This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Separated-at-Birth Casting

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Glee-Kurt-young-actor_400_723.jpg
Adam Kolkin and Chris Colfer. No, they're not related.

Sometimes, casting directors are called upon to cast, say, a father and son, or two brothers, or a younger and older version of the same character. And sometimes, they find someone that looks so uncannily like the original actor that it comes as a surprise to the viewers that the two aren't actually related.

Not to be confused with Real-Life Relative, which is when the actors actually are related, either by blood or marriage, and not necessarily playing relatives.

Examples

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     Advertising 
  • In the Kia commercials with Blake Griffin time traveling to his childhood selves, the childhood versions of him look a lot like him. This is especially strange because Blake Griffin is somewhat of an unusual looking person, being a biracial guy with brownish red hair and freckles.

    Film 

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Glee:
    • A flashback depicted Kurt as a young adolescent. The actor chosen to portray Chris Colfer's character Kurt bears an uncanny resemblance to a younger Chris Colfer (as pictured above right).
      • Adam Kolkin is set to play young Colfer again in Struck by Lightning.
    • The character of Shelby Corcoran (portrayed by actress Idina Menzel) is the mother of the character Rachel Berry (portrayed by actress Lea Michele). Menzel was presumably cast due, in part, to her striking resemblance to Michele.
  • Younger versions of Sam and Dean of Supernatural nicknamed the Weechesters tend to look quite a bit like them, especially when the age gap is smaller. It's not incredibly hard to find a mop-top and chisel-chest, but it helps when they actually get the demeanors down too.
  • The character of Niles on Frasier was created after producers noticed David Hyde Pierce's uncanny resemblance to a younger Kelsey Grammer.
  • Ant and Dec have Little Ant and Dec (their variety show Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had trotting out "little [insert name here]" versions of various guests as a feature, including Little Little Ant And Dec).
  • The Mitchell brothers in EastEnders.
  • Jamie Walters as the younger version of Dean Stockwell's character in Quantum Leap.
  • In the made-for-TV film Hawking, Stephen Hawking (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the actors who play his parents seriously look like they could actually be related.
  • Lori Loughlin and Shenae Grimes on 90210 play a mother and daughter that actually look alike.
  • Gene Wilder had a short-lived sitcom called Something Wilder in the mid-Nineties where he played father to two little boys. One of whom was virtually a miniature clone of him.
  • The brothers Hank and Evan Lawson on Royal Pains. They're supposed to be New York Jews; while Mark Feueurstein is Jewish and from NYC, Paulo Costanzo is from Toronto and is of Italian descent.
  • Malese Jow looks so much like Miranda Cosgrove that Malese was chosen to play Carly's lookalike in "iLookalike".
  • Lachlan Nieboer, who played Gray, Jack Harkness's brother on Torchwood, looked and sounded like a younger version of John Barrowman, despite not being related.
  • Once Upon a Time does this excellently.
    • Ginnifer Goodwin from Big Love and Jennifer Morrison from House, two actresses who for years people have said shared a resemblance and have often been confused with each other, are now playing mother and daughter.
      • Hilarious note: In commentary on a season one OUaT episode, Ginnifer Goodwin said that they were mistaken for each other so often that they both, completely independently of each other, just gave up and started signing autographs and giving interviews as each other.
    • Whatever features Morrison doesn't share with Goodwin, she seems to share with Josh Dallas, her onscreen father.
    • Bailee Madison played Goodwin's character as a child and the actress could easily pass for Goodwin's daughter or young sister. She also nailed some of her mannerisms.
    • And when Rena Sofer was cast as Snow's mother, it's easy to note how much she looks like Goodwin.
    • Rose McGowan played Young Cora and bears a striking resemblance to Barbara Hershey, as well as nailing Cora's haughty demeanor.
    • Kristin Bauer also looks enough like Angelina Jolie to almost provide a sense of continuity with the live-action Maleficent film.
    • The actresses who play Emma as a child and teenager are dead ringers for Morrison, especially Abby Ross as teenaged Emma.
  • The boys playing a young Earl and Randy on My Name Is Earl.
  • Victor Garber and Jennifer Garner as father and daughter on Alias.
  • Charisma Carpenter and Alexandra Chando on The Lying Game.
  • Andrea Brooks, who plays the teenage version of Amelia on The Secret Circle, looks likes she could be Britt Robertson's twin.
  • Elizabeth Penn Payne, the Masked Woman (aka Alexis Meade) on Ugly Betty has nearly the exact same eyes as Rebecca Romijn.
  • On 8 Simple Rules, Martin Spanjers and Amy Davidson, who play brother and sister, look like they actually could be (contrast Kaley Cuoco as their other sibling, who looks nothing like them or either of the parents: John Ritter and Katey Sagal).
  • Averted on Full House. Here, the three girls (all blonde) look more like the blond Dave Coulier, who plays the unrelated Joey, than either Danny (their father) or Jesse (their uncle). The girl are said to take after their blonde mother, Pam, who is Jesse's sister.
    • Continued as when Jesse's sons are born, they are blond — again, looking more like the blond Joey.
    • However, played straight by Candace Cameron (DJ) and Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie), who resemble each other enough that they easily pass for sisters.
  • When Teri Garr guest-starred on Friends, the producers took advantage of her resemblance to Lisa Kudrow by casting her as Phoebe's birth-mother.
    • Christina Applegate portrayed one of Rachel's sisters on the show, and the resemblance to Jennifer Aniston is hard to ignore.
  • Sal Barone, the original actor for D.J. on Roseanne, left the show after the pilot, for various reasons; but what sealed the deal in casting Michael Fishman as his replacement was that he looked just like Roseanne Barr. (In fact, in one episode, Dan even remarks, clearly gobsmacked, how D.J. looks exactly like his mother when she gives him a dirty look.
  • The actor for Al's twin brother in Home Improvement is actually of no relation to Richard Karn. The producers looked long and hard for a nigh-identical guy. Jonathan Taylor Thomas was also cast as Randy partly because he looks like he could actually be Tim Allen's son.
  • From Merlin, the mother/son duos of Colin Morgan and Caroline Faber (Merlin/Hunith) and Bradley James and Alice Patten (Arthur/Ygraine) are jaw-droppingly similar in facial structure and eye colour. John Lynch was also the perfect choice to play Merlin's father. See the Character Sheet for pictures.
  • OnLast Man Standing, the actresses who played the Baxter daughters in season one (Alexandra Krosney, Molly Ephraim, and Kaitlyn Dever) all look alike. Beginning in season two, Krosney (Kristin) was replaced by Amanda Fuller who does not resemble the other two as much. One Halloween episodes features Ephraim and Dever dressing up as each other's characters and you can almost not tell the actresses switched roles.
  • From NCIS, Abby (Pauley Perrette, who apparently invokes this trope) and her brother (Daniel Rivas) were literally separated at birth in-universe.
    • And with Brighton Sharbino as 10-year-old Abby.
    • S12E3, "So It Goes", features a number of flashbacks to Ducky's youth. Adam Campbell, the actor chosen to play Ducky in the flashbacks, is a dead ringer for David McCallum as he looked 50 years earlier as Ilya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
    • Robert Wagner has appeared numerous times as Tony's father and he and Michael Weatherly do look as though they could be father and son. This could also count as a Casting Gag, as Michael Weatherly played a younger Wagner in 2004's "The Mystery of Natalie Wood."
  • Eliza Coupe and Elisha Cuthbert as sisters Jane and Alex Kerkovich on Happy Endings.
  • Downton Abbey is noted for its excellent casting in this respect:
    • The resemblance between Lady Cora Crawley and her on-screen daughter Lady Mary is quite strong, especially considering that Elizabeth McGovern is American with no recent British relations while Michelle Dockery is English (although her father is Irish).
    • Tom Branson and his older brother Kieran have the same hair and similar facial features; Allen Leech and Ruari Conaghan are not related.
  • Scrubs: Zach Braff and Tom Cavenaugh look so alike that it is easy to believe them as brothers.
  • Exploited on Gilmore Girls as Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel play mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory have been mistaken for sisters in-universe.
    • Gilmore Girls is an interesting example in that creator Amy Sherman-Palladino cast Graham based on the fact that she perfectly exemplified Sherman-Palladino's vision for Lorelai in terms of personality, and Bledel had a bit of an attitude during one of her callbacks (due to being sick at the time) that Sherman-Palladino quite enjoyed. The fact that they look nearly identical was just a bonus, with Sherman-Palladino herself chalking it up to "pixie dust".
  • Lost: Sterling Beaumon, who play young Ben Linus, bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Emerson.
  • Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller had already been cast in Prison Break as brothers Lincoln Burrows and Michael Schofield before they both arrived on set with matching haircuts, which even further confirms the perfect casting of the two.
  • Ray Romano and Brad Garrett on Everybody Loves Raymond could so easily be brothers in real life. It helps that both stand well over six feet tall, Garrett (Robert Barone) exceptionally so. In an episode where Romano plays a younger version of the Barones' father, Frank Barone, in a "flashback" scene, he is exceptionally convincing as a younger version of Peter Boyle, who played Frank.
    • Fred Stoller who plays Ray's cousin Gerard looks and sounds like him which was a plot point to the episode where he first appears.
    • Subverted with Madylin, Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten, who play Ray and Debra's kids, a group of blondes to Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton's brunette's, which became a joke to the cast.
      Robert/Brad: Hahaha they still don't look like either of ya!
  • Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter, otherwise known as the Dunphy sisters on Modern Family both bear a strong resemblance to Ty Burrell, their on-screen dad.
    • Also subverted, as while Hyland and Winter don't look that much alike (mostly due to Hyland's darker skin tone), they sound nearly identical
    • Likewise, Ty Burrell bears a strong enough resemblance to Fred Willard that they can realistically portray a father and son.
  • Not only does Growing Pains Tracey Gold look like she could believably be Kirk Cameron's sister, she looks like Kirk's actual sister, Candace Cameron.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Natalie Dormer looks enough like a young Diana Rigg that they could realistically play grandmother and granddaughter on the show.
    • Likewise, Finn Jones and Natalie Dormer could pass for brother and sister in real life, despite not being related.
    • Emilia Clarke and Harry Lloyd as siblings Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen have an uncanny similarity.
    • Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy) and his on-screen nephew Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) also bear an uncanny resemblance. Even the fridge page makes a note on this.
    • Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) bears a strong resemblance to Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), his on-screen mother, especially in terms of their facial structure. Once Cersei cuts her hair in season 5, the resemblance becomes even more apparent.
    • All over the place in the Stark family, depending on who takes after who:
      • Michelle Fairley and Sophie Turner as mother and daughter Catelyn and Sansa Stark. When Petyr Baelish says Sansa looks just like a younger Cat, with the traditional House Tully appearance, the audience can see the resemblance. (Auburn hair, porcelain skin, elfin features and big blue eyes, etc.)
      • Richard Madden (Robb Stark) and his in-show half brother (who is later revealed to actually be his cousin) Kit Harington (Jon Snow) look similar enough that a common criticism of the first few episodes is that it's hard to tell which is which when they're in the same scene.
      • Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) who play the younger Stark siblings, have very similar facial features particularly high cheekbones, long noses and bushy eyebrows, as well as sharing Madden and Harington's dark hair and pale skin which is acknowledged in-universe as the signature Stark look.
      • Robb and Bran's looks are actually a change from the books where only Jon and Arya look alike in inheriting the Stark long face and coloring, while Robb and Bran have Catelyn's Tully features and look more like Sansa and Rickon. Notably, Catelyn is resentful that Ned's illegitimate son looks more like him than any of the trueborn sons she bore, and Arya feels like an outcast partially because she has inherited the Stark look while her other siblings, except for Jon (Ned Stark's son by another woman), have all inherited the Tully look.
      • When she finally appears in flashbacks portrayed by Aisling Franciosi, Lyanna Stark bears a striking resemblance to her son Jon Snow. Also, she has facial traits very reminiscent of Maisie William's, who in the books is said to be Lyanna's spitting image.
  • The casting department on Peaky Blinders really must be commended. Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, and Joe Cole as the three eldest Shelby brothers all share the same blue eyes and jawline, and Anderson in particular is a dead ringer for a younger Tommy Flanagan, who plays their father. Among the ladies, Helen McCrory and Sophie Rundle could play mother and daughter, not aunt and niece, and they both share similar features with the men of the family. Youngest Shelby brother Finn as played by Alfie Evans-Meese wasn't as close a fit, resemblance-wise, but Harry Kirton as the teenaged Finn looks exactly like Cole.
  • On Charmed Emmalee Thompson plays Prue as a young child in three episodes. The resemblance between her and Shannen Doherty is striking — they even have the same smile. Jennifer Rhodes, who plays the grandmother Penny, also looks incredibly like Doherty.
    • Likewise Finola Hughes plays the girls' mother Patty. She has quite the resemblance to her onscreen youngest daughter Alyssa Milano. Especially when Phoebe has her hair long and light brown.
  • On The Sopranos, Rocco Sisto plays a younger version of Uncle Junior, because the resemblance to Dominic Chianese is uncanny. The over-sized glasses help.
  • In the Silent Witness story "A Body of Work", one plotline featured Harry's old college girlfriend and her son, who bore a distinct resemblance to Harry. Harry turned out not to be the father, but they looked enough alike that the prospect was thoroughly believable.
  • Dichen Lachmann, the actress cast to play Skye's mother in flashbacks on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bears an incredible resemblance to her fictional daughter. It gets even more impressive when Dichen Lachmann's character shows up very much alive (if not unharmed) in the present and you get to see her acting alongside her kid. The resemblance between her and Chloe Bennett is uncanny.
  • On the E! series The Royals, Alexandra Park who plays Princess Eleanora looks like she could actually be the daughter of Elizabeth Hurley, who plays the Queen of England.
  • Orange Is the New Black: The show uses a lot of flashbacks, and the show is known for casting child actors with an uncanny resemblance to their adult counterparts.
  • On The Fosters, actresses Maia Mitchell and Bailee Madison play half sisters. They really look the part.
  • In the episode "Fragile Balance" of Stargate SG-1, Michael Welch plays a teenaged O'Neill and matches Richard Dean Anderson's speech patterns and mannerisms so well that it's a bit surprising that the other characters don't believe it's him at first.
  • Late in the series Parks and Recreation, feckless layabout Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, played by Ben Schwartz, introduces his twin sister, Mona Lisa, played by Jenny Slate, who he describes as "''the wo-o-o-orst." Despite not being related, they practically match the trope for Half-Identical Twins.
  • French "back from the dead" show Les Revenants has twin sisters as two of its main characters, Lena and Camille. One dies, but comes back to life 4 years later, when her sister is played by an unrelated actress who looks very similar, but older and taller.
  • Criminal Minds had a flashback episode with younger versions of Gideon and Rossi. Robert Dunne was good as Rossi, but Ben Savage was spot on perfect as Gideon.
  • House of Cards (US) cast Kelly AuCoin as Doug Stamper's brother Gary due to his similar appearance to Michael Kelly.
  • On Good Eats, John Herina had a recurring role as Alton's nephew, Elton, as well as playing a young Alton in one episode. One could easily believe them to be related in real life (Herina could easily be taken for Brown's (nonexistent) son), but they're not.
  • On Empty Nest, Kristy McNichol and Dinah Manoff actually look like they could be sisters.
  • Stargate SG-1: In the episode "1969", Aaron Pearl as the young George Hammond. He looked and sounded so much like him that people were convinced that Don S. Davis dubbed the voice over. He didn't.
  • Iron Fist (2017): A father-son case of this happens with Harold Meachum and Ward Meachum. David Wenham (Harold) and Tom Pelphrey (Ward) bear similar facial features and even the same slicked-back hair.
  • Daredevil:
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, the character of Synthia was created because Rebecca Hanson resembled a young Pearl Forrester, who was played by Mary Jo Phel.
  • On Stranger Things, Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) could easily by Winona Ryder's (Joyce Byers) real-life son with their shared brown doe eyes, straight brown hair, pale skin and nose shapes. Averted with Charlie Heaten (Jonathan), who looks nothing like any of his on-screen family members.

     Music 
  • Young Ed Sheeran in the music video for "Castle On the Hill" looks a lot like adult Ed Sheeran, a similarity very apparent in the transition cut near the end of the video.

     Web Original 
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a setting update of Pride and Prejudice:
    • The Bennet sisters, Jane, Lizzie and Lydia. Jane's actress in particular looks very similar to both her sisters.
    • William Darcy and his sister, Gigi, are two peas in a pod. It's hard to believe they are not related in real life.
    • Inverted on one occasion. Wes Aderhold and Mary Kate Wiles look similarly enough that some viewers thought they were related. They aren't and it got awkward when their character's relationship turned romantic.

    In Universe 
  • In the science fiction novella "E for Effort" two inventors with a time viewer, which can see anything in history, initially use their device for making hyper-realistic films. They do this by filming, say, Napoleon Bonaparte during the battle of Waterloo, then find an actor through Central Casting note  who bears a striking similarity to Napoleon in order to film some closeups and voice all the dialog. However, this is only to generate funds for their long term plans.

    Other 
  • Lyricist Lorenz Hart was constantly being told that his brother Teddy, a comedian, had an uncanny resemblance to a famous comedian of the day, Jimmy Savo. When Richard Rodgers suggested that he and Hart do a musical based on Shakespeare, Hart immediately pitched the idea of The Comedy of Errors, with Jimmy Savo and Teddy as the two Dromios. Thus The Boys From Syracuse was born, and Teddy Hart got his Big Break.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeparatedAtBirthCasting