Incestuous Casting

Awk-warrrrrd...note .

The rarer and possibly Squickier flipside to Cast Incest, where people who are Real Life Relatives have to play romantic partners. This scenario is more common in community and High School theater productions where there is a limited pool of actors to choose from; while producers may be manipulative and hate filled, they aren't invulnerable to potential Squick reaction from the audience or the cast itself. It also happens a bit in figure skating.


Examples

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    Anime 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Freaks (1932), the dwarf main characters, who become a couple, were played by siblings Harry and Daisy Earles. To avoid being too uncomfortable, their romance is really downplayed.
  • Also true of the dwarf couple in Putney Swope.
  • Siblings Christopher Khayman Lee and Chyler Leigh kissed in the 1999 tv series Safe Harbor and in the 1997 movie Kickboxing Academy.
  • The German semi-fictional movie about the eponymous Comedian Harmonists has siblings Meret and Ben Becker playing love interests, including an long and dramatic Kiss Scene.
  • Averted at the last minute with Bonnie and Clyde: Warren Beatty initially cast Shirley MacLaine as Bonnie, but replaced her when he opted to play Clyde himself. The reason? He didn't want to have to kiss his sister. (Yes, they're siblings — in this life.)
  • "Manos" The Hands of Fate's infamous ending gets even worse when you remember that The Master and Debbie are played by real life father and daughter.
  • Hocus Pocus: "The Master" — no, not the same Master as the one in the example above — and his bickering wife are played by brother and sister Garry and Penny Marshall in uncredited roles.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dancing with the Stars: Real-life siblings Julianne and Derek Hough have danced romantic numbers together several times.
  • Arrested Development
    • Justine Bateman, sister of Jason Bateman, plays a prostitute who propositions Jason's character. It's also played with, where Jason's character believes that Justine's character is his sister — which turns out to be false. Appropriately enough Michael comes out with this line.
    • The original plan was to play the trope straight, but neither of the Batemans were comfortable with that.
  • One Life to Live: Real-life siblings Kristen and Eddie Alderson play unrelated characters. A few years back, a storyline involved Eddie's Matthew having a crush on Kristen's Starr. The boy had to pretend to have a crush on his sister. Gross.
  • Averted on Rumpole of the Bailey: Mrs. Rumpole occasionally accuses Rumpole (played by Leo McKern) of having an affair with Liz Probert, who for Series 5-7 is played by Abigail McKern (Leo's daughter). However, he never actually does anything of the kind.
  • One episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia shows Frank (Danny Devito) in a restaurant opening leering at a waitress played by Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman's real-life daughter.
  • In Parallax, the Martin Dunkly from Ben's World (Kasmir Sas) is frequently hitting on the Melinda (Francoise Sas) from Ben's world (and occasionally the one from Katherine's world, when he mistakes her for the Melinda from Ben's world) and trying to get together with her. The two are brother and sister in real life.
  • Frank Sinatra, Jr., appeared in an episode of Adam-12 as a police officer seeking the affections of an unrelated woman played by his sister Tina Sinatra.
  • Dick and Joyce Van Patten the Diagnosis: Murder episode "Murder at the Telethon". While their characters are divorced, their piano rendition of "Makin' Whoopee" is enough to cue the Brain Bleach.
  • Weird sort-of example from Degrassi: Craig's little sister is played by Alex Steele. Alex is the real-life sister of Cassie Steele, who plays Manny. Thus, some viewers were squicked when Craig and Manny started hooking up. Lampshaded in a season two episode when Craig and Manny have their first date and Craig later says Manny reminds him of his little sister.
  • There was a similar example in Home and Away when Morgan Weaving, the younger sister of regular Samara Weaving, was cast as Lottie Ryan, the love interest of Dexter Walker...who was the younger brother of Samara's character Indigo Walker. The fact that the two sisters' voices are pretty much exactly the same led some fans to complain that Dexter was dating a girl who looked and sounded exactly like his sister and pretty much every Fan Fic featuring Lottie feels obliged to have someone point this out.
  • Another near-example happened in the Spanish sitcom Aida when María León, sister to Paco León who plays the main character Luisma, was given a small recurring part as Luisma's coworker. In one episode, the two characters pretended to have slept together so Luisma's on and off girlfriend would finally break up with him.

     Music Videos 
  • In the video for Britney Spears' debut hit "Baby One More Time", her love interest is played by her real life cousin, Chad Spears. Admittedly the "romance" never amounts to anything but suggestive glances across the basketball court and her singing to him briefly, but still, given the number of guys who appear in the video, did they really have to pick the one she was related to to play the part?
  • In the Michael Jackson / Paul McCartney video "Say, Say, Say", Michael's love interest is played by his sister LaToya. (This almost happened in Michael's The Way You Make Me Feel music video.)
  • In the music video for Stuck by Stacie Orrico, her cheating boyfriend is played by her real-life cousin, actor Trevor Wright. He plays her love interest again in the video for "I Could Be The One".

    Theater 
  • In the Gothenburg concert version of Chess, Freddie's and Florence's actors are brother and sister. Granted, most of what Freddie and Florence do onstage is argue, but still...
  • Historically, Commedia dell'Arte troupes were often families, so the Lovers could be played by brother and sister.
  • Fred Astaire and his sister Adele played romantic roles opposite each other for many years in stage musicals. When his sister, who was more popular, quit to get married he worried his career would be over. Of course, history had another medium for him to become famous in.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • On Family Guy, creator Seth MacFarlane plays Stewie, while his sister Rachael MacFarlane played his love interest Olivia in a few episodes. Both characters are babies, though, so maybe this is more a meta case of Father, I Want to Marry My Brother?
  • And on American Dad!, Seth plays Bill, Stan Smith's body double, and Rachael plays Stan's daughter Hailey. Guess who hook up in one episode ... And then it gets grosser when Stan finds out and has to replace Bill on a camping trip with Hailey. But don't worry, nothing happens.
  • The Italian dub of Total Drama Island has Heather and Trent voiced by Monica Ward and her son, Alessandro. They kissed in the episode "Search And Do Not Destroy".
  • On Lil Bush Lil' Cheney is played by series creator Donick Cary, and Barbara Bush is played by his mother Mara Cary. In one episode Mrs. Bush pulls a Mrs. Robinson on Cheney.
  • In the German dub of Recess, T.J. was played by Robert Stadlober and Spinelli was played by his older sister, Anja Stadlober. Both characers have been implied to have crushes on each other (Confirmed on Spinelli's side), and they kiss in one episode. Averted in the third season onwards when T.J. got a new voice actor.

    Other 
  • In the pornography industry it is not uncommon for siblings, cousins and parents/offspring to work in the business together, and sometimes even appear in the same production. "Performing" together, if you get the meaning, is less common but not unheard of in mainstream productions, though there seems to be some leeway given to twins and confirmed cousins and sisters. (Note: please do not add any names here, as while some relationships have been confirmed, many are simply made up for the sake of the fantasy and the performers are not actually related.)

Fictional examples

    Comic Books 
  • In Y: The Last Man, the protagonist mentions him and his sister being cast as Romeo and Juliet, respectively, in the school play. However, they both decide they want to avert it, and his sister is selfless enough to drop out of the production.
  • During Marvel's Civil War storyline, Johnny Storm and Susan Storm Richards, brother and sister members of the Fantastic Four, assumed undercover identities as husband and wife. Sue considers it the most disturbing thing she's ever done.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie musical Royal Wedding is about a brother and sister team who play lovers on stage. Fred Astaire and Jane Powell were of course not related.
  • In High School Musical, it's said that Sharpay and Ryan always got the lead roles in all the productions before Troy and Gabriella, and one character remarks that if Sharpay could find a way to play both Romeo and Juliet, Ryan would be out of a job, so it's safe to assume at least one of these would be a romantic pairing.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Justin and Alex from Wizards of Waverly Place, who are brother and sister, pretend to be married and have three kids, in one episode.
  • The Saturday Night Live sketch "Red Ships of Spain" had the in-show version of Robert Goulet (played by Will Farrel) starring in a broadway show where Goulet's romantic interest is played by his own daughter. The daughter seems very disturbed about the situation, but Goulet is totally oblivious to the implications.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The gang is putting on a musical Charlie wrote and he casts Mac in the lead role. Dennis and Mac end up switching parts forcing Dennis and his sister Dee to play romantic partners. They end up cutting their romantic kiss down to a firm hug because of it.
  • Used at least twice in Neighbours: Twins Brett and Danni Stark were cast as the romantic leads in a school play, freaking out both of them, and managed to convince the teacher to let Danni swap roles with Libby Kennedy. In another storyline, Anne Wilkinson won a competition that required her and her boyfriend to take part in a photoshoot but her boyfriend Billy wasn't available so her brother Lance was persuaded to stand in. They just about held it together until they were asked to kiss at which point they blurted out the truth.
  • In the Arrested Development episode "Bringing Up Buster", George-Michael Bluth attempts to Invoke this in order to kiss his cousin Maeby as part of the school play. He succeeds at being Incestuously Cast. Unfortunately for him, the cousin he has to kiss is Steve Holt.
  • In Hope And Faith one episode has the two sisters pretend to be a lesbian couple.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, siblings Katara and Sokka are able to visit a school in the Fire Nation by posing as a married couple, Wang and Sapphire Fire. And to add to the subtext, Katara's disguise makes her look heavily pregnant.
  • Doug: Doug got a role in a school play opposite his crush, Patty. Instead Patty had to drop out for some reason, forcing Doug's sister Judy to take the role.
  • The Simpsons.
    • In the episode "Realty Bites", Marge wants to become a real estate agent, so Bart and Lisa help her study for the big test. The kids create a game where they are a married couple looking for a house and Marge is their real estate agent.
    Marge: So, you're married, and you're looking for your house, Mr. and Mrs...
    Bart: Superman!
    Lisa: Oh! Don't listen to my husband, he's just an idiot. Now, I'm a vetinerarian, and I need to keep lots of sick animals in my house! Is that permitted?
    Bart: Not in my damn house!
    Marge: Well, this neighbourhood is zone R3, which allows dogs, cats, phone answering monkeys, and... ohhh... [checks book] I'll never memorize all this!
    Lisa: When I had to learn about the Magna Carta, I made up a song! [singing] In 1215 at Ronnie Mee, do da do da, the nobles and the king agreed, oh da doo da day!
    Bart: We should have lived together first!
  • In Young Justice Superboy and Miss Martian infiltrate Belle Reve disguised as a pair of twins. It ends with them having a Big Damn Kiss (to Icicle Jr.'s horror).