Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill

Twins have always featured in movies and this week they make a return in Jack & Jill, which sees Adam Sandler take on both roles.

So we take a look at some of the double roles actors have had to play over the years as well as the twin characters that we have all enjoyed.

- Armie Hammer made a considerable impression in The Social Network (2010), portraying (with the aid of some CGI trickery) the high achieving Winkelvoss brothers.

Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss were implacably opposed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and opined that their greatest strength was ‘I’m six five, 220 and there’s two of me,’.

- Hayley Mills made her name in movies with a dual role in The Parent Trap (1961), cast as Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick - twins separated in a bizarre custody decision upon the divorce of their parents.

Seamless optical effects allowed audiences to really believe these mischievous teenagers were really two different girls when they agreed to swap their designated parent for a while, all with a view to getting mum and dad back together again.

- The Parent Trap was remade in 1998, with the young Lindsey Lohan in the dual role of Hallie Parker and Annie James.

The twist this time was that mum Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson) was English while dad Nick (Dennis Quaid) was American, giving young Li-Lo the chance to display high quality acting skills only occasionally glimpsed in her career since.

- There was no mistaking Danny De Vito and Arnold Schwarzenegger as doppelgangers in Twins (1988), but the gag here was that the genetic engineering that created the superb physical specimen Julius (Schwarzenegger) left something to be desired when it produced the shady and cantankerous Vincent (De Vito). 

A great idea, neatly executed, the team behind it are said to be reuniting for a belated sequel - with rumour has it - Eddie Murphy as the third sibling.

- Nicolas Cage delivered one of his more sweatily anxious performances in Adaptation (2002), another Spike Jonze film based on a reality bending screenplay by Charlie Kaufman.

Cage played a fictionalised version of Charlie Kaufman as well as his (non-existent) identical twin Donald, in a story of existential angst, writer’s block and rare orchids.

- No major special effects were required to depict London gangland’s favourite psychotic gangster twins in The Krays (1990). 

Played with surprising conviction by Spandau Ballet pop stars Gary and Martin Kemp, the charisma and savagery which marked the brief reign of Ronnie and Reggie Kray was skilfully depicted in Peter Medak’s film.

- The various adventures of one Harry Potter featured real twins James and Oliver Phelps as Fred and George, the rabble rousing older siblings of Ron Weasley.

The twins, now 26, portrayed their increasingly popular characters in all eight films in the Potter canon.

- The improbable, once unstoppable, movie career of Jean Claude Van Damme featured that moment in every film that tried to explain why the hero spoken in such a strong Belgian accent.

Distraction from this point of detail came in Double Impact (1991) as JCVD played twin brothers Chad and Alex Wagner.

Separated in childhood they are reunited for plot convenience and - like The Parent Trap, but with lots of fighting - play on their physical similarities while kicking bad guy ass.

- Jeremy Irons is actor enough for two roles, but when he was hired by David Cronenberg to appear in Dead Ringers (1988) there was never a chance it would be played for laughs. 

He portrayed twin gynaecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle  who behave increasingly oddly as the film progresses. 

A return to the director’s ‘body horror’ leanings this one is not for the fainthearted, though Irons does deliver double the weirdness in his twin roles.

- Movies with twins either emphasise the difference between the siblings, or highlight the similarities. 

Sometimes the similarities grate almost as much as the things that set them apart, which offers some comic mileage for Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill (2012). 

As good natured Jack Sadelstein his life is perfect in every way until his needy twin Jill comes to stay for Thanksgiving.

Jack & Jill is out on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital Download from July 2nd from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.