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File:Glee-Kurt-young-actor 400 723.jpg

Sometimes, casting directors are called upon to cast, say, a father and son, or two brothers, or a younger and older version of the same character. And sometimes, they find someone that looks so uncannily like the original actor that it comes as a surprise to the viewers that the two aren't actually related.

Not to be confused with Real Life Relative, which is when the actors actually are related, and playing relatives.

Examples of Separated At Birth Casting include:


Live-Action TV

  • On Glee:
    • A flashback depicted Kurt as a young adolescent. The actor chosen to portray Chris Colfer's character Kurt bears an uncanny resemblance to a younger Chris Colfer (as pictured above right).
      • Adam Kolkin is set to play young Colfer again in Struck by Lightning.
    • The character of Shelby Corcoran (portrayed by actress Idina Menzel) is the mother of the character Rachel Berry (portrayed by actress Lea Michele). Menzel was presumably cast due, in part, to her striking resemblance to Michele.
  • Younger versions of Sam and Dean of Supernatural nicknamed the Weechesters tend to look quite a bit like them, especially when the age gap is smaller. It's not incredibly hard to find a mop-top and chisel-chest, but it helps when they actually get the demeanors down too.
  • The character of Niles on Frasier was created after producers noticed David Hyde Pierce's uncanny resemblance to Kelsey Grammer.
    • While not necessarily intentional, John Mahoney bears a resemblance to the two as well.
  • Ant and Dec have Little Ant and Dec (their variety show Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had trotting out "little [insert name here]" versions of various guests as a feature, including Little Little Ant And Dec).
  • The Mitchell brothers in Eastenders.
  • Jamie Walters as the younger version of Dean Stockwell's character in Quantum Leap.
  • In the made-for-tv film Hawking, Stephen Hawking (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the actors who play his parents seriously look like they could actually be related.
  • Lori Loughlin and Shenae Grimes on 90210 play a mother and daughter that actually look alike.
  • Gene Wilder had a short-lived sitcom called "Somehing Wilder" in the mid-Nineties where he played father to two little boys. One of whom was virtually a miniature clone of him.
  • The brothers Hank and Evan on Royal Pains.
  • Lachlan Nieboer, who played Gray, Jack Harkness's brother on Torchwood, looked and sounded like a younger version of John Barrowman, despite not being related.
  • On Once Upon a Time Ginnifer Goodwin from Big Love and Jennifer Morrison from House, two actresses who for years people have said shared a resemblance and have often been confused with each other, are now playing mother and daughter.
    • Bailee Madison played Goodwin's character as a child and the actress could easily pass for Goodwin's daughter or young sister. She also nailed some of her mannerisms.
  • The boys playing a young Earl and Randy on My Name Is Earl.
  • Victor Garber and Jennifer Garner as father and daughter on Alias.
  • Charisma Carpenter and Alexandra Chando on The Lying Game.
  • Elizabeth Penn Payne, the Masked Woman (aka Alexis Meade) on Ugly Betty has nearly the exact same eyes as Rebecca Romijn.
  • On 8 Simple Rules, Martin Spanjers and Amy Davidson, who play brother and sister, look like they actually could be (contrast Kaley Cuoco as their other sibling, who looks nothing like them or either of the parents: John Ritter and Katey Sagal).
  • Creepily averted on Full House; here all three kids look more like Dave Coulier, who plays the unrelated Joey, than either Danny (their father) or Jesse (their uncle).
    • Continued as when Jesse's kids are born, again, they look like Joey.
  • When Teri Garr guest-starred on Friends, the producers took advantage of her resemblance to Lisa Kudrow by casting her as Phoebe's birth-mother.
  • Sal Barone, the original actor for D.J. on Roseanne, left the show after the pilot, for various reasons; but what sealed the deal in casting Michael Fishman as his replacement was that he looked just like Roseanne Barr.
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