Acting duos we love to see

Written by Film

When it comes to films, we sometimes find ourselves drawn to the cast rather than the story itself. It can be a factor that lures us in. And when two actors work well together, whether that be through undeniable chemistry or a platonic friendship, this can lead to starring in multiple films. Whether that is also paired with the same director or a completely different project, these acting duos have become staples we can’t seem to get enough of.

Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp

Thanks to their frequent collaborations with Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are a given when it comes to his films. Starring in no less than seven films together (with only one not being directed by Tim Burton), it all began with their voice roles as Victor and Emily in Corpse Bride before branching out into live-action films such as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Dark Shadows.

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are able to pull off Tim Burton’s kooky cinematic style better than anyone else, and often follow a similar narrative. This most prominently has to be Bonham Carter’s portrayal of women who pursue Depp’s characters against his will, ultimately killing her off in some gruesome fashion.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

Forget Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, she’s been replaced with Emma Stone as Gosling’s new leading lady. This pairing all started with the underrated rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love. Although there was a hiccup with their next film Gangster Squad, Gosling and Stone redeemed themselves with Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land. Starring as Mia and Sebastian, Stone and Gosling were perfect in their roles. Following the relationship between an aspiring actress and a jazz musician in Los Angeles, La La Land combines a fantastical musical with reality as the two must sacrifice their love for each other to pursue their dreams, breaking all our hearts in the process.  

Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan

A more recent cinematic pairing, no one can deny the chemistry between Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan. Beginning with Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut in the coming-of-age film Lady Bird, fans rejoiced when both Ronan and Chalamet had been cast as bffs Jo and Laurie in Gerwig’s rendition of Little Women. These two get to take turns to break each other’s hearts, whether that be as wannabe angsty Catholic school teenagers to young adults struggling with gender equality at the backdrop of the American Civil War.

Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet in Little Women (2019)

Their talent and working relationship have dubbed them as this generation’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and deservedly so. Chalamet and Ronan will next be seen in Wes Anderson’s comedy The French Dispatch.

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg

Best known for the Three Flavours of the Cornetto trilogy, consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are a duo I never get tired of. These films are a right of passage in British culture, and I think that’s thanks to Frost and Pegg’s real-life friendship which is evident on screen. Expanding to other films such as sci-fi comedy Paul, I’ll always think of these two as the besties who will play on their PlayStation, even if the other is a zombie.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

This collaboration was sparked when the two co-starred in Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, following the friendship between a divorced man and a lonely widow as they prepare for a dance contest.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Joy (2015).

Over the next few years, Cooper and Lawrence reunited with director David O. Russell in acclaimed films such as American Hustle (although they share no scenes together) and Joy. Outside of Russell’s projects, they starred as a married couple who pursue criminal activities during the 1930s in Serena which, despite having these two as its leads, was a critical and commercial flop. Hopefully, Cooper and Lawrence can find another project better suited to their talents in the future.

Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson

Although these two are best known for their appearances in the MCU, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson knew each other long before they were Captain America and Black Widow. I always think back to their roles in The Nanny Diaries. Not a critical or a commercial hit, this followed Johansson as a recent graduate who begrudgingly takes a nanny job for a rich family in New York. Amongst the chaos, she eventually begins a relationship with her neighbour, portrayed by Evans. The two have since starred in seven films together as part of the MCU, beginning with Avengers Assemble and concluding with Avengers: Endgame.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

These two have one of the most endearing friendships in Hollywood. Comic actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have a friendship spanning more than two decades, eventually collaborating as a comedic pair on Saturday Night Live before expanding to films. This started with Mean Girls, with Poehler’s delivery of Fey’s writing making way for future meme content as Regina George’s “cool-mom”. They later reunited for comedies Baby Mama and Sisters. Although these films were nowhere near as successful as Mean Girls, we can see their real-life friendship shine on screen which makes up for the average plot lines.

Tina Fey in Mean Girls (2004).

These acting duos prove through their chemistry and real-life friendships that it’s fine for actors to repeatedly work together. Whilst some have collaborated on projects which have been hit or miss, some have showcased their best work, and perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case if they were working with another actor or actress.

Last modified: 12th June 2020

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