Jake: Oh, really? Who does Kevin James play in it?
Sandler: Ha ha, it's a serious movie. [pause] Trotsky.
Jake: There it is!
A group of people that, whenever one is involved in a production, others are almost guaranteed to show up at some point.
This used to be a very enforced part of media making. Studios expected artists to specialize into units. An example would be John Ford being specialized in westerns, which meant that large parts of the crew—both in front of and behind the camera—would literally always work together. Another aspect of Hollywood filmmaking which used to enforce this in the past was that studios would often have exclusive contracts with big names spanning several years and movies. For instance, the vast majority of Humphrey Bogart's films after he made it big were for Warner Bros.
John August coined the term "Clique Flick" on his filmmaking podcast Script Notes.
See also Those Two Actors and Only So Many Canadian Actors. When each member tends to play the same sort of role every time, they're a Universal-Adaptor Cast. Associated Composer is a subtrope.
- Akiyuki Shinbo, the director for all of Studio Shaft's works, has a selection of voice actors that pop up time and time again. Hiroshi Kamiya, Chiwa Saitō, Miyuki Sawashiro, Kana Hanazawa, Maaya Sakamoto and Takehito Koyasu are the ones most likely to show up.
- Hayao Miyazaki always taps Joe Hisaishi to do the soundtracks for his movies. He also had a tendency in the 80's to cast Sumi Shimamoto for the lead roles in his films, but stopped that later on.
- Hiroyuki Imaishi’s go-to team of voice actors would be Hiroyuki Yoshino, Katsuyuki Konishi, Mayumi Shintani, Nobuyuki Hiyama, and Tetsu Inada.
- Koichi Mashimo frequently works with favorite seiyus Miyu Irino, Aya Hisakawa, Maaya Sakamoto among others. Musically he frequents the group Ali Project, and Yuki Kajiura. Also has his favorite screenwriters. In addition he always goes to the same studio for the art direction and in-betweening and completion work of his anime.
- Makoto Shinkai has not been involved in any project that does not have the name of composer Tenmon in it. And until The Garden of Words and Someone's Gaze, music by Daisuke Kashiwa.
- Barring his earliest projects, Masahiko Ohta never directs an anime without screenwriter Takashi Aoshima and composer Yasuhiro Misawa on-board.
- All of Naoko Yamada's works at Kyoto Animation have Reiko Yoshida as the head writer (even Liz and the Blue Bird, which is a spin-off of Sound! Euphonium, despite the fact that Jukki Hanada was the head writer for the main series). This also held true for her first work after she left Kyoto Animation, The Heike Story.
- Shinichiro Watanabe frequently has Yoko Kanno on board as the composer for anime series he directs; they've worked together on Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope, Space☆Dandy and Terror in Resonance. Scriptwriter Keiko Nobumoto also worked with him on several series.
- Comic book writer Alan Moore has collaborated with several artists more than once. He worked with:
- Alan Davis on Miracleman, Captain Britain, and D.R. & Quinch
- Dave Gibbons on Watchmen, the Superman story "For the Man Who Has Everything", and a 1980s Green Lantern story
- Kevin O'Neill on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a 1980s Omega Men story, and a 1980s Green Lantern Corps story
- Bill Sienkiewicz on the graphic novel Brought to Light and the aborted mini-series Big Numbers
- John Totleben on Swamp Thing and Miracleman
- Rick Veitch on Swamp Thing, Miracleman, and the 1980s story "The Mirror of Love"
- Writer Marv Wolfman has collaborated with artist George Pérez on The New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and History of the DC Universe.
- Writer Michael Gallagher has frequently collaborated with artist David Manak, most notably on early issues of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and the ALF comic. The two also handled Spy vs. Spy installments in MAD for a short time.
- MAD has several examples, stemming from the Running Gag of calling their regulars "The Usual Gang of Idiots":
- Senior editors Charlie Kadau and Joe Raiola frequently wrote gags together.
- The above-mentioned Michael Gallagher regularly collaborated with artist Tom Bunk for one-page gags.
- Nearly all of Anthony Barbieri's contributions to the magazine were Monroe and..., which was originally drawn by Bill Wray and then taken over by Tom Fowler.
- For most of the magazine's history, nearly all of the movie and TV show parodies were illustrated by Mort Drucker or Angelo Torres (plus a handful from Jack Davis), with writing usually handled by Larry Siegel, Lou Silverstone, Dick DeBartolo, Arnie Kogen, or Stan Hart. Over time, newer writers began to take over; as of The New '10s when the magazine largely stopped publishing new content, writing duties usually went to DeBartolo, Kogen, Desmond Devlin, or David Shayne, while Tom Richmond, Hermann Mejia, and Tom Bunk became the main illustrators.
- For most of the 21st century, Mark Fredrickson did the cover art.
- Writer Tom King is a frequent collaborator with artist Mitch Gerads, having worked together on The Sheriff of Babylon, Mister Miracle (2017), Heroes in Crisis, and Strange Adventures (2020). The reason why Mister Miracle even happened is because the two were originally planning to work on a Batman one-off "The War of Jokes and Riddles", which DC decided to integrate into King's run of Batman using that series' artists, and King pushed to work on something else so they could properly collaborate again.
- The Disney Animated Canon has had its common band of voice actors and composers, starting with the end of the Golden Age: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sebastian Cabot, Sterling Holloway, George Lindsey, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, and Cheech Marin.
- Alan Tudyk has more or less become Disney's answer to John Ratzenberger, having a role in all of their animated films since Wreck-It Ralph.
- Not only did this apply to the voice actors, but the actual animators and directors as well. Back when Disney started to make animated features, Freddy Moore, Bill Tytla, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston often acted as supervising animators. By the time Cinderella rolled around, the head animators consisted of Thomas, Johnson, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery and Ward Kimball. Clyde Geronimi, Wilford Jackson and Hamilton Luske directed most of the 50's feature. From Sleeping Beauty on, Wolfgang Reitherman began directing alongside them, eventually becoming the studio's head director from The Sword in the Stone through The Rescuers.
- Since the renaissance, Disney had a new team of artists that worked closely together for the rest of their 2D animation career. Animators like Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Mark Henn and Eric Goldberg worked for directors including John Musker & Ron Clements and Kirk Wise & Gary Trousdale. They had a bevy of recurring story artists like Chris Sanders, Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt, Brave), Burny Mattinson, Roger Allers (The Lion King (1994)) and Joe Ranft. Alan Menken almost always composed the music, usually with Howard Ashman before his passing. Tony Jay, Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, Wayne Knight and most notably David Ogden Stiers had multiple roles. Jeffrey Katzenberg, later co-founder of Dreamworks, headed the division at its peak.
- Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most close-knit group of artists in history: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Joe Ranft, Lee Unkrich, Bob Peterson and Brad Bird. Most of them were students together at CalArts in the late 70s. Each of the filmmakers display their unique vision, but all the filmmakers pitch in on each other's work during the process, no egos involved, for the purpose of creating the most entertaining and the most meaningful movies they possibly can.
- If it's a feature film, John Ratzenberger willnote have a voice role in it. When Pixar's John Lasseter supervised the dub of Spirited Away, he even brought over Ratzenberger as a participant due to his "good luck charm" status.
- SNL castmember Bill Hader, Edie McClurg, Bonnie Hunt, Wallace Shawn, Brad Garrett, Richard Kind, Bud Luckey and Peter Sohn have had multiple appearences in their films. Joe Ranft did voices too, until his death in a car wreck in August 2005.
- For music, you can usually expect music by either Michael Giacchino, Randy Newman, or Randy's cousin Thomas Newman (exceptions: Brave The Good Dinosaur, Onward and Soul).
- Don Bluth was always followed by Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy, and the three had left Disney at the same time to start Bluth's independent animation studio. Among the actors normally cast, Dom De Luise was a regular (often cast as the second banana and/or comic relief), with Will Ryan not to far behind. Charles Nelson Reilly was also frequently cast as a henchman or lackey to the main antagonist. Judith Barsi also intended on continuing her career as a voice actress until her untimely death; in fact, had she not been murdered, she could have continued to voice Ducky in the ensuing The Land Before Time sequels, as it was her favorite role.
- Cartoon Saloon's "Irish Folklore trilogy" movies (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and Wolfwalkers) are all directed or co-directed by Tomm Moore and produced by Paul Young, and the music for all three films is provided by composer Bruno Coulais and Irish band Kíla. Brendan Gleeson also voices prominent roles in both The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea.
- Andy Hamilton's comedies often share a similar supporting cast, for example both Old Harry's Game and Revolting People feature (as well as Hamilton himself) actors Philip Pope and Michael Fenton Stevens (both of whom featured in other shows including Series/KYTV) whilst actor David Swift also appear in Old Harry's Game as God, having previously appeared alongside Robert Duncan (Scumspawn), Fenton Stevens, Pope and Hamilton in Drop the Dead Donkey in which James Grout (Old Harry's Game) also played a guest role.
- William Shakespeare had a stock company which included Richard Burbage (who generally played the leads) and Will Kemp (who played the comic roles). This is lampshaded in Hamlet where the actor playing Polonius is the same actor who originally played Julius Caesar (and therefore got stabbed again by Richard Burbage who played both Hamlet and Brutus).
- Many of Stephen Sondheim's musicals were created in association with director-producer Harold Prince (Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Merrily We Roll Along, the failed version of Road Show known as Bounce) and writer-director James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Passion, the 2012 revival of Merrily We Roll Along). Almost all of these shows were orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick. (Sondheim had a lot of trouble with previous orchestrators when he started composing Broadway musicals in the 1960s.)
- Every Broadway musical originally starring Ethel Merman, with the exception of Gypsy, had a book written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse or by Herbert Fields with either B.G. DeSylva or Dorothy Fields. Cole Porter wrote songs for five Ethel Merman shows, and she was the only performer whose name he associated with the song ideas in his personal notebook.
- Gilbert and Sullivan's operas, from The Sorcerer onward, were produced by Richard D'Oyly Carte's Comic Opera Company and its successor, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. There were many recurring actors, but a few names stand out:
- George Grossmith and Rutland Barrington were J.W. Wells and Dr. Daly, Sir Joseph and Captain Corcoran, Major-General and Sergeant of Police, Bunthorne and Grosvenor, Lord Chancellor and Earl of Mountararat, Gama and Hildebrand, Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah, and Robin and Sir Despard. They were last cast together in The Yeomen of the Guard as Jack Point and Wilfred Shadbolt, but Barrington took a leave of absence.
- Grossmith was replaced after Yeomen by Walter Passmore. Barrington was the original Grand Inquisitor in The Gondoliers and a revival assigned the same part to Passmore. Passmore and Barrington appeared together as Tarara and King Paramount in Utopia, Limited and as Rudolph and Ludwig in The Grand Duke.
- Other dependable Savoy players included Richard Temple in comic-heavy roles (Grossmith, Barrington, and Temple as Marmaduke were the only actors from the 1877 production of The Sorcerer to reprise their roles in 1884), Jessie Bond and later Emmie Owen in sympathetic mezzo-soprano roles, Leonora Braham and later Geraldine Ulmar in leading soprano roles, and Rosina Brandram in all the Grande Dame and Old Maid roles.
- Joe Iconis of Be More Chill fame often recruits the same cast and crew for his shows, and frequently involves these people in concerts and independent albums featuring his music under the name "Iconis & Family." Frequent members include Lauren Marcus (also his wife), George Salazar, Eric William Morris, and Jason SweetTooth Williams.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda seems to be forming one with musical director Alex Lacamoire, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, actors Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos, and Karen Olivo. When he appeared on Drunk History, Miranda told Jackson, "Long as I got a job, you got a job."
- Movista, the producers of the Tsukiuta and Identity V stage play series, tend to cast a lot of the same actors. While the general 2.5D sphere tends to have a few famous names who appear in a lot of work, mostly Touken Ranbu cast members, Movista's group is separate from this. Hirai Yuki and Chiba Mizuki have had lead roles in almost all of Movista's series, and Chiba sings the theme songs even for plays he isn't in (Tsukipro's Machine Elements steampunk AU). Particularly noteworthy was their original series, 'Kuro to Shiro', where out of 16 cast members, 7 were in both Tsukipro and Identity V, and only one was in neither. The same choreographer, J.U.N., has also worked on both Identity V and Tsukipro's SQS series.
- Overlapping slightly with the Music examples, Rockstar Games has worked with film composer and musician Woody Jackson on Red Dead Redemption and its sequel, L.A. Noire, Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V, while Lazlow Jones has appeared on the radio of every Grand Theft Auto game since III as an Adam Wested version of himself.
- Remedy Entertainment have used and re-used a number of actors in their games. This is especially noticeable because Remedy enjoy Medium Blending, mixing live-action scenes into their narratives.
- James McCaffrey in Max Payne (as Max Payne) and Control.
- Matthew Porretta in Alan Wake (as Alan Wake's voice actor; Motion Capture was performed by Ilkka Villi) and Control.
- Alternative Rock band Poets of the Fall as Fake Band "Old Gods of Asgard," in both Alan Wake and Control.
- Courtney Hope and Sean Durrie in Quantum Break (as secondary characters) and (you guessed it) Control (as the Player Character and The Dragon, respectively).
- The Dragon Quest series has, throughout its long history, featured the same three core members of the development team: scenario writer Yuji Horii, music composer Koichi Sugiyama, and character designer Akira Toriyama.
- Telltale Games, before their dissolution in 2018, had a habit of reusing voice actors. Roger L. Jackson, Dave Fennoy, Andrew Chaikin, and Adam Harrington each appeared in six Telltale titles between 2012 and 2018; Erin Yvette, Laura Bailey, and Matthew Mercer each appear in four, with even more actors popping up across two or three of the studio's franchises.
- Death Stranding: Pretty much most of the big names that were slated to make Silent Hills are involved in this game. Alongside Norman Reedus and Guillermo del Toro, there's also horror mangaka Junji Ito who provided his likeness as a cameo. Additionally, most of the Japanese dub's cast are Metal Gear veterans. Artist Yoji Shinkawa, who has worked as Kojima go-to character and mech designer since Metal Gear Solid, fills in the same role on this project too. Ludvig Forssell, the composer for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also composed for Death Stranding.
- Wadjet Eye Games tend to use a core group of the same voice actors in their games, most prominently Abe Goldfarb, Shelly Shenoy, Daryl Lathon, Francisco Gonzalez, and Mike Pollock. The company head, David Gilbert, will also usually appear as the voice of a minor character. In addition, Thomas Reign also tends be the composer on all of the games developed by Gilbert himself.
- Whenever writer Takeshi Masada undertakes one of his projects, artist G Yuusuke and composer Keishi Yonao are generally not far behind. Even when he was forced to change mediums after all the trouble following the closure of Greenwood, the three still stick together for Avesta of Black and White.
- Alfa Legion videos are sure to have Bruva Alfabusa, Thunder Psyker, Eliphas the Inheritor and Karl the Deranged, and several other Legionnaires appear from time to time as well.
- Vocaloid composers Hitoshizuku and Yama have worked on so many songs together that they have a separate channel dedicated for their crossovers. For added posse, their videos are mostly illustrated by Suzunosuke. They eventually form an official group named TeamOS.
- Kurt Hugo Schneider's most frequent collaborators are his brother Max, Sam Tsui, and Alyson Stoner.
- The voice-acting from Digimon Resumido is done by Friendzone Team and some recurring dubbers from the Revengeverse.
- Following the cancellation of her Disney Channel series Sonny with a Chance and its reboot So Random!, Allisyn Ashley Arm (aka Zora Lancaster) has used cast members from both shows (especially Audrey Whitby and Matthew Scott Montgomery) in her YouTube comedy series, in particular Astrid Clover.
- Rooster Teeth is getting up there, if they're not already. Between the company's staff and hired actors, it's not hard to find recurring actors - Lindsay Jones, Barbara Dunkelman, Michael Jones, Shannon McCormick, Jen Brown, Lee Eddy, Samantha Ireland - with a few even producing\writing\directing as well (Gray G. Haddock, Kerry Shawcross, Miles Luna).
- Shipwrecked Comedy itself is an example, but the group also frequently works with: director William Joe Stribling, composer Dylan Glatthorn, cinematographer Alex Gallitano, and actors such as Joey Richter, Blake Silver, Jessica Jade Andres, Lauren Lopez, and Christopher Higgins, who has both acted and been the behind-the-scenes photographer for numerous projects.
- At this point, Shipwrecked, Team Starkid, and Tin Can Brothers all frequently share actors, with Starkid and Tin Can Bros sharing co-founders Joey Richter and Brian Rosenthal (though Shipwrecked and Tin Can Bros. once pretended to have a rivalry).
- Discussed by the Super Best Friends Zaibatsu during their Let's Watch of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, in which they point out how Metal Gear's voice cast - barring David Hayter, who is frequently busy with things outside of voice work - frequently seems to pop up together, bringing up Robin Atkin Downes and Paul Eiding's roles in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle specifically.
- Out of practicality, Gus Johnson's sketches regularly feature the same actors: His brother Sven Johnson (several of his other family members make regular appearances too), his roommate Eddy Burback, and his girlfriend Abelina Sabrina. Likewise, Gus regularly appears in sketches on Sven's and Sabrina's channels. He and Ian Kung have also appeared in several of each other's sketches.
- A lot of the people who did voices for Winter of '83 had also worked with Lewis Lovhaug before or are even fellow former Channel Awesome members, including his wife Viga Gadson, Nash Bozard, Chuck Sonnenburg, Allison Pregler, and Marc Swint.
- Stu is usually accompanied by his girlfriend Jeanine Kasun, as well as writers/historians Mark Evanier, Earl Kress, and Jerry Beck.
- More than half of the books written by Canadian children's author Robert Munsch are illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Any book Michael Martchenko has illustrated for will have been written by Munsch, Allen Morgan, or Martchenko himself.
- Disney has often used the Rome-based Royfilm studio for Italian dubs of their TV shows and films.