3x3: multiple actors playing the same character

We discuss our favorite examples of the same character being played by multiple actors within the same movie at the 1:16 mark of the Qt3 Movie Podcast of Loving.

Please note: no body-swap movies!

Kelly Wand
3. Looper
2. Star Trek Into Darkness

  1. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

3. Stand by Me
2. There Will Be Blood

  1. My Left Foot

Tom Chick
3. The Debt
2. Last Life in the Universe

  1. Interstellar

For this category, “favorite” can mean either great examples of more than one actor playing the same character in the same movie, or weird and terrible examples of the same. Even if it doesn’t work, or it isn’t really supported, if it’s your favorite, go ahead and include it in your list. Also, again NO BODY SWAP MOVIES!

Listen to the show to hear us talk about ours and to hear Tom read some listener picks. Send in your choices for the next topic to [email protected].

I have one pick: Return of the Jedi. After all, Darth Vader’s body was played by David Prowse, his voice was played by James Earl Jones, and his face was played by Sebastian Shaw, all in the same movie.

Ooh! I really like that pick, @rhamorim.

I remember, in particular, how the contrast in the voice plays out once the mask comes off at the end. I remember how jarring that was when I was a kid.

Great choice.


I presume that Fight Club was one of the listener picks?


Ok there is a few examples not listed

12 Monkeys
Fight Cl… DAMN IT @Tin_Wisdom

Well 2 of my 3 got sniped. Posting before someone else takes 12 Monkeys.

(Oh, and Bruce Willis has The Kid, so hits the list 3 times if you want, and similarly you could tag Tom Hanks in Big for the same conceit)

It will be interesting to see if the Fight Club apologists get cited by the 3x3 cop who created the topic.


Tyler Durden and the Narrator are not the same character, despite the reveal that they’re the same person. Jail time would have been served had anyone tried any Fight Club shenanigans.


Also briefly played by Hayden Christensen in the “same” movie.

Is Face Off ineligible under the no body swap rule? Less interested in nominating it than I am in how the rule would be applied.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, but I think Spider made pretty good use of this.

Karate-Robo Zaborgar. This movie is just nuts, it’s a parody remake of the 70s tokusatsu show Denjin Zaborgar. It’s basically two movies, the first half focusing on the young crime fighting hero, and the 2nd 25 years later when he is an older broken man.

Some obvious picks (obvious to me, anyway)

I’m Not There
Love & Mercy

I was gonna throw in the 1967 version of Casino Royale but decided characters with the same name aren’t necessarily the same character.

Todd Solondz’s Palindromes had eight different actors of different ages and races and genders playing the lead character. It was an eccentric choice and it was met largely by bafflement, but I kind of loved it.


I actually briefly considered this, so I like that you brought it up. I think it has to fall under the body swap rule, and that’s why I abandoned it.


“You know I can…uh…eat a peach for hours.”

We don’t serve their kind in 3x3’s. Your Special Editions, they’re not welcome here.

Say what you will about the movie (at least it has that killer Quicksilver scene), but X-Men: Days of Future Past sure does a great job of interweaving young & old versions of its characters. I particularly like the clash of titans Michael Fassbender & Ian McKellen. They probably weren’t even on set together, but you can almost feel the battle for superior gravitas in the background.

The consistency between Charlie Rowe and Andrew Garfield stands out in Never Let Me Go, which is one of the better examples of child/adult actor pairings, made all the more poignant by the central theme of characters who are never really allowed to grow up.

And I bet you didn’t see this one coming: The Lion King
I love how Jonathan Thomas’s young Simba wants so badly to be strong just like his dad, whose presence is reinforced by James Earl Jones’s powerful voice. Then we get Matthew Broderick’s meek voice for adult Simba. If that’s not the ultimate subtext for shattered childhood illusions, I don’t know what is. It’s one of my favorite casting choices of all time. (I also love how Nala’s voice switches races. It’s all the best parts of Cloud Atlas with none of the baggage.)

It was really hard not to choose that one Harry Potter movie where they break into the ministry headquarters. I’m pretty sure polyjuice potion counts as body swapping, but it feels more like characters wearing disguises, and the disguises just happen to be other actors. (They did it without switching actors in the last movie, to prove my point!) The sheer sense of bewilderment brought by the adult actors (with actual talent) is always a delight. It at least merits dishonorable mention.

I love that Never Let Me Go pick, @AustinArlitt. Never occurred to me and I really, really like that movie.

I will confess I tried to make X-Men work, but I so dislike that movie I just couldn’t do it. The “interweaving”–as you put it–is pretty darn good though. And I confess to the fact that The Lion King also went through my head during the week as well. How dare you omit JTT’s middle name in your post! I like how you describe the voice casting shift. Really nice.


-You’re so weird.
-You have no idea.

I’m with you. Animated movies seemed like a cheat to me, and X-men wasn’t a good enough film to merit for me.

But it’s about great representations, not great films with them, so perhaps we should give an nod to X-men.

River Phoenix/Harrison Ford in Indy 3 is an obvious one.

Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black 3. Movie wasn’t good, but Brolin did a nice TLJ impression.

Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell in Ganster No.1. McDowell for some reason uses a heavy cockney accent, that Bettany doesn’t. Other than that, a pretty good film.

I would probably agree under normal circumstances, but the manner of changes in actors for The Lion King is identical to live action movies.

Does The Notebook count? A bit cheesy, and the unreliable narrator/memory aspect (coupled with the revelation at the end) may remove it from the running. But my wife has forced the movie on me enough times that I’m now a fan.