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Consensus at TRS was that Casting Gag should be separated from Actor Allusion and Actor-Shared Background as follows:

  • Casting Gag is a scenario where an entire role mirrors/parodies an entire previous role or Real Life situation of the actor. A conscious casting choice can be assumed. This can also apply to cameos.
  • Actor Allusion is reserved for deliberate yet rather isolated throw-away references to previous works/roles.
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  • Actor-Shared Background is for details a character shares with the actor playing it.


  • In the English dub of Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright impersonator Furio Tigre is voiced by Sam Riegel, the voice of Phoenix himself in the video game series.
  • Assassination Classroom:
  • Attack on Titan: Patrick Seitz being cast as Drill Sergeant Nasty Keith Shadis was most likely a reference to his role as Germany in Hetalia, who had a similar personality, though he frequently showed a softer side, especially to Italy. The world of AoT also has a strong German-flavoring.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: Funimation strikes again with an Aaron Dismuke/Maxey Whitehead casting gag. Maxey plays Sealand, a young male micronation, and, in a nod to both their roles as Al from FMA as well as fully utilizing Aaron hitting puberty, he was cast as adult!Sealand in the brief Imagine Spot he appears in. Since Sealand's British and accents are used in the dub, could also double as a reference to the Ouran High School Host Club bloopers where Aaron briefly gave his character a British accent.
  • In Haganai, Yuka Iguchi voices Maria who is basically Index with lavender hair and a dark blue habit.
  • Satomi Arai once voiced a lesbian Pettanko character who admires an older-looking lightning user, specifically Kuroko Shirai, and then voiced a different lesbian Pettanko character who admires an older-looking lightning user, namely Shiroyasha.
  • Jun Fukuyama, who is known for playing Lelouch in Code Geass, was subsequently been cast as Ryner Lute in The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, another character who possesses a Magical Eye.
    • Dian has the same power, the same motivation and even a human form that resembles Lelouch, however, he's more sinister and vengeful (in the first series).
    • The Girl Who Leapt Through Space's Leopard is a Brain Colony, which consists basically of an AI that has full control over his body, which is basically a Gundam's space colony, and Leopard's personality is basically that of Lelouch, but in an action-comedy setting here.
  • In the English version of Code Geass, Johnny Yong Bosch stars as an intelligent and occasionally Necessarily Evil pragmatist whose ideals clash with Yuri Lowenthal, his passionate and idealistic childhood friend. In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Yuri Lowenthal stars as a passionate idealist whose ideals clash with Johnny Yong Bosch, his intelligent and pragmatic childhood friend. Amusingly, while their roles are the same, the "right" and "wrong" sides are reversed.
  • In the English dub of Cowboy Bebop, Daran Norris voices both as Andy, a comical character who is Spike's rival during one episode, as well as the antagonist Vincent in the movie, who is an Evil Counterpart to Spike. Amusingly, the film is chronologically set immediately after the episode Andy appears in, so Spike had to deal with them one after the other.
  • Digimon:
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub of Digimon Data Squad, Rolando de la Fuente provided the voice of both Thomas N. Norstein (Foil to series protagonist Marcus Daimon) and Agumon (Marcus's partner) . . . just like in Digimon Adventure, where Uraz Huerta voiced both Yamato "Matt" Ishida (Foil to series protagonist Tai Kamiya) and Agumon (Tai's partner).
    • Digimon Adventure: (2020) has Yuuko Sanpei play Tai. Yuuko played Melodytchi in the anime adaptation of the Tamagotchi franchise, which Digimon was envisioned as a Spear Counterpart for.
  • Doctor Slump has Midori Norimaki (née Yamabuki) who was not only modeled after Marilyn Monroe, she was also voiced by Mariko Mukai who's best known for being the Japanese dub voice for Marilyn Monroe (though Mukai only voiced her in the first anime, her extended cameo in Dragon Ball and the original five movies).
  • In Dog Days, both Minako Kotobuki and Kana Hanazawa, well known for their roles as Mugi and Kuroneko respectively, voice Action Girl variants of those characters.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • One episode of Dragon Ball GT has Earth's fighters evacuating the planet after it's set to explode, one scene has Vegeta arguing with a teenage punk at an arcade who bears a resemblance to Kazuma Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho, Christopher Sabat voices the character using the same voice he had used for Kuwabara.
    • Dragon Ball Super: In the English dub, when a copy of Vegeta appears, they don't just have Christopher Sabat voice both of them. Instead, Brian Drummond, the voice of Vegeta from the original Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, voices Copy-Vegeta. The two characters then proceed to have an argument over which one of them is the real Vegeta.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Aaron Dismuke did the voice of Alphonse in the English dub of the 2003 anime, but puberty made it impossible for him to reprise the role for Brotherhood—so he did the voice for Al's father, Van Hohenheim, as a young man.
    • Luci Christian, who played the 2003 anime's incarnation of Wrath, provides the voice of the Truth in Brotherhood. Both characters are strikingly similar in that both meet Edward at the Gate of Truth and end up taking his arm and leg for themselves, keeping them until the end of the storylines they appear in (except Wrath loses both limbs while the Truth keeps Ed's leg). Considering the Truth simply shares the same voice actor as the one it appears before it in the original Japanese language, the fact that they had a single person to portray a character that had something in common with one of her earlier roles in the franchise couldn't be called anything less than a tribute.
  • Ga-Rei -Zero-: Funimation cast many of their most popular voice actors to play the five Agency squad members in Episode 01 only. Why Episode 01 only? . . . because they all get killed off! Could be a bit of dark humor on Funimation's part.
  • Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who voiced Major Motoko Kusanagi in the English dub of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex voices Kurtusu in Ghost in the Shell: Arise.
  • Gundam Build Fighters engages in a lot of this by having several characters played by Gundam veterans. However, the biggest example has to be Mr. Ral, who not only looks identical to and acts a lot like Anti-Villain Ramba Ral from the original series, but is played by the same actor, Masashi Hirose. Since the Gundam anime exists in the Build Fighters, this also creates an odd example of Celebrity Paradox.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The English dub of the 2011 anime has a few.
    • Cindy Robinson was cast as the Chimera Ant Queen. She had previously played Queen Beryl in Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal. They pretty much have the exact same voice, too.
    • Max Mittelman is the Chimera Ant King, aka Meruem, who's basically the most powerful creature to have ever existed in the HxH world. This is important, you see, because this means the king could kill everybody else with one punch.
    • Todd Haberkorn and Erica Mendez have both voiced characters named Haruka. In this series, since they're enemies (Todd as Arc Villain Genthru and Erica as The Hero Gon), this means they fight each other. It's pretty amusing to see Haru fighting Sailor Uranus. (May even count doubly since Todd is also in SM, but none of his characters interact with either of Erica's).
    • Chris Niosi as Shaiapouf, one of Meruem's Royal Guards, may count, depending on if the casting director knew of upcoming plot points in the Sailor Moon dub. His SM character is also in service to royalty, though Helios is a priest, not a bodyguard, and Endymion was only a prince instead of a king. Niosi's also a meta example, as he's the ex-boyfriend of the creator of Sailor Moon Abridged who also voiced Serena. In canon, Helios is the heavily implied Love Interest of Serena/Usagi's daughter.
  • In Jewelpet (2009), Mamoru Miyano voiced the Deadpan Snarker secretary agent Keigo Tatewaki. His Comically Serious demeanor brings back Setsuna F. Seiei's portrayal in the CD dramas.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Jotaro, Josuke, and Giorno's voice actors in the anime all share the same surname: Ono (Daisuke Ono for Jotaro, Yuki Ono for Josuke, and Kensho Ono for Giorno).
  • In Lucky Star, Konata works in a Cosplay Café and dresses as Haruhi Suzumiya, both characters having been voiced by Aya Hirano, as well as Wendee Lee in the English dubs (though Lucky Star as a whole is full of shout-outs and other things like these).
  • Lupin III: Daisuke Jigen, modeled by creator Monkey Punch after the great James Coburn of The Magnificent Seven fame, has been voiced in almost every anime production by Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Coburn's designated seiyuu.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Mutsumi Tamura previously played Dejima in Seitokai Yakuindomo, a maid who was in love with her mistress. She ends up playing Kobayashi, a woman whose maid is in love with her.
    • Yūko Gotō is known for playing Mikuru, who was often forcibly dressed up as a maid. Her role as Georgie loves to dress up as and pretend to be a maid.
  • In some sort of weird twist on The Danza, both ending themes for Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea are performed by Nagi Yanagi.
  • In Naruto, the voice actors of the six dead Jinchuurikis also play their six Bijuus. But they mix up the roles, so none of those Jinchuurikis share his/her voice with his/her own Bijuu. For example, Yondaime Mizukage Yagura's voice actor Miyu Irino plays him and the Rokubi Saiken, Utakata's Bijuu.
  • A relatively early example of this was the casting of Kotono Mitsuishi as Misato in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno stated that Misato was basically Usagi Tsukino (Mitsuishi's most famous role) if she'd grown up to be a very unhappy adult.
    • Another came when they cast Kyoko Zeppelin (Asuka's mother). Asuka is often seen as a Spiritual Successor to Jung Freud from Gunbuster, so they got Maria Kawamura to play Asuka's mother.
  • The anime adaptation of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! has Izumi Kitta playing Tomoko. The voice actress in question also plays Rainbow Dash in the Japanese dub of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, who is . . . pretty much Tomoko's opposite in every way.
  • In One Piece, the Japanese voice actors for the Straw Hat pirates also provide the voices for a group of impostors trying to gain infamy by posing as the Straw Hats. They also mix up who is who, such as Sanji's voice actor playing the fake Luffy or Chopper's as the fake Nami.
    • The Funimation dub maintains that gag with the English voice actors but goes a step further. The voices for Fake Sanji (Christopher Sabat) and Fake Robin (Luci Christian) mimic the voices for the characters from the earlier 4Kids dub (David Moo and Veronica Taylor).
  • In the dub of One-Punch Man, Christopher Sabat voices Vaccine Man, a villain who bears a strong resemblance to Piccolo.
  • Atsuko Ishizuka, the director of the anime adaptation of No Game No Life, has previous experience on The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Ai Kayano, who voiced the lead pair of lovers in Sakurasou, would be once again cast to play, in No Game No Life, a pair of gamer-siblings. The gag went further due to the names of the characters involved: Sorata and Mashironote  in Sakurasou, and Sora and Shironote  in No Game No Life.
  • Seitokai Yakuindomo has Furuya, who enjoys old-world snacks, uses '80s slang, and does her calculations on an abacus . . . even her fanservice is old-school. She's played by Fumi Hirano, best known as the voice of Lum in the '80s series Urusei Yatsura.
  • With Funimation finally dubbing the second season onwards of Shakugan no Shana, Shana is voiced by Cherami Leigh, who has some experience with the role.
  • Stephanie Griffin voiced Himeko Se in AnimEigo's dub of the Vampire Princess Miyu OVA and went on to voice Yukari in Tokyopop's dub of the TV series years later.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: the new Funimation dub has decided to cast Vic Mignogna as Folken, who is the older brother of Van. Van is voiced by Aaron Dismuke, who has some experience being the younger brother to Vic's character.
  • In Yatterman Night, Eri Kitamura voices a descendant of the original anime's villain, Doronjo. She seems to have switched sides, as just six years earlier, she voiced none other than Doronjo's enemy Yatterman-1 in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. It gets deeper than that: Leopard's mother Dorothy is played by Shizuka Itō, Ai-chan's voice actor from the 2008 series.
  • Takehito Koyasu voiced Takuma Saiou from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, who uses a Tarot Cards based deck filled with the Major Arcana. His particularly favorite card is The World and he enjoys saying and using it a lot. Koyasu would later be the voice of Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, whose minions have Stands related to the Major Arcana and has the power of The World who also enjoys shouting its name and using its power multiple times.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Graham Akre/Mr. Bushido is played by Yuichi Nakamura, the voice actor. In the 2020 run of the 00 stage play, Bushido is played by...Yuichi Nakamura, the live-action actor best known for his roles in the Kamen Rider franchise.
  • In Guin Saga, Kenyu Horiuchi plays Guin, an amnesiac hero with an animal head in a world with magic on a quest to restore his appearance and memory. In Dorohedoro, he plays En, the leader of magic users who fight an amnesiac hero with an animal head in a world with magic on a quest to restore his appearance and memory.

    Film — Animation 
  • At the end of The Jungle Book 2, Shere Khan (now voiced by Tony Jay) actually ends up being defeated by being plunged into a fiery pit, similar to Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis goes through each member of the Robinson family and how they're related to each other, with his mental family tree shown to the viewer; however, he hasn't met Wilbur's dad Cornelius, so he asks Wilbur what he looks like. After a Beat, Wilbur says "Tom Selleck" in a deadpan tone, and a Real Life picture of Selleck is used for Lewis' thoughts. In reality, Cornelius is voiced by Selleck but looks like Lewis as an adult. The line was actually written first, and that gave them the idea of offering Tom Selleck the role. In most of the dubbed versions (except for the Brazilian and Dutch), they replace the "Tom Selleck" line with whoever is voicing Cornelius in that language.
  • Don Bluth's Thumbelina features Jodi Benson voicing a redhead who wishes to find love with someone of a different species - who also has most characters comment on her beautiful singing voice. It wasn't the first time she lent her voice to such a film, that also happened to be based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale.
  • In the Brazilian Portuguese dub of The LEGO Movie, main character Emmet is played by Renan Freitas, who previously voiced another notorious builder.
  • In The Boxtrolls, it wouldn't be Dee Bradley Baker's first time playing a fish. He previously did that in American Dad!, with Klaus.
  • Wonder Woman (2009): Hippolyta's voice actress, Virginia Madsen, is no stranger to playing a demigoddess' mother since she also played Arella from Teen Titans.
  • In The LEGO Batman Movie Zach Galifianakis plays The Joker, making this his second role as a clown after Baskets.
  • Inside Out has an example similar to the Meet The Robinsons one above. Anger is constantly seen reading a newspaper that updates him on things in Riley's life, wears a white button-down shirt and tie, and, as to be expected, has a Hair-Trigger Temper. He's voiced by Lewis Black, who is famous for his "angry yelling" comedy persona. Black also wears the same clothes for his stand-up act and often uses stories from newspapers as fodder for jokes. This is all very deliberate—during the first pitch meeting of the movie, the writers, perhaps jokingly, told the studio heads to imagine getting different people to voice the emotions, specifically remarking "We could get Lewis Black to play Anger!" Sure enough, that's exactly what happened.
  • In Incredibles 2 the mayor of New Urbem is voiced by Barry Bostwick, who played the bumbling mayor of New York city in the sitcom Spin City.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 1941: In the beginning of the film, a woman goes skinny-dipping in the ocean in the early morning and is startled and embarrassed when a Japanese submarine surfaces beneath her and she's caught on the periscope. The character is played by Susan Backlinie, and was cast by Steven Spielberg partly because she was a good swimmer and trained stuntwoman who didn't mind getting naked and partly because she'd played Chrissie in Jaws, where her character went skinny-dipping in the early morning only to be eaten by a shark.
  • Sunset Boulevard:
    • Gloria Swanson, who was an over the hill, forgotten silent movie actress, plays an over the hill silent movie actress.
    • She employs a butler who was once a famous, now forgotten, silent film director. This part is played by the once famous, then forgotten silent film director Erich von Stroheim.
    • When Swanson's character is seen watching one of her old movies, it is ACTUALLY an old Gloria Swanson movie (Queen Kelly) - directed by Erich von Stroheim.
    • And then there are her card-playing buddies from the Old Days ("the Waxworks"), including Buster Keaton.
  • In Knives Out, Daniel Craig is hired to investigate a murder in a Big, Screwed-Up Family whose patriarch is Christopher Plummer. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's almost precisely the same dynamic as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
    • Henrik Vanger, Plummer's character in Dragon Tattoo, calls his relatives "thieves, misers, bullies ... the most detestable collection of people you will ever meet." Harlan Thrombey, his character in Knives, isn't quite as harsh in his words but feels more or less the same way about his clan.
  • The first Scream movie had a throwaway line about who would play each of the characters in the slasher-movie-plot they've found themselves in. Sidney quips, "With my luck they'd cast Tori Spelling." Cue Scream 2 where a Film Within a Film regarding the first movie's events is being filmed, and the character who represents Sidney is, indeed, Tori Spelling — she thought the quip from the first movie was Actually Pretty Funny and signed up for the joke.
  • Carrie Fisher has a cameo in Scream 3 as "Bianca" who is bitter over losing out for the role of Princess Leia to another actress. She goes as far to state that the actress 'must have slept with George Lucas'.
  • Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Ray Park have all appeared in Fanboys because of their roles in Star Wars. The fact that they played different characters added to the level of hilarious.
  • Sigourney Weaver plays a (blonde!) Bridge Bunny in Galaxy Quest, a character significantly at odds to her best-known role, Ellen Ripley of Alien. In the same film, Tim Allen is very convincing as a washed-up TV star, and Alan Rickman is excellent as a respected Shakespearean actor playing a role far below his ability.
  • In Avatar, Sigourney Weaver fights to protect the aliens. And the film is by the same director of Aliens.
  • In Paul, Sigourney Weaver plays the Big Bad that hunts the titular Alien.
  • In Shakespeare in Love, Ben Affleck has a small role as a big name actor who is tricked into accepting a small role in Romeo and Juliet.
  • David Duchovny in Zoolander as a conspiracy nut.
  • In Battle Royale, Takeshi Kitano, the host of the game show Takeshi's Castle, plays Kitano, a teacher who hosts the titular Battle Royale.
  • In The Cannonball Run, one of the racers has the delusion that he is a famous movie star named Roger Moore, and has lots of zany gadgets including an ejection seat in the car. Of course, the character is played by Roger Moore, who was one of the James Bond actors.
  • Freaky Friday (2003) wanted to do this with Jodie Foster, who played the daughter in the original 1976 Freaky Friday, now playing the mother, however, she declined the role and it went to Jamie Lee Curtis instead.
  • In Clue we get this Stealth Pun Casting Gag: "Mr. Boddy won't be staying with us for very long. In fact, he's just Lee Ving."
  • Sky High (2005): Lynda Carter, former Wonder Woman, as the Sky High Principal. At one point, she quips "I'm not a wonder woman, you know."
  • Iron Man:
    • The after-credits-appearing character Nick Fury is played by Samuel L. Jackson who serves (with his permission) as the model for the appearance and personality of the Ultimate Marvel version of Fury. Within the comic The Ultimates itself, when the team was amusing themselves speculating on who would play them in the movie about their adventures, Fury said that he would, of course, be played by Samuel L. Jackson. A popular theory is that Jackson, a real-life comics fan, agreed to provide his likeness for the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury, with the understanding that if ever there was a movie with Nick Fury, he would get to play the role.
    • Ghostface Killah — who uses "Tony Starks" as an alias, titled his 1996 solo debut album Ironman and opened his 2000 album Supreme Clientele with a clip of the theme to the old Iron Man cartoon — was actually cast in a supporting role in the film as an industrial tycoon (though his scene didn't make it to the final cut).
    • Guitarist Tom Morello appears as one of the terrorists who try to kill the first Iron Man suit. To get the gag you have to remember that he is most famous for playing with "Rage Against the Machine". (Morello later co-scored the sequel)
    • And then there were the endless jokes about casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. And then Sherlock Holmes, who had a bit of a thing for cocaine.
  • Maverick:
    • A Casting Gag played as Actor Allusion, the title character (played by Mel Gibson) is in a bank as it is held up by an unnamed bank robber played by Danny Glover, who starred alongside Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series of movies. Maverick acts as though he recognizes the voice of the bank robber and pulls down his mask, leading the two of them to share a moment before shaking their heads and walking away. The unnamed bank robber also mentions that he's "getting too old for this" as he makes his getaway.
    • Further, the film features The Unseen father of Bret Maverick — who, just coincidentally, happens to be played by none other than James Garner, who originated the role of Maverick on TV.
  • Very possibly the casting of Robin Williams, TV's Mork From Ork in The '70s, as Popeye, searching for his long lost father, Poopdeck Pappy, played by Ray Walston, TV's loveable alien from The '60s on My Favorite Martian.
  • Larry Hagman in Nixon, playing a Texas billionaire.
  • Since the new resurgence of superhero films began, comic book legend Stan Lee has had a cameo in most of the film series of Marvel characters he helped to create, from Spider-Man Trilogy to the X-Men Film Series. Usually, he's just being heroic, but he got to play a character he created, Willie Lumpkin, in the Fox Fantastic Four (2005) movie. He was a miss pageant judge in Iron Man 3. Truly a hero to the good old US of A. :)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien was probably best-known in the UK during The '90s for hosting The Crystal Maze, a game show in which contestants had to win crystals (and ultimately prizes) by solving puzzles on a large, labyrinthine set. He was later cast in the Dungeons & Dragons (2000) film as the master of a large maze from which the heroes have to retrieve a gem.
  • In Kenneth Branagh's film Henry V, the actor Michael Williams, Judi Dench's husband, was cast as the character Michael Williams after she signed on to the film.
  • At the beginning of Love Actually, Liam Neeson's character is giving a eulogy for his wife, and he jokingly mentions that they had a lot of time to discuss things when she was ill, and one of her suggestions was that he bring Claudia Schiffer as his date to the funeral. This gets a callback later when he tells his stepson that he plans on never finding love again — unless he should run into Claudia Schiffer. At the end, he's at the stepson's school, trying to help him resolve his own unrequited love for a classmate... and he bumps into another parent he's never met before, who introduces herself as Carol Karen (he stammers a bit and calls her Carol, though). She's is played by Claudia Schiffer.
  • Thoroughly unintentional example (they initially refused to even let her audition): Paris Hilton in Repo! The Genetic Opera playing... a rich, slutty, fashion-obsessed heiress cultivating a singing career using her name and infamy rather than talent. Better than it sounds, not least because her face falls off.
  • Bridget Jones' Diary:
    • Colin Firth was cast to play Mark Darcy, a character inspired by Fitzwilliam Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice) which he played in a series of made for TV films. On top of that, in the original novel, Bridget and her friends are stated to lust after the actor and his famous wet shirt scene.
    • In the second novel, Bridget Jones interviews Colin Firth for a newspaper article.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats: The titular men call themselves "Jedi Knights". So who should be cast as the reporter writing a story on this covert group of psychic warriors, making such statements as, "I don't understand what a Jedi Knight is."? Ewan McGregor. According to McGregor, the director didn't even realize this, although McGregor himself played it up.
  • Is it just a coincidence that Nestor Carbonell, who played Mayor Anthony Garcia in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, also played Batmanuel in The Tick (2001)?
  • In David Mamet's adaptation of the play The Winslow Boy, Neil North plays the First Lord of the Admiralty. In the 1948 film of the same play, North had played the title character (a supporting role).
  • The same year Mark Williams was cast as the technology-loving wizard Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movie series, he was also an enthusiastic presenter in Industrial Revelations, a documentary series about the history of technology.
    • In Half-Blood Prince, after Bill was attacked, he was said to bear a distinct resemblance to Mad-Eye Moody. In Deathly Hallows, Bill was played by Domhnall Gleeson whose father, Brendan Gleeson, played Moody.
    • Also in Half-Blood Prince, Lord Voldemort's child self is played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, nephew to Ralph Fiennes who portrays the character's adult incarnation.
    • In the epilogue, Draco Malfoy's wife was played by Tom Felton's real-life girlfriend.
  • Miranda Richardson has been in so many roles that involve beheading — Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder II, the Queen of Hearts in 1999's Alice in Wonderland TV miniseries, Lady Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow (1999) — that it's hard to imagine her role as the chicken-killing Mrs. Tweedy in Chicken Run being anything other than an allusion to her past head-removing roles.
  • Sean Connery was cast as Indiana Jones' father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade because Steven Spielberg and George Lucas thought that the only man who could play Indy's father was James Bond, and because in a meta sense, James Bond was the father of Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark came about when Steven Spielberg told George Lucas that he wanted to make a Bond movie; Lucas pitched his "Indiana Smith" character as a rights-free alternative, and the rest is history.
  • In the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, M (played by Judi Dench) butts heads with an admiral played by Geoffrey Palmer. The two played a romantic couple on the British sitcom As Time Goes By.
  • In Midsommar Jack Reynor plays Christian, an anthropology student - and awful boyfriend - who decides to travel to Sweden to study a cult called the Harga. In Strange Angel, he plays the lead who not only joins a cult himself, but eventually even ends up as its interim leader.
  • John Hurt, who played the lead role of Winston Smith in British movie 1984; was in 2006 cast as the dictator for the film V for Vendetta, which bore a similar setting. The dictator's face is seen displayed over several screens throughout the city, all in a very Big Brother-esque way.
  • Matt Damon as the hero and Greg Kinnear as the Big Bad in Green Zone. Both had previously starred as conjoined twins in the Farrelly Brothers comedy Stuck on You.
  • In Enemy of the State, Gene Hackman plays a character who seems like a good-guy version of his "professional eavesdropper" character in The Conversation. This is referenced when a photograph of Hackman's character from that earlier film is used as a file photo in Enemy of the State.
  • In Piranha 3D, Richard Dreyfuss has a cameo at the beginning as a character who is practically Matt Hooper from Jaws.
  • Blades of Glory manages to make incest both funny and pretty much a foregone conclusion by casting (then) real-life husband and wife Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as fraternal twins Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg.
  • Hot Fuzz casts Edward Woodward as the equivalent of his antagonists from The Wicker Man (1973)
  • In Airplane!, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who's cast as pilot Roger Murdock, is pointed out by a boy on the plane as being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The boy continues to ask Murdock why he doesn't put more effort into his basketball, to which Murdock heavily implies he's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hiding as a pilot. Finally, when Murdock has to be taken off the co-pilot seat after suffering food poisoning, he is revealed to be wearing his basketball shorts and shoes.
  • In The Flintstones movie, Fred has a secretary named Sharon Stone (a reference to both the actress and the non-stop "rock" puns common in the TV series). The producers wanted Sharon Stone to be played by... Sharon Stone, who had to turn down the role as she was working on another movie (the part was taken by Halle Berry). Stone has since expressed her regret for not appearing in The Flintstones.
  • David Rasche plays a senator in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers. Rasche is most famous for spoofing Eastwood's Dirty Harry character as the trigger-happy, fascist Cowboy Cop Sledge Hammer!.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, George Thomason is played by Tom Georgeson.
  • A rather macabre one in MouseHunt: whereas in The Lion King (1994) Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella are Those Two Guys whose Trademark Favorite Food is live insects, their onscreen reunion four years later was marked by Ernie Smuntz (Lane) accidentally killing Mayor McKrinkle (Sabella) at Smuntz's chic French restaurant, after the mayor bites off the head of a live cockroach that crawled into his dinner, triggering a Vomit Indiscretion Scene followed by a fatal heart attack. Keep in mind that unlike The Lion King (1994), MouseHunt is live-action, not animated.
  • In Unknown (2011), Aidan Quinn plays the sinister impostor "Martin B", who steals the identity of Martin Harris (Liam Neeson). They had both played best friends in Michael Collins, and Neeson suggested that he be cast opposite him as the villain.
  • Maybe: In Atlas Shrugged Part 1, one of Dagny's enemies is played the actor who was both Quark, an alien whose "Hat" is greed and business prowess and Andrew Ryan, extreme business ideologue and parody of Atlas author Ayn Rand. Possibly intentional, as Armin Shimerman is a libertarian.
  • In the original version of The Parent Trap, the father's evil girlfriend is named Vicky. In the remake, the evil girlfriend Meredith's mother says, "You may call me Aunt Vicky." She was played by the same actress who played Vicky in the original.
  • In Battle Beyond the Stars Robert Vaughn plays the Recycled IN SPACE! version of his character from The Magnificent Seven (1960).
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Gimli nudges Legolas' bow so that the intended warning shot would nail one of Sauron's pirate reinforcements right in the chest. the pirates were all played by the production staff and the pirate that gets killed? Peter Jackson, the director.
    • Ian Holm plays Bilbo but was Frodo, Bilbo's nephew, in the 1981 radio drama.
  • Tim Burton has a brief cameo in Singles, playing a disheveled, artistic amateur film director.
  • In North, Kelly McGillis has a cameo as an Amish woman and Alexander Gudunov as her husband- they famously played Amish people in Witness.
  • Porn stars cast as porn stars (movie edition):
    • In Boogie Nights, several porn stars (most notably Nina Hartley) had bit parts in the movie.
    • In The Big Lebowski, Asia Carrera had a cameo as one of the actresses in the fictional porn film Logjammin'.
    • In Striptease, Pandora Peaks played Demi Moore's stripper friend Urbanna Sprawl.
    • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno, porn stars Katie Morgan and Traci Lords play porn stars.
    • In Orgazmo, Ron Jeremy plays a porn star who may or may not have been intended to be himself.
    • This was supposed to be the case in Drive (2011), where the director originally wanted a porn star to play Blanche, who was implied to be one (or a stripper, at least), but was unable to find one who he considered a good enough actor for the role. Actual porn stars Andy San Dimas and Bobbi Starr show up as strippers in another scene, however.
  • In Photographing Fairies, Edward Hardwicke plays Arthur Conan Doyle. At the time, Hardwicke was best known as the second Dr. Watson in Granada's Sherlock Holmes.
  • In Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Brendan Fraser plays the part of Brendan Fraser's stunt double. Later on, he punches "Brendan Fraser" in the face.
    DJ: Did you see those Mummy movies? Yeah, I'm in them more than Bren Fraser is.
  • In Les Misérables (2012), features several of the original stage actors in cameos, most notably Colm Wilkinson (the original Jean Valjean) as the Bishop of Digne, who gives Valjean the candlesticks, Frances Ruffelle (the original Eponine) as "The Most Fabulous Whore" in "Lovely Ladies".
  • Superman: The Movie has, in some cuts, a minor scene showing a young Lois Lane riding on a train with her parents. Said parents: Kirk Allen and Noel Neil, who played Superman and Lois Lane in the 1940's serials.
  • In the 1951 film Sons of the Musketeers, Porthos Jr is played by Alan Hale Jr. Alan Hale Sr played Porthos in the 1939 film of The Man in the Iron Mask. (Hale Jr would also go on to play Porthos in another film based on the "Man in the Iron Mask" section of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, 1979's The Fifth Musketeer.)
  • The Japanese dub of Pacific Rim has Megumi Hayashibara as the dub voice of Mako Mori, a Japanese mecha pilot with short, blue-tinted hair. Three good guesses as to why she was cast in that role...
  • Peter Capaldi as a World Health Organization (W.H.O) Doctor in World War Z. Prior to the worldwide announcement on 4 August 2013, it was mostly unknown that he would play the role of the Twelfth Doctor (only known to a select few, including some of the show's production staff).
  • From The Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) and Alexander Ludwig (Cato) fight it out after both appearing in movies where they had close relationships with AnnaSophia Robb. Hutcherson as her best friend in Bridge to Terabithia and Ludwig as her brother in Race to Witch Mountain.
  • Sharlto Copley as an Ax-Crazy mercenary hunting the hero in Elysium, a reversal from his role in District 9. Invoked, as Copley wasn't interested in playing essentially the same character again.
  • Saving Mr. Banks: It can't be a coincidence that Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, after having previously played a Poppins-esque Magical Nanny in Nanny McPhee.
  • Wedding Crashers: US Treasury Secretary William Cleary and his wife Katherine are played by Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour, who had respectively played Max Zorin in A View to a Kill and Solitaire in Live and Let Die, which were Roger Moore's last and first James Bond films, respectively.
  • Sir Kenneth Branagh has spent his entire career being compared to and shadowing sir Laurence Olivier. So there came as no surprise when he was cast as Laurence Olivier himself in My Week with Marilyn.
  • In the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Waylon Jennings is played by Jennings' real-life son, Shooter Jennings.
  • The film version of A Streetcar Named Desire somewhat famously cast Vivien Leigh—who was still best known for playing Scarlett O'Hara at the time—as the mentally damaged Southern belle Blanche Dubois, whose tragic inability to cope with the loss of her family's ancestral plantation ultimately costs Blanche her sanity. The casting choice helps make Tennessee Williams' deconstruction of American class and gender roles all the more obvious, and it draws attention to Blanche's attachment to her rosy, idealized image of the antebellum South.
  • In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the Big Bad Dr. Totenkopf never actually appears in the flesh until the final act of the movie, but he's "played" by the late Sir Laurence Olivier in pictures and video clips, with several old film clips of Olivier edited together to fit the film's plot. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Totenkopf turns out to have been Dead All Along (just like his actor) when the heroes finally breach his lair.
  • A Shot at Glory features former Rangers footballer Ally McCoist as former Celtic footballer Jackie McQuillan - the clubs in question are two of the fiercest rivals in world football.
  • In a What Could Have Been example, Marvel Studios originally wanted Mads Mikkelsen for the role of Malekith the Accursed in Thor: The Dark World, which also starred Anthony Hopkins as Odin. If Mikkelsen had actually been cast in the role, the movie would have featured two Hannibal Lecters squaring off against each other in a war over Asgard.
  • In Bohemian Rhapsody, Mike Myers plays a record company executive who is adamantly against releasing the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" as a single. Of course, in Myers' 1992 film Wayne's World there's an iconic scene where he and his buddies jam to that very same song.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Mary Steenburgen stars as Clara Clayton, a 19th century woman who falls in love with a time-traveler from the 20th century, the opposite of her role in Time After Time, where she played a 20th century woman who falls in love with a time-traveler from the 19th century. What's better is her film debut had been in Goin' South, a western-comedy where she was also wooed by Christopher Lloyd.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: The Last Stand has former soccer player Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut, whose American football design is deliberately played up with his "unstoppable" mutant power.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Possibly unintentional, but in the comics, Psylocke is famous for being a white woman who became Asian (It Makes Sense in Context). In the film, she's played by Olivia Munn, who is half-white and half-Asian.
      • Accidental example. Angel is played by Ben Hardy in this film. He was previously played by another Ben—Ben Foster—in The Last Stand.
      • Ally Sheedy, who starred as a '80s-era high school student stuck in detention in The Breakfast Club, is Scott Summers' (a.k.a. Cyclops) teacher in 1983, and she sends him to the principal's office.
    • The New Mutants:
      • Maisie Williams, most famous for playing the younger daughter of direwolf-themed House Stark on Game of Thrones, has been cast as mutant lycanthrope Wolfsbane.
  • Man of Steel:
  • Star Wars:
  • For the 2014 film adaptation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Alexander is played by Australia-based child actor Ed Oxenbould. In the original book, Alexander, fed up with how terrible his day has been so far, insists on moving to Australia.
  • Birdman, the story of a washed-up actor who can't escape the shadow of a past high-profile superhero role, cast Batman himself, Michael Keaton (Batman (1989), Batman Returns) as the main character. Keeping with the superhero theme, Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) was cast as Keaton's daughter, while Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk) was cast as an obnoxious actor.
    • Norton's casting was an example of this trope as well since he's an actor well known for being extremely difficult to work with, much like his character in the film.
  • Full Moon film Ooga Booga is about a young black man whose soul inhabits an impossibly racist "tribesman" doll after he is wrongfully killed by police. The main character's landlord - and one of his victims - is played by Karen Black. Karen Black is best known for being menaced by a Zuni fetish doll in Trilogy of Terror. Her casting is possibly the only clever idea in the film.
  • In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, all of the Shadowhunters have British accents. Clary who is the daughter of one is played by Lily Collins who is also the daughter a Brit.
  • Matthew McConaughey's role in Interstellar seems to be a nod to his previous role as Jodie Foster's love interest in Contact, a very similar film that was based on the writings of Carl Sagan (a very close friend and colleague of Kip Thorne, whose work Interstellar was based on).
  • In Camp Takota, Hannah Hart plays Alison, the camp chef, a nod to the fact that she's best known for her youtube series My Drunk Kitchen. Cooking turns out to be more central to her character when it turns out Alison was accepted to a prestigious culinary school, but kept working at the camp because she was nervous about how she'd do there. At one point, her character also makes a bad food pun (holding up a vegetable peeler and mentioning that working in the kitchen can be "una-peeling"), which is also a frequent My Drunk Kitchen occurrence.
  • Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort play a couple in The Fault in Our Stars and siblings in Divergent. These two books/films also have a very large rivalry, alongside The Hunger Games.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Brock Peters was cast to play the racist Admiral Cartwright. While the character had been seen in the earlier film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, director Nicolas Meyer confirmed that he was brought back as an allusion to Peters' role as Tom Robinson. Peters was, understandably, very uncomfortable playing the part.
  • In the movie Life Partners, Adam Brody plays the boyfriend of his wife Leighton Meester's best friend.
  • In the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie and its sequel, Daphne is played by Sarah Michelle Gellar — better known as Buffy Summers, the leader of the Scooby Gang.
  • In May 1941 Esmond Knight was an officer aboard the battleship Prince of Wales when she engaged the Bismarck off Iceland, and was almost completely blinded by flying debris when his ship was hit. In 1960 he played the Captain of the Prince of Wales in Sink the Bismarck!.
  • Mila Kunis, a Ukrainian woman, as a Russian immigrant in Jupiter Ascending, which is doubly darkly hilarious due to the quasi-war between the two states. Her family though are Russian-speaking Jews, making it a bit more complicated (Jews are considered a separate ethnicity in both countries).
  • J-Lo as Tip's mom in Home, as a reference to Oh's name in The True Meaning of Smekday — the novel the film was based on.
  • In Ant-Man, actor Garrett Morris plays the driver in the car that Scott Lang lands on during his trial run with the suit. When Morris was a cast member on Saturday Night Live, he played Ant-Man in a famous skit where several Marvel and DC superheroes have a party. Because of Ant-Man's relative obscurity, Morris was actually the first actor ever to portray the character in live-action — and he remained the only actor ever to do so until Paul Rudd took the role in this film.
  • When Paul Bettany portrayed Dr. Stephen Maturin in the film adaptation of Master and Commander in 2003, many viewers noted that his take on the character was practically a fictional counterpart to Charles Darwin: a learned man of science who goes to sea as a ship's doctor in the 19th century, serves as a companion to the ship's captain, spends his time researching animal specimens in the Galapagos Islands, and even bears a rather striking resemblance to Darwin. Fittingly, Bettany actually got a chance to play Darwin for real in the biopic Creation in 2009, six years later.
  • Cinderella (2015):
    • Lily James plays the servant to Sophie McShera, the reverse of their roles on Downton Abbey.
    • Likewise, Richard Madden plays a royalty who falls in love with a girl considered below his social status, just like his role on Game of Thrones, except this time it has a Happy Ending. Interestingly, his character's name is Kit, just like the actor who plays his on-screen half-brother (actually cousin) in the same show.
  • In The Book of Life, Skeleton Jorge was played by famous Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo and in the film who states that instead of bullfighting he wanted to sing at Operas.
  • In The Incredibles, Holly Hunter plays Elastigirl, a superhero forced into mandatory retirement when politicians pass a Super Registration Act. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she plays Senator Finch, a politician trying to pass a Super Registration Act herself.
  • Donald Glover, who campaigned to play Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man (and served as the partial inspiration for Miles Morales) appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Aaron, Miles' uncle.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis revolves around the titular character, a struggling folk singer in the 1960s, dealing with the pain of languishing in obscurity while his former partner Jim Berkey strikes it big as a solo artist. Berkey is played by Justin Timberlake, who was—rather famously—the only member of *NSYNC who managed to strike it big as a solo artist after the band's breakup.
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later has a great example. It has Janet Leigh, most famous for her role in Psycho, in a small role as a school secretary. She is working for the head of the school played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Leigh is Curtis' real-life mother. Leigh turns to Curtis and says, "If I may be maternal for a moment..." as the camera pulls back to reveal Leigh's car. The car is the same one she drove in Psycho.
  • It (2017), a period horror film set in The '80s based on a Stephen King novel, prominently features teenage actor Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier. Wolfhard is best known for his role as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things, a period horror series set in The '80s and inspired by (among other things) the works of Stephen King. Season 1, in particular, seems to have been heavily inspired by It, another story about a band of misfit friends confronting a malevolent monster in small-town America.
  • In Aquaman, Black Manta's father is played by Michael Beach, who previously voiced Devil Ray, Black Manta's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, in Justice League Unlimited.
  • Titus, the 1999 film adaptation of Shakespeare's play Titus Andronicus, cast Anthony Hopkins as the title character, who gets revenge on his arch-enemy by murdering her sons, baking them into a pie and making her eat them.
  • In The Kid Who Would Be King, Patrick Stewart plays Merlin. Stewart had previously played a role in Excalibur a different film about King Arthur.
  • SHAZAM! (2019):
    • Doctor Sivana's wealthy and emotionally abusive CEO father is played by John Glover, best known for portraying Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor's wealthy and emotionally abusive CEO father in Smallville. And just like Lionel, Mr. Sivana ultimately ends up being killed by his own son in an act of vengeance.
    • The adult versions of Freddy and Pedro are played by Adam Brody and D.J. Cotrona, respectively. Brody and Cotrona were previously cast as The Flash and Superman, respectively, in George Miller's Justice League Mortal before that project fell apart.
  • Dogma memorably cast George Carlin—a famously outspoken atheist who was known for frequently mocking the Catholic Church—as a high-ranking Catholic Cardinal.
  • Men in Black: International stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as Agent M and Agent H—a rookie MIB agent and her experienced veteran partner. They previously starred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Valkyrie and Thor, a rookie Asgardian superhero and her veteran partner; Avengers: Endgame even ends with Thor Passing the Torch to Valkyrie and naming her his successor, mirroring their dynamic in Men in Black.
  • The Matrix is famous for being a Spiritual Adaptation of the cyberpunk novels of William Gibson, to the point that many sci-fi fans have called it "The closest thing to a Neuromancer movie we'll ever get".note  It's likely not an accident that the lead character is played by Keanu Reeves, who also played the lead role in Johnny Mnemonic—Hollywood's only officially licensed adaptation of a William Gibson story—four years earlier.
  • The live-action adaptation of Kaguya-sama: Love is War cast Aoi Koga (who voiced Kaguya in the anime) as a movie theater employee.
  • In Social Suicide, a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Olivia Hussey cameos as Julia's (the modern Juliet character) mother. Her former co-star from the 1968 film, Leonard Whiting, played her husband, Julia's father (her daughter India Eisley played Julia-the modern Juliet-herself).
  • The Long Riders main selling point was that it had four sets of actor brothers to play four sets of historical outlaw brothers. James & Stacey Keach played Jesse & Frank James. David, Keith, & Robert Carradine played Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger. Randy & Dennis Quaid played Clell & Ed Miller. Christopher & Nicholas Guest played Charlie & Bob Ford. At least on real life Younger brother was changed into a cousin in the film, possibly to not ruin the pattern.
  • In the 1986 remake of Invaders From Mars, the police chief, played by Jimmy Hunt, is informed by David that something weird was going on at the old gravel pit. In the 1953 original, Jimmy Hunt played the role of David. The chief even makes a comment that he hadn't been up to the gravel pit since he was a boy.
  • Nocturnal Animals:
    • Susan's obvious expy in the book, Laura, is played by Isla Fisher, whose uncanny resemblance to Amy Adams has become a popular Internet meme. There's no way that casting Isla Fisher in the role is a coincidence.
    • A probable example with India, the expy of Edward's and Laura's daughter Samantha, as the latter was played by Bobbi Salvor Menuez. Menuez's first name at the time was India. It's not a danza as India was played by another actor, but quite hard to believe this is coincidence. More like a partial expy of the actor who's playing the actor India is the expy of within the film.
  • The Believer: Carla, Danny's girlfriend, is played by Summer Phoenix, who's Jewish (as her mother was born to Jewish parents), though has never practiced Judaism. Her character starts out as a Neo-Nazi, while involved with Danny (a secret self-hating Jew), gets drawn to Judaism and starts practicing the religion.
  • Alexandra Maria Lara, who became famous for playing Hitler's secretary in Downfall, seems to enjoy playing with this. In The Reader, she briefly appears as a Holocaust survivor. In Miracle At St Anna, she plays a version of Axis Sally, who unlike Traudl Junge, is completely committed to the Nazi cause.
  • Princess Cyd: In the film Cyd and Miranda discuss if Katie might be transgender. Malic White, who plays Katie in the film, is transgender, using they/them pronouns (although the character's gender identity isn't established to be trans).
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga: Will Ferrell's character does not believe in elves until he is seemingly helped by them later on. This is hilariously ironic considering that he previously played a man raised by elves.
  • Another Me: Like Fay, Sophie Turner had a twin who died in utero.

    Live-Action TV 

By Actor:

  • Savanna Samson has appeared as a porn star on two TV series where Tina Fey was head writer. In a 2006 episode of Saturday Night Live, she was in the gag commercial for a porno called "101 Fellations". Three years later in the 30 Rock episode titled "Into the Crevasse", she played "Porn Liz" in Tracy's Rule 34 porn video of the show.

By Series:

  • In the 8 Simple Rules episode "Old Flame", an old boyfriend of Cate (Katey Sagal) shows up, played by Ed O'Neill (who played her husband on Married... with Children.)
  • Christopher Lloyd guest starred in an episode of Time Travel show 12 Monkeys.
  • Alpha House has Janel Maloney playing a senator in the second season. In one episode, she chairs a panel with a senator played Bradley Whitford, who played her character's boss on The West Wing. During the discussion, she repeatedly tells him to shut up — undoubtedly vicarious revenge for the many shouts of "DONNA!" during those seven seasons.
  • In Arrested Development, after firing lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn (played by Henry Winkler), Bob Loblaw is hired and played by Scott Baio, who starred alongside Winkler on Happy Days. This is specifically mentioned by Loblaw. Gets even better when you remember Ron Howard is running the show.
    • In one episode Barry literally jumps over a shark.
    • In the episode where Tobias goes to prison to study a film role, he gets in because the warden is an appreciator of film...and played by James Lipton, who was mocked mercilessly at the end of David Cross' stand-up special The Pride is Back.
    • In an episode called "Family Ties", a woman who Michael believes to be his sister (but ultimately isn't) is played by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's actual sister. Also, her most famous role was in Family Ties.
  • Arrow
  • Dirk Benedict, Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica (1978), does a great double-take as Faceman in The A-Team, when a Cylon centurion passes him at the Universal Studios. The moment is preserved in the credit sequence, of course.
  • In The Avengers (1960s) episode "Too Many Christmas Trees", actor Mervyn Johns plays a man obsessed with the works of Charles Dickens. Both Johns and Avengers star Patrick Macnee appeared in the 1951 film adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Johns played Bob Cratchit, and Macnee played the young Jacob Marley).
  • In the new Battlestar Galactica, casting Richard Hatch (who played Captain Apollo in the original series) being cast as terrorist-cum-politician-cum-dictator Tom Zarek. In the episode he first appears on, both Zarek and Apollo turn their heads when someone calls out "Hey, Apollo!"
    • For bonus points, he spends most of his first episode giving breaking speeches to Lee "Apollo" Adama.
      • For bonus-bonus points, the armor-piercing lecture was about what it meant to be the Great Captain Adama's son.
    • This also works well with the setup that the events of BSG happen over and over again with everyone being reincarnated into a different role every time.
      • In that case James Callis as Baltar was just a Dirk Benedict stand-in...
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • had Sara Gilbert play Leonard's love interest; Johnny Galecki and Gilbert played a couple on Roseanne.
    • Laurie Metcalf, most famous as Jackie on the previously stated show, plays Sheldon's mother.
    • Katey Sagal, who played Kaley Cuoco's mother on 8 Simple Rules shows up as her mom again in Season 10.
  • Cyndi Lauper played Avalon, a psychic in the Bones episode "Harbingers in the Fountain", as well as the show's 150th episode, "The Ghost In the Machine". In an earlier episode, "The Wannabe In the Weeds", Brennan sang a rousing chorus of Cyndi's biggest hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Cyndi Lauper also played a psychic medium in the movie Vibes.
  • The Boys (2019):
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Andre Braugher plays a very sober, serious and imposing police officer which, as any viewer of Homicide: Life on the Street knows, is not the first time he's played that kind of role. The joke is that while Detective Frank Pembleton (who he played in the latter show) operated in a grim and gritty environment of urban social realism and was appropriately down-to-earth and tormented, was an unconventional detective who frequently butted heads with rules-conscious superiors and was a heterosexual whose partner later came out as bi, Captain Ray Holt (who he plays in the latter) inverts almost all of these qualities. Holt lives in a comedic world populated by goofy eccentrics, is himself a pretty eccentric person, is the rule-conscious superior constantly butting heads with an unconventional detective under his command and is openly gay.
  • All over the place on Chuck. Fedak and Schwartz made an effort to squeeze in appearances by as many geek culture icons as was humanly possible over the series's run, and you can expect that there will be an Actor Allusion along the way. Some notable ones:
  • Community: French Stewart appeared on the show playing a professional impersonator of French Stewart.
  • CSI's episode "A Space Oddity" was an extended riff on Star Trek fandom, and featured as a major plot point the reveal of the Darker and Edgier version of the classic sci-fi series, to an avalanche of hatred from fans. The very first person to call out "You suck!" was none other than Ron Moore.
  • CSI: NY had an episode where former tennis star John McEnroe was suspected of murder when it was actually a Celebrity Impersonator. McEnroe was absolutely bewildered anyone could mistake the impersonator for him. Said impersonator was played by McEnroe.
  • Dear White People: Tessa Thompson couldn't return to play Sam as she committed to another project. In the second season however she returns, playing a commentator with basically the opposite views from Sam's (naturally, they clash).
  • A rare non-comic example: Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High would often pick which plots happened to who based on the actors' real lives. For instance, 13-year-old-Joey takes a car out for a joyride... after Pat Mastroiani, who played him, really did take the set crew's van out for a joyride. When the writers wanted to do a storyline about a kid losing his parents, they made it happen to Wheels... whose actor, Neil Hope, had lost his father years before. Kathleen was beaten by her abusive boyfriend... and the actress who played her had been date-raped at age 14. (The writers have not said whether they knew that last bit at the time they wrote the abuse story.)
  • The British show Doctors once had a Patient of the Week who was an actor best known for his role as a mysterious time-traveler in a decades-old children's programme. Any plausible deniability that Doctor Who was meant was scotched when they cast Sylvester McCoy, a.k.a. the Seventh Doctor, in the role.
  • Doctor Who:
  • There is an episode of Dragnet where they meet a priest who explains that they are looking for a plaster doll of the baby Jesus that was taken from the church. So they question an old man who runs a religious merchandise store and a hotel clerk. For the color remake, the same actors were used for the priest, store owner, and clerk.
  • In the classic Swedish TV version of Astrid Lindgren's Emil of Lönneberga from 1973, actor Allan Edwall played Emil's choleric, hard-working, teetotaler father. In the later TV version of the same author's Madicken series he played Madicken's easy-going, lazy, alcoholic neighbour Mr. Nilsson.
  • The Flash (2014):
  • Forever cast David Krumholtz as the younger version of Abe in a flashback. Abe is played by Judd Hirsch, who previously played Krumholtz's father in NUMB3RS.
  • Frasier: Notorious chauvinist "Bulldog" Briscoe played by real-life openly gay activist Dan Butler.
    • Daphne's family and its multitude of inconsistent British Accents. Particularly on the part of the Australian playing Simon, who loves Mel Gibson and who Frasier once refers to as a "boomerang."
    • In one episode Frasier and Niles try to help a former Shakespearian actor Jackson Hedley revive his theatrical career by producing him in a one-man version of Hamlet, but they realize to their horror that he's actually a terrible actor, who does a laughably overwrought performance of the play. The gag is that Hedley is played by Derek Jacobi, an acclaimed Shakespearian actor.
  • In the Friends eighth season episode, "The One With The Rumour", Brad Pitt appeared as one of Ross's old high school friends, who hated Rachel to the point that he was president of an Anti-Rachel club in high school. At the time, it was a comic variant of this trope since Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston in real life. The joke became a lot less funny after Aniston and Pitt's very, very public divorce.
  • F Troop:
    • Sergeant O'Rourke is played by Forrest Tucker, who once portrayed an "O'Rourke" Cavalry Sergeant on Gunsmoke.
    • Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele) is an elderly cavalryman who claims to be the sole survivor of the Alamo. Steele was previously a 1930s and '40s western star and had once been in a movie about meeting Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
  • On Galavant, Kylie Minogue was cast as the Queen of the Enchanted Forest, which turns out to be a gay pub which she owns. Minogue is famous for having one of the world's biggest LGBT Fanbases and was once voted the biggest gay icon of modern times.
  • Game of Thrones:
  • Glee's Anderson brothers. Gay Blaine is played by straight Darren Criss and straight Cooper is played by gay Matt Bomer.
  • In the Dutch soap opera Goede tijden, slechte tijden, one character, played by Ferry Doedens, is currently looking for tickets to go see Wicked. In real life, Ferry plays Fiyero part of the time.
  • Graceland: Aaron Tveit is most famous for playing the role of Enjolras in Les Misérables (2012); in this, his first TV lead role, he's undercover in a tight-knit group in order to stop their leader, doing exactly what Javert does in Les Mis.
  • Gunpowder stars Kit Harington, who is descended from three people related to the plot: Robert Catesby (who he plays), a baron of the Harington family and James I.
  • Gillian Anderson was cast in Hannibal as Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, when The X-Files had some influence from The Silence of the Lambs (including her character, Scully, a Naïve Newcomer like Clarice Starling).
    • It probably counts more for a Casting Gag when you take into account that Gillian Anderson was considered for the part of Clarice Starling when Jodie Foster declined to reprise the role in the 2001 movie Hannibal. She was not cast due to her X-Files contract, which prohibited her from playing another FBI agent.
    • Also, in a second-season episode, the actress playing a serial killer obsessed with bees and honey is played by Amanda Plummer, an actress best known for playing a character known as HoneyBunny.
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr., is expecting a visit from his father. When he arrives, he is played by none other than Wayans' father, Damon Wayans, Sr. (In the episode, both Wayans also make reference to the 1990s Bulls. The senior Wayans is close friends with Michael Jordan.)
  • High Fidelity: Zoë Kravitz is Rob in the series. Her mother, Lisa Bonet, played one of his love interests in the 2000 film version.
  • Season 2 of The Hollow Crown puts Sherlock and Moriarty on opposite sides of the Wars of the Roses, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the Yorkist powerhouse Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future King Richard III) and Andrew Scott playing his family's shifty French ally King Louis XI, who attempts to betray them and support the Lancastrians after Richard's brother Edward refuses a political marriage to Louis' daughter. It definitely makes the crown jewels scene from Sherlock a bit Hilarious in Hindsight
  • In the Inside No. 9 episode "Last Gasp", one character mistakenly refers to a girl called Tamsin as "Tasmin". He is immediately reprimanded for the mistake by a character played by Tamsin Greig.
  • Jam and Jerusalem: Joanna Lumley, an actress known for her posh elegance (she was a Bond Girl in the 60s and only stopped modeling in the 2010s) and her starring role in Jennifer Saunders' Absolutely Fabulous, here plays another character created by Saunders: an extremely old and senile woman whose role is so small it's practically The Cameo. (She's written out of the show completely after the first episode of Series 2.)
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Kamen Rider Shinobi, the ninja-themed hero from 2022, was played by Hideya Tawada, who played the Sixth Ranger Star Ninger in the ninja-themed Shuriken Sentai Ninninger. Ironically enough, while Star Ninger was the textbook definition of a McNinja, Shinobi is actually fairly orthodox (or as close as a Henshin Hero can get). This was further referenced in Shinobi's mini-series, where one of his opponents in the Tournament Arc wore a gold costume and a cowboy hat.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Hank Heywood, the Time Bureau's primary financial backer, is played by Thomas F. Wilson, best known as Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future movies.
  • Liv and Maddie: The Disney Channel kidcom is noted for having its lead actress, Dove Cameron, play a dual role as the titular identical twin sisters with differing personalities. In the 2015 episode, "Grandma-A-Rooney", Patty Duke guest-stars (in what would be her final TV performance) as Liv and Maddie Rooney's Grandma Janice and Great Aunt Hillary, both of whom are identical twins with differing personalities. This is an allusion to Duke's dual role as identical cousins Patty & Cathy Lane in her 1960s sitcom, which Liv and Maddie continues in the tradition of in many ways.
  • Medici: Masters of Florence: Perhaps unintentional, but two actors from Game of Thrones appear together. Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark, is Cosimo De Medici and marries David Bradley's (Walder Frey) daughter.
  • In The Michael J. Fox Show (Unaired episode) Principal McTavish (played by Christopher Lloyd) the eccentric principal at the high school where Annie (Betsy Brandt) teaches and will go toe-to-toe with Mike (played by Michael J. Fox) another reunion episode from the main cast of Back to the Future.
  • In The Ministry of Time, Jordi Hurtado, famous for being the host of veteran quiz show Saber y Ganar for 18 straight years and appearing to be The Ageless on Memetic Mutation levels, appears As Himself in Episode 8, and "revealing" he uses the Time Doors to be the same age on every broadcast of the show.
  • Mrs. America:
  • In My Name Is Earl Burt Reynolds plays the character Big Chubby. His son, Little Chubby, is played by Norm MacDonald: the actor who plays Burt Reynolds in the Saturday Night Live "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skits. In fact, Little Chubby pretty much is the Celebrity Jeopardy version of Burt Reynolds. He even has the same laugh.
  • Noughts & Crosses: Sephy, Jasmine and several other Cross characters are played by black South Africans. Their characters are part of a system which is essentially apartheid in Britain, with a black ruling class over the white indigenous population.
  • Both versions of The Outer Limits did adaptations of Eando Binder's story "I, Robot", and Leonard Nimoy appeared in both, as a reporter in the original and the robot's lawyer in the remake. Similarly, when the new Outer Limits remade "A Feasibility Study" from the original series, they cast David McCallum, who had been in two episodes of the original (though not that one).
  • Part of Me: Vanessa Villela played Ángela Donoso, the heroine's daughter back in El cuerpo del deseo, and was cast as Big Bad Elena Serrano in The Remake Part Of Me.
  • Former Power Rangers cast members have come back just to voice a Monster of the Week. The most extreme example is in Power Rangers Samurai, where the Red Ranger's Worthy Opponent is played by Rick Medina, who was himself Red Ranger Cole Evans in Power Rangers Wild Force.
    • Not to mention the irony: The Wild Force Rangers had Zen-Aku, a monster who was sometimes a human due to a curse that made him want to fight the Rangers, but he'd really rather not have. So Medina goes on to play Deker, who's got the same thing going: he's now Samurai's Zen-Aku. (Not that Deker's a total ZA Expy. ZA's a guy bonded with a Duke Org and his memory's not all there; Deker's an immortal Blood Knight who must defeat his Worthy Opponent (or die at his hands) to be freed from it. However, as Deker is a sometimes-human-faced villain who's not all bad, there's more poetry there than if he'd played, say, the voice of Xandred.)
    • Wild Force Milestone Celebration episode "Forever Red" is a big example of this as three of the Machine Empire Generals were voiced by Walter Jones (Zack), Catherine Sutherland (Katherine) and Archie Kao (Kai).
    • Though Nic Sampson, Chip from Power Rangers Mystic Force, gets MOTW duty once, he also voices Power Rangers Operation Overdrive's Sentinel Knight. Chip had once said he hoped to be a knight (which in MF parlance is sort of the rank above Ranger) someday, so he sorta gets to be.
    • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger had the Master of Disguise Shurikenger, who never de-morphed (he sacrificed his human form to get his powers and is only seen unsuited as a silhouette in a flashback to that day) but is always at first in disguise as some random civilian. Every single one is another sentai actor. When changing to Shurikenger, most used the pre-changing poses from their show — and even when that was impossible in one case, due to a lack of a pose, Kenji Ohba (he's both Shiro/Battle Kenya and Daigoro/Denji Blue, but the poses you expect these days didn't exist that early on) did the Space Sheriff Gavan pose instead.
    • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Engine Machalcon joins the crew to assist in using the Engine Sentai Go-onger ultimate power. As a Japanese Pirate crew, the Gokaigers are often compared to the Straw Hats, so who else should voice Machalcon but Hiroaki Hirata aka Sanji!
    • Tetsu Inada is one of the series' go-to voice actors, and he played Doggie Kruger, the chief of SPD's Earth branch, in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. Taking out a Monster of the Week was referred to as "deleting" them that year. So when he played a MOTW in Juken Sentai Gekiranger, he says to the other monster, "Let's delete them!" while doing the SPD salute.
    • Related, but the moon-themed villain Ariake no Kata from Shuriken Sentai Ninninger is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, who is best known for voicing the title character in Sailor Moon.
  • Psych had "This Episode Sucks" an episode which paid Homage to vampire movies featured Kristy Swanson of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film and Corey Haim from The Lost Boys.
    • Steve Valentine from I'm in the Band also plays a rock star in "100 Clues".
    • "No Country for Two Old Men", the episode that takes place largely in Mexico, features Jeffrey Tambor, who plays George Senior in Arrested Development, which had going to Mexico as a plot point/Running Gag.
    • "Shawn Interrupted" features Brad Dourif as a murder suspect who's supposedly pretending to be crazy, among other references to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (where his character genuinely was crazy but Insanity Defense was the protagonist's bad idea). Going halfway against type, his character in the episode is still genuinely crazy...but not the murderer.
  • In the 2000 ITV telemovie of The Railway Children, Jenny Agutter played the mother. In the 1970 film, she had played the eldest daughter.
    • This leads to a truly ironic moment when Jemima Rooper, who plays Roberta, asks her mother "Didn't you use to play on railway lines when you were a kid?"
  • Cameo Version: In an episode of Roseanne, Roseanne and Jackie are getting makeovers at a health spa. The makeup artist talks about "less is more" and letting their faces tell their own story. When she turns around, we see for the first time it was Tammy Faye Bakker. For those too young to get the reference, Tammy Faye is the wife of notorious televangelist Jim Bakker. She was known for wearing copious amounts of makeup, on par with Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Appropriately, she also played Mimi's mother in an episode of that show.
  • Runaways (2017) gained a sizable LGBT Fanbase due to its portrayal of a romantic relationship between two women (one lesbian and one bisexual). One of the lead actresses did come out as gay shortly after the show premiered... and it was Ariela Barer, who plays the female half of the show's central straight couple.
  • One episode of Scrubs featured four elderly doctors who had got sick at a medical convention ... played by the four leads from St. Elsewhere.
    • Speaking of, one episode of Grey's Anatomy featured a woman played by Sarah Chalke (Elliot from Scrubs) who brings in her son for treatment, and ends up correctly diagnosing his illness after the doctors couldn't find out what was wrong with him. Ironically, Scrubs previously made fun of the idea of patients self-diagnosing using information from the internet (Wikipedia specifically). Though, this story was actually Ripped from the Headlines.
  • Sesame Street had a recurring sketch that parodied Miami Vice as Miami Mice. The American sketches in the German Sesamstrasse were dubbed by the same studio as Miami Vice, so the voice artists who already played Crocket and Tubbs played their rodent equivalents.
  • Smallville: The presence of any actor from a previous Superman series, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, etc. There was also Tom Wopat turbing up as an Actor Allusion to John Schneider but the one that takes the biscuit is the (possibly unintentional) casting of Annette O'Toole, Lana Lang in Superman III, as Martha Kent (though the crew didn't actually know about her former role when she was cast).
  • Ray Liotta has been cast in a (currently) undisclosed role in the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark. Liotta was the producers' first choice for the role of Tony Soprano in the original show, and he previously played the lead role in the show's Spiritual Predecessor Goodfellas.
  • Spin City: Mike's (played by Michael J. Fox) political mentor (played by Christopher Lloyd) comes to City Hall to help on the Millennium project in a episode called "Back to yhe Future 4". They even make fun of the "time travel". This is the first of many reunions of the main cast of Back to the Future.
    Mike: This is like stepping back in time.

    Owen: The past is prologue, Michael. Men like us have to keep looking to the future.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "200", Vala Mal Doran (played by Claudia Black), when challenged to come up with a more obscure property to rip-off for her movie pitch, launches into a full-blown parody of Farscape, which basically consists of the SG-1 cast as the Farscape crew repeating every single one of Farscape's alien curse words in the shortest span possible.
    • There's also a slight subversion in that Ben Browder doesn't play Crichton in the parody — Michael Shanks does. Browder plays Stark.
    • When Vala and Mitchell first meet, Mitchell asks her if they've met before. When Vala sees Mitchell and Daniel together later, she comments about the "interesting but somewhat limited gene pool" Earth appears to have.
  • Stranger Things is essentially an extended tribute to the cinema and pop culture of The '80s, with at least one Shout-Out per episode. The Shout Outs extend to the casting choices. It's definitely not an accident that two of the principal characters are played by Winona Ryder (best known for playing Veronica in Heathers and Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice) and Matthew Modine (best known for playing Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket). More subtly, several of the actors playing teenage characters seem to have been chosen—in part—for their resemblance to famous teen actors from the '80s; Shannon Purser (Barb) bears a very strong resemblance to a young Molly Ringwald, Joe Keery (Steve) strongly resembles a young Charlie Sheen, and Natalia Dyer (Nancy) looks a lot like a young Mia Sara.
  • George Takei played Rome London on The Suite Life on Deck in an episode that parodies Star Trek. He even played a direct descendant of London and acts very much like a young teenage girl.
    • In "My Best Friend's Wedding" — the Scrubs episode where Turk and Carla get married — Takei is cast as the priest at their wedding. At first, this wouldn't seem to be a casting gag. But then, when Turk gets a call on his cell phone — during the ceremony! — he flips it open like an Original Series communicator. Casting Takei just so they could do that gag may be about the biggest stretch anybody has gone to for a casting gag.
      • Turk actually points out earlier in the episode that the priest looks like Sulu.
  • Supergirl (2015) continues the trend of anything Superman-related needing to have a Casting Gag:
  • Supernatural:
  • Sitcom That Girl, starred Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie, who in one episode meets a talented singer who turns out the be a nun. The Sister was played by Marlo's sister, Terre. For bonus points, in the last scene, Ann accidentally bumps into a priest. The Father was played by Marlo's father, Danny Thomas.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "He's Alive", Paul Mazursky and Howard Caine, who played the neo-Nazi thugs Frank and Nick Bloss, were Jewish in real life.
  • Vida: Eddy is asked if she's non-binary in one episode. She's confused and says "No". The actor portraying her, Ser Anzoategui, is non-binary.
  • Speaking of The West Wing, casting noted liberal Alan Alda as Republican presidential candidate Arnold Vinick certainly qualifies as this.
  • Tim Curry once guest-starred in an episode of Will & Grace in which he plays a character with a feminine aspect to him (in this case, it's the character's name, Marion) flirts with several characters, makes a reference to Cross Dressing, and even tries to trick one character's fiance into climbing into bed with him. Sounds pretty similar to a certain Sweet Transvestite, doesn't it?
    • An episode of the short-lived 1997 series Over the Top has Tim Curry dressing in drag. Now, why does that sound so familiar?
    • This is apparently his thing. He and Meatloaf also show up as a pair of conservative straw-men trying to stop Glee's Rocky Horror production.
    • In Fox's live-action remake of RHPS Curry played the Criminologist.
    • When Ed Tudor-Pole was hired as the second presenter of The Crystal Maze after Richard O'Brien, it may have occurred to the creators that three years earlier he had played Riff-Raff in the 1990 stage revival (and on the Rocky Horror Show: The Whole Gory Story soundtrack album). Or it might have been a coincidence.
  • The Witcher (2019)'s Polish dub has an extended Casting Gag: Geralt is voiced by Michał Żebrowski, who played the character in an earlier adaptation, The Hexer.
  • In The X-Files, once a movie is made about Mulder and Scully, they are played by Garry Shandling (who in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show had David Duchovny showing sexual feelings for him) and Tea Leoni (Duchovny's then-wife).
    • Also features what may be the most unsettling example of this trope in Jodie Foster's role in the episode Never Again, in which she plays the voice of a mentally unstable loner's tattoo that eggs him on to kill people.
  • Yes, Prime Minister: In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the head of MI-6 (one the suspects who may be the Russian mole) is played by Michael Aldridge. A few years later, one episode of this show had Michael Aldridge as the head of MI-5, bringing Hacker the news that his predecessor had been a Russian mole...
    • Although he wasn't in the former.

  • For his album Rock Swings Paul Anka covered Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" which references the song "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, which Anka wrote.
  • Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" is from the point of view of a trashy Reality Television show host, but the title wasn't meant to reference any specific celebrity, and the name "Barry Williams" was just meant to be as ordinary-sounding as possible. Peter Gabriel subsequently learned that there was in fact a TV star of that name, the American actor is best known for playing Greg from The Brady Bunch, so he got him to make a cameo in the music video... Ironically enough, he plays an audience member, not the host.


  • In 2009, Cate Blanchett played the title character in an Australian production of Richard II. Richard and Queen Elizabeth I (who Blanchett previously played in Elizabeth) have famously been compared—Elizabeth herself allegedly even said: "I am Richard II; know ye not that?"
  • Anne Hathaway's role as the lead in the 2009 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night might also qualify, though it's more of a casting pun.
    • They should make a movie about Shakespeare's life just so they can cast Anne Hathaway as Anne Hathaway.
  • In Hamlet Polonius has a line about having played Julius Caesar as a student. This has led to speculation that the actor playing Polonius did indeed play Julius Caesar...and that the same actor played both Brutus and Hamlet, therefore killing Polonius twice.
  • Jesse L. Martin, the original Collins in RENT, was in the Rock Opera Bright Lights Big City as the protagonist's best friend, who expressed disdain for "yuppies" and enjoyed using certain, um, recreational substances.
  • Darren Criss, known for playing Harry in A Very Potter Musical, took over Daniel Radcliffe's role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Casting gag or just unintentional? Whatever your opinion, it's still awesome.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace inverted this in the original stage version. The psychotic older brother berates his surgical henchman because someone said he looked like Boris Karloff. In the original Broadway cast, he was played by Boris Karloff. As the production was still making money at the time the film was set to be produced, the stage producers wouldn't allow Karloff out of his contract long enough to appear in the film version, and so the film producers had to make do with a heavily-made-up Raymond Massey. Karloff did get to reprise the role for a TV movie adaptation in 1962.
  • For the 1951 West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams personally cast Vivien Leigh—who was still best known for playing Scarlett O'Hara at the time—as the mentally damaged Southern Belle Blanch Dubois, whose inability to cope with the loss of her family's ancestral plantation tragically costs her her sanity. The casting choice carried over to the well-known film adaptation released the same year (see "Film" above).
  • The 2011 production of CompanySondheim cast Neil Patrick Harris as a bachelor who strings women along and disdains marriage.
  • The original Broadway production of Shrek: The Musical cast John Tartaglia, a famous Broadway puppeteer and Muppet performer, as Pinocchio, a puppet.

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  • Casting director Andrea Romano has made an award-winning career out of casting gags and a huge Production Posse. She's probably the fourth most important person in the DCAU after Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett.
    • Batman: The Animated Series
      • Arguably the best casting gag of the DCAU was in Batman: The Animated Series when Adam West was cast to play a washed up, Type Cast actor by the name of Simon Trent, who resents his prior role as a live-action TV hero.
      • Thomas Wayne is voiced by Richard Moll; who also voiced Harvey Dent and was one of Bruce's few friends in Gotham. Another gag is seen by the roles of Martha Wayne and Selina Kyle/Catwoman (both of which are some of the most important women in Bruce's life; judging from The Cat and the Claw) played by Adrienne Barbeau.
      • In the tie in comic Batman Adventures, an in-universe example occurred as Bruce Wayne had some creative control in producing a new Grey Ghost movie and chose Simon Trent to play the mayor.
    • Batman Beyond
    King: "Do you have any idea what it's like living in someone's shadow?!"
  • In Steven Universe, the garnet is the traditional birthstone of people born in January, and Garnet's voice actress, Estelle, has a birthday of January 18th.
  • Archer has a few:
  • ThunderCats (2011)
  • Just before the resurgence of superhero movies stated above, Stan Lee has already been making cameo appearances in assorted Marvel Comics animated series, specifically the Spider-Man ones. The first season of The Spectacular Spider-Man, already has this covered. Of special note is his cameo in the '90s Fox Kid's Spider-Man — as himself, when Spider-Man travels to an alternate universe, implied to be ours, where Spider-Man is a comic book character. He's also the janitor in Ultimate Spider-Man and the mayor in The Super Hero Squad Show.
    Stan Lee: ('90s Spider-Man cartoon finale) Now how do I get down from here... Maybe the Fantastic Four will swing by...
    • Also of note, Joan Clayton Lee, Stan Lee's wife, played the voice of Madame Web in that series. So naturally, writer Stan finds Madame Web quite interesting in the finale.
    • Ed Asner was famous for his role as news editor Lou Grant (a character very similar to J Jonah Jameson) in MTM Enterprises' shows. He was eventually cast as JJ in this show.
  • Gargoyles does this a lot with Star Trek. The original two antagonists were members of the TNG cast, and over the course of the series, seven other primary cast members from across four Star Trek series appeared on the show, many of them in reoccurring roles.
  • David Hyde Pierce playing the role of Cecil, Sideshow Bob's brother on The Simpsons (alluding to the show Frasier, in which he played Kelsey Grammer's brother). In a later episode, Bob and Cecil's dad was voiced by John Mahoney, who played Frasier and Niles' dad on Frasier.
    • At one point, Bart even covers Cecil's eyes with his hands and declares "Guess who?" Cecil's response is "Maris?", who's Niles' wife on Frasier.
    • In the episode "Let's Go Fly A Coot", Milhouse Van Houten's Dutch cousin Annika was played by...Dutch actress Carice Van Houten.
  • G.I. Joe and Transformers, both being Hasbro-produced Merchandise-Driven series, tend to have a few of these. G.I. Joe has Corey Burton and Michael Bell playing twins Tomax and Xamot. Transformers has them as twins Sunstreaker and Sideswipe. Also, Chris Latta, Brian Dobson, and Charlie Adler have played both Starscream and the Cobra Commander.
  • Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind casts Gillian Anderson of The X-Files fame as the invading alien queen.
  • When the JLA-expies, the Squadron Supreme, appeared on The Super Hero Squad Show, Adam West (who played Batman in the 60s TV series and the last two seasons of Super Friends) and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman on Justice League, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and Justice League: Doom) were cast in the respective roles of Batman-expy Nighthawk and Wonder Woman-expy Power Princess.
  • When Pat Buttram still worked for Disney, he is always cast as some sort of dog with a Southern accent. Except in The Rescuers, where he was cast as a rat with a Southern accent.
  • Julie Lemieux has voiced two different (male) bat characters with a fairly similar voice: Sleepy Bat on Birdz and Batty on Almost Naked Animals a good 13 years later.
  • Gilbert Gottfried actually voiced at least three obnoxious birds. (The third being the Aflac duck.)
  • In The Legend of Korra, a character named Asami is voiced by one Seychelle Gabriel, who played Princess Yue in the film. Expect to hear a line about beliefs.
    • In a flashback of the episode "Old Wounds", a teenage Suyin Beifong is voiced by Jessie Flower, who voiced Suyin's mother Toph in the original series.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000," one of the villains trying to trick the Apple family out of their farm is voiced by Samuel Vincent, who has had previous experience pulling off scams.
    • And Discord, a very chaotic Trickster God type, is voiced by John de Lancie, aka Q.
  • When Phineas and Ferb went to Hawaii, the hotel manager was voiced by Phill Lewis, who also plays a hotel manager on some other Disney Channel shows. And since Candace decides to take time off from busting her brothers, he becomes the one running around trying to stop two boys from causing havoc...

Casting Gag

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Actor Allusion

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