Season three of Fargo is coming right up, and although I've been trying to avoid spoilers the tried and tested way - jamming my fingers in my ears and shouting, "LALALALA" - even I haven't been able to avoid the news that Ewan McGregor is playing two roles: brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy. Doing the double is an acting challenge worthy of the finest thespians, as demonstrated below.
Both Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan fell into The Parent Trap 37 years apart
The set-up is essentially the same in both the 1961 and 1998 editions of The Parent Trap – a couple have twin daughters, split up soon after and take one girl each, agreeing for some reason to raise them both as an only child. The twins meet at camp and swap places in a bid to get their parents back together. Hilarity ensues. The remake was Lindsay Lohan’s film debut, but Hayley Mills had Tiger Bay and Pollyanna in which to practise her acting skills.
Nicolas Cage played a real-life screenwriter and his imaginary twin in Adaptation
Charlie Kaufman had already built a reputation for writing oddball movies thanks to Being John Malkovich, but Adaptation took it to the next level when he not only made the film about himself... but added a fictional twin brother. Nicolas Cage played both Charlie and Donald to perfection, bringing pathos and revelation to the split-role siblings.
Double Impact saw Jean-Claude double the Van-Dammage
How do you shoot an action film with the main actor playing the two lead roles? Very carefully and with the help of stuntmen. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays twins Chad and Alex, who were separated when their parents were murdered and come back together a quarter of a century later looking for vengeance. Chad’s a successful martial arts businessman in LA; Alex is a criminal in Hong Kong. With a set-up like that, it was never going to be anything but awesome.
A hospital switch-up worked wonders for Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler in Big Business
If you’re a certain age, the VHS cover for Big Business is no doubt embedded in your memory – two sets of Bette and Lily coming in and out of a revolving door wearing blue and pink outfits. Fast-forward through the circa-1988 previews and copyright warnings, and you got a snobs-versus-slobs/country-versus-city nursery mix-up comedy that really showed the stars’ range. It’s a classic farce that needs a remake starring Amy Schumer and Jen Kirkman.
Jeffrey Tambor mined mistaken identity comedy in Arrested Development
There are more running gags in Arrested Development that we could possibly unpack here, but one of the greatest is the string of mistaken identity mix-ups between George Bluth and his hippie brother, Oscar, especially in hospitals and prisons. Another is the love affair between Lucille (Jessica Walter) and Oscar, with his lustrous long hair. Another is the hints around Buster’s (Tony Hale) true parentage. Another is... OK, fine - let’s just say Jeffrey Tambor makes the most of his two parts.
Adam Sandler got slightly fewer laughs in Jack and Jill
Adam Sandler has frocked up since his Saturday Night Live days, and in Jack and Jill, he played male and female twins with equal enthusiasm. The movie broke the record for most Razzie Awards in 2011, but what do critics know, right? Al Pacino and Katie Holmes give their all in supporting roles, and there are approximately one million cameos from other SNL alumni and people playing themselves.
An all-new season 4 Fargo will premiere with two weeks of double episodes, beginning 8.30pm Thursday 8 October on SBS. Episodes will continue weekly at 9.30pm from Thursday 22 October. New episodes will be available at SBS On Demand each week on the same day as broadcast. Relive the first three standalone seasons of Fargo now at SBS On Demand.
Watch the season 4 trailer here:
Missed season three? Start with the first episode at SBS On Demand: