Talkback: Which Actors Should Play Opposite Themselves?
I keep eyeing the news of Jesse Eisenberg's dual role in Richard Ayoade's next movie The Double, based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella, with excitement about people who aren't even involved with the project. If The Double, about "a Russian government clerk whose life unravels after what he believes is a literal facsimile of himself -- same appearance, same name, same hometown -- begins working in his office," is a hit, will it popularize the idea of other actors playing dual roles? And who would we want to see act against his/her own mirror image?
The conceit has had its ups in downs in cinematic history: Last year's underrated Youth in Revolt proved Michael Cera's cred as a comic dualist. Lee Marvin's turn in 1965's Cat Ballou elevated Peter Sellers' multi-role shtick to the level of Oscar worthiness. The most notable example of the past decade must be Nicolas Cage's bizarre work in Adaptation. That hallucinatory vortex had stranger things going for it than his two characters, but the effect of their fraternal competitiveness was unforgettable. [ Edit. Dominic Cooper, currently appearing opposite himself in The Devil's Double, is another notable recent example of the trend.] Who should come next?
As far as I'm concerned, your doyennes Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Maggie Smith are the most obvious choices. Give Meryl a sumptuous pair of characters (not unlike her roles in The French Lieutenant's Woman), and you'd undoubtedly have a treat for the ages. All three of those ladies are chameleons of the highest order, matching the majesty of Marlene Dietrich -- who tore up 1957's Witness for the Prosecution as both a shady wife and an unrecognizable cockney supporting role. Actors capable of conjuring mystique are ideal here, too: Marion Cotillard's mysterious character in Inception and her famously lauded turn in La Vie En Rose make her a ripe candidate for a multi-part excursion, and Charlize Theron, a marvel in Monster, works too.
Who would you cast? More importantly: Who wouldn't you cast?