Tom Hardy is best known for The Dark Knight Rises (in which he wore a mask and we couldn’t understand a word he said) and Mad Max: Fury Road (in which he again wore a mask and essentially abandoned spoken language).
In new film Legend, he makes damn sure we see his face, as he plays notorious English gangster Reggie Kray and his even more notorious-er twin Ronnie Kray for good measure. (A massive hit in Britain, it’s been overshadowed here so far by a little franchise called The Hunger Games.)
In honor of Hardy’s efforts, we salute actors making films where they talk with, live with, work with, violently fight with, and occasionally attempt to make sweet love to themselves.
Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Impact (1991)
Hardy reportedly suffered actual injuries during the filming of a fight with himself, but his pain pales before this battle between the Muscles from Brussels and the Muscles from Brussels. JCVD plays twins who, despite being separated in infancy and raised on opposite sides of the globe, both grew up to have martial arts abilities and oddly identical accents. Behold them bantering (“Chill out, pal. Chill out, okay?” “Chill out? Chill out? Chill out?”—yes, this is actual dialogue) and brawling until a friend uses a machine gun to remind them what really matters.
Jackie Chan in Twin Dragons (1992)
Again there are twin brothers separated in infancy, and again they are raised worlds apart, but this time only half of them have fighting skills. (As the trailer notes, “One’s a world-famous maestro, the other a martial arts master.”) Though it was a huge hit in Hong Kong, it took seven years to reach the U.S.A., only getting a release in 1999 after Jackie became an American star with Rumble in the Bronx and Rush Hour. Featuring stunts by “Big Brother” still in his physical prime, it also includes an unexpectedly kinky moment as a lady in a bubble bath gets twice the Jackie she expected.
Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap (1998)
This may have been her peak. Depressingly, it came when she was 11. Co-star Dennis Quaid recently said of the film: “I myself forgot she was just one person.” While this may be more an indictment of Quaid’s memory than a tribute to Lohan’s acting, watch the scene below in which she carries on a conversation with herself, complete with more accent work than JCVD ever imagined. Then compare it with a small chunk of her performance in the trailer for 2007’s I Know Who Killed Me, in which she also plays twins unaware of the other’s existence: if you can hear Lohan announce that her real name is “Dakota Moss” without giggling, you are legally dead.
Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
The writer/director David Cronenberg has been making highly disturbing movies for decades, but he’s never again hit on something quite so unsettling as this tale of identical twin gynecologists. (See, you’re creeped out already!) Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched Jeremy Irons trying to lure another Jeremy Irons into a three-way.
Armie Hammer in The Social Network (2010)
At times, The Social Network plays like a high production value tribute to Animal House. Exhibit A: The Winkelvoss twins’ meeting with Harvard’s president, who seems to be directly channeling Dean Wormer. In a showdown to determine the most irritating rich white person, the winner is Winkelvoss (Cameron version–quit sucking up, bro!), all leading to an act of violence against a very old doorknob.
Michael Keaton in Multiplicity (1996)
Keaton largely fell out of the public eye between ending his run as Batman in 1992’s Batman Returns and scoring an Oscar nomination in 2015 for Birdman. This Harold Ramis film is one of the projects from those forgotten days. Keaton plays Doug Kinney, a man who thanks to “a miracle of modern science” just can’t stop cloning himself. (In fairness, if you had to satisfy Andie McDowell in the bedroom, you’d want reinforcements too.)