Buster Keaton in “The Playhouse” (1921)
Buster Keaton pranked his way through this early comedy, playing almost every role, from a stagehand to a member in the audience of a Buster Keaton show.
Lee Marvin in “Cat Ballou” (1965)
Lee Marvin won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the gun-slinging classic. He played both Kid Shelleen, a marksman whose reputation is off-mark from reality, and Tim Strawn, a hitman who has it out for Jane Fonda’s character’s father. And — twist! — Shelleen and Strawn are brothers! And only one survives!
Jerry Lewis in “The Family Jewels” (1965)
Look, there’s Jerry Lewis! Again! And again! And…again! Lewis not only co-wrote, directed and produced the film, he also portrays a jaw-dropping seven characters, six of them eccentric brothers fighting for guardianship of their 10-year-old niece, who has come into sudden wealth.
Michael Palin in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)
Ni! Michael Palin — who played the leader of the knights who say…well, one of the most memorable repetitions in modern comedy — also galloped from Camelot as Sir Galahad the Pure, one of the swallow-physics doubters, the King of the Swamp Castle, Brother Maynard’s brother and the ever-memorable Peasant #2 in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The British comedy troupe Monty Python was well-known for playing a handful of parts each.
Mel Brooks in “Spaceballs” (1987)
“Star Wars” this is not — 1987’s “Spaceballs” winkingly sent up the classic space series, winning loyal fans over due in part to Mel Brooks’ direction. Brooks wasn’t just behind the camera though; he also portrayed bumbling diplomat President Skroob and Yoda wannabe Yogurt.
Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America” (1988)
What better place to find a queen than Queens? Eddie Murphy, as Prince Akeem, comes from his African village in search of a wife. Murphy doesn’t only appear as his royal alter ego in the film — keep an eye out for him to crop up as Clarence, Randy Watson and Saul throughout.
Arsenio Hall in “Coming to America” (1988)
As if playing Semmi, the prince’s extremely loyal companion and the film’s second lead, isn’t enough, Arsenio Hall also racked up credits as Morris, Reverend Brown and, perhaps most memorably, “Extremely Ugly Girl” in the 1988 classic comedy.
Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future Part II” (1989)
It’s all in the family — or at least all of Michael J. Fox’s parts in the time travel action sequel are. Fox plays not only hero Marty McFly, but also his future son, Marty McFly, Jr. <em>and</em> rocks metallic short shorts while playing his future teenage daughter, <a href=”http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m415ywj1wu1rvjt2vo2_500.gif”>Marlene McFly</a>.
Eddie Murphy in “The Nutty Professor” (1996), “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” (2000)
Nearly a decade after his multi-role turn in “Coming to America,” Eddie Murphy returned to theaters to play an entire ensemble, all by himself. In “The Nutty Professor” and its sequel, Murphy played more than a half-dozen characters. Anyone hoping to watch in awe as Murphy has an entire fart joke back-and-forth <em>with himself</em>, these films are for you.
Mike Myers in “Austin Powers” Trilogy (1997 – 2002)
After his performances as both the villainous Dr. Evil and the titular International Man of Mystery in the “Austin Powers” trilogy, beginning in 1997, Mike Myers might as well be called the <em>one-billion-dollar</em> man. As it happens, alternately donning crushed velvet and a bald cap will keep the audiences laughing. (Perhaps Myers got the brainwave for playing both roles while playing father and son Stuart and Charlie McKenzie just a few years earlier in 1993’s “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”)
Lindsay Lohan in “The Parent Trap” (1998)
A young Lindsay Lohan <em>trapped</em> audiences’ hearts portraying twins Hallie Parker and Annie James in the 1998 remake of “The Parent Trap,” more than three decades after the Hayley Mills original. Extra points for being shown piercing her own doppelganger’s ears <em>and</em> fencing herself.
Ben Affleck in “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001)
“Affleck was the bomb in ‘Phantoms,’” according to, well, Ben Affleck. Not only did Affleck get to comment on his own performances (“I wasn’t a big fan either,” he says of “Good Will Hunting”) but also gets to goof off as himself of the set of “Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.” (Jason Lee also played double duty in this View Askewniverse continuation, reprising his roles as Banky Edwards and Brodie Bruce from “Chasing Amy” and “Mallrats,” respectively.)
Nicolas Cage in “Adaptation” (2002)
Nicholas Cage played both of the very different (but equally dysfunctional) Kaufman twins, Charlie and Donald, in Spike Jonze’s “Adaptation.” As the brothers struggle to adapt a non-fiction book for the screen, things get cuckoo bananas, devolving into a story of sex, drugs and, well, orchids. It comes down to a key line for the brothers Kaufman: “You and I share the same DNA. Is there anything more lonely than that?”
Jason Isaacs “Peter Pan” (2003)
Someone call Freud: Jason Isaacs played both bumbling patriarch Mr. Darling and villain Captain Hook in the 2003 remake of “Peter Pan.”
Adam Sandler in “Jack and Jill” (2011)
The usual: Adam Sandler plays a guy, as well as playing his identical twin sister, and at one point plays the guy pretending to be the sister. Hijinks ensue in this dark [NOT DARK] comedy about familial love, Al Pacino and hot dogs.
Armie Hammer in “The Social Network” (2011)
No, you’re not having double vision — that’s just the magic of digital special effects. Armie Hammer portrayed both of the moneyed, lean, mean Winkelvoss twins befriending — and then battling — Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook. Bonus: you get to watch Hammer react <em>twice</em> to what may be the best burn Aaron Sorkin has ever penned: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you would’ve invented Facebook.”
Tom Hanks (and many others) in “Cloud Atlas” (2012)
From a man decorated with face tattoos in the dystopian future to a lovelorn physicist trying to stop a potential nuclear fallout, Tom Hanks plays six roles in “Cloud Atlas,” work that some early reviews are hailing as Oscar-worthy. Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent and others also play multiple parts in the saga.