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Top Ten Doubles on Film

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Jesse Eisenberg in The Double (2014)
Jesse Eisenberg in The Double (2014)

Celebrating the release of Richard Ayoade's new film 'The Double', AnOther looks back over the best doubles, twins and dopplegangers from the movies.

Last week saw the release of comedian-cum-director Richard Ayoade’s accomplished second film, The Double, based on the novella by Dostoyevsky, starring Jesse Eisenberg and AnOther Magazine S/S14 cover star Mia Wasikowska. Both gloomy and darkly humorous, the film tells the haunting tale of James Simon, a downtrodden bachelor, struggling to gain any sort of recognition in work and in love. Things start to change when a man identical to him in appearance but completely alien in attitude appears at his work and begins to show James the benefits of life on the other side – where arrogance and a sense of entitlement reign supreme. But James’ happiness is short-lived, as he starts to find his life completely taken over by his imperious double. Here, to celebrate the film’s release we present our favourite doppelgangers on film, from Hitchcock's Vertigo to the original Parent Trap.

The Shining (1980)
These twins have haunted plenty of nightmares since their appearance on screen in 1980. In fact the terrifyingly sweet girls aren’t twins, but just doubles of each other – one is eight and one ten. Either way, the Grady sisters are the ultimate creepy double act.

Single White Female (1992)
Borrowing clothes and sharing secrets is a normal part of having a roommate. But Single White Female is an example of when it can all get a bit much. When Allie realises that her new roommate is copying her, so much so that she is turning into her identical double, it becomes obvious that it will take more than a wardrobe overhaul to get rid of her new twin.

Vertigo (1958)
Alfred Hitchcock shows his most unsettling side in this psychological masterpiece. James Stewart and Kim Novak play some pretty twisted lovers – in this case Kim always plays the same woman, but Stewart’s character Scottie thinks she is two different women. Although the plot is always clear to the viewer, Scottie spends most of the film in the dark.

Adaption (2002)
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman uses his own personal experience of writer’s block to form himself into two characters – Charlie and his twin brother Donald – Charlie struggling to write an adaption, his brother writing a trashy script which makes millions and then spending his time distracting Charlie. Nick Cage stars as both brothers.

The Parent Trap (1961)
Before Lindsay Lohan could even think about following her destiny as a doomed child star, Hayley Mills had already played the role of two precocious kids who realise they are twin sisters. The haircuts may have been more adventurous, but Miss Mills is as sweet as she is sneaky.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Leonardo DiCaprio times two, was there ever a better reason to watch a film? Granted, one of his characters wears a mask for most of the film, at the behest of his selfish twin, King Louis XIV of France. But still. It has two Leos.

The Social Network (2010)
Two actors play the Winklevoss twins, Mark Zuckerburg’s arch nemeses and Oympic rowers, but the pair has only one face. Armie Hammer’s perfectly preppy features were cast onto Josh Pence’s body, allowing the fake twins to achieve a level of interaction never before possible using the standard split-screen approach.

Enemy (2013)
Double Jake Gyllenhaal? Twin films are great. In this action-packed offering Gyllenhaal plays a miserable history professor and an actor. Their lives intertwine and Jake plays the opposing characters in completely different styles.

Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Of all the strange things Alice encounters on her adventures, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are definitely two of the funniest. Speaking in poems and rhymes, this double act is one of the most famous in literature.

The Double is in cinemas nationwide now.

Text by Daisy Woodward and Rosie Neve


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