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Seeing Double: 20 Actresses Who Played Twins On Screen

Entertainment
Seeing Double: 20 Actresses Who Played Twins On Screen

There’s something about twins that gets people’s interest. It’s one thing to have a stunningly gorgeous woman on screen but two of them is something else. Plenty of real twins have existed over the years to entice. WWE, after all, has had huge success with Brie and Nikki Bella winning fans over. On TV and movies, it’s been common to have one actor playing two, usually with the rather obvious split-screen effect. The most famous example would be The Patty Duke Show of Duke as a straight-laced British girl and her whacky cousin. It’s impossible to count how many soap operas have used the “evil twin” motif to good effect. The advances of CGI make it even easier to have the illusion of one person playing two (or three) counterparts on screen. But it also counts on the actress herself.

Sometimes, it’s twin sisters. Other times, it’s an impersonation of some sort and sci-fi series love using alternate realities of different people. And in some cases, it’s just a strange case of two people looking exactly alike. Whether in movies or TV, plenty of sexy actresses have managed to showcase how great it can be playing twins (and in some cases, even winning awards for it). The long list includes a lot of ladies but some manage to make playing the dual roles truly hot as hell. Here are 20 hot actresses who played twins on screen and how two really is better than one with some of these ladies.

20. Troian Bellisario – Pretty Little Liars

For seven seasons, Pretty Little Liars had kept fans going with some wild twists and turns. But they saved their craziest plot twist for last. In the last two seasons, the now adult girls had been plagued by a mysterious figure called “AD,” who taunted them with games. A literal case was a huge board game of the entire town with various tests and traps that had the girls turning on each other. Captured, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) wakes up in an underground cell. She looks at her reflection in the mirrored surface…and suddenly, her “reflection” lunges at her to say “boo!” It turns out that AD was Alex Drake, the twin sister Spencer never knew about. Raised in London (which gave Bellisario the chance to show off a crazy Cockney accent), Alex found out about the great life her twin had, was jealous and began this entire plot against her.

In a genius move, flashbacks showed how several bits through the last season of Spencer were actually Alex pretending to be her, even fooling her friends and boyfriend. It came down to a fight where Spencer won and Alex ended up locked in a prison with their birth mother by nutty Mona. Leave it to PLL to go out with one last dose of insanity.

19. Lindsay Lohan – I Know Who Killed Me

It’s almost sad to remember how the great star Lindsay Lohan started out when you consider her current reputation. The actress became instantly famous in 1998 with her starring role in The Parent Trap. The movie followed the plot of the original with Lohan as a California tomboy and a proper British girl who meet at camp and realize they’re twins. They decide to switch places as a scheme to get their parents back together and Lohan won wide praise for how well she pulled the dual roles off. This launched a career that most thought was going to lead to the top of Hollywood.

In 2007, Lohan was beginning her infamous freefall with arrests and bad behavior dominating just as I Know Who Killed Me came out. She played a writer who was abducted by a serial killer before escaping. However, she insists she’s actually a different woman who’s a stripper. The movie thus focuses on whether she’s suffering amnesia before it turns out they’re twin sisters. The film was ravaged by critics and a flop that served to end Lohan’s star power. It’s thus rather bizarre how playing twins bookended Lohan’s once hot career.

18. Jennifer Garner – Alias

Long one of those “hey, it’s that girl” actresses on TV, Garner had roles in shows like Felicity, Time of Your Life and others with a nice charm. In 2001, she was an instant star with her role on the spy hit Alias. The show revolved around wild spy adventures with a sci-fi mix like when Sydney’s best friend was murdered and replaced by a double. Throughout the series, Sydney clashed with Anna Espinosa (Gina Torres), a wicked agent. Working with a sinister organization, Anna underwent a process that literally made her an exact duplicate of Sydney. She used it for a scheme to trick Sydney’s lover Vaughn into revealing himself from hiding. But Vaughn saw through the ruse (“you’re a lousy kisser”) and they fought before the wild sight of Sydney shooting “herself” in the head. Sydney then pretended to be Anna to go undercover so you had Garner playing herself playing herself. It was yet another wild turn that made this one of the most fun spy shows ever and Garner enjoying playing a darker version of herself.

17. Sarah Michelle Gellar – Ringer

This 2011 CW series had big press as being the return to television of Sarah Michelle Gellar. She played the dual roles of Bridget and Siobhan, twin sisters torn apart after a tragedy. Recovering addict Bridget had seen a murder and fled to seek aid from her rich sister. When Siobhan vanished on a boat trip, Bridget thought she’d killed herself. She then figured out that posing as her twin was the perfect hiding place. But Bridget discovered Siobhan had her own secrets like sleeping with her best friend’s husband, a stepdaughter who loathed her and someone out to kill her. She was also unaware that a pregnant Siobhan was living in Paris. Gellar did well in the dual part with touches like Siobhan having a fling with a guy who later is baffled why Bridget doesn’t recognize him. The finale had Bridget discovering Siobhan was alive and out to get answers. But a combination of bad ratings and Gellar becoming pregnant caused the CW to axe the show after one season. But it can be checked out via Netflix to see that two former Buffys are better than one.

16. Lucy Lawless – Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior Princess is well known for breaking ground with a female lead and some lesbian influence. The show was always regarded for its action with Lucy Lawless terrific in the title role. But it could also mix up some side-splitting comedy at times. A big example was when “Warrior…Princess…Tramp…” aired. Xena and Gabrielle are called in to help Diana, queen of a small nation. When they get there, they’re rocked to find Diana is a dead ringer for Xena. Meanwhile, a man plotting against the queen realizes that Meg, a cook in the kitchens, can also look like them if cleaned up. This gave Lawless a chance to play Xena, the prim and proper Diana and the sardonic, downtrodden Meg. A great twist had goofy Joxer sleeping with Meg then giving Xena a slap on the rear and nearly getting his hand torn off. Poor Gabrielle openly screams she’s going crazy when “Xena” keeps telling her about five different things to do. It all builds to a showdown with the bad guys as Diana and Meg both pitifully attempt to impersonate Xena (“this is my…round killing thing!”) before the real deal shows up.

Another episode had Xena meeting Leah, a priestess who was another lookalike and Meg once more called on to cause some messes. A jump into the future showed an aged Meg married to Joxer so Lawless had old-age makeup. In any role, Lawless showed she was as great a comedian as a hot warrior to make the show a delight.

15. Katie Cassidy – Arrow

After stints on Melrose Place and Gossip Girl, Katie Cassidy rose up big time as Laurel Lance on the hit Arrow. At first just an attorney, Laurel grew stronger as the show went on, overcoming alcoholism as she figured out the super-hero life of Oliver Queen. In season three, Laurel was driven by the death of sister Sara to become a crime fighter herself as the new Black Canary. She did great in the part which was why fans were heartbroken when Laurel was stabbed and killed by an enemy in the fourth season, a loss that hit the team hard.

Just a few weeks later, Cassidy showed on The Flash as Black Siren, Laurel’s Earth-2 counterpart. On that Earth, Laurel was granted the powers of a sonic scream and turned to a life of crime. Cassidy looked hot in the outfit with a long coat and a more wicked attitude. Laurel appeared to be resurrected on Arrow but it turned out to be Siren impersonating her as part of a plot by baddie Prometheus. She returned for the finale and previews show Cassidy coming back in the role as a regular in season six which could explore more of Siren’s past. As much as fans may miss Laurel, Cassidy’s part as Siren gives them something to really shout about.

14. Alexandra Chando – The Lying Game

ABC Family (now known as Freeform) had a lot of fun shows but sadly, too many of them ended far too quickly. A big example would by The Lying Game, based on the popular YA books. Alexandra Chando played Emma, a kind-hearted foster kid who’s thrown to discover she has a twin sister named Sutton. Sutton wants to track down their birth mother and Emma agrees to pose as her and enjoys taking on Sutton’s rich life. However, Sutton soon finds herself in hot water, forcing Emma to keep up the ruse for a while. Chando looked great in the dual roles with rich Sutton in issues such as attacked by a foster dad and learning more of their dark past. Meanwhile, Emma had to handle Sutton’s boyfriend (who quickly figured out the truth about her) and an interesting bit where Sutton’s ex-best friend realized she liked Emma much better. Chando looked to be a rising starlet with the role, showing off some tough and sexy stuff. Sadly, the series was axed after two seasons on a cliffhanger but the truth is Chando was a great presence in both roles.

13. Danielle Panabaker – The Flash

When The Flash began, fans were intrigued by the character of Caitlin Snow. Played by Danielle Panabaker, the scientist was a good ally to Barry Allen and helping him out. But fans knew that in the comics, Caitlin becomes the ice-wielding villainess Killer Frost. In the second season, it finally seemed to happen when Barry traveled to Earth-2 where Caitlin was Frost. Panabaker looked amazing with white hair, a sexy leather outfit and loving showing off her evil side as she fights the Flash. A later episode has Caitlin abducted to Earth-2 and meeting Frost who gets some digs in on her double’s lifestyle (“why hide the twins?”) Frost is killed by evil Zoom which affects Caitlin who briefly imitates her double as part of a scheme. Later on, the real Caitlin ends up gaining the powers to become Frost and cause some chaos and brings up how it feels to become her double. In either part, Panabaker showcased how red-hot this ice-cold lady could be.

12. Nina Dobrev – The Vampire Diaries

When The Vampire Diaries began, Nina Dobrev played Elena, the innocent girl caught between two vampire brothers. What Damon and Stefan were struck by was that Elena was a dead ringer for Katherine, the woman who’d turned them both into vampires. They believed Katherine was locked in a vault but it turned out she’d escaped long ago. In the final episode of the first season, Elena’s uncle John was rocked when Elena suddenly stabbed him and he realized it was Katherine. She was intended to only be in a few episodes but Dobrev’s performance in the role was so amazing that Katherine became a regular presence. Dobrev played the role with a wicked edge and touches like loving strawberries, funny and seductive but willing to kill an innocent girl to make a point. Dobrev would stretch to play a couple more doppelgängers over the show’s run but Katherine the main one.

A great ironic turn had Elena turned into a vampire but Katherine made human and Dobrev putting a spin on the performances. One twist had Katherine putting her spirit into Elena’s body for Dobrev to do a performance of her own performance. Many fans feel the show wasn’t the same when Dobrev left although she returned (in both roles) for the series finale. This was the spark that gave TVD real life and Dobrev had a blast in the dual roles.

11. Lana Parilla – Once Upon A Time

Through all its ups and downs, fans of ABC’s fairy-tale adventure agree the heart of the show has been Lana Parilla. The actress was a standout from the start as Regina Mills who is the Evil Queen of the fairy tale world before creating a Curse bringing everyone into the modern world. Flashbacks had Parilla acting up majorly with Regina in outrageous outfits as the Queen and a wicked attitude. As the series went on, Regina slowly began to redeem herself for her evil past, helping the others and even a good adoptive mother to son Henry. In the fifth season finale, Regina used a potion to cause the evil part of herself to manifest into a physical form and tried to destroy it. But it failed and thus season six had Regina and the Evil Queen clashing. It was great seeing Parilla playing both roles, the Queen mocking her “weak” double and how her hate made her stronger.

It came down to an epic fight with Regina realizing killing the Queen wasn’t the answer. Instead, she used a spell to balance the good and evil in them both so the Queen realized how good it felt doing good. She was last seen back in the Enchanted Kingdom and even a relationship with Robin Hood to give her a happy ending. There’s a reason Parilla is so loved as getting dual sides of Regina just made her look all the hotter.

10. Ming Na Wen – Agents Of SHIELD

At 53, this woman is sexier than most twenty-somethings in Hollywood. After an absence from the spotlight, Wen returned to prominence with her role as Matilda May on Agents of SHIELD. Nicknamed “the Calvary,” this agent was a fantastic bad-ass capable of some great fighting. In season two, May is captured by HYDRA and an agent takes her place, using a special mask to make herself look just like May. She ends up undone when Coulson notes that May hates coffee. This leads to a fight scene between the two as the sight of May leaping over a table then slamming her double into it has become highly popular. The HYDRA agent kept up as the mask malfunctioned, leaving her with the visage of a scarred May for some time.

This wasn’t Ming’s only double duty. In season four, May was abducted and replaced by a Life Model Decoy. The android was unaware she wasn’t the real May until she was shot and had to put up with realizing she wasn’t real. She ended up being just like the actual May to sacrifice herself and in any role, Wen showed a sexiness belying her age big time.

9. Lisa Kudrow – Friends

Like her castmates, Lisa Kudrow was boosted from a struggling actress to stardom with her role on Friends. She had already shown up on Mad About You as Ursula, a dim-witted waitress at a local diner. She was instantly famous playing the equally quirky Phoebe on Friends but some fans wondered about the connection. Rather than ignore it, the producers decided to have fun by revealing that Phoebe and Ursula were twin sisters. This led to bits like Helen Hunt showing up as her Mad character, baffled as to why “Ursula” was hanging out at some coffee bar. The two had some clashes over past issues and Kudrow was fun showing how, while they were both nutty, they had some differences. There’s a reason Kudrow has an Emmy for the show as she showcased great comic timing and no surprise she’d be rewarded for not one but two goofy sexy ladies.

8. Anna Torv – Fringe

The spiritual successor to The X-Files, this Fox series mixed amazing science action with unique turns. Anna Torv was Olivia, an FBI agent taking care of a pair of scientists investigating bizarre crimes. The show was wild enough in its first season but it upped the ante big time in the second with the introduction of an alternate universe. Here, nature was going a bit wilder with various historical differences (JFK was alive, the Twin Towers still stood, etc) and the Fringe division a massive agency. This world’s Olivia (nicknamed Fauxlivia by fans) was far more loose than the one fans knew, dark haired instead of blonde, a nice smile all the time and totally into action. Their clashes were interesting to see what was different (Fauxlivia’s mom was still alive) and how it changed.

Things got wilder in the third season when Fauxlivia came to the regular world to pose as Olivia with Olivia forced to live her double’s life. Fauxlivia slept with Peter and even pregnant by him before he found out the truth. The two moved into a truce for seasons afterward with Torv enjoying showing off as Fauxlivia more and this double turn helped cement Fringe among the best sci-fi shows around.

7. Alyson Hannigan – Buffy The Vampire Slayer + How I Met Your Mother

In the classic Buffy episode “The Wish,” viewers were welcomed to a nightmare alternate world where vampires rule Sunnydale. Among them are Xander and Willow and the sight of the geeky quiet Willow as a leather-clad murderess was shocking and alluring to viewers. A later episode had Vamp Willow brought to the real world with real Willow thrown by her double (“I think I’m kinda gay.”) and her actions. A complex bit had Willow forced to imitate her double so you had Willow dressed as her vamp double and Vamp Willow in a fluffy sweater. It was wild but fans loved it.

This wasn’t Alyson Hannigan‘s only brush with a doppelgänger. In her hit comedy How I Met Your Mother, it turned out every member of the gang had a double of some sort. Lily’s was a stripper who did a hot performance before robbing the guys of their money. In both cases, Hannigan showed she was a genius at being an evil double of an otherwise good character.

6. Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black

The other ladies on this list tend to have played just twins. But Tatiana Maslany does them all one far better. Orphan Black began with street hustler Sarah thrown to see a woman who looks just like her kill herself. Sarah decides to take on the identity of Beth…only to find they’re not the only ones. It turns out they’re just two of a variety of clones: tightly-wound suburban mom Alison; quirky scientist Cosima; deranged Helena; cold business-woman Rachel and many more. Maslany’s performances make each clone so distinct that even veteran fans can forget it’s all one actress. Even Emmy voters (infamous for ignoring genre shows) had to take notice and award Maslany a Best Actress trophy for her amazing work.

The best bits are when one clone impersonates another and rather than a straight performance, Maslany shows traits of each one trying to mimic another (Alison can never get Sarah’s accent right). The show is wrapping up its run but still remembered for a performance that can never be duplicated.

5. Zendaya – K.C. Undercover

The Disney Channel starlet is rising high with her role in Spider-Man Homecoming and the upcoming The Greatest Showman. Zendaya began as the fun Rocky on the series Shake It Up opposite Bella Thorne. They also co-starred in a Disney Channel movie among other projects. Zendaya is also busy with K.C. Undercover as the title role of a teenager who joins the “family business” of being spies. In a three-part story, K.C. is captured by “the Other Side” and replaced by an exact double who’s researched her life to the smallest degree. At first, she’s able to fool everyone with the impersonation. However, K.C.’s parents realize something’s up when they see video of vegetarian K.C. wolfing down on meatballs.

Ironically, the double’s research is her undoing when she tries to “prove” she’s the real K.C. by relating a childhood story. However, the Coopers know the real K.C. was so embarrassed by the incident, she vowed to never mention it again. With her great lithe body and style, Zendaya was fun fighting herself and with how busy she’s becoming, having more than one of her might be a good idea.

4. Nana Visitor – Star Trek Deep Space Nine

As this popular Star Trek spin-off began, Nana Visitor played Kira, the tough as nails Bajoran commander on the station. A former resistance fighter, Kira was always on duty and reserved in her emotions. But in one episode, she and Dr. Bashir traveled to the “Mirror Universe” of the original series. There, DS9 was ruled by the Cardassians who had overwhelmed Earth and Bajor. This universe’s version of Kira was the Intendant, a wicked woman aiding the Cardassians. She was sultry, seductive, in a very tight outfit and loved the power she had. She was also shown to be bisexual and loving romps in the hay. Kira was clearly thrown by this version of what she could be as she did her best to handle an escape. The character popped up in a few more episodes and Visitor says she loved playing the part and cutting a lot more loose. This is one time fans prefer the “evil double” over the real thing in a sexy way.

3. Dove Cameron – Liv & Maddie

Dove Cameron is a rising star, taking off thanks to her performance as Mal in the smash hit Descendants movies. She’s also rising as a popular singer and her great charm winning over fans. Like many a young hottie, Cameron got her break on the Disney Channel, mainly the series Liv & Maddie. Cameron played the title roles as Liv spent four years on a hit TV show and returns to her Wisconsin town where her twin, Maddie, is both a brainy student and ace basketball player. The show played up the differences with Cameron doing a great job of flighty Liv and tough Maddie, altering her voice and body language nicely. The show had some notable bits, the biggest being the last performance of Patty Duke who played the girls’ grandmother and her own twin sister. Whether in a nice dress performing a song or on the basketball court, Cameron pulled viewers in well. The final season had them in Los Angeles before the show ended and if she can use the talents she had with both these gals well, Cameron has a nice future ahead of her.

2. Grace Park – Battlestar Galactica

The reboot of the classic sci-fi series transformed into one of the most acclaimed series of the 2000s. A big move was that rather than just pure robots, the Cylons had evolved into twelve human models who used their cover to instigate a nuclear war on the human colonies. The big one from the start was Tricia Helfer as Six, a hot blonde with various forms. But a big turn was the last scene of the mini-series pilot as Sharon “Boomer” Valerei (Grace Park), a pilot, turned out to be a Cylon herself (nicknamed Number Eight). As the series went on, we had two Sharons. One was on Galactica, unaware she was a Cylon and a sleeper agent. The other was on Caprica aiding pilot Helo and aware of herself. This included the two in a hot love scene in the rain with a red light floating over Sharon’s back. The other Sharon was rocked when she found multiple nude copies of herself on a Cylon ship.

Eventually, the first Sharon shot Adama and was killed herself. The other Sharon (calling herself Athena) became pregnant and redeemed herself. Park was great in both roles, showing off toughness as well as sexiness and yet another reason this show was a huge favorite.

1. Jeanette McCurdy – iCarly + Sam & Cat

Nickelodeon’s hit show had Sam (Jeannette McCurdy) showcased as a wild gal who loved junk food, a sardonic edge and prone to violence. In one episode, she mentions that her twin sister Melanie is coming by for a visit. As Sam had never mentioned a twin, Freddie figured this was one of Sam’s practical jokes. When Melanie showed up, she was Sam’s lookalike but total opposite, quiet, sedate, intelligent and polite. Freddie decided to see how far Sam would go by asking Melanie out on a date and even sharing a kiss with her. He then declared this was way too weird and Sam had won before storming out. At which point, the audience saw Sam and Melanie together (via the good old split screen effect) and that she was real.

The character popped up again in the spin-off Sam & Cat. Upset after Cat pulls a joke over her, Sam strikes back by calling Melanie in for a prank. Melanie pretends to be a “twinfection” created nutcase attacking Cat and even kissing her on the lips. McCurdy clearly enjoyed playing the two roles to show her hot talents off nicely.

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