The big trend in television right now is actors playing multiple roles in one show. We’ve had James Franco in The Deuce (playing brothers involved in the underworld, one of whom is trustworthy and serious and the other of whom is a huge screwup), we’ve had Ewan McGregor in Fargo (same, basically), and now we have J.K. Simmons in the new Starz drama Counterpart (as the same person in alternate realities, one of whom is a badass spy and the other of whom is a nerdy schlub). We also had Tatiana Maslany playing about two dozen characters on Orphan Black, a situation that probably makes her chuckle with amusement when any of the guys listed above discuss the difficulties of playing multiple characters on the same show. “Oh you only played two roles? How charming,” she probably says to them when they bump into her at Hollywood parties.
Anyway, the logical question this raises is: Who’s next? Who will be the next actor or actress to take on a dual-role in a prestige drama? Better yet, who should be? Well, luckily for you, I have compiled a list of options. It’s a good list. I am very serious about almost all of it. And even the parts I’m less serious about would still be fascinating. We’ve got 500 plus shows on the air. There’s room for at least a few of these. Let’s do it.
Reasoning: It’s very unfair, what the world has done to us. Last year at this time, we were inching toward having Carrie Coon on two shows at the same time, The Leftovers and Fargo. Which is great. The problem was that the former was preparing for its final season and the latter is an anthology series that reboots itself with a new cast every year, meaning we went from zero shows with Carrie Coon straight up to two and then back to zero. This is… less good, at least for our purposes here, which can best be described Get Carrie Coon On Television A Lot. Something must be done.
Suggestion: Carrie Coon stars as twin sisters — Brenda and Dina Sacramento — on opposite sides of the law in Miami. The bad one has a bunch of tattoos, including the Wu-Tang one Nora Durst had on The Leftovers, because no, I am not ready to let that go, thanks.
Reasoning: Jon Hamm played one of the most iconic characters in the history of televised drama and in the years since Mad Men ended he has done very little on TV beyond goofy guests spots in fun comedies and ad campaigns for cars and tax preparation tools. I mean this with all due respect, but what the heck? Let’s get Jon Hamm back on television. It’s time. The people need Hamm. Two Hamms, if possible.
Suggestion: Best of both worlds. One dramatic Hamm, like a Draper-type role where he broods handsomely and glares also handsomely, and one fun Hamm, like his doofus 30 Rock character. I’m thinking a cloning gone awry. Like someone wanted a second Serious Hamm because his character is that important to his company or national security or whatever, but 60 percent of his brain cells got fried in the experiment. I’d watch.
Reasoning: Because I am on the record as saying Jason Statham could improve any television show and leaving him off this list would make me a hypocrite.
Suggestion: Put him in the final season of Game of Thrones. Do it. It’s not too late. The episodes aren’t coming out until 2019. There’s plenty of time to write him in as brothers hired by Cersei to defend herself. Two Stathams and a Mountain. She’ll be unstoppable.
I will also, if the world refuses to give me this, accept a show where Jason Statham discovers he has a long-lost brother who lives in America. American accent, huge mustache. They find each other and bond and then the two of them take down Putin. Or something. We can figure it out. (And he does have some history with multiples roles, for what it’s worth.)
Michael B. Jordan
Reasoning: Michael B. Jordan is a legit movie star so on its face this idea seems a little out there. But, I mean, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon just did Big Little Lies and McConaughey did True Detective, so who knows. The important thing here is that I would like it.
Suggestion: Two brothers, one a hotshot astronaut and the other a geeky NASA engineer, are our only hope against a meteor that is screaming toward Earth.
Reasoning: Salma Hayek is a talented actress who has reached the point in her career where juicy film roles start to become scarce. It’s not her fault. It’s the nature of the industry. But one nice thing about the television boom is that it has created more options, and more roles, for people in that kind of bind. Good roles, too. Meaty ones. Let’s get Salma Hayek on television, twice.
Suggestion: Let’s do a season of American Crime Story about the gold bucket heist and have her play the fictionalized cop who tracks down the guy who stole the bucket of gold, as well as the guy’s defense attorney, but the resemblance between the two is never acknowledged. I have faith in you, Ryan Murphy.
Reasoning: Amy Poehler is the greatest.
Suggestion: We can go one of two ways here. Option one: Poehler plays two characters in a comedy, and the situation is mined for laughs. Option two: Amy Poehler makes her dramatic debut and leaps straight into a double role. Either is fine with me. Part of me wants to combine this with the Hamm show, and have two sets of dual roles. Like maybe the serious versions of their characters are rivals but the dummy clones get married. Everything is on the table.
Reasoning: See, you think I’m doing a goof because Danny Trejo is not on the level, career-wise, as some of the names on this list. But think about it this way: If you heard, say, FX was making a new season of Fargo that starred Danny Trejo as twin villlains hellbent on taking over Minneapolis, you’d definitely tune in, right? Don’t lie. Don’t you dare lie to me. I’ll know.
Suggestion: See above. I’m already mad that’s not a real thing and I just thought it up a few sentences ago.
Reasoning: Bill Hader is a master impressionist who has played a bunch of very different characters in everything from SNL to Documentary Now. He has the chops to do this in a way few others on this list do. He doesn’t even have to play brothers or twins or bring a parallel universe into it. He can just play two different people. Comedy or drama or drama with comedy in it. This is a good idea I’m having. Someone reading this should do something with it.
Suggestion: He already has a new HBO show, Barry, coming out soon where he plays a hitman. I vote he tries to kill a character played by himself. Bing bang boom.
Reasoning: Julianne Moore is very good and has been very good for an extended period of time and I don’t see why we can’t create a very fancy prestige drama based around the premise that she plays both lead characters.
Suggestion: Stick with me here. Julianne Moore plays a hotshot defense lawyer who gets arrested for murder and her only hope of proving her innocence is to hire the city’s other hotshot defense lawyer, also played by Julianne Moore. Everything I’ve just typed could also apply to Tilda Swinton, but it would be 75 percent weirder.
Reasoning: Walton Goggins is awesome. He was so good as Boyd Crowder on Justified. I can’t believe it’s not all we talk about, even today, years after the show aired its series finale. And he was so good on The Shield, too. And Vice Principals. He’s got this incredible history of playing charismatic sociopaths and I think we should double down on it.
Suggestion: I’ll take anything you got, Hollywood. I just need more Goggins. Hell, have him play three characters. See what I care. Have him play triplets who work at a car dealership and murder their boss and have to try to cover it up. That’s a show! Someone can make it!