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, and playing relatives.
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- 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.
- In Big Fish, Alison Lohman was cast (assisted by makeup) as the young version of Jessica Lange.
- Supposedly, Ewan McGregor was cast by Tim Burton because he uncannily resembled Albert Finney when he was younger.
- By McGregor's own recollection he saw a photo in Tim Burton's office of Albert Finney in ''Tom Jones'' and was trying to remember which photoshoot of his it was taken from before he realised that it wasn't a photo of him at all.
- Mayim Bialik as the younger version of Bette Midler's character in Beaches.
- Harrison Ford recommended River Phoenix for young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade movie specifically because he reminded him of himself at that age.
- Rachael Leigh Cook as the young Parker Posey in the movie adaptation of The House of Yes.
- The boy chosen to be a young John Cusack in Hot Tub Time Machine.
- Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: Young JB.
- Apparently, though he's pretty much an extra in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Tarkin appears largely due to the fact that they found an actor (Wayne Pygram, most well known as Scorpius from Farscape) with an astonishing resemblance to Peter Cushing and couldn't bear to not cast him!
- Similarly, actress Genevieve O'Reilly was cast as Mon Mothma due to bearing a striking resemblance to Caroline Blakiston. Sadly, as her speaking role was cut, she too is largely an extra.
- Also from the prequels, The Phantom Menace would just have Natalie Portman Acting for Two. Then they discovered Keira Knightley and put her as the queen's decoy◊. Supposedly, even their own mothers couldn't tell them apart with the makeup on.
- Mila Kunis portrays a young Angelina Jolie in Gia. It's downright freaky.
- While filming Water for Elephants, actor Hal Holbrook (who plays an older version of the character Jacob Jankowski) came up to Robert Pattinson and told him "My God, you look like me as a young man!"
- Aside from the various wigs and prosthetics, both Orlando Bloom and Lee Pace have strikingly similar facial features, so this is definitely the case in The Hobbit films.
- In Never Let Me Go, the kids who play the young version of Cathy, Ruth, and Tommy look eerily like the older actors, particular Keira Knightley.
- In Thor, Dakota Goyo and Ted Allpress, who play the young Thor and Loki, strongly resemble the actors who play their adult versions, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.
- Reuben Langdon has been Gideon Emery's stunt double on multiple occasions, such as in the movie Takers. They look like they could be twins!
- Christa B. Allen looks so much like a young Jennifer Garner that she has played a younger version of her in two movies, 13 Going on 30 and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
- Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black 3.
- Those Two Guys who played the part of young Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in the Dumb and Dumber prequel.
- Zachary Quinto was said to look like◊ a young Leonard Nimoy, so it was hardly a surprise when he was cast as Spock in the Star Trek reboot. In fact, J. J. Abrams joked at a Comic-Con panel that when the two first met, Leonard's wife had found the resemblance unsettling.
- Not only that, Chris Pine, who plays Kirk, bears a strong resemblance to Chris Hemsworth, who played his father. Some viewers initially mistook Hemsworth for Pine in the opening sequence of the film.
- Kimberly Elyse and Cicely Tyson as Helen & Myrtle in Diary of a Mad Black Woman are this.
- Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Stiles as sisters in Silver Linings Playbook.
- Benjamin Walker (of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter fame) played a teenage version of Liam Neeson in Kinsey. The resemblance is uncanny.
- Julia Roberts and Kyra Sedgwick as sisters in Something to Talk About.
- Ben Kingsley as Georges Melies in Hugo. Kingsley looks exactly like the old Frenchman.
- David Wenham and Sean Bean as brothers Faramir and Boromir in The Lord of the Rings.
- In Stardust, Ben Barnes plays Nathaniel Parker's younger self.
- Jake Abel and Boyd Holbrook as Ian and Kyle O'Shea in the film adaptation of The Host.
- Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio have been mistaken for each other for years, so it naturally made sense to cast them as brothers in Vaughn's film The Break-Up.
- In the DVD commentary for The Perks of Being a Wallflower writer/directer Stephen Chbosky said he made a conscious effort to cast members of his protagonist Charlie's family with actors that look related.
- 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 Kelsey Grammer.
- While not necessarily intentional, John Mahoney bears a resemblance to the two as well.
- 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 "Somehing 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.
- On Once Upon a Time 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.
- Worth noting is how 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.
- Rose McGowan played Young Cora and bears a striking resemblance to Barbara Hershey, as well as nailing Cora's haughty demeanor.
- 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).
- Creepily averted on Full House; here all three kids look more like Dave Coulier, who plays the unrelated Joey, than either Danny (their father) or Jesse (their uncle).
- Continued as when Jesse's kids are born, again, they look like 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 he 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.
- 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.
- The actresses who play Tim Allen's three daughters on Last Man Standing all look alike.
- From NCIS, Abby (Pauley Perrette, who apparently invokes this trope) and her brother (Daniel Rivas) were literally separated at birth in-universe.
- 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.
- LOST: Sterling Beaumon, who play young Ben Linus, bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Emerson.
- 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 in a "flashback" scene, he is exceptionally convincing as a younger version of the actor playing Barone senior.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a setting update of Pride and Prejudice:
- The Bennet sisters, Jane, Lizzie and Lydia. Jane's actress in particular is 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.