|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Actors A and B were highly successful last time they were in a film together. Wouldn't audiences love it even more if they starred in another film together?
In other words, this trope refers to when two actors - or, occasionally, groups of more than two - end up working together over and over for no other reason than because directors think audiences like them. Sometimes, the two are in a Real Life relationship, but that's not the reason why they're cast together; the chemistry that gives them might help, but the essential point is audience appeal.
This trope was more common in the studio era, when most actors and actresses were under contract to a particular studio, and those studios would match them up together repeatedly if they proved a success.
This doesn't apply when the actors work together over and over because they're part of a film franchise (like the kids in the Harry Potter movies, for example).
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were cast as a Beta Couple in Flying Down to Rio, and made such an impression that they starred in eight movie musicals over the next six years. The Barkleys of Broadway brought them back together once more; Ginger Rogers had been trying to put musicals behind her, but Judy Garland was unavailable. While not so much close offscreen (as she put, "We had fun and it shows. True, we were never bosom buddies off the screen; we were different people with different interests. We were only a couple on film"), both are even interred in the same graveyard.
- Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler appeared together in seven Warner Bros. musicals between 1933 and 1936. In fact, Ruby Keeler only appeared in three other feature films, one of them pairing her with then-husband Al Jolson.
- Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy co-starred in eight MGM musicals; MacDonald had previously been paired with Maurice Chevalier (mostly under Ernst Lubitsch's direction) in The Love Parade, One Hour with You, Love Me Tonight and The Merry Widow.
- For some time, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck seemed to be falling into this trope, due to Good Will Hunting and being part of Kevin Smith's Production Posse. Damon's career eventually eclipsed Affleck's, to the degree that The Onion ran an article entitled "Ben Affleck Hoping Jason Bourne Has Sidekick In Next Movie".
Jay (Jason Mewes): Do they say who's fuckin' playing us in the movie?
Holden (Ben Affleck): No, but it's Miramax. So I'm sure it'll be Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. They put those guys in a bunch of movies.
Holden: You know, those kids from Good Will Hunting?
Jay: You mean that fuckin' movie with Mork from Ork in it?
Holden: Yeah, I wasn't a big fan either... but Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms.
Jay: Word, bitch, Phantoms like a motherfucker.
- Although, this may be subverted, as the two are life-long childhood friends, so the actors themselves may have had more than a bit of a hand in the frequent pairings, rather than the audience or the studio. Then again, good chemistry is easy to achieve if it's already naturally there - so neither of the latter would likely have a problem with it either.
- During The Seventies, in Venezuela, it seemed that Lupita Ferrer and Josè Bardina starred in Soap Operas as the main couple too often. That was so pervasive, that recently a producer decided to reunite them in a soap, despite Bardina having been in retirement for two decades, and Ferrer having pursued an successful career abroad.
- David Spade and Chris Farley appeared in three movies together Coneheads, Tommy Boy, and Black Sheep if it weren't for Farley's untimely death there might have been more.
- Tim Allen and Spencer Breslin not counting the two Santa Clause movies, they appeared together in The Shaggy Dog and Zoom.
- Also Spencer Breslin has appeared in a few movies with his sister Abigail Breslin: Raising Helen, The Santa Clause 3, The Princess Diaries 2 A Royal Engagement and the upcoming Perfect Sisters.
- Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were never married, but they were together for decades, and are still remembered as one of Hollywood's most famous couples. Movies they appeared in together include State of the Union, Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, in which they play an old married couple. See the page pic for a few examples.
- Hepburn also costarred with Cary Grant in a number of films.
- Speaking of Cary Grant, he and Irene Dunne starred in three films together, two comedies (The Awful Truth and My Favorite Wife) and one drama (Penny Serenade).
- Jordan Chan and Anita Yuen have a played a couple in at least 8 Hong Kong films.
- Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, most notably in the Road To... film series (along with Dorothy Lamour, who was in all those pictures with them).
- Given notice in Road to Morocco, with the line "I'll lay you eight-to-five that we meet Dorothy Lamour!" during the title song.
- The movie America's Sweethearts revolves around this trope, being centered around a romantically involved movie star couple (played by John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones) that starred in several successful movies who suddenly split up, forcing their publicist to maintain the illusion to promote their latest movie.
- Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, in White Men Can't Jump and then Money Train. Jennifer Lopez stood in for Rosie Perez.
- They first appeared together in the Goldie Hawn movie Wild CATS in supporting roles.
- Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson seem to exist solely to appear in movies together. Meet the Parents, Starsky and Hutch, Night at the Museum, Zoolander....
- Not counting the Thin Man series, William Powell and Myrna Loy were in 8 films together. Their first film together wasn't even The Thin Man, it was Manhattan Melodrama. Counting the Thin Man series, they did a whopping 14 films together, more than any other American male and female co-stars.
- Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet appeared together in nine movies from 1941 to 1946, three of which starred Humphrey Bogart. Bogart, Lorre and Greenstreet worked so well together on The Maltese Falcon that Warner Bros. would pair any combination of them or all three together, so sometimes it was Bogart and Lorre (All Through the Night), Bogart and Greenstreet (Across the Pacific, Conflict) and then the aforementioned pairing.
- Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss did five movies together in the early 1960s. (Prentiss is 5'10" and would have towered over a lot of leading men. Casting her opposite the 6'5" Hutton kept her from having to walk in a trench all the time.)
- Italian actors Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni appeared together in over a dozen films, from Too Bad She's Bad (1954) to Prêt-à-Porter (1994).
- The comic duo Massimo Boldi & Christian De Sica had starred in so many movies that the Italian media called their split up as a 'divorce' and the fact actually made it on the newspapers headlines.
- After Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito did Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, which were related, they were all cast together in The War of the Roses, an unrelated movie. Some fans of the two related adventure movies mistook the unrelated black comedy for the third installment of the series.
- Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee not only did numerous Hammer Horror films together, but a fair number of non-Hammer British horror films. They remained good friends, a fact Alan Davies lampshaded on QI when he highlighted the surreality of Van Helsing and Dracula being so close. (They also were both in the Star Wars saga, but not in the same movies.)
- Fierce Creatures is often incorrectly believed to be a sequel to A Fish Called Wanda because it stars the same four principle actors (John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin) and several of the minor performers (including Cleese's daughter).
- The husband and wife team of Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci have appeared together in the likes of Brotherhood of the Wolf (without sharing any scenes), Irreversible, L'Appartement and Dobermann.
- There was a string of Broadway musicals between 1931 and 1946 starring William Gaxton and Victor Moore, the most famous of these shows being Of Thee I Sing (their first teaming) and Anything Goes (where Ethel Merman was the third featured player). They also starred with Mae West in the 1943 movie The Heat's On.
- Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes had Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, who proved such a hit as a pair of comical English twits that the pair were cast in pretty much the same roles for numerous other films in the 1940s.
- They actually played the very same characters in the 1940 (non-Hitchcock) thriller Night Train to Munich.
- Occurs on soap operas, usually with mixed to poor results.
- Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans played supercouple Patch and Kayla on Days of Our Lives. When both actors ended up on General Hospital several years later, TPTB tried to pair them--reception was lukewarm at best.
- Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin played popular couple Harley and Gus on Guiding Light. All My Children then snatched the two actors in a highly publicized casting coup. The potential pairing ultimately went nowhere.
- Bollywood runs on this trope and have their own name for it, Jodi.
- Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Baazigar, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, and My Name Is Khan.
- Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor. Most famously in Beta.
- On the buddy pairing side of things, we have Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in the 70's Sholay, among others), and Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar in the 90's and more recently, Tashan.
- Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter have emerged as the principal couple in Tim Burton's Production Posse, appearing together (though not necessarily cast as a couple) in Corpse Bride, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows.
- While they were hardly invariably together, Tony Slattery and Josie Lawrence would often be paired up in Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the UK.
- Also, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles in both versions.
- Tony Slattery and Paul Merton would usually be paired up when Paul was on the show.
- Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen are more or less the British equivalent to Colin and Ryan.
- Tony Slattery would also be paired with Mike Mc Shane, and the two of them would go on to do a show together called S&M: Slattery and Mc Shane.
- Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson, more so than any other pair of Brat Packers (The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Blue City)
- Masi Oka and Jayma Mays played across from each other in both Heroes and Get Smart: Bruce and Loyd Out of Control.
- Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson both created and started in a number of stage productions, television shows, and movies, including The Young Ones, Bottom, The Dangerous Brothers, Filthy Rich and Catflap, and Guest House Paradiso.
- Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood appeared in three films together (Kings Go Forth, Sex and The Single Girl, The Great Race) even though they absolutely loathed each other in real life.
- John Cusack and Tim Robbins - although they've made few films in which they share the lead, they often cameo in each other's films.
- Also John Cusack and his sister Joan Cusack have appeared in many movies together.
- James Cagney and Joan Blondell, early in their careers - they were in five movies together between 1930 and 1933.
- Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy, who both played Bulk and Skull, of Power Rangers fame
- Leon Ames and Mary Astor, most notably in Meet Me In St. Louis (1944) and Little Women (1949).
- Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. First as the horrifying Jane and the helpless Bella in The Twilight Saga, then as the lovers Cherie Currie and Joan Jett in the Biopic The Runaways.
- Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran were frequently cast as brothers in Disney movies of the late Fifties and Early Sixties.
- Pierre Arditi and Sabine Azéma are only good friends in real life, but you'd be forgiven for thinking they're married... Filmmakers have a thing for making these two French actors play couples. Alain Resnais pairs them in almost all of his movies and they've been either husband and wife or lovers in at the very least ten films since 1983.
- Jackie Chan with either Sammo Hung and/or Yuen Biao.
- Arguably, Laurel and Hardy. While they were a great team onscreen and onstage, for many years, their contracts were out of synch with each other.
- Even before Life On Mars, John Simm and Phil Glenister had done State of Play and Tuesday. In 2010, they'll be back together in Mad Dogs.
- They were joined by Marc Warren (Danny from Hustle) in LOM, State of Play and Mad Dogs, so it seems it's a trio.
- Russian comedy trio Vicin, Nikulin and Morgunov (Coward, Booby and Hardened) appeared in total of seven movies until Nikulin decided it's overdone.
- Character actor Scatman Crothers appeared with buddy Jack Nicholson in several films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Shining.
- Kenichi Suzumura and Maaya Sakamoto, whose characters are often in love (sometimes one-sided, sometimes reciprocated). This became Hilarious in Hindsight when they got married in August 2011.
- Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins of Ginger Snaps fame played sisters again in Another Cinderella Story.
- Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill: Granted they're usually playing Batman and The Joker, but sometimes they're not and in recent DC productions where Conroy wasn't Batman they've often got Mark Hamill to play his opposite number because they work so well together.
- Doris Day and Rock Hudson are well-known for starring together, despite only doing so in 3 movies: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers (which all also starred Tony Randall).
- Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney first starred together in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. Over the next six years, they appeared in three movies as Betsy Booth and Andy Hardy, and also starred in the movie musicals Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, Babes on Broadway and Girl Crazy.
- Jimmy Stewart made several films each with Margaret Sullavan and June Allyson, and two films each with Jean Arthur and Kim Novak.
- Lauren Bacall's first role on the screen was as Humphrey Bogart's love interest in To Have and Have Not. They got married and subsequently co-starred in The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo.
- Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo appeared together in Wonder Man, The Kid from Brooklyn, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and A Song is Born. Mayo also had a bit part in Kaye's first feature film, Up in Arms.
- Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland were in eight films together between 1935 and 1941 -- mostly because she was one of the few women who could put up with him, but they also had fantastic chemistry and were actually very good friends.
- Jean Harlow, in her too-brief film career, starred in five movies with Clark Gable: Red Dust, Hold Your Man, China Seas, Wife vs. Secretary and Saratoga.
- Bette Davis named Claude Rains as her favorite person to work with; Rains appeared in four movies Davis starred in, playing second to Paul Henreid in Now Voyager and Deception.
- Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau starred together in The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple (1968 movie version and 1998 sequel), The Front Page (1974 movie version), Buddy Buddy and Grumpy Old Men (and its sequel). They both had parts in JFK, but shared no screen time.
- Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder did four films together: Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, See No Evil Hear No Evil, and Another You.
- Tim Conway and Don Knotts starred together in the two The Apple Dumpling Gang movies, along with The Private Eyes and The Prize Fighter. Both actors also appeared in Gus, though they didn't share any scenes together.
- Brazilian actors Wagner Moura (best known for his role in The Elite Squad) and Lázaro Ramos, going as early as 1998 and even extending to the Penelope Cruz film Woman on Top (2000).
- Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans have been in three films together: The Perfect Score, The Nanny Diaries and The Avengers.