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Dynamic Duos: Iconic Actor Match-Ups

May 7, 2020

As there was an article previously that talked about directors that are always teaming up with the same actors, there are often a lot of actors that pair up too. Sometimes these are unintentional casting decisions, other times it is because of their proven chemistry and track record, or even because they’re close in real life.

Simon Pegg / Nick Frost

Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
It’s really weird when one of them is a film without the other (Indiwire 2019)

While many people assume they have been friends since childhood, the pair didn’t actually meet until Simon had graduated University. His girlfriend was a waitress with Frost, and introduced them. The two becoming fast friends after Pegg did his Chewbacca impression and both realised how big a nerd the other was. When Pegg was writing Spaced, he wrote a character especially for Frost, and continued when he wrote Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, with Edgar Wright. The pair have also worked together on Paul, and the final film in the Cornetto trilogy, The World’s End. They are currently working on a series about paranormal investigators, and recently did an updated version of the famous “the plan” scene from Shaun of the Dead, in response to the Coronavirus outbreak

Johnny Depp / Helena Bonham Carter

Few actors capture that Tim Burton style quite like these two (Warner Brothers, 2012)
Few actors capture that Tim Burton style quite like these two (Warner Brothers, 2012)

Director Tim Burton is known for his unique style and visuals, and for casting Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in everything (or at least it feels like it). The pair have teamed up together six times, each time because of Burton and usually play a couple. Although they haven’t appeared together in the franchise, they are both apart of the Wizarding World, with Carter playing Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and Depp playing Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts. Although they have not worked together for a while, it’s surely only a matter of time before they are reunited for another weird and wonderful project

Matt Damon / Ben Affleck

Affleck and Damon at 1998 Oscars, where they took home the award for Best Original Screenplay with Good Will Hunting, which they also starred in (ABC, 1998)
Affleck and Damon at 1998 Oscars, where they took home the award for Best Original Screenplay with Good Will Hunting, which they also starred in (ABC, 1998)

Bursting into the public eye with their Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, these two have actually been friends since high school, with Affleck even helping Damon out in a fight. The pair actually shared a bank account which they pooled money that was only to be used for auditions. The pair co-wrote as well as starring in Good Will Hunting and Dogma, in which they play fallen angels, as well as various producing credits. Although they haven’t acted together for several years, the two remain firm friends, with Damon publicly speaking up for Affleck during his battle with addiction. They are currently working on a screenplay together, although it is likely going to be a while before we see them on screen in it.

Emma Stone / Ryan Gosling

Gosling and Stone as Sebastion and Mia in La La Land (2016, Lionsgate)
Gosling and Stone as Sebastion and Mia in La La Land (2016, Lionsgate)

Despite only appearing in three films together, these two have become fast friends, which is probably a good thing considering that they’ve always played love interests. The pair have nothing but nice things to say about each other, with Stone once declaring she “couldn’t imagine life without him“. Naturally, rumours of a romance have often circulated but nothing has ever really suggested these two are more than friends. Perhaps their biggest and arguably best collaboration is La La Land, a musical in which they play a couple while also trying to achieve their dreams.

Ben Stiller / Owen Wilson

Stiller and Wilson behind the scenes on Zoolander 2 (Paramount, 2016)
Stiller and Wilson behind the scenes on Zoolander 2 (Paramount, 2016)

Once comedic actors are paired up in a film, they often become inseparable. This is exactly what happened with this duo, who since their first on-screen team up in 1996’s The Cable Guy, which Stiller also directed, they have worked together on screen no less than twelve times in total, including the Night at the Museum and Zoolander films, which are arguably their most successful. Although they are known for their comedy work, their appearance in The Royal Tenenbaums proves they can do dramatic too.

Robert De Niro / Joe Pesci

Goodfellas is widely regarded as one the best works for both Scorsese and the main actors (Warner Brothers, 1990)
Goodfellas is widely regarded as one the best works for both Scorsese and the main actors (Warner Brothers, 1990)

De Niro is one of the most famous and talented actors around, so it’s fair to assume he has some standards about who he works with more than once. The equally great Joe Pesci is one of those actors. The pair starred in three Scorsese films, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino, before a long-awaited reunion in The Irishman. They have also appeared in Once Upon A Time In America, and Pesci had small roles in two of De Niro’s directorial projects.

Also Read: Dynamic Duos: Iconic Actor/ Director Match-Ups

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