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Ink-Suit Actor
Spot the difference.

"I'm playing Killmaster. Type casting, y'know."
Lemmy Kilmister, Brutal Legend Celebrity Trailer

A famous actor whose animated counterpart is essentially the actor themselves. Actors playing themselves is an admittedly common occurrence, but one that makes less sense in animation.

Some of this began with traditional 2D animated movies; Disney's Aladdin gave top billing to Robin Williamsnote , in a very successful example, partly because he was enough of a character to be funny on his own. Movie makers noticed they could bank on an actor's star power even if viewers never saw the actor.

Later, it became common to give voice acting jobs to actors who didn't traditionally perform voice acting, just to get their names on movie posters. One simple example is for the actors to play themselves, with the assumption that the audience will recognize them anyway. This can be taken to extremes when the animated character is modified to look like the actor, even if that requires a bizarre caricature that makes no sense in the story. This has a strange effect: the character feels less genuine, as if the writers just "stole" the actor to make into a character.

The transition from 2D cel animation to computer animated "3D" films, both in the stylistic and literal sense, in both movies and computer games, has made accurately ink-suiting actors much easier, therefore introducing an element of "because we can" to the proceedings. It's also become common practice, especially in video games, for an ink suited actor to be showing going through the motions and "acting", while someone else (usually a name actor) provides the voice.

Many animation purists (and voice actors such as Billy West) criticize the practice, calling it "stunt casting" and denigrating it as breaking Suspension of Disbelief or pandering to the actor. Some also insinuate that big names are cast instead of talented unknowns because the story couldn't support itself on its own, and the talent hired is not really relevant to the story or role anyway. In addition, the studios who do this often seem to assume that voice acting is a simpler facsimile of "real" acting; in fact, it requires a completely different set of skills.

The advantage to this is it can assist the animator in getting the details and mannerisms to look correct, since it is even easier to reproduce the mannerisms of an actor in three dimensions as in (the already commonly done) two dimensions. Also, there is more "acting" in voice acting than most people think; it is almost impossible to voice act properly without making facial expressions and gestures in front of the microphone.

Note that actors essentially portraying themselves, as on The Simpsons, is not an example of this trope; that's basically an animated Special Guest. Note also that sometimes animated characters in live-action films are intentionally made to look like their actors so that the character can "become real" for a scene or two; two good examples are Gollum from The Lord of the Rings and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Elements of actors' mannerisms and personality are often worked into their characters; while filming A Bug's Life, for example, Pixar often films big-name voice actors and then adds a few of their gestures to their characters. This trope is for more severe cases, where the creators basically just took their voice actor and made him a bug/robot/genie/whatever.

See also Serkis Folk, where a motion capture suit is used to model an actor's movements which is then overlaid with the CGI character, and its traditional animation counterpart Rotoscoping where film of an actor is taken and the animation drawn on top of it. Compare "No Celebrities Were Harmed", where the celebrity caricature is voiced by an impersonator, and Comic Book Fantasy Casting, which includes the modelling of a cartoon or computer character on an actor who does not voice them. Frequently Lost in Translation in dubs, since the animated character looks the same, but the voice actor is different. For bonus celebrity fanservice, see also Hey, It's That Voice!.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 

    Comic Books 
  • Ultimate Nick Fury of Ultimate Marvel is modeled after Samuel L. Jackson with his permission. Turns out Jackson allowed it so that he could play Nick Fury in live-action films, starting with the Iron Man series.note 
  • This trope, taken Up to Eleven, essentially kicked off the series American Flagg. Reuben Flagg was an actor living on Mars and starring in the hit TV series Mark Thrust, Sexus Ranger. But a CGI technology called Tromplography™ perfectly duplicated Flagg's character, making Flagg himself superfluous. Flagg was fired, then drafted into the actual Plexus Rangers.
  • This occurs when a Comic Book Adaptation is created from a live-action television series or movie such as the Buffyverse comics.
  • The Colonel from the Lucky Luke story The 20th Cavalry is very obviously modelled on Randolph Scott and the crusty cavalry officers he played in God alone knows how many Westerns.
  • After becoming a Draco in Leather Pants and arguably the second most popular person out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki got a new comic, Loki: Agent of Asgard, and a new face, which borrows heavily from Tom Hiddleston.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Winnie The Pooh in the Soviet adaptation bears a strong resemblance to his voice actor Yevgeniy Leonov.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (technically not anime, technically not Western Animation): Features photo-real (by late-1990s standards) representations of Alec Baldwin, Peri Gilpin, James Woods and Donald Sutherland. Averted, however, with regards to lead character Aki Ross, who despite the first name suggesting otherwise is depicted as Caucasian (the daughter of Sutherland's character) and she bears no physical resemblance to Asian-American voice actress Ming Na.

    Film 
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Sentinel Prime who looks almost exactly like Leonard Nimoy. (though the artists stated that his appearance is also inspired by Sean Connery in the '70s)
  • Speaking of Sean Connery, Dragonheart has a dragon voiced by him who uses his expressions and mannerisms in an uncanny way.
  • Despite its fixation on maintaining its iconic characters, Disney also used obvious caricatures of its stock company voice actors in many films — thinly-disguised versions of Paul "Tigger" Winchell and Buddy Hackett show up a lot. During the golden age of Disney Animation basing characters on their voice actors was virtually company policy. Some examples include:
    • The Genie from Aladdin, possibly the textbook example of this trope, does bear some facial resemblance to Robin Williams. Except for the beard. And the muscles. And being blue, of course.
      • Also from that movie, Iago's animator Will Finn admitted he tried to copy Gilbert Gottfried, down to the teeth, and while Jonathan Freeman is not physically like Jafar, his expressions and gestures were copied straight.
    • Cassim from Aladdin and the King of Thieves was modeled on Sean Connery, who was originally considered for the role of his voice. John Rhys-Davies does Cassim's voice in the final product, though his impression of Connery is not badly done.
    • Hermes from Hercules looks exactly like Paul Shaffer, even down to the glasses. Same with Phil and his voice actor Danny De Vito.
    • According to the DVD Commentary for The Jungle Book, the characters were designed to resemble their voice actors. This is most apparent in Shere Khan... look at a picture of him and then look at George Sanders and it's obvious.
      • King Louie is Louis Prima — to the point where it raised legal issues when The Jungle Book's cast was adapted to TaleSpin (and Louie remains conspicuously absent from Disney's sequel).
      • The vultures also bear a resemblance to The Beatles, who were originally planned to be their voices. Scheduling conflicts and such led to these roles having to be changed to other voice actors (but the Liverpudlian accents remained, and one of the new actors was even from a British Invasion duo).
    • Compare Baloo from that film, Little John from Robin Hood, and Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats. All are practically an expy of the other and all were voiced by Phil Harris. Partly explained by the fact that these films were made during The Dark Age of Animation and Disney was cutting corners all over the place.
    • Oliver & Company featured Billy Joel as Dodger. Despite being a dog, Dodger still manages to bear some resemblance to Billy Joel.
    • Pocahontas:
      • Irene Bedard was the speaking voice and the physical model for the title character.
      • Christian Bale's character, Thomas, resembles the actor. Bale admitted as much in a 1995 interview for Disney Adventures, adding that Disney had even sent in an artist to sketch the actor's movements during recording.
      • Russell Means, an actual Oglala/Lakota Sioux Indian who voices Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas' father.
    • The moose brothers Rutt and Tuke from Brother Bear, being animal versions of the McKenzie Bros. from SCTV, would bear some resemblance to Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas respectively. Rutt was modeled with Rick's rounded eyes and lower lip, while Tuke was drawn with Dave's eyebrows.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: Davy Jones' facial features, especially his eyes and cheekbones, were modeled directly from Bill Nighy's head using motion-capture dots on his face.
    • Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, and Jerry Colonna as Alice in Wonderland's Alice, Mad Hatter, and March Hare, respectively.
    • Hans Conried as both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling in Peter Pan. Not only did he voice both characters, he modeled for them as well. This was one of the few things that the film had in common with the original stage play.
      • Also, in the same film, Bobby Driscoll as Peter Pan himself and Kathryn Beaumont as Wendy.
    • In Sleeping Beauty, Merryweather bears more than a passing resemblance to her voice actress, Barbara Luddy.
    • Ving Rhames as Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch.
    • Before Eddie Murphy was Donkey, he was Mushu the Dragon in Mulan.
    • According to the DVD commentary for Beauty and the Beast, the producers mentioned that Richard White and Jesse Corti were the physical doubles of Gaston and Lefou.
    • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is pretty much a tanned version of her VA Demi Moore.
    • One high point of Home on the Range: Steve Buscemi as... well, Steve Buscemi.
    • Tiana in The Princess and the Frog took a lot from Anika Noni Rose, even her left handed-ness.
    • When they were working on Pinocchio, the animators had a hard time trying to come up with a design for Geppetto until they cast character actor, Christian Rub for the role.
    • All four main characters in Wreck-It Ralph resemble their voice actors. Check this image for comparison.
    • While the creators of Frozen openly stated that they took more of their two leads' mannerisms and only a few from their features, Anna's strong resemblance to Kristen Bell is pretty obvious.
    • In The Lion King, Jeremy Irons was pleased that he could "see himself" in Scar, as animator Andreas Deja watched Irons' movies to incorporate his tics and mannerisms, and the lion's baggy eyes made Scar even closer to the original.
    • Justified in Enchanted, where the live-action actors have animated counterparts in the fairy tale world, although the extent of the resemblance varies. Animated Giselle looks more like a generic princess than Amy Adams, but Timothy Spall as Animated Nathaniel is spot on. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle.
  • DreamWorks Animation:
  • Robert Zemeckis' Motion Capture films:
    • The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks, has every single character's face altered to look like Tom Hanks, resulting in a very freaky looking main character.
    • Everyone in the 2007 Beowulf.
      • Ray Winstone noted that he loved watching the film because it cut twenty years off him and sent him to the gym, while still being recognizably him.
    • In A Christmas Carol (2009), Scrooge is made to resemble his voice actor Jim Carrey... that is, if Carrey were an old, miserly British man.
      • Even more obvious when the Ghost of Christmas Past has Jim Carrey's face.
  • Pixar:
    • The Incredibles: Samuel L. Jackson animated as-is to create Lucius/Frozone. On a side note Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr's facial features are based on a cross between Craig T. Nelson's face and a Greek hoplite's helmet.
      • Helen/Elastigirl isn't too far off from Holly Hunter.
      • Gilbert Huph and actor Wallace Shawn look fairly similar, too.
    • Wayne Knight as Al in Toy Story 2. It could be coincidence; either way, it was a character model that seriously suited the character.
    • Word of God stated on the DVD Commentary of that film notes that Dory from Finding Nemo looks an awful lot like Ellen Degeneres, despite being a fish. Once again, it was unintentional, it's just a result of the artists watching the footage of the voice actors and inserting subtle facial expressions, etc. Willem Dafoe's character, Gill, even has the same facial scar as the actor.
    • The opening sentence of Roger Ebert's Cars review:
    I wouldn't have thought that even in animation a 1951 Hudson Hornet could look simultaneously like itself and like Paul Newman, but you will witness that feat, and others, in "Cars."
  • Averted mostly in his early films, but Don Bluth eventually hopped on this bandwagon when the Disney Renaissance was gaining speed. The most notable examples occur in Thumbelina, with Mrs. Toad being mostly modeled after her voice actress, the Spanish actress/guitarist Charo (and jarringly so), and in Anastasia, where the titular character has a passing resemblance to Meg Ryan.
  • Rankin/Bass Productions:
    • Terry-Thomas voices one of the tailors in The Daydreamer. The character is far stouter than the fairly skinny Thomas, but shares his famed gap-toothed grin. (As does his character Sir Hiss in Disney's Robin Hood, with his forked snake tongue often wiggling through the gap.)
  • There is no denying that Davey in Eight Crazy Nights is basically just an animated version of Adam Sandler.
  • In Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World, Condi Ling is basically Margaret Cho.
  • In The Rugrats Movie, the two forest rangers clearly resemble David Spade and the aforementioned Whoopi Goldberg.
  • Avatar. Which, to be sure, was kind of the point.
  • In a non-animated example, the The Gingerdead Man looks exactly like Gary Busey.
  • Most of the human characters in Curious George look startlingly like their voice actors (Maggie is Drew Barrymore, Mr. Bloomsberry is Dick Van Dyke, Junior is David Cross etc). Notable exception: Ted, who looks nothing like Will Ferrell and more like... well... The Man In The Yellow Hat.
  • Curious example in The Lord of the Rings: though Andy Serkis played Gollum even on the set, the CGI design wasn't originally based on him, until in 2001 he was cast to play Sméagol (Gollum's previous self) for a flashback scene in Return of the King, and they redesigned it so they could show the transformation. They weren't in time to change the design for Fellowship though, but he hardly shows up in four scenes, all of which are in the dark, so it's no big deal.
    • One has to wonder, though, why they didn't replace Gollum with the new design in the Extended Edition of Fellowship, released just a month before The Two Towers. It's particularly egregious having in mind that more than half of his screentime in Fellowship wasn't in the theatrical cut.
  • In Epic Queen Tara looks an awful lot like Beyonce.
  • The Lego Movie:
    • President Business is a Lego minifig designed to look as much like Will Ferrell as a minifig can. This is intentional, as the character is a real world representation of Finn's father, played by Ferrell.
    • Chris Pratt has said in an interview Emmet, despite having the most generic and simplistic face a Lego minifig can have, has some subtle facial features that resemble his own, such as the proportions of the mouth and eyebrows.
  • Corpse Bride is about a man named Victor Van Dort accidentally marrying a dead woman... but with the character's strong resemblance to his voice actor, it might as well be about Johnny Depp marrying a dead woman instead. Also, resemblance to Helena Bonham-Carter can be seen in both Emily, who Bonham Carter voices, and Victoria, who is voiced by Emily Watson. This is because Victoria was originally going to be voiced by Bonham Carter, and as such was designed to look like her. When Bonham Carter asked to voice Emily instead, Emily was redesigned to look like her as well.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Three Muppet folk singers who appeared in skits on talk shows and the first season of The Muppet Show were Foam Suit Actor versions of Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Juhl. In one talk show appearance, the puppeteers wore identical outfits for the interview afterwards.
    • In the first couple episodes of The Muppet Show, the human guest stars were presented with Muppet version of themselves for the closing good-bye. This practice was quickly dropped, possibly due to expense, possibly due to it being slightly creepy.
  • Cantus the Minstrel in Fraggle Rock also looks like Jim Henson.
  • Stiller the Elf, voiced by Ben Stiller in Elmo's Christmas Countdown.

    Video Games 
  • Many movie-based games and TV shows have the likenesses and voices of the actors who played them in the live action version.
  • Beyond: Two Souls features Ellen Page. They are playing this trope up to the point where Page is credited as "starring Ellen Page", instead of the more usual "featuring the voice of Ellen Page".
    • Backfired badly when the game incorporated a shower sequence during a cutscene. Although Page had not intended for there to be any nudity, and indeed the cutscene itself shows none, hackers were able to manipulate the camera, revealing the "nude" model of the actress that was "off-camera".
  • BioWare has been doing this a lot in their games since they started using modern game engines:
    • Yvonne Strahovski's character in Mass Effect 2, Miranda Lawson, is basically her with, um, larger assets. Originally, Miranda was even a blonde, like her actress, but the team felt the character worked better with black hair.
    • The Illusive Man from the same series looks remarkably similar to Martin Sheen, only a bit younger.
    • Seth Green and Joker.
    • Mass Effect 3 also adds in Jessica Chobot, a real-life journalist playing fictional journalist Diana Allers, with her actual likeness, and Keith David as Admiral Anderson. The humanoid version of EDI also bears more than a passing resemblance, physically, to voice actress Tricia Helfer.
    • Tallis, from the Dragon Age: Redemption Web Series, is played by Felicia Day, who is serving as this for said character in the Dragon Age II DLC Mark of the Assassin.
    • An unintentional example is Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic. When developers realised her official artwork greatly resembled Jennifer Hale, they decided to run with the idea and redesign the character to include these similarities.
  • Karl Bishop Weyland from the 2010 Alien vs. Predator game was modeled after Lance Henriksen who played the android Bishop in Aliens and Charles Weyland in Alien vs. Predator.
  • Speaking of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, several of the characters in The Force Unleashed are modeled after their voice actors, most notably Sam Witwer as Galen Marek (when he joined Smallville it can be a bit surprising), Nathalie Cox as Juno Eclipse, and Cully Fredrickson as Rahm Kota. As with the above example, it works rather nicely.
    • The use of motion capture to better animate the characters' faces (by capturing the facial expressions of the voice actors) was a huge factor in this.
    • Another notable example would be the former Mandalorian turned Psycho for Hire Montross from Bounty Hunter who was rendered in the likeness of Clancy Brown.
    • In fact, Ink Suit Acting in LucasArts Star Wars games goes all the way back to Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight with the main characters rendered in the likeness of the actors who portrayed them in the live action cutscenes. Jason Court hasn't been Kyle Katarn's voice actor for everything, but his appearance has continued on through several additional games.
    • A slightly different example: the Star Wars Customizable Card Game's portraits for Talon Karrde and Corran Horn depicted their creators (Timothy Zahn and Michael J. Stackpole) in costume as their characters.
  • Brütal Legend
    • Eddie Riggs in was deliberately designed to look a bit like Jack Black, even before it was a done deal that Black was playing him. There's also Ozzy Osbourne as the Guardian of Metal, Lemmy as the Kill Master, Rob Halford as The Fire Baron, Brian Posehn as the Hunter, and Kyle Gass as the neurotic cannoneer.
  • Dead Space's major characters are modeled after their voice actors. Peter Mensah does Hammond, Tonantzin Carmelo does Kendra, Navid Negahban does Mercer, Keith Szarabajka does Kyne and Iyari Limon does Nicole. The biggest exception was Isaac Clarke in the original, who had no dialogue (beyond screaming and grunting) and whose face was only shown at the end. When he started talking and showing his face more in 2, they changed his model to look much closer to his voice actor, Gunner Wright; and as they recast Nicole, they changed her model to match her new actress, Tanya Clarke.
  • Agent 47 in the Hitman series of video games is closely modeled on the voice actor portraying him, David Bateson. He was originally considered to play 47 in the Hitman movie, but Bateson didn't feel he was athletic enough for the role.
  • Assassin's Creed had Kristen Bell as lab assistant Lucy Stillman. Or perhaps lab assistant Lucy Stillman as Kristen Bell. Jarring.
    • Some of the characters in II also look like their voice actors. This is particularly obvious in the live-action prequel Lineage, although Marco Barbarigo and every Auditore except Giovanni had a different voice actor in the game (Ezio was the only character to not physically resemble his Lineage counterpart).
  • The main characters in the Halo Gaiden Game Halo 3: ODST are modeled after their voice actors, who include Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin and Tricia Helfer. This is particularly apparent with Fillion's character Buck, as seen here.
  • Spyhunter: Nowhere to Run had Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, provide his voicework and likeness to main character, Alex Decker.
  • Many of the "talking heads" in Fallout bear at least some resemblance to their voice actors.
  • There's a mod for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that replaces Uriel Septim's head with Patrick Stewart's head.
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Genesis was modelled after his Japanese voice actor, Gackt.
  • All over the place in Battlefield 3; Agent Gordon is clearly Glenn Morshower, Blackburn is Gideon Emory with shorter hair, Vladimir is Ilia Volok with extra scars...a weird case, though, is Dima, who is modeled after Oleg Taktarov, but voiced by Andre Sogliuzzo.
  • Heavy Rain: The four main characters basically look like their voice/mocap actors. Especially Scott Shelby looks exactly the same as the actor who plays him.
  • The original Onimusha Trilogy loved this. Japanese Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro was used as the basis (and voice actor) of hero Samanosuke in the first and third games, while Jubei Yagyu in the second was based on the late Yusaku Matsuda. In the third game, Samanosuke is joined by french soldier Jaques Blanc, based off none other than Jean Reno, who also voiced him in the Japanese version (The American version uses a different English voice actor, but keeps Reno's French dialogue).
  • James Bond
    • EA's Everything or Nothing has almost every major character modeled on and voiced by a well known face. While Bond, M, Q, and Jaws resembling Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench, John Cleese, and Richard Keil was obligatory, Willem Dafoe, Shannon Elizabeth, Heidi Klum and singer Mya all have their respective characters based on them. As a result, EON is often looked upon as the fifth Brosnan Bond movie and his true swan song (it was made after Die Another Day but before he was replaced by Daniel Craig).
    • For the remake of GoldenEye Wii, in addition to Daniel Craig lending his likeness to James Bond, Alec, Xenia, and Natalya are modeled after their voice actors.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 features a New York senator named Lieber, which happens to be the real last name of his actor.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas quite a few of the characters are modeled off of their voice actors, including James Woods as MIB Mike Toreno, David Cross as Zero, Charlie Murphy as Jizzy B, and, perhaps most notably, Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Frank Tenpenny who also shares some of the mannerisms Jackson typically has in his other films.
    • Phil Collins is the first celebrity to appear As Himself in the GTA series in Vice City Stories. There is even a mission involving him where the player must prevent the Forelli mob from sabotaging Phil's concert.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Ricky Gervais and Katt Williams appear as themselves for the Split Sides Comedy Club routines (with Frankie Boyle added for the Lost and the Damned DLC) while former UFC fighter Bas Rutten appears as a hyper-masculine parody of himself in The Men's Room in-game TV show.
    • Grand Theft Auto V does this with all of its characters.
  • Vin Diesel does this frequently. Wheelman, for instance, was labelled "Vin Diesel: Wheelman", as a pile of polygons arranged in a not-un-Vin-like shape 'played' Milo Burik, an undercover FBI agent.
  • The Beauties in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are based off the models who performed the motion capture for them.
  • L.A. Noire used Motion Scan technology, developed specifically for the game, to fully capture the actors' facial expression. Recognizable actors among the cast include Aaron Staton of Mad Men and John Noble of Fringe.
  • Call of Duty 4 has Staff Sergeant Griggs, who was voiced by, named, and modeled after Infinity Ward's lead animator at the time, Mark Grigsby.
    • Continued in Call of Duty: Black Ops: excluding the "named after" part, it's the same as above for Alex Mason (Sam Worthington), Jason Hudson (Ed Harris), and Joseph Bowman (Ice Cube).
  • Three central characters in the 2012 Syndicate reboot look very much like their voice actors Michael Wincott, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son basically let's you play as a super-powered Troy Baker.
  • Flak in Fallout 3 appears to be modeled after voice actor Gus Travers. Likewise, James is modeled after Liam Neeson.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, Bruce Isaac looks like Gregory Alan Williams, and Sunny Smiles resembles Katherine Pawlak(when she's not wearing bangs). Likewise for Benny(Matthew Perry), Mr. House(Rene Auberjonois), The King(James Horan), Nero(Alex Mendoza), Julie Farkas(Laura Bailey), Arcade Gannon(Zachary Levi), Colonel Moore(Kirsten Potter), President Kimball(Monte Markham), Chief Hanlon(Kris Kristofferson), Ambassador Crocker(Emerson Brooks), Cass(Rachel Roswell), Caesar (John Doman), Vulpes Inculta(Jason Spisak), Aurelius of Phoenix(Yuri Lowenthal), Follows Chalk(Christian Lanz), Waking Cloud(Misi Lecube), Trudy(Lora Cain), Doc Mitchell(Michael Hogan), Stella(Eliza Schneider), Father Elijah(Richard Herd), Samuel Cooke(Avery K. Waddell), and the Forecaster(Anthony Crehan), as seen here.
      • The default male and female Courier faces are modeled after Yuri Lowenthal and Laura Bailey, respectively.
  • Half-Life 2: While Robert Guiillaume did provide the voice for Eli Vance, the character model is not based on him (though there are some similarities). As the book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar states: (Page 123, regarding model references) "Eli was holding a sign and looking for work on the street."
  • Michael Rooker, who played Merle Dixon in The Walking Dead, had his appearance digitized and used in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, a video game based on the show continuity, featuring Merle as an important character.
  • Basically the entire cast in Devil May Cry 3 did both the motion capture for their characters as well as being their voice actors.
  • Vaas from Far Cry 3 is modeled after his voice actor Michael Mando, who also plays him in live-action promo clips.
  • Star Trek Online has appearances by (usually aged-up) versions of several characters from the live-action Star Trek series, with the original Trek actors voicing the characters. So far we have Denise Crosby playing Empress Sela and a once-again-time-shifted Natasha Yar, Michael Dorn playing Ambassador Worf, son of Mogh, and as of "A Step Between Stars", Rear Admiral Tuvok played by Tim Russ. Also, Captain Va'Kel Shon, CO of the Enterprise-F, is the spitting image of his voice actor Dave Rivas, except Andorian and clean-shaven instead of human with a goatee.
  • Need For Speed: The Run features accurate CGI representations of Sean Faris and Christina Hendricks, the latter even depicted accurately with regards to her, um, proportions.
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins, Lady Shiva greatly resembles her voice actress, Kelly Hu.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sunstone Lisa's characters in her online erotic BDSM writings are clearly based on her and Ally. This causes problems when Lisa decides the logical way to introduce her new friend to the ideas of the scene is to link her to her bibliography. Love Triangle tropes ensue. It gets even worse when Lisa explicitly writes Anne into the story.

    Western Animation 
  • Adam West on Family Guy. In fact, there's a whole trope for this particular arrangement.
  • Dr. Blight from Captain Planet and the Planeteers happens to resemble her voice actress, Meg Ryan.
    • Most of the villains resembled their voice actors.
  • Rick Moranis in Gravedale High.
  • John Candy in Camp Candy.
  • Rodney Dangerfield — the guy who didn't get no respect — was animated as a dog for the movie Rover Dangerfield.
  • Arthur does this a lot. Examples: Fred Rogers as an aardvark (or as close to one as the Reads are), Art Garfunkel as a moose, Yo-Yo Ma as a rabbit.
  • Ed Wuncler from The Boondocks animated series bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor, Edward Asner.
  • The creators of Transformers Animated mentioned that their version of Wreck-Gar's facial features were partially modeled after those of his voice actor, "Weird Al" Yankovic. Of course, Weird Al is pretty cartoony looking himself. Likewise, The Autobots' human forms in the Transformers Animated episode "Human Error" all resemble their voice actors David Kaye (Optimus Prime), Bumper Robinson (Bumblebee), Bill Fagerbakke (Bulkhead), Corey Burton (Ratchet), and Jeff Bennett (Prowl), respectively.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic also appeared in Lilo & Stitch: The Series as a minstrel at a medieval festival.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic also provided his voice for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. His character Cheese Sandwich is Weird Al himself as a cartoon pony. And Maud Pie, from the episode of the same name, resembles her VA, Ingrid Nilson.
  • Stephen Colbert is one of several guest stars on The Simpsons not to play himself, but life coach Colby Krause does have the same hair, voice, glasses and fashion sense.
    • Also Ricky Gervais as Charles.
    • This might be an inversion, but take a look at Dan Castellaneta sometime. Even though he is much thinner than Homer, there's no denying the similarity in hairstyle (or lack thereof).
      • The difference is more notable when Dan Castellaneta actually appeared as himself in a Simpsons episode. Naturally, Homer mocks him.
      • Spinal Tap have also been on the show in Ink Suit Actors, just as other bands have, except Spinal Tap are played by actors including Harry Shearer whose cartoon face gets so dominated by the facial hair and wig that he ends up looking nothing like himself.
    • The woman who goes on a date with Moe in the "Love-Matic Grampa" segment of the "Spinoff Showcase" episode looks a lot like Tress MacNeille, who voiced her. They mention it in the DVD commentary, so it was probably intentional.
    • Topher Grace voiced Donny, the new kid hired by Skinner to infiltrate Bart's gang, in "The Debarted."
    • Sarah Silverman looks an awful lot like Nikki in "Stealing First Base."
    • In "Smart and Smarter", Simon Cowell played a character so like himself it was odd to hear him called "Henry". He even lampshades it himself during the credits.
      • Homer's friends John and Ray Magini were just as obvious.
    • Springfield's sanitation commissioner, Ray Patterson, closely resembles Steve Martin, his voice actor for his only appearance, "Trash of the Titans."
    • Marge's convict friend Dwight bears a close resemblance to Steve Buscemi, who's a good sport about the other characters calling him "needy and bug-eyed."
      • This doubles as a case of Celebrity Paradox, as Buscemi had previously appeared on the show as himself.
    • Larry Burns is Rodney Dangerfield.
  • The Flintstones often had stars with slightly-altered names ("Ann Margarock", et al), though this shades over into Simpson-like Special Guest territory since the characters were so blatantly their actors.
    • Fred Flintstone was drawn to closely resemble original voice actor Alan Reed. This becomes obvious when one compares Reed's cameo appearance in Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was released the same year The Flintstones debuted on TV.
  • Ricardo Montalban as Armando Gutierrez in Freakazoid!. He even quotes some of his old lines from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Parodied in American Dad!: Avery Bullock, Stan's egocentric and somewhat incompetent boss, is so similar to acclaimed William Shakespeare/Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart that it becomes a joke to see an obviously British individual in charge of an American national security agency. This was made even more obvious in an episode where the character attracted a short-lived (literally — he later kills her when she approaches him from behind and his combat instincts kick in) girlfriend with his "sexy accent". Seth MacFarlane has claimed that one of the challenges of scripting the character is getting Patrick Stewart to act completely out of type.
  • The Warden of Superjail! looks suspiciously like his voice actor, David Wain. All he's really missing is the suit/hat combo and the yellow tint on his glasses.
    • Oddly, when he does get medium blended into live-action (at the end of "Dream Machine"), he's instead portrayed by the lead singer of the band Les Savy Fav.
    • In an earlier episode of Wainy Days, David Wain first ends up in prison, then appears dressed very similarly like the Warden. Draw your own conclusions.
    • In the second season episode "Ghosts", John Waters voices some Aztec shaman that looks like him.
  • Many characters (usually the narrators and main characters) in the mostly stop-motion Rankin/Bass holiday specials of the '60s and '70s were modeled after their voice actors.
    • Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is probably the definitive example, so much so that Ives is now more famous for that role than for his folksinging or his Oscar-winning turn in The Big Country, even though he only provides a voice here. Look at a picture of the guy, and then at the snowman, and you'll see why people think of the snowman as being him rather than simply being played by him.
  • One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had the segment "Just Say Julie Bruin," featuring a buxom Funny Animal version of Julie Brown in a parody of her MTV show.
    • And is voiced by another Julie Brown (American comedienne, singer, songwriter, etc) but not the British Actress that was on MTV.
      • Earlier in the same episode, a They Might Be Giants song is played by Plucky and Hamton — both redrawn to be caricatures of the two Johns.
      • Flansburgh, who is somewhat heavyset, was apparently offended at being drawn as a pig. In the DVD commentary he wondered why he only watched it once, and on seeing it again commented that was why.
  • This was the original plan for The Powerpuff Girls episode "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey". The Gnome was to have been voiced by Jack Black, and was even physically based on him, though by the time recording came around, Jack Black was too busy to do his part, so they found the Poor Man's Substitute in the form of Jess Harnell, making it into No Celebrities Were Harmed.
  • In the Doctor Who animated webcast "Scream of the Shalka", Richard E. Grant voiced a now non-canonical ninth incarnation of the Doctor who looked almost exactly like him.
    • In fact, all the major characters resembled their voice actors; the hope was that the webisode would get enough support to start up the TV show again with that cast, so making the characters look like the actors would make it possible to use the webisode as part of continuity for the new series. As it turns out, that plan fell over, as the renewal of the show had already been announced before it aired.
    • Similarly in the webcast "Death Comes To Time". Apart from the Seventh Doctor and Ace (who obviously look like they did in the series), the Minister of Chance (voiced by Stephen Fry) looks like this.
    • In the webcast version of "Shada", all of the humanoid guest characters look like the actors who voiced them in the webcast rather than the actors who appeared in the unfinished live-action version.
    • In the Bernice Summerfield webcast Dead and Buried, Bernice looks quite a bit like her voice acress, Lisa Bowerman. But then, she always did, long before Bowerman was cast.
  • Stripperella looks like her voice actress Pamela Anderson. Given that a major part of this series is about a well-endowed stripper turned crime-fighting Action Girl...
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut most of the celebrity cameos are playing people, be it other celebrities, established South Park characters or new characters, who look nothing like themselves. The exception is George Clooney, who voices Dr. Gouache, who bears a resemblance to Clooney. This may be because Dr. Gouache is a parody of Clooney's character Dr. Ross on ER.
  • The creators of Kim Possible admitted that they created the character of "Motor Ed" to look and act like John DiMaggio because they thought his off-mike personality had great comedy potential.
    • And Ricardo Montalban gets his usual treatment as Senor Senior Sr.
      • Adam West was clearly the visual model for the Adam West expy Timothy North, aka The Fearless Ferret. The whole ep was an Affectionate Parody of the '60s TV Batman, with West playing a delusional actor who thought he was the superhero he played and roped Ron into taking on the role as well.
    • Cheese and crackers, Barkin looks a lot like Patrick Warburton.
    • Monique bears more than a passing resemblance to Raven-Symoné.
  • There's a whole mess of this on The Venture Bros.:
  • Bruce Timm's toy store owner in the Gray Ghost episode of Batman: The Animated Series. This episode also featured Adam West as an actor who can't get work because he was typecast by a costumed crime fighter show he did decades ago.
    • As the series itself wore on the characters started to resemble their voice actors more and more, it doesn't hurt that some of them already looked similar to those playing them, special mention goes to Richard Moll and Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Paul Williams as The Penguin, and Ron Perlman as Matt Hagan/Clayface.
    • Harley Quinn, the Joker's lovable henchwoman, was based on her voice-actress, Arleen Sorkin. The producers are apparently amazed that she still talks to them.
  • A debatable case: is Amanda Waller in the DCAU modeled on actress C.C.H. Pounder, or is it just that to get the right voice they needed an actress the same physical type as the character?
  • In the Gargoyles episode "The Mirror", the gargoyles' human forms were made to resemble their voice actors according to Greg Weisman.
    • Gargoyles also based Elisa Maza's appearance on voice actress Salli Richardson. Yes, there is a real woman who looks and sounds exactly like Elisa Maza. Recursive Perverse Sexual Lust?
    • David Xanatos looks very similar to his voice actor Jonathan Frakes, though Word of God says this is a coincidence, as Xanatos was designed before Frakes was cast..
    • Hudson, for a gargoyle, loosely resembles his voice actor Ed Asner.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Coltrane, who debuts without a voice in "The Best Lazy Day" as the guitarist in Jeremy's band and an apparent love interest to Stacy. Later, shortly after Corbin Bleu became his voice actor, Coltrane reappeared with a new look that gave him better resemblance to Corbin.
    • In addition, the manager of the Hawaiian hotel is modeled after Phill Lewis, who voices him. (Also an Actor Allusion, since the character is basically Mr Moseby.)
    • In the episode "Live and Let Drive", The guys from the UK version of Top Gear make an appearance They even matched a typical wardrobe for the guys. Hammond is wearing a dark suit jacket over a white button up shirt, Clarkson has tan suit jacket and white shirt, and James May is wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt. An image can be seen here
  • Looney Tunes' Elmer Fudd briefly went through this in the early 1940s when the animators thought that maybe the girth of his voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, added to the humor of his speech impediment.
    • June Foray provided the voice of Witch Hazel and in "Broomstick Bunny" she was used as the model for Hazel's beautified form at the end.
  • The 1959 short "The Mouse That Jack Built" had the cast of The Jack Benny Program playing animated mouse versions of themselves.
  • Four on The Fairly Oddparents: Teen pop idol Chip Skylark is **NSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick in animated form. Norm the Genie is modeled after, named after, and voiced by former Saturday Night Live member Norm MacDonald. Superhero "The Crimson Chin" is modeled after and voiced by Jay Leno, whose most prominent feature is his chin. Finally, Dr. Rip Studwell looks like Butch Hartman, the series creator who also does his voice.
    • Technically five, counting the Head Pixie, played the aforementioned Ben Stein (also a partial subversion, since he plays all the pixies).
  • Possibly Ricky Tomlinson as Santa in Robbie the Reindeer. Or it could just be that an overweight guy with a beard is inevitably going to look a bit like Ricky Tomlinson...
  • In the Justice League episode "Flash and Substance," Mark Hamill voices the Trickster, a Flash villain modeled on the actor who played him in the 1990s live-action series — Mark Hamill. The Trickster being an expy of sorts for the Joker. Who in the wider DC Animated Universe is played by (you guessed it) Mark Hamill.
    • Just to tie it all together, his live-action performance as the Trickster played a big part in him getting the later role.
  • Ricardio on Adventure Time is a rather creepy-looking example. Just takes George Takei's face with extreme detail and put it onto a cartoon heart.
  • Julie in Heavy Metal 2000, modeled after and voiced by B-movie actress Julie Strain. The same actress is in the same Ink Suit in the game adaptation, F.A.K.K.2.
  • King of the Hill's numerous celebrity guest stars occasionally played themselves, but whether or not they did, their characters looked like them the majority of the time.
    • John Redcorn was also reportedly modeled on Victor Aaron, his original voice actor.
    • Octavio is essentially an animated clone of his voice actor, Danny Trejo.
  • The Narrator and title character of Willow The Wisp looks a lot like Kenneth Williams.
  • Richard Simmons as Coach Salmons in Fish Hooks.
  • In Clone High, Larry Hardcore/The Pusher is Jack Black.
  • In Hey Arnold!, the gang's teacher, Mr. Simmons, is a dead ringer for his voice actor, Dan Butler. This is especially noticeable because the show has an extremely idiosyncratic character design, to say the least.
  • Jason Griffith of 4Kids Entertainment fame has joked that all of the voice cast for Chaotic look like their characters.
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo features Vincent Price as "Vincent Van Ghoul", a sorcerer drawn as a near-exact likeness, possibly also capitalising on Price's resemblance to Doctor Strange.
  • Many of the Recess cast happen to look like the characters they played. They commented on this on a documentary they did for the Disney Channel.
  • According to the Audio Commentary, Eunice from the Futurama episode "Proposition Infinity" is modelled after the episode's director Crystal Chesney-Thompson. The brief on the character apparently was that she should look "girly, but nerdy." Animator's response? "Oh, she should look like Crystal then!"
  • In an episode of The Batman, Allison Mack voice acts for a character that looks exactly like her. Doubles as Actor Allusion because the character's name is Clea
  • Now-cancelled Arnold Schwarzenegger project The Governator blends this with No Celebrities Were Harmed, as the main character is a fictionalized version of his voice actor (basically Arnold if he decided he wanted to be Bruce Wayne)—but animated versions of Schwarzenegger's wife and children, who aren't in the acting business, will also be featured. Alas, the project was shelved due to Arnold's troubles in his personal life.
  • Benny the Ball in Top Cat, voiced by Maurice Gosfield, is modelled on Private Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show ... played by Maurice Gosfield.
  • The New Scooby-Doo Movies used a number of celebrities in cartoon form, most notably Don Knotts (although Don Adams and Sonny and Cher aren't the most likely people to be seen on screen with Mystery Inc. either). Season two of Hanna-Barbera's Wait Till Your Father Gets Home had guest stars in cartoon form as well.
  • Warner Bros. cartoons did this a lot, probably reaching its zenith in Tex Avery's 1941 short "Hollywood Steps Out."
  • Cree Lincoln from Codename: Kids Next Door bears some resemblance to her voice actress and namesake Cree Summer, even with a similar hairstyle.
  • Zhao from Avatar: The Last Airbender looks quite a bit like his voice actor, Jason Isaacs. Co-creator Micheal Dante DiMartino confirmed in an interview that when creating Zhao, he was inspired by Isaacs performance as a villain in The Patriot. He asked the casting director to get "someone like Jason Isaacs" for the role, and she ended up getting Isaacs himself instead.
  • Tooley, the Dumb Muscle Dragon in Motorcity looks quite a bit like his actor Jim Breuer. Tennie, the Wrench Wench looks a bit like her voice actress Aimee Garcia even commenting "I was so flattered [creator Chris Prynoski] made her look like me and even gave her my freckles!"
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's designs are caricatures of their voice actors Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway, particularly of their roles in McHale's Navy.
    • While Spongebob wasn't really designed to look like Tom Kenny, his thick-rimmed glasses were supposedly based off of Kenny's own pair.
  • Bud Abbott voiced a direct animated adaptation of himself for the 1966 Abbott and Costello cartoons, while Stan Irwin substituted for the late Lou Costello.
  • Jon Lovitz as Jay Sherman in The Critic.
  • Baileywick in Sofia the First is a dead ringer for Tim Gunn (and no prizes for guessing who provides the voice).
  • In The 7D, the main antagonist, Hildy Gloom, bears more than a passing resemblance to her actress Kelly Osbourne, especially the purple hair.

    Coincidences 
Anime

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Web Original

Western Animation
  • The characters in Archer were based on local people that the creators knew, but some ended up looking like their voice actors anyway, like Malory and Lana.
    • It's also hard to say how much of a coincidence it is that Len Trexler looks so much like Jeffrey Tambor.
    • Kari Wahlgren also plays one of these in season 2.
  • David Xanatos, the main villain in Disney's Gargoyles, clearly resembles his voice actor, Jonathan Frakes. According to the official FAQ, however, the character's appearance was settled before Frakes was cast.
    • Actually, Jonathan Frakes is a character played by meat suit actor David Xanatos.
  • Batman does not resemble Kevin Conroy. Kevin Conroy just happens to look like Batman.
  • Likewise, Tim Daly looks like he could play Superman in live-action.
  • It's unclear whether it was intentional, but Grey DeLisle looks a lot like Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender, what with the soft black hair and signature red lips. The only difference is that Azula is from the Fire Nation, who are modeled after East Asians. (Oh, and Azula is a teenager.)
  • In Wing Commander Academy, the animated Admiral Tolwyn bears a close resemblence to Malcolm McDowell, who voiced the character, and also played the live action version of the character in Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV/
  • The main six kids in Recess eerily resembled their voice actors (though it was coincidental). Ashley Johnson (Gretchen) lampshaded this in the DVD bonus features to Recess: School's Out. For example, Gus was a dead ringer for his voice actor, Courtland Mead, with the sole exception that the latter didn't wear glasses. T.J. was this even moreso for his second voice actor, Andrew Lawrence.
  • Despite the baldness, Tenzin of Legend Of Korra bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor, JK Simmons.
  • A large number of guest stars during later seasons of Garfield and Friends, including but not limited to Rip Taylor, Ray Jay Johnson, and Eddie Lawrence doing his "Old Philosopher" routine in cat form. Most notable was adding Aloysius, a pastiche of voicing comedian Kevin Meaney (right down to his catchphrase, "That's not right!"), as a recurring character on U.S. Acres.
  • Ron Perlman, who voiced Slade/Deathstroke in Teen Titans, looks very similar to Deathstroke's alter-ego in the comics.
  • Matt Lanter, a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, looks very similar to his character.
    • So does Stephen Stanton (Captain Tarkin). Stephen took it one step further: In Star Wars Celebration VI, he actually cosplayed as Captain Tarkin.
  • Ray Stantz is one for Frank Welker.
  • The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie has The Queen Of Night, who bears a striking resemblance to her voice actor, Britt Allcroft, who also created the show!


Hello NurseCartoon CharactersLilliputians
Hey, It's That Voice!Voice Acting TropesLarynx Dissonance
Human-Focused AdaptationThe Millennium Age of AnimationLighter and Softer
Inkblot Cartoon StyleAnimation TropesKnife Outline
Genre ThrowbackThe Renaissance Age of AnimationLicensed Game
ShrekImageSource/Animated FilmsInterspecies Romance
Informed SpeciesImageSource/PhotographyInnocent Blue Eyes
Clone HighFunny/Western AnimationMega Man

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