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Significant Double Casting
Jonathan Hyde as Alan's greatest childhood and adulthood fears.

Frequently in fiction, and especially in theatre, the same actor will play multiple roles. Sometimes this will just be for the sake of convenience, and not meaningful to the plot; after all, say it's the theatre — if an actor is going to show up at the theatre every night to perform, you might as well take as much advantage of his or her skills as possible. However, sometimes there are reasons for the same actor playing two parts that are symbolic or have some subliminal impact in the story. Hence, Significant Double Casting.

The main distinction between this and the Acting for Two tropes is that almost all of the Acting for Two tropes operate on the assumption that the two (or more) characters look identical. Here, the point is merely that the two (or more) roles are intended to be played by the same person for some effect. So, in a way, this trope is a subtrope of Acting for Two, and a supertrope of some of the tropes listed on that page.

Compare Identical Grandson.

Examples:

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     Anime  
  • In Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu, Captain Garis and Daiya's father are both voiced by Tōru Ōkawa, highlighting the captain's role as a father figure to Daiya.
  • The first Fullmetal Alchemist anime had both Trisha Elric and Sloth being voiced by the same actress; Sloth ends up being the Homunculus created when the brothers tried to use human transmutation to bring their mother back to life.
  • In Slayers Evolution-R, the man who hires Lina to protect him from the assassin Zuuma has the same actor, hinting what his "long business trips" really are.
  • Ryoko's voice actress, Miyuki Sawashiro, also does the Big Bad, Phine, in Senki Zesshou Symphogear.
  • Two cases of this in Fairy Tail, both concerning characters' Edolas counterparts stuck on Earth. When they revealed the cast for the first 12 episodes, Funimation didn't even bother hiding the first example. Admittedly, the second example is screwed up by mistake, but the revelation happened in the manga after recording for the first season of the dub had finished.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, George Allster and Rau le Creuset are both played by Toshihiko Seki, which becomes significant when le Creuset encounters George's daughter Fllay and starts messing with her head.
  • In Noir, Mireille and her late mother Odette are both voiced by Kotono Mitsuishinote , which serves to underline the fact that they look almost exactly alike, which actually is a plot point.
  • The Witch Queen in Ojamajo Doremi never has her voice actress revealed in the credits until she reveals her identity near the end of the series. It's Yuka Imai, who plays Yuki-sensei.

     Film  
  • Most of the named characters in The Wizard of Oz appear in Kansas at the beginning or end, and have similar roles in both worlds: the Wicked Witch/Mrs. Gulch as the antagonist, Professor Marvel/The Wizard as the charlatan who gets Dorothy into trouble, and three farmhands/traveling companions as moral support for Dorothy.
  • This is also used in Return to Oz and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Considering that it wasn't a part of the books, this just shows how lasting an impact the 1939 film had.
  • In Jumanji, Jonathan Hyde plays both Sam Parrish (Alan's father) and Van Pelt (the Great White Hunter who likes Hunting the Most Dangerous Game). This highlights Alan's fear of both characters.
  • The Tim Burton film Big Fish features Helena Bonham-Carter as both a woman who once knew the main character and a witch who terrorised him as a child. This is even lampshaded.
    Will: But logically, you can't be the witch, because she was old when he was young.
    Jenny: It makes sense if you think like your father.

     Theatre  
  • In the Alternate Show Interpretation of Assassins that was produced on Broadway, the Balladeer "becomes" Lee Harvey Oswald. Neil Patrick Harris plays both characters.
  • Peter Pan: Both Mr. Darling, the stern authority figure that tries to spoil the children's fun, and Captain Hook, the main antagonist also out to ruin the children's fun (by killing them), are usually played by the same actor in productions and film adaptations.
  • Angels In America:
    • When Prior goes into Heaven at the end of the play, each of the other seven actors in the show plays a member of the Council of Angels. When Prior wakes up afterwards in his hospital bed, he goes The Wizard of Oz on Belize, Emily, and Hannah ("And You Were There!").
    • Even in the HBO Mini Series—where some of the more outlandish uses of Significant Double Casting are ditched—Jeffrey Wright (Belize), Emma Thompson (Emily), Meryl Streep (Hannah), and Ben Shenkman (Louis) all still double as featured angels, and all four of them still appear in the scene after Prior wakes up.
  • Equus: The Young Horseman responsible for Alan's first riding experience also plays his favorite horse Nugget. This represents Alan's confusion at his attraction to horses and repulsion towards sex.
  • The Narrator in Blood Brothers plays several bit parts as well, all of which he plays for a reason. For example, he plays a bus attendant who breaks from reality briefly to impart ominous words to Mrs. Johnstone, before stepping back into character.
  • In Witness for the Prosecution, two roles are always double-cast for reasons that would be a huge spoiler.
  • In Into the Woods, the narrator plays another role the baker's father, as part of breaking the fourth wall. Also, the Big Bad Wolf is presented as being very aroused, and his actor also plays one of the lecherous Charmings.
  • In Reefer Madness, one character who plays the Moral Guardian narrator also shows up in a number of other roles in the musical, including as Satan tempting the protagonists into using drugs. The implication, confirmed at the end, is basically that he is also an evil tempter in the Moral Guardian role.

     Video Games  
  • In Tales of the Abyss, a couple of the voice actors play more than one character for plot-important reasons - in each case, at least one of the characters they play is a replica. Therefore, in both the Japanese and English versions of the game, Luke and Asch have the same voice actor, and Ion, Sync, and Florian all share the same voice actress.
  • In Never7, Haruka's VA is replaced with question marks. This is to disguise the fact that she is the clone of another character, and is played by the same actress.
  • In Ever17, Takeshi and the Kid have the same voice actor, though they are not voiced on their routes and can only be heard on the opposite route. This is to conceal the fact that the "Takeshi" and "Kid" that we see are actually the same person, and not the real characters played as on their routes. Oddly enough, this is also subverted, as the real Takeshi and the second Kid also have the same voice actor, but there is no real reason for all three characters having the same voice actor in-universe: just a coincidence. To top it off, Blick Winkel is also voiced by the same actor in Drama CD.
  • In Persona 3, the protagonist, Ryoji,and Pharos all share the same voice actor in both the Japanese and English dubs. This is because Ryoji is Death, who had been sealed inside the protagonist's subconscious for the past ten years and had picked up some of his humanity, and because Pharos is Ryoji before he is entirely reformed as Death.
    • Subverted in Persona 4: Only in the English version of the game do the protagonist and Adachi share a voice actor. This is likely because the directors wanted to give Johnny Yong Bosch more work to do. But while the two characters seem totally unrelated at first, it soon comes to light that they are polar opposites of one another in Izanami's game Adachi's Persona is even a corrupted version of Izanagi.
    • The funny side of this is that when the two confront each other, it's just one actor talking to himself.
  • In Portal 2, GLaDOS and Caroline are both voiced by Ellen McLain. This started out being just for convenience, since they had a "Cave's assistant" character who was originally male and named Greg, but decided they didn't want to hire another voice actor for so few lines. But then it gave the developers the idea of having Caroline be the woman who became GLaDOS via Brain Uploading.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sora is voiced Miyu Irino in the Japanese version and Haley Joel Osment in English, while his Nobody Roxas is voiced by Kouki Uchiyama/Jesse McCartney. When Birth By Sleep came out, new hero Ven looked like Roxas and shared his voice actor, while masked antagonist Vanitas had Sora's voice actor. The game revealed that Vanitas looks like Sora under his mask, as he's Ven's Enemy Without and his extraction damaged Ven's heart, forcing him to bond with Sora's to survive and the bond caused Vanitas to shapeshift into a dark version of Sora. As for Ven-Roxas, at the end of the game Ven's half-destroyed heart merges with Sora's, and years later according to Word of God, when Roxas was birthed from Sora he got the remnants of Ven's heart, which is why he looks like Ven.
    • Kingdom Hearts is rather fond of this trope. Kairi and Xion, who resembles a black haired Kairi, also share the same actresses Hayden Panettiere and Alyson Stoner in the English versions and Risa Uchida in Japanese. It's significant but not in the way it sounds: though it seems Xion is related to Kairi, she is really a Replica of Sora, made from his memories, who takes Kairi's appearance due to her being Sora's strongest memory
  • Blazblue Has the VAs for Hakumen and Nu-13 replaced with question marks. It isn't until the True End that it's revealed that Jin and Hakumen share the same VA's by being the same person, and that Noel and Nu share VA's by being clones of the same person.
    • Easy-to-miss one: You may notice that some sites would list that Ada Clover/Nirvana talks, and has the same voice set as Litchi Faye-Ling, while Nirvana pretty much serves as The Voiceless most of the time. However, in one route in Carl's story in Calamity Trigger, he flashed back about a word Ada said, and she was voiced for that one line. How significant? As the story progressed, Carl slowly starts to form a good bond with Litchi and mostly sees her soul to be similar with Ada's.
  • In the Amnesia: The Dark Descent expansion Justine, both Justine and the nameless main character share an actor, which foreshadows that they're the same person.
  • In Xenoblade, Shulk and Zanza.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, both Liquid Snake and Master Miller are voiced by Cam Clarke in English and Banjō Ginga in Japanese, though with notably different voices. That's because throughout the entire game the real Miller is dead. Liquid has been impersonating him the entire time to manipulate his brother into unknowingly activating Metal Gear REX for him.
    • Pulled again in Metal Gear Solid 2. When Raiden first meets Lt. J.G. Iroquois Plissken, the subtitles actually make sure to explicitly credit Plissken as being voiced by David Hayter in English and Akio Ohtsuka in Japanese, the same actors as protagonist Solid Snake. But making things confusing is that the Big Shell station Raiden and Plissken have infiltrated is said to be held hostage by Snake. As it turns out, the "Solid Snake" that's been holding the Big Shell hostage is brother Solidus, looking and sounding absolutely nothing like the the real Snake, who unsurprisingly has been in disguise as Plissken the whole time.
      • Although Solidus is also voiced by Akio Ohtsuka, but unlike Plissken has a completely different voice actor in Enlgish.
  • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning and Lumina are both voiced in English by Ali Hillis. In the ending Lumina is revealed to be the externalized manifestation of Lightning's inner pain and her own need for salvation.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Jim Ward voices both recurring character Captain Qwark as well as Abercrombie Fizzwidget, the Megacorp CEO. This explains how Qwark is able to successfully impersonate Fizzwidget for most of the game.

     Western Animation  
  • In Gargoyles, Kate Mulgrew plays a bit role as Fox's mother. Later she plays Titania, Queen of The Fair Folk. Coincidence? No. Turns out, they are the same person after all.
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, the identity of the man behind G3 is all but explicitly stated—and one of the major giveaways is his voice actor. Both he and Lance's father were voiced by Richard McGonagle.
  • In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, both Philip Fry and Lars Fillmore are voiced by Billy West. They're actually the same person. Lars is an aged time-travel duplicate of Fry who was disfigured by injuries he sustained during the events of the movie. However, Lars's voice is heavily distorted, and Billy West voices many other characters in the show, including every one of Fry's male relatives (past, present, and future). So even if the viewer does realize it's the same voice actor, many don't see the significance of it until The Reveal.
  • In Motorcity, the KaneCo computer system is voiced by Kate Micucci, who also voices Julie. Chris Prynoski confirmed that Kane intentionally programmed his daughter's voice (albeit much deeper-sounding) into the system.
  • In the Dreamworks film The Prince of Egypt, Val Kilmer plays both Moses and God. This was probably done to signify that God is speaking through Moses rather than to Moses, especially since God's voice also has a whispery female voice layered into it to emphasize that God is a pure spirit.

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