East Division Chief and Acting Director of the CIA during season three – on the brilliant political thriller television series Homeland. However, nearly thirty years ago, in the fantasy comedy The Princess Bride, he also played Inigo Montoya – the Spanish swordsman who sought revenge upon Christopher Guest’s Count Rugen for the murder of his father.
3. The Ubervamp & Gnarl (Camden Toy)
When it came to his television shows, Joss Whedon liked to recycle actors, but it was usually easy to tell. Tom Lenk played a vampire and Andrew Wells in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jonathan M. Woodward played Holden Webster in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Knox in Angel, Adam Baldwin played Marcus Hamilton in Angel and Jayne Cobb in Firefly, and Gina Torres played Jasmine in Angel and Zoe Washburne in Firefly, just for a few examples.
One actor, however, played two costumed villains in the same season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Camden Toy played both the Ubervamp and Gnarl in season seven – and he also played a Gentleman in season four and the Prince of Lies in Angel!
2. Harry & The Predator (Kevin Peter Hall)
Two popular 1987 movies with very different tones – one a fantasy comedy, the other a science fiction action film – both had titular stars in costume. Those movies were Harry and the Hendersons and Predator – and both titular stars were played by the same man.
The late Kevin Peter Hall was a 7′ 2″ tall giant of a man who played a number of monsters and creatures thanks to his size. He played the Sasquatch Harry in both the film and first television series of Harry and the Hendersons and the intergalactic Yautja predator in both Predator and Predator 2 prior to his untimely death in 1991.
1. The Hitchhiker & Lord Zedd (Edwin Neal)
Way back in 1974, one of the most iconic horror slasher movies of all time was released – Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was about a cannibalistic Texan family who terrorised a group of youngsters on a road trip – and the first member of that family seen in the movie is Nubbins Sawyer AKA the Hitchhiker.
Well, would you believe that the Hitchhiker was played by Edwin “Ed” Neal – the same man who would later portray the Power Rangers’ arch-enemy Lord Zedd some twenty years later? Neal portrayed Zedd for more than four years between 1994 and 1998.