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Fake Shemp

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Instant resurrection: just keep the body double out of focus!
"Hey, you can't let something like a little death get in the way. There's money to be made."

Every once in a while, you want to bring back a guest star or former recurring character, and you want this so much that the fact that the appropriate actor isn't available (i.e. unwilling, busy, or dead) doesn't stop you.

Or perhaps they are a regular but they unexpectedly quit or died or you had to abruptly fire them or are just unavailable temporarily and you need to buy time to write them out or replace them.

Pulling off The Other Darrin is tricky under the best of circumstances. Trying to do it for a one-shot appearance is pretty much impossible.

So you pull off something dicey: use a stand-in, and don't show their face. You can combine this with a little Stock Footage to improve the effect. Not bad, as long as the audience doesn't get wise. In more recent years, creating Serkis Folk that can pass for the real deal has been tried, but it's rarely passable (and ethically dubious).


This method has also been used to allow two characters normally played by the same actor to appear in the same frame.

This is somewhat easier to do with animation – after all, the characters look the same no matter what actor you use, and sometimes you can even get away with a silent cameo. Just... if they have to talk, be very careful of which voice actor sound-alike you hire.

Can sometimes overlap with Obvious Stunt Double and Stock Footage Failure.

See also The Dead Rise to Advertise, which often overlaps with this trope.



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  • There was an advertising campaign for Galaxy chocolate which used a very convincing Serkis Folk recreation of Audrey Hepburn, casting a lookalike and using CGI to complete the illusion. This was considered something of an aesthetic triumph, but many people found the concept of puppeting a duplicate of a virtual dead woman to sell cheap chocolate irritating and creepy.
  • Orville Redenbacher made a posthumous commercial appearance in 2007 requiring three actors to play the role of the late popcorn magnate: one as the body double, one as the face double (with prosthetics), and one providing the voice. The results were... unsettling.
  • The "Give A Few Bob" campaign in the UK to raise awareness for prostate cancer featured Bob Monkhouse, who had died from the illness a few years earlier. Archive footage, a body double and CGI was used to piece together a monologue from Bob, with audio taken from his stand up shows and a voice actor filling in for the rest (one who Monkhouse himself had recognized as being a perfect impression). For the most part, it's very convincing.
  • Hardees (or Carl's Jr., depending on where you live) ran a special ad for an X-Men: Days of Future Past tie-in burger that featured a silent and uncredited actress in Mystique's trademark blue makeup and prosthetics, since they couldn't actually get Jennifer Lawrence to appear.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Due to her death in 2003, You Inoue was unable to reprise her role as Sayla Mass in the third Zeta Gundam: A New Translation film. During Sayla's brief cameo, the director used archived audio of Inoue from the original Mobile Suit Gundam to make her appearance work, which led to the actress receiving a Posthumous Credit.
  • Averted in the DiC dub of Sailor Moon, where in episode 82, a Clip Show, many of the past characters had to be voiced by sound-alikes due to DiC not wanting to pay all of their voice actors. Apparently, even cutting-and-pasting their voices would have cost too much money. The sound-alikes were voice actors that already had roles in the current batch of episodes being dubbed, and were in the studio anyway, for instance, Luna's voice filled in for Queen Beryl.
  • In Ronin Warriors, many of the English voice actors were sick for the recording of episode 2, and due to the fast recording schedule, sound-alikes filled in.
  • In Persona 4: The Animation and Persona 3: The Movie, Igor's lines in the Japanese version are all reused recordings from the original games due to the death of his actor Isamu Tanonaka.
  • For copyright issues, the Italian dub of Mazinger Z covered only the first half if the series. In 2015, when the series was released on DVD for the first time, they voiced the second half of the series, obviously replacing the entire cast... except that, when Tetsuya Tsurugi appears in the final episode to help Koji, they used edited voice clips from the dub of Great Mazinger in order to keep his original voice actor, who actually died two years before.
  • Sgt. Frog: Many minor characters, like aliens created for specific episodes, return later in minor roles. Unless they were voiced by one of the show's main voice actors, this usually means they either get random voice actors replacing them or just appear mute. This happens more rarely with minor human characters, but there are still some examples, like Natsumi's and Fuyuki's teachers in later episodes.
    • Sumomo is probably the most obvious example. The last time her VA returns to do her character's voice is in the beginning of the third season. Afterwards, Sumomo only makes minor silent cameos or uses old audio.
    • There's also an example with Danceman in the 5th season. He's shown in a far away shot of a concert, which uses stock audio.

    Fan Works 
  • In-Universe example from Movie Night At Freddy's: Halfway through the "Movie" Jonathan Dale suddenly took over from Doug Thompson, who was the original voice actor for Freddy. According to Freddy animatronic versions of Ricky and Albert killed Thompson and stuffed him into a suit.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cars 3: Doc Hudson in the original Cars was Paul Newman's final role before his death: this necessitated his character being written off in the sequel. When writing Cars 3, the screenwriters realized they had a lot of recordings of Newman, not in character, speaking off-the-cuff between takes. Since Newman was a racing buff just like Doc Hudson, they realized they could repurpose the chatter into racing advice Doc gave Lightning in flashbacks. With his family's blessing, Newman made a posthumous appearance nearly a decade after his death.
  • Toy Story 4 was still in development when Don Rickles, who played Mr. Potato Head, passed of kidney failure in April 2017 at the age of 90. Pixar confirmed that they didn't have a script written when he died, and the script they were working on at the time of his death was jettisoned anyway due to internal strife in the studio, making it impossible for Rickles to reprise the role... but then a dedicated group of Pixar audio engineers scoured a quarter-century of various recordings Don made as Potato Head over the years, everything from outtakes to video games, and compiled a film's worth of dialogue, allowing Rickles to play Mr. Potato Head one last time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Three Stooges:
    • Shemp Howard died before they had finished enough films to fulfill their contract. So, the last few Shemp shorts mainly featured just Larry and Moe, borrowed some Shemp scenes from old films, and used a body double (bit actor Joe Palma) wherever they absolutely had to.
    • Even before Shemp died, mixing old and new material in Stooges comedies was pretty common. On occasion, actors appearing in stock footage would be unavailable to shoot new scenes, resulting in the use of usually pretty noticable stand-ins.
    • Fake Shemps were also used whenever the Stooges had to play multiple roles. For instance, A Merry Mix-Up features a scene in which Moe, Larry, and Joe (Besser) reunite with their long-lost triplet brothers. Despite their efforts, the six Fake Shemps used in this sequence show their faces a few too many times.
    • Larry Fine suffered a stroke during the production the unsold television pilot Kook's Tour. Producer/director Norman Maurer stood in for Larry in certain shots.
    • Even supporting players needed fake Shemps. For Scheming Schemers (a remake of Vagabond Loafers and one of the four "Fake Shemp" shorts), a double was needed for Christine McIntyre, who had retired from acting between shorts. They had the double face away from the camera while Kenneth MacDonald told her to wait in their car until he left the house.
    • In Besser shorts that were remakes of earlier shorts, Joe Besser's portly figure allowed for stock footage of Curly to be used in far shots. In the final short, "Sappy Bull Fighters", one can even hear Curly's famed "woo woo woo's" in far shots of Joe on the bull.
  • The Trope Namer is director Sam Raimi, who coined the term "Fake Shemp" and "Shemping" (inspired by the above) when most of the cast of The Evil Dead (1981) had to leave for their regular jobs, and he and his brother Ted Raimi had to fill in a lot of scenes just by themselves.
  • The Little Rascals short "Bargain Day" features a couple of stand-ins for Jackie Cooper and Donald Haines in some scenes, as both were busy working in the Paramount feature Skippy for part of the production.
  • Older Than Television. The Troubled Production of Erich von Stroheim film Foolish Wives became more troubled when actor Rudolph Christians, who played Andrew Hughes (one of the main parts), died during production. Von Stroheim was forced to cast a body double. Viewers will note that in several scenes Hughes is shot from behind, from a distance, or with his face obscured by scenery. In some scenes, close-ups of Christians are awkwardly inserted into scenes they obviously don't match. This unfortunately impacted some important scenes, such as Hughes' final confrontation with Sergius.
  • George McFly in the Back to the Future sequels did this, The Other Darrin, and Filming for Easy Dub to get around the absence of Crispin Glover. This trope was invoked by disguising The Other Darrin, Jeffrey Weissman, with sunglasses, out of focus shots, and even having him spend the entire "future" portion of the film "inverted", in which George was actually upside-down. Where the filmmakers got in trouble was with the recycling of stock footage of Glover from the previous film—this led to a lawsuit from Glover, who claimed they had misappropriated his likeness. Though the suit was settled quietly before its court date, the Screen Actors Guild rewrote their rules on stock footage as a result of this.
  • One of the most infamous examples is from the legendary Plan 9 from Outer Space. Bela Lugosi died after filming only a few scenes, so Ed Wood had his wife's chiropractor stand in for Lugosi and cover his face in all his scenes. This, despite the fact that he was about a foot taller than Lugosi and was bald (Lugosi had a full head of hair up to his death).
  • Being deceased didn't stop Peter Sellers from starring in Trail of the Pink Panther, for which Blake Edwards borrowed outtakes of Sellers from earlier Pink Panther movies and fabricated a plot about Clouseau taking off in a plane and disappearing.
    • Prior to his death, Sellers had been planning to make one more Clouseau film without Edwards (as their professional relationship had become so strained); in fact Edwards was paid not to do it. When Sellers died, Edwards made Trail as the first part of a relaunch of the series with a new lead character (introduced in the second part, Curse of the Pink Panther), which comes across as a downright ghoulish grab for a Cash Cow Franchise. Sellers' widow successfully sued Edwards and United Artists for disgracing the actor's memory.
    • In Curse, Clouseau undergoes plastic surgery and turns evil, played by Roger Moore. Son of the Pink Panther established that he died of old age after that.
  • Brandon Lee's tragic death on the set of The Crow three-fourths of the way through the production sent the producers scrambling for a way to salvage the film. Body doubles, careful angles, and CGI used to put Lee's face on a stunt double was used to finish his scenes. In a couple of places, it works really well, with the avoidance of close-ups on his face (at the risk of sounding disrespectful to Lee) arguably adding to the haunting, faceless, unknowable mystique of the character.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Natalie Portman was unavailable for reshoots. The ending kissing scene instead had Chris Hemsworth's wife, actress Elsa Pataky, stand in as Jane wearing Jane's costume and a wig, with film Wizardry hiding this.
  • Infamous movie example: Oliver Reed died during the filming of Gladiator with only about half of his scenes filmed. So they used shadows, CGI, and creative re-editing of already-shot scenes, along with some stock footage, to finish filming and rewrote several important scenes that would have been otherwise unfilmable.
  • While James Bond's nemesis Blofeld is played by one partly seen actor in three movies and three different ones after being revealed, For Your Eyes Only has him returning, with his face never shown, just for Bond to kill him off for real (so the producers wouldn't need to reuse him considering the legal disputes for the creation of Blofeld and SPECTRE).
  • Jean Harlow suddenly died during production of what would become her final film, Saratoga in 1937. Since not all of her scenes had been filmed, her character was written out of a few scenes, and for remaining scenes where her character absolutely HAD to be present, three doubles were hired: one for closeups, one for long shots, and a vocal double. To this day, it's not clear which scenes feature her, and which are her stand-ins.
  • Akira Kurosawa's early film Stray Dog had several scenes where actor Toshiro Mifune was unavailable for various reasons. In order to show the character, Kurosawa had his assistant director, Ishiro Honda, stand in, as scenes were shot from far away, or from his waist down.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Laurence Olivier, via the magic of stock footage and CGI, managed to appear as Doctor Totenkopf, the Big Bad, despite the huge setback of being dead. Which is quite appropriate, considering Doctor Totenkopf died twenty years before the film's setting.
    • In the same way, Marlon Brando reprised his role as Jor-El in Superman Returns from beyond the grave, making use of stunningly realistic CGI and recycled and unused dialogue from the Richard Donner movies.
  • When Superman II was turned over to Richard Lester, Gene Hackman refused to work with the new director, so some scenes feature a body double (watch him climb down the ice in the Fortress of Solitude... backwards) and a number of his lines were dubbed by a (not very convincing) voice double. All shots with the real actor were filmed under Richard Donner.
  • Game of Death: Bruce Lee had died when very little of the film had been made; only the famous fight scenes had been finished. In the end the film not only had minimal resemblance to Lee's original vision but the film-makers went to great lengths to hide the fact that "Bruce Lee" was in fact an unknown Korean martial artist (who was not a stuntman or an acrobat so he had to be doubled by Yuen Biao in more stunt-oriented sequences). In addition to the typical tricks of the time (face-obscuring glasses and lack of headshots), one truly egregious example comes within the first minutes of the film when the baddies try to threaten a perfectly stoic Lee, portrayed in the scene by a cardboard cutout taped to a mirror. The film-makers even went as far as including footage of Bruce Lee's actual funeral.
  • A film was released with Kim Tai Chung (with Biao again doubling him) along with Bruce Lee footage, called Tower Of Death in some places and Game of Death 2 in others. In this one, Bruce's "character" dies midway through the film and his brother takes over the role, played by Kim Tai Chung (with Biao still doubling) without any need to splice Lee in. Oh, and they used footage from Bruce's funeral again.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator in Terminator Salvation while being the Governator at the exact same time, thanks to the magic of CGI and a mold from 1984 combined. This example is unique in the fact that the crew decided to get permission from the actor before shemping him. It looks good. Really good. Some would say it falls under the Uncanny Valley... which just makes it more appropriate for the character since we're supposed to be seeing a soulless human-looking death machine. The directors' backup plan just in case Arnold said no was to just have the Terminator's face blown off just before anybody could see it. Voila.
  • The Cult Classic 1954 film Salt of the Earth had to be completed with body doubles after the film's left-wing subject matter got lead actress Rosaura Revueltas deported back to Mexico.
  • John Candy died during filming of Wagons East, and had to be digitally edited into his remaining scenes.
  • Hollywood screen legends such as Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman were "Shemped" in the movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Cheryl Smith bore a remarkable resemblance to Veronica Lake, but her role was limited to playing the back of Lake's head.
  • In the "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence in A Hard Day's Night, the audience doesn't see John Lennon much, because he was also promoting his book In His Own Write during production.
  • During production of Alien³, it was discovered that Carrie Henn (the girl who played Newt in Aliens) was too old to convincingly play the part. This, coupled with substantial script rewrites and behind-the-scenes shenanigans led to her and fellow survivor Hicks being killed off for real at the beginning of the film. Newt's body is played by a body double (and only glimpsed in closeup shots of her eye and mouth for most of the time she's onscreen) in the finished film.
  • A short film called The Death of Xander Cage was filmed to explain what happened to the protagonist of the original xXx movie just before the events of the sequel. Vin Diesel did not return to play Xander, so the character was portrayed by Khristian Lupo, Diesel's stunt double. Xander's face is never shown, and all his dialogue consists of recycled sound bytes from the first movie.
  • In Glass, David Dunn recalls trying to talk to wife Audrey (killed off between films), but as Robin Wright was unavailable, she is silent and shot from behind.
  • Heath Ledger died in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, so director Terry Gilliam ended up using Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell all for the same character. This was a rare example that actively called attention to it and provided an in-story reason. When Ledger died, he had finished filming the "real world" scenes, but not the fantasy sequences. The solution? Establish that going through the mirror will sometimes change a person's appearance, then have his character played by a different actor each time he goes through. And given that his character turns out to be a duplicitous con man, it not only works, it actually adds another layer of symbolism to the fantasy scenes.
  • During filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Harrison Ford injured his back and was out for several weeks. To continue production, Steven Spielberg used Ford's stuntman Vic Armstrong to perform the action sequences (even the simpler ones Ford could do) from behind, and Ford later filmed a few token close-ups. It helped that Armstrong and Ford looks a lot like each other, to the extent that Ford's own son once went up to him believing it to be his dad.
    • Armstrong, who closely resembled Ford, also doubled him in the scene in Blade Runner where Deckard finds the snake scales in the bathtub, due to Ford being unavailable.
  • On Casino Royale (1967), due to the feud between Peter Sellers and Orson Welles, Sellers dropped out of the picture midway through filming. Because of this, the part of Peter Sellers, in the final scenes of the movie, is played by a cardboard cutout of Peter Sellers. In later versions, this cardboard cutout is replaced by previously shot footage of Sellers, dressed in Highland garb.
  • Paul Walker was killed in a car accident off the set of Fast & Furious 7, so his remaining scenes used CGI and doubles as well as the footage made before his death to retire his character without killing him off.
  • The last scene in The Seventh Seal, showing the Grim Reaper leading the characters who'd died during the movie, was hastily shot while the weather was just as cloudy as director Ingmar Bergman wanted. However, this was after filming had already wrapped for the day, and the actors had left, so he got some crew members and two tourists who just happened to be nearby and put them into the costumes.
  • Roy Kinnear died from a horseback riding accident during filming of Return of the Musketeers in 1988. His subsequent scenes were completed with a body double and voice-dubbing.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips was severely injured on the set of Young Guns II. A horse that he was riding got spooked and proceeded to drag him several yards. He suffered a broken arm and a shattered kneecap. The filming mostly proceeded without him, using a body double. Those far-away shots of Billy's gang riding to and fro weren't just for Scenery Porn.
  • During his ill-fated quest to film Dune in the 70s, Alejandro Jodorowsky desperately wanted Salvador Dalí to play the Emperor. Problem was, Dali specifically demanded an obscenely high salary. Jodorowsky promised to pay him on a per-minute basis, then immediately began planning for an elaborate robotic double to serve as a stand-in for most of the Emperor's scenes (if this sounds insane, well, this is Alejandro Jodorowsky we're talking about).
  • Most of Monty Python's members played multiple roles in each movie. When two of one actor's characters are in a scene together, the less prominent one is a stand-in. For example, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Brother Maynard (Eric Idle) is reading an inscription describing the Castle of Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh to Arthur's Knights, Sir Robin (otherwise played by Idle) is portrayed by an obvious Shemp trying to conceal himself behind his shield. An arguably more amusing example is near the end of Monty Python's Life of Brian, in which Reg is played by John Cleese in one shot, then swapped with a look-alike when the Centurion, another of Cleese's characters, appears in the next.
  • Kristen Stewart didn't return for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel The Huntsman: Winter's War, so the brief scenes of Snow White involved an obvious body double who was only filmed from behind.
  • Wesley Snipes was not always available for each day of filming for Blade II, as he had had three other movies out that year. Instead of waiting for Wesley to become available, the crew shot another actor (who was not Wesley's stunt double) for scenes where it was not necessary to see Wesley's face. The first scene being where Blade, Scud and Nyssa are riding in the helicopter to meet Damaskinos. The second was after Nyssa performed an autopsy on the dead reaper and confronts Blade in his quarters about his attitude toward the Bloodpack.
  • The Frankenstein Monster was subject to this in the original Universal Horror film series of the 1930s-40s:
    • In Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Bela Lugosi played the Monster, except for the scene in which the creature is first thawed from the ice. Lugosi was either unavailable or unwilling to shoot the scene, so a stunt man was used and at one point his face is seen directly - in fact it's the first shot of the Monster's face in the entire movie - and he looks nothing like Lugosi.
    • During production of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Glenn Strange, who played the Monster, suffered a leg injury. Fortunately many of his scenes at the time required him to just lie on a gurney. For a scene in which he throws a woman through a window and chases the titular duo from the room, however, Lon Chaney Jr. - who was appearing in the film as The Wolf Man, but who had played the Monster years earlier in The Ghost of Frankenstein - put on the makeup and the suit and did the scene for Strange. Once you know, the Shemping is obvious, as Chaney's Monster is much more energetic.
  • Star Wars:
    • Rogue One's use of CGI recreation, and a very good impression, brings the late Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin to life, along with a cameo of a youthful Princess Leia. Permission was obtained from Cushing's estate, but Carrie Fisher's untimely passing actually postdated the film’s release by a week or so.
    • To account for Fisher's death, the filmmakers of The Rise of Skywalker forwent the use of CGI and instead wove unused footage of Princess Leia's scenes from The Force Awakens into the story.
  • In Factory Girl, the biopic about Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol's creative machine, most of the figures like Warhol and Bob Dylan were portrayed by actors. They must have decided they couldn't pull off Mick Jagger, though, resulting in the use of a stand-in for a scene where the camera followed the back of Jagger's head for a bit while partygoers reacted to "Mick's" presence with delight.
    The Agony Booth: And let me tell you, this guy is portraying Jagger to a T. Especially when he wanders off in silence, his face stiffly pointed away from the camera. That’s totally Mick!
  • Though supposedly taking place in Montreal, where the rest of the movie was filmed and set, the climactic music festival performance in Eddie and the Cruisers II was actually filmed as part of a Bon Jovi concert in Las Vegas. It soon becomes obvious that all of the performers are getting close-ups except Stewart, the keyboardist, who's shown only in long shot with his hair over his face. Evidently David Matheson, who played Stewart, was somewhere else in the world that day and a stand-in was used for the Vegas shoot.
  • Parodied by Wayne's World 2 when Wayne and Garth allegedly travel to England... and are only shown either from the back or with something obscuring their faces. Notably, "Garth" is much shorter than usual here.
    Wayne: I can't believe Paramount is spending the money to fly us to England. I would have thought they would just use two doubles!
  • SHAZAM!: Due to Henry Cavill not being available, the Superman cameo was achieved by dressing Zachary Levi's Stunt Double Ryan Hadley in the suit and only filming him from the neck down.
  • Pixels has the alien transmissions to Earth be manipulated footage from '80s television broadcasts with various pop culture figures popular during the period. Their lines are provided via heavily edited dialogue from the footage and other miscellaneous recordings. The exception to this was Tattoo, whose lines are provided by an uncredited Carlos Alazraqui.

  • On the original concept album version of Jesus Christ Superstar, Murray Head (Judas) also dubbed in two words (“this unfortunate”) for Barry Dennen (Pilate) when those words were accidentally recorded over during production and Dennen was unable to re-record them himself. His line delivery is, more or less, a playful jab at Dennen’s somewhat nasal voice.
  • Milli Vanilli is infamous enough for the fact that the duo presented as the group's singers – Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan – were actually models lipsynching to other people's voices. But it actually goes deeper than that; on their first single, "Girl You Know It's True," the voice Fab lipsynched to was provided by Charles Shaw. After Shaw quit, "Fab's" vocals were provided by John Davis on all subsequent songs. In some cases, Rob & Fab would actually be lipsynching to falsetto vocals contributed by the group's producer, Frank Farian.
  • The Beatles' "Real Love" and "Free as a Bird", recorded for their Anthology album series and TV special. They were billed as two "new" songs by the Fab Four, but in fact are actually two demos made by John Lennon in the late 1970s, which the rest of the band added to.
  • Actually very common in music, as any given song may actually contain one band member overdubbing several instruments, or parts played by hired studio musicians or uncredited friends of the band (a famous example being Eric Clapton guesting on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"). An essay in the book Kill Your Idols points out that on The Rolling Stones' supposed greatest album, Exile on Main St.., most of the bandmembers were trotting in and out of rehab during the recording, and that very few of the parts were played by actual Rolling Stones.
  • Tupac Shakur rose from his grave to appear on stage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during Coachella 2012 thanks to the deployment of a Pepper's ghost and CGI courtesy of Digital Domain. Oh, and the idea of bringing in Tupac's ghost was Dr. Dre's, by the way. And the end result of this effort? Searches on Tupac skyrocketed and Digital Domain's stock increased by 20%.
    • Even months after his death, countless never-before-heard songs by Tupac were surfacing. Some say all he did was write songs while spending 23 hours a day behind bars.
    • Both Tupac Shakur and his contemporary and nemesis The Notorious B.I.G. have had numerous posthumous albums released, the vast majority featuring unreleased songs written while they were alive, utilizing more modern beats, and featuring more modern artists, many of whom they probably wouldn't have worked with were they still alive.
      • In a particularly odd example Tupac's song "Ghetto Gospel" was reworked to "feature" Elton John... in a sample from his song "Indian Sunset".
      • Eminem became vastly more credible to sceptics after featuring on BIG's "Dead Wrong", on one of his posthumous albums. He also produced Tupac's posthumous album Loyal to the Game, which features the aforementioned "Ghetto Gospel".
  • If two big artists do a duet but don't end up touring together, common practice is for the lead artist to sing their part of the song, and have their duet partner appear via stock video footage. For example, Brad Paisley released two duets in a row in 2011: with Alabama on "Old Alabama", and with Carrie Underwood on "Remind Me". Whenever he performs either song live, the acts in question are shown singing their parts on a video screen. This fits well with Paisley in particular, as he frequently uses video screens to show graphics and animation (some of which he does himself) pertaining to each song.
    • Paisley has also had other artists with whom he is touring take Alison Krauss's part on "Whiskey Lullaby": Kimberly Perry on the 2012 Virtual Reality tour, and Mickey Guyton on the 2015 Crushin' It tour.
  • Carrie Underwood has done the "duet partner on video screens" thing herself with "I Told You So", a duet with Randy Travis (the song's original artist), although she also got to perform it with him singing live a few times.
  • Kelly Clarkson's 2013 single "Don't Rush" is a duet with Vince Gill. On at least two occasions, Gill was unable to sing with her on an awards show due to other commitments, so Jason Sellers (a session vocalist and songwriter, and ex-husband of Lee Ann Womack) took Gill's part.
  • Rascal Flatts, when on tour with Sara Evans in 2012, had her sing Natasha Bedingfield's part on "Easy".
  • While *NSYNC were in the middle of tour rehearsals, Joey Fatone was badly injured by malfunctioning equipment and was forced to sit out the majority of the filming for "Pop"'s music video. Their choreographer Wade Robson stood in for him while Joey himself was filmed from the waist up and sitting. If you were sharp-eyed enough, you can tell the two apart since Robson is about two sizes thinner than Joey.
  • While The Bee Gees were recording "Stayin' Alive", drummer Dennis Bryon had to leave to attend his mother's funeral. Having trouble finding a replacement on short notice, they decided to sample a couple bars of Bryon's drum part from the already-recorded "Night Fever" and loop it underneath the track. On the Saturday Night Fever album they credited "Bernard Lupe" as the drummer. After it became a huge hit, other artists asked The Bee Gees for Lupe's contact info so they could hire him for their own sessions.
  • Versailles bassist Jasmine You died of an undisclosed illness during the production of Jubilee, the band's second album. While he had already recorded bass parts for some of the songs on the album, it was still incomplete; lead guitarist Hizaki filled in the missing bass parts.
  • At a 2006 concert, Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald was unavailable due to complications from back surgery, so Josh Gracin (best known for his 2005 hit "Nothin' to Lose") took his place for that single concert.
  • The country group SHeDAISY consists of three sisters: Kassidy, Kelsi, and Kristyn Osborn. When Kelsi took a brief maternity leave in 2006, their younger sister Karli filled in for her on both that summer's tour and the music video for "In Terms of Love" (even though Kelsi still sang on that song).
  • Occasionally, two artists will record a song together, but the featured artist cannot be credited due to their label not having the rights, so an alternate version is sent to radio with a different duet partner (although in most cases, radio will play the original version anyway). Examples include:
    • "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow took off because stations were giving it unsolicited airplay as an album cut. However, when it came time to release it as a single, Kid's label (Atlantic Records) couldn't reach an agreement with Sheryl's (A&M), so an official radio edit was sent out with Allison Moorer (sister of country and Americana singer Shelby Lynne) singing Crow's part. Most stations continued to play Sheryl Crow's version anyway due to her higher name recognition, it was listed as "Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer" on the charts, and American Country Countdown alternated between the two versions. In a double example, Kid's 2006 live album Live Trucker has Gretchen Wilson singing Crow's part.
    • "Every Other Weekend" by Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney. As with "Picture", the song started receiving unsolicited airplay before it was a single. However, Reba's label couldn't get permission from Kenny's, so the single edit had co-writer Skip Ewing sing his part instead. The song was credited to "Reba McEntire with Kenny Chesney or Skip Ewing" for one week, then after that, solely to Reba (even though most stations played just the Reba/Kenny version, as did Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40).
    • Colt Ford's "Chicken & Biscuits" was originally recorded with James Otto singing the chorus, but the radio mix had former Carolina Rain lead singer Rhean Boyer instead. However, it was credited only to Ford on the charts.
    • Radney Foster's 2003 single "Scary Old World" was recorded on the album as a duet with Chely Wright, but for the radio edit, her part was taken by Georgia Middleman. As both versions were receiving airplay, both artists were given an "or" credit on the charts.
  • Selena has had plenty of compilation albums released after her death but in 2012 a "remix" album was released with many of her most popular songs being made into posthumous duets with other artists. One notable example is a remix of Bidi Bidi Bom Bom featuring Selena Gomez, who was actually named after her.
  • Akin to the Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood examples, there is a bilingual duet version of Taylor Swift's "Long Live" featuring Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes. The video for this version has Paula singing in a studio while Taylor is shown in a TV screen, performing her part of the song at one of her concerts.
  • When Eric Church sings "Kill a Word" in concert, Rhiannon Giddens' part is sung by Joanna Cotten, a backing vocalist in his road band.
  • During his farewell tours, Kenny Rogers frequently had Linda Davis (best known as the duet partner on Reba McEntire's "Does He Love You", and as the mother of Lady Antebellum member Hillary Scott) sing the female vocals on songs such as "We've Got Tonight" (Sheena Easton), "Islands in the Stream" (Dolly Parton), and "Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight" (Dottie West). Other songs instead used archival footage for the duet partner.
  • During Garth Brooks' World Tour with his wife Trisha Yearwood, Garth would sing Kelly Clarkson's harmonies on Yearwood's "PrizeFighter" (although Clarkson got to sing it a few times herself).

  • Continuing her post-Gilligan boycott of the television show, Tina Louise refused to allow her likeness to be used in the Gilligan's Island pinball. As a result, Ginger only appears twice — once on the playfield and once on the backglass — with her face heavily obscured.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Occurs frequently on Sesame Street and various Muppet productions, usually for scenes in which multiple characters performed by the same puppeteer are given dialogue. Normally, another puppeteer will perform the character with fewer dialogue, and the principal performer will loop his or her voice in post-production.
  • Frank Oz was unavailable for much of production on Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets from Space. Other puppeteers played Oz's characters, and Oz dubbed their voices in post-production.

  • The Phil Hendrie Show subverts this, as the concept is to interview fake "guests" who are actually characters voiced by the host. Gullible callers are then allowed to interact with the "guests" who they believe to be real people. Also, during some non-call-in segments, Phil "interviews" various celebrities, but gives them arbitrary voices, such as voicing Martha Stewart as an Angry Black Man. He did once play a "guest" who was supposedly Los Angeles Laker Brian Grant, who outraged listeners by complaining about Vlade Divac's preference for "stinky Lithuanian cheese", but was asked to stop because listeners who did not get the joke were getting angry at the real Brian Grant.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney Theme Parks features an introduction by the late Rod Serling. His voice-over narration is done by a sound-alike. The part where you actually see Serling is recycled footage from the Twilight Zone episode "It's A Good Life". His original dialogue was "Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States." The boarding video changes the background and cuts away from him before he says "map of the United States". The Rod Serling sound-alike finishes the sentence as "a maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you."

    Video Games 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, James Earl Jones and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are credited for reprising their roles as Mufasa and young Simba in The Lion King. In reality, it's done entirely through archived sound. Thomas' case works well as the audio recycling was done only for a flashback adult Simba has of Mufasa's death—his only line is the Big "NO!", by the way.
    • Zig-zagged in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. Because this version of the game, initially a Japan-only exclusive, uses the English voice acting, the cutscene before the fight with the Bonus Boss Unknown has archived audio for Sora and Goofy, with shaking text for the Unknown. This still holds true for the HD collection release in the West, in spite of the fact that the Unknown's true identity has new recorded English dialogue for the Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days portion of the collection. The rest of the cutscenes added for this release, while they feature characters speaking, have no voices at all – the dialogue is conveyed through the subtitles.
    • Averted for later rereleases – The new cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix don't have voices in the English track, but do when played with the Japanese track in Theater Modenote  – and the Secret Episode of Birth by Sleep Final Mix uses Japanese voice acting by default.
      • And now the cutscenes added in KHIIFM have had English dialogue recorded for them in the HD ReMIX collections, with one exception - a cutscene featuring the character of DiZ uses archived audio of his original voice actor Christopher Lee.
  • Bill in the Left 4 Dead DLC campaign "Crash Course" counts. His voice actor was unavailable for almost a year (no news yet as to why), so the only lines he has are his generic stock lines. Valve then decided it would be easier to just kill the character off in "The Passing".
    • He returned in time to record new lines for "The Sacrifice". Obviously, the fandom was pleased.
  • On a similar note, the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Spy" uses stock audio for the Engineer, Sniper (who only grunts in this case), and Medic—the last being especially noteworthy for recycling a completely unrelated Dummied Out line and still sounding completely natural. The voice actors technically would have been available, though (especially the Sniper's, who besides Ellen McLain is the closest thing Valve has to a full-time voice actor, and who also recorded new lines for that very update.).
    • "Meet the Medic" involved reused clips to a lesser extent. The Demoman's only word ("MEDIC!") is a stock voice clip despite the fact that his voice actor also plays the Heavy, who has plenty of original dialogue in the video. The Scout and Heavy both receive an instance of reused stock phrases mixed in with original dialogue. Interestingly the two words the Spy utters in the video ("Kill me.") are original.
    • The video for the Second Annual Saxxy Awards uses almost exclusively recycled and clipped voiceclips. This was due to the event itself being for fan-made videos, who understandably would use recycled voice clips.
    • Grant Goodeve was unavailable to record the Engineer's lines in Expiration Date, so Nolan North was assigned to provide them in a very convincing sound-alike role. Less convincing are the screams and sole line he recorded for the Soldier as he's being tossed by the bread monster.
  • They appear to attempt this in Jak 3: Wastelander, as Keira has few lines in the game compared to the previous two. By the next game though they brought her back in for some more full scenes, and she was a main character again by "The Lost Frontier".
  • Happens a lot with in both Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation game series with voice actors who recorded lines in older games but died later on (especially with Kaneto Shiozawa, Hirotaka Suzuoki and Daisuke Gori) since they used archived voices of them in later games.
  • The second Postal game had Gary Coleman as a guest star. Gary returns in the Paradise Lost DLC, but since that game was made long after he died, Gary used recycled clips, with all the plot-relevant lines being relayed by his Dragon-in-Chief McWillis.
  • Happened with Meryl in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, where she is a boss character in one of the VR missions and she just reuses Olga's lines from her boss fight in the main game. This would have worked out well in the Japanese version, as the two characters were voiced by Kyoko Terase... if not for the fact that the Japanese version of Substance on PS2 only had English voice acting; it wasn't until the later HD Edition that the Japanese got all the bonus Substance content in their native language.
    • A much more traditional comes in Gray Fox's guest appearance in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Due to Kaneto Shiozawa's death in 2000, the developers simply reused archived recordings from the original Metal Gear Solid for his character.
    • In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Liquid Ocelot is voiced by Banjo Ginga (Liquid Snake's voice) for most of the game until he reverts back to his original personality at the end. His final line in the game is spoken by the deceased Koji Totani, which is actually a voice clip from the very first Metal Gear Solid.
  • The downloadable Guest Fighter Bayonetta in Anarchy Reigns has lines that are purely recycled from her game of origin.
    • Sega does that a lot. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed used recycled audio for almost all characters, except guest characters (Wreck-It Ralph and Danica Patrick) and those who had little to no voice acting in their games of origin. And even then, depending on the character, they may still use sound effects from their home games as a form of speech.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun's expansion Firestorm, Umagon is only seen via grainy CCTV footage, while Tratos' face is shown either partially in shade or obscured by a cloak.
  • Sian Blake was the voice actress of Yugiri Mistwalker in Final Fantasy XIV. She was brutally murdered along with her children shortly after the first Heavensward patch. Out of respect for Blake's family, Square-Enix did not have the Yugiri character voiced for almost two years. To get around the issue, Yugiri was simply absent for most of the story and any appearances that she did make would be in non-voiced cutscenes. Once the murder case on Blake was settled, the developers hired a new voice actress for the character.
  • Persona 5: Following the release of Persona 4, Igor's Japanese voice actor passed away. At first, it seems that the game is going The Other Darrin route. However, the new voice actor sounds a lot different from the old one, which is your first clue that the Igor you're talking to for most of the game isn't the real Igor. He's actually the Greater-Scope Villain in disguise. When the real Igor shows up at the very end of the game, he's voiced by recycled clips from the original actor.
  • Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time had the Looney Tunes characters voiced by their 1990s-era voice cast (such as Billy West as Bugs), except for Yosemite Sam, whose voice was entirely old clips of Mel Blanc, a full decade after his death.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • The Strong Bad Email "original" parodies this (along with The Other Darrin). Strong Bad claims that after Original Bubs left the show, the next few episodes pretended that he was still around, just obscured behind conveniently-placed boxes. And a toothpick model of the Eiffel Tower, far smaller than Original Bubs himself.
    • Show Within a Show Cheat Commandos has this in the short "The Next Epi-snowed", after Crack Stuntman (the main character's voice actor) gets fired:
      Reynold: It's too bad Gunhaver had to go on that secret mission to the moon for an undisclosed period of time... and that when he gets back, his voice might have changed.

     Web Video 
  • The Gumdrops:
    • "Miss Lucy" has a scene where Lindsay introduces Pete to the house. Notice how Sadia never interacts with anyone beyond Lindsay shooting her a cold look after she walks in. Kaireht Yovera couldn't be on set until much later, so they shot around her and filmed the shot of her walking into the kitchen, quickly followed by Pete and Lindsay at the very end of the day to disguise it. She had two lines in the scene that were initially dubbed in but cut.
    • Similarly Nora's scene in "That's Gas" was filmed on a completely separate day to avoid bringing Sandi Brown down from Belfast for just one short scene. As she's on the phone the whole time, this is a marginal example.
    • Similar is Lindsay's appearance at the end of "Cuffed", which was filmed on a different day to avoid bringing Ellen Jones down for such a brief bit.

    Western Animation 
  • A well-known joke from The Simpsons: While the family are discussing the benefits of animated shows over live-action, Ned Flanders walks past the window and adds, "plus you can replace [the voice actors], and no one can tell the diddly-ifference" in a voice that is obviously not Ned's. At the time, The Simpsons' voice actors were in a pay dispute with FOX, who threatened to replace them with soundalikes.
  • Speaking of the Simpsons, the show's crossover with Family Guy saw this happen with Harry Shearer. As Shearer did not want to participate in the crossover, while several of his characters appear in it, none of them have any dialogue except for Lenny's single "eh", which was done by an imitator instead of Shearer.
  • When Isaac Hayes left South Park, it took the creators completely by surprise. The solution: blatantly copy and paste lines from earlier episodes, edit them together in a ham-handed fashion, chalk it up to Chef being brainwashed by a cult, then McLean the character at the end. The brainwashing excuse meant for the most part they didn't have to put effort into masking the cut-and-paste job.
  • One episode of The Batman has a battle between Batman and all of his villains. They aren't voiced, though, really stealing the thunder from what should be an awesome fight.
  • An episode of The Fairly Oddparents has Chip Skylark singing in archived sound by Chris Kirpatrik.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold often has returning heroes and villains, sometimes as minor cameos and sometimes in full-on team brawls, but usually only about half of them actually get spoken lines. For example, the evil alternate superheroes and the good alternate villains only get a handful of voiced parts (such as Red Tornado's alternate, Silver Cyclone). Others, such as the unnamed evil Aquaman, are unheard.
  • Happens often in Young Justice due to the show having Loads and Loads of Characters and a limited casting budget. For instance, Nightwing and Wally have no lines in the episode "Satisfaction", and most of the superheroines present at Rocket's bridal shower are conveniently silent as well.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, most of the heroes the team had encountered in the past (Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Falcon, Black Widow, War Machine, and so on) returned to help fight Galactus. With a few exceptions, almost none of the returning heroes had any lines, as there's no way Marvel could have afforded to pay that many actors.
  • In the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", they put in a completely silent McCoy (as DeForest Kelley had been dead for a few years by that time), not to mention Welshie.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a bit of this.
    • Iroh's voice actor Mako died not long after finishing recording his season two lines, and Iroh doesn't speak for several episodes at the start of season three (though he is present, and occasionally grunts while exercising in prison). Word of God is that this was already written into the script and had nothing to do with Mako's death, but it was highly, highly convenient.
    • Greg Baldwin, Iroh's new voice actor, did a few lines intermixed with Mako's own lines during multiple episodes of Season 2. To the former's credit, unless you were actually listening for the differences, it's almost impossible to tell it was done by two different voice actors.
  • Anatoly Papanov who voiced the Wolf in Nu, Pogodi! died in 1987, and they recycled his existing lines for episodes 17 and 18.
  • In the fourth season of Reboot, Ray Tracer's voice actor was unavailable, resulting in his role being severely cut down with the couple of appearance he did make being unvoiced.
  • In The Superhero Squad Show, Nebula was initially voiced by Jane Lynch from Glee. Unfortunately, Lynch was unable to record more episodes, so the character was shown gagged in her subsequent appearances to keep people from noticing.
  • Popular rapper Nicki Minaj voiced Sugilite in an episode of Steven Universe, with the character becoming quite popular. However, either due to budgetary or scheduling issues, the production staff hasn't been able to get Nicki back since, so whenever Sugilite has appeared since then, she's been completely silent. This is Lampshaded in the episode "Know Your Fusion", which has Sardonyx discussing her with some previous footage and Stock Audio Clips:
    Sardonyx: She's not actually in the episode. Do we still have to pay her?
    • Garnet's voice actress, Estelle, was unavailable during the making of Attack the Light, so the game's creators could only use voice clips pulled from the show for her; as opposed to the rest of the main cast recording new lines for the game.
    • For unknown reasons, Lars has no original voice recordings for the entire second season. The two times he appears outside the background, he is silent for one (in "Sadie's Song) and voiced with a Stock Audio Clip in the other (the "Lion Loves to Fit in a Box" short).
  • In the Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero episode "The QPC" that focused on Penn's aunt and uncle, Boone and Sashi appear, but don't speak.
  • Teen Titans Go! has a nasty habit with this. Many of the side characters, especially the villains, remain silent because of budget concerns, or are simply given The Other Darrin treatment with the main voice actors. Notably, Mad Mod (voiced by Malcolm McDowell in the original series) doesn't say a word in the episode "Salty Codgers", and Scott Menville (Robin) replaced Jason Marsden for Billy Numerous' first speaking role in "The HIVE Five".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Invisible Darrin, Shemping


The Sopranos

Livia Soprano gets one last scene after Nancy Marchand's death.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / FakeShemp

Media sources:

Main / FakeShemp