Child Characters You Didn't Realize Were Played By Twins

Perhaps the biggest obstacles to making movies and television series that prominently feature child actors are modern-day child labor laws. The number of hours that a child actor is allowed to work in a given day are severely limited, and don't get us wrong, this is a good thing. We don't want to return to the days of the Industrial Revolution, with little orphans getting the black lung from working in the coal mines all day. But this does mean that television producers need to get creative in order to to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to employing kid actors. Often times, they resort to an old loophole to circumvent this problem — casting a pair of twins in a single role. Ever since the days of I Love Lucy, when twins Joe and Mike Mayer played baby Ricky Ricardo Jr., it's been a classic move in the Hollywood playbook.

Though some instances of this double-casting are fairly well-known, this practice generally isn't something that most productions publicize all that much. Because of this, you might not realize that many of the kid characters in your favorite TV shows and films are actually played by twins. Today, we're running down some lesser-known stories of times when a set of twins (or in one case, triplets) took turns playing the same role. Some of these examples may be a bit surprising, so we'll certainly forgive you if you need to do a double take.

A set of twins played Lily in Modern Family

First premiering in 2009, the television show Modern Family sought to distinguish itself from the sitcoms of previous generations by portraying a wider array of family structures than those we'd typically seen on television up until that point. In addition to the sitcom standard-issue white, heterosexual, nuclear family, the show also featured an interracial couple with a child from a previous marriage and a queer couple with an adopted toddler. And as was the case for many shows with a regularly featured baby in the cast, the producers cast a pair of twins in the role, Jaden and Ella Hiller.

However, after the show's second season, it became clear that the Hiller twins weren't in love with the acting lifestyle. They were often agitated by the filmmaking process, which is totally understandable for a pair of three-year-old kids. Because of this, at the start of the show's third season, Lily was recast with then four-year-old actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. With this change, the role of Lily began to transition from a largely nonspeaking one into being a full-fledged member of the cast. And this time, the casting stuck. Anderson-Emmons went on to portray Lily for an additional nine seasons.

There were two little Williams in The X-Files

In '90s television, there was an unofficial rule that, whenever any show goes on for long enough, eventually some character gets pregnant. It seems that not even the supernatural procedural The X-Files was safe from this trend because at the end of the show's seventh season, FBI Agent Dana Scully, one of the show's two protagonists, revealed that she was pregnant.

Where exactly Scully's baby came from was a bit of a mystery because at the time, Scully believed she was infertile. Over the years, the show hinted that perhaps she and her partner Mulder happened to get lucky (or unlucky) during one of their hookups in season seven, perhaps she chose to have in-vitro fertilization using Mulder as the sperm donor, or perhaps there was even a supernatural element to the child's conception. Eventually, the Cigarette Smoking Man took the credit for the kid, making the boy's family tree even more complicated.

Scully's child was named William, and as a baby, he was played by twin boys Travis and James Riker. The boys were so young at the time that they have absolutely no memories of being on the show. In fact, their parents didn't even tell them that they had been on the series until they turned seven, which was a pleasant surprise for the boys. Nowadays, the Riker twins are professional models and amateur soccer players. They still aspire to be famous but not too famous. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Travis Riker said, "I want to become famous enough to get a discount at the Nike store and meet my favorite soccer player."

Two young actresses played Emma Geller-Green in Friends

Perhaps the most famous on-again, off-again couple in sitcom history is Rachel Green and Ross Geller in Friends. After a series of breakups and reunions, the biggest twist of all comes in the season seven finale, when Rachel reveals that she's pregnant with Ross' child. Although the two hadn't officially been a couple for quite some time, it seems they managed to conceive a child during one of their brief "on-again" reunions.

Rachel finally gives birth in the show's ninth season to a baby girl named Emma, played by twins Cali and Noelle Sheldon. Looking back at their time on the set (via Insider), the Sheldons have nothing but good things to say about the experience, saying that the cast "treated us like little princesses." Since then, their most notable roles were in Jordan Peele's horror film Us. In that film, each Sheldon played dual roles, as teen girls Becca and Lindsey Tyler and as their two evil duplicates, Io and Nix.

Emma isn't the only child Ross has over the course of the series. He also has a son named Ben with his ex-wife, who was, like Emma, played by twins. Charles Thomas Allen and John Christoper Allen portray Ben from seasons three to five, and then, funny enough, Ben Geller was recast with a different twin actor ... but only a single twin this time. In later seasons, Ben is played by the aforementioned Cole Sprouse, without the help of his brother Dylan.

There were multiple Harry Potters in The Sorcerer's Stone

Don't get it twisted. Daniel Radcliffe — the actor who played Harry Potter throughout the vast majority of the film series — is not a twin. However, the first time we meet the Boy Who Lived, as a newborn in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he is indeed played by multiple similar-looking babies, a set of triplets in fact. It would not be until the opening of The Order of the Phoenix that we would again see so many Harry Potters in one place.

The kids in question are known as that Saunders triplets, and what makes this trio a little different from some of the other examples that we're discussing today is that, although two of them are a pair of boys, the third is a girl, a fraternal sibling to her two identical brothers. Beyond that, surprising little is known about the triplets. They aren't credited with first names anywhere, very few photos of them have circulated, and they don't have any other acting credits outside the Harry Potter films. Perhaps it's for the best that they've managed to stay out of the limelight. After all, those who know the origin story of Harry Potter can certainly appreciate the benefits of raising famous babies outside of the public eye.

Two little actors starred as Abel Teller in Sons of Anarchy

In the first episode of the crime drama Sons of Anarchy, protagonist Jax Teller's pregnant wife, Wendy, nearly dies from a drug overdose. Because the baby's life is in mortal danger, he's delivered via an emergency C-section, despite being ten weeks premature. Thus Abel Teller was born, originally played by actor Tyler Silva. One imagines that the role of Abel started off as a not terribly demanding gig, since he spent the majority of the first season lying in "the toaster," an incubator. However, as the show progressed, Abel grew up, and his role of the character expanded. Because of this, he was recast in season four with a pair of twin actors, Evan and Ryder Londo.

By the end of the series, the character of Abel had blossomed into a dark, complex, and demanding role for any actor, let alone a pair of kids. In an interview with People, their father, Tom Londo, said that each twin had different strengths as actors, and so each one was tasked with handling different sides of the character. Ryder handled the more "sensitive stuff," whereas Evan did the "action-based scenes." Despite some of the incredibly dark subject matter that the Londo twins had to deal with on the show, their father claimed, "It's never really affected them whatsoever. ... I know some would assume it might have. The weird thing for me is that in the show they play such a sad character, but in real life, they are the exact opposite."

Tommy Fuller Jr. kept the twin tradition going in Fuller House

Perhaps the most famous example of a television show casting twin kids in a single role is the 1987-1995 sitcom Full House. The show featured a pair of star-making performances for twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Michelle Tanner, the precocious youngest child of the Tanner family. What you might not realize, however, is that the sequel series, Fuller House, decided to follow in the original's footsteps and cast one of its roles with a pair of twins, as well.

The youngest member of the Tanner-Fuller family, Tommy Fuller Jr., was played by twins Fox and Dashiell Messitt. When the show started filming, the Messitt twins were only seven months old. According to a People interview with their mother, Kacy Andrews, they hadn't even learned to crawl yet. But the kids grew up quite a bit across the show's five seasons, and by the end of the series, they could wander into a room and deliver adorable one-liners like pros.

Although Fuller House was the Messitts' first role, it wouldn't be their last. These twins have gone on to appear in an episode of Grey's Anatomy and a Hefty commercial with John Cena.

Yep, the clones in JoJo Rabbit were actually twins

One of the most surreal bits in Taika Waititi's 2019 satirical dark comedy Jojo Rabbit is the running gag that the Nazis in the film have been experimenting with human cloning, and they have countless identical clones of the same child running around their military base. Duplicating the same actor multiple times within a shot is a classic Hollywood visual effects trick, but if you're assuming that this is how Jojo Rabbit's filmmakers pulled off this particular visual feat, you'd only be partially right.

In truth, the clones are played by a pair of twins, Gilby Griffin Davis and Hardy Griffin Davis. Because of this, when only two clones were needed for a shot, no computer trickery was required to make audiences see double. However, when they needed to fill a whole room full of clones, some additional movie magic was then utilized to multiply their numbers even further. This makes Jojo Rabbit one of the rare cases where child twin actors were used to play more than two characters, as opposed to fewer.

Believe it or not, the Griffin Davis twins also have a third, non-identical brother, and he was also featured in the film. If the last name didn't give it away already, it's none other than Roman Griffin Davis, the actor who played the titular Jojo Betzler.

Julian in Big Daddy was played by famous twin actors

The 1999 Adam Sandler film Big Daddy tells the story of aimless 30-something slacker Sonny Koufax. At the start of the film, Sonny's girlfriend breaks up with him, believing (correctly) that his life isn't going anywhere, and he isn't ready for adult responsibilities. In an effort to try to win her back, Sonny decides to become the temporary guardian of a five-year-old boy named Julian. However, she remains unimpressed, and taking care of Julian ends up being far more than Sonny signed up for.

You may be surprised to learn that not only was Julian played by twins, but it was a pair of twins who went on to become household names — Cole and Dylan Sprouse. Their first major role after Big Daddy was as the two title characters in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Both have continued to act since then, but Cole has been a bit more active, playing Jughead Jones in television series Riverdale and starring in the film Five Feet Apart. Dylan still acts now and then, but he's chosen to slow down a bit and focus on other things. Nowadays, he owns a meadery.