Tuesday January 25, 2011
Could they be twins?
By HAU BOON LAI
Some stars resemble each other so much that they are often mistaken for kin.
UP-AND-COMING actor Armie Hammer is receiving positive reviews for his portrayal of both the identical Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler in the movie The Social Network. Heís done a great job in making viewers believe that he is really two different characters, and he did it all for the price of one.
The editors needed some high-tech wizardry to make the appearances of the twins natural and convincing. While not quite a big-budget movie, I am pretty sure that the producers could still have afforded to hire an extra actor to play one of the twins together with Hammer if they wanted to.
If so, they wouldnít have had to look very hard Ė E! News film correspondent Ben Lyons is a dead ringer for Hammer. The two look so alike that before The Social Network came along and made Hammer known to me, I had always assumed that it was Lyons and not Hammer who was taking on guest spots on popular TV dramas Reaper and Gossip Girl.
Those who are interested in seeing the two together can catch the regular repeats of a segment of E! Newsí red carpet coverage in which Lyons interviewed Hammer and the two teased each other about their similar looks.
The two celebrities are, however, far from being the only ones to look alike. One of the most enjoyable columns in entertainment magazines that I donít think the editors of the publications put enough effort into is when they make the connection and juxtapose the look-alike pictures of two different celebrities.
Actor Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, and Sean Murray, best known for his role as special agent Timothy McGee in the top-rated series NCIS, look so similar that I often wonder if they were born of the same parents.
Itís quite delicious to speculate whether the largely scandal-free Tom Hanks might have been involved in the paternity of Murray even though just a little research would tell one otherwise.
Therein lies one of the multiple reasons we are invariably fascinated with celebrity doppelgangers. A fair number of celebrities indulge in multiple romantic liaisons, and this provides the ballast to our suspicion about whether someone who looks like their children might not be intimately related to them.
For the more mean-spirited among us, the similarities possibly signal a case of artifice, of being created from the same mould, via plastic surgery. After all, we know that many who go under the knife choose to model their new looks upon those of certain popular celebrities. It is no great stretch of the imagination that some of these new faces could well find fame.
In the case of actresses Roselyn Sanchez and Patricia Velasquez, however, their Latino heritage would appear to be one of the main factors in the similarity of their looks.
The same can be claimed of South Korean star Rainís sharing of similar facial characteristics with boy band 2PM member Lee Jun Ho as well as the similar-looking pairs of Rachel McAdams and Elizabeth Banks, and Julia Roberts and Monica Potter.
More remarkable are the look-alikes that transcend ethnicity. The late Hong Kong star Leslie Cheung, for instance, bore a close resemblance to Michael Pare, when both were in their prime in the 1980s and 90s.
But the most interesting has to be when the similarities are more than skin-deep, with some look-alikes displaying almost the same demeanour and aura.
In 1990, one could be forgiven for believing that Jack Nicholson was the villainous Richter in the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Total Recall. It was his look-alike Michael Ironside, and it wasnít just the receding hairline Ė the real clinchers were the snarl and the highly-expressive eyes radiating malevolence.
Actresses Missy Peregrym and Hilary Swank surely fall into this category as well. The two have acted in roles that showed off their washboard abs Ė Peregrym as a gymnast in the movie Stick It and Swank as a boxer in Million-Dollar Baby. What are the chances that both look alike, are incredibly fit and often end up playing characters who are just a tad anti-social?
Ten years separate the London-born Gary Oldman and American actor Sam Rockwell, but the two share looks as well as a similar energy that translate into intense and memorable characters on screen. It is no coincidence that the two are known for their acting chops as well as for their involvement in independent films.
Spanish-born actor Javier Bardem is riding high in Hollywood. As a result, casting directors may find that they cannot afford his rising fees. If that happens, they can well approach actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who looks like Bardemís long-lost brother.
While he doesnít earn as many acting accolades as Bardem, Morgan has made himself memorable to viewers in the many television and movie roles he has taken on, whether as the Winchester patriarch in the horror series Supernatural or as The Comedian in the 2009 movie Watchmen.
The brashness Morgan imbues in his characters is not dissimilar to what Bardem does with his roles, so he should have no problem stepping into Bardemís Zara shoes.
When people who look alike become celebrities, it gives credence to claims that fans are often attracted to certain face shapes. It would explain why there are so many acting first families, why many equally good-looking people donít quite make it to stardom and why if you like one, youíd probably like the other.
I pride myself on having a good eye for faces, but for the life of me, I canít seem to differentiate among the look-alike trio of actress-singers Rene Liu, Lee Sinjie and Karena Lam, especially when I happen to catch a movie they are appearing in half-way on television. I would then have to scan the TV listings or wait for the end credits to find out which of the three I was watching.
I like all three of them, and I believe that movie producers missed a casting coup in not getting them to play The Soong Sisters. What a great use for celebrity look-alikes that would have been.
In this column, writer Hau Boon Lai ponders the lives, loves and liberties of celebrities.