20 Hollywood Actors You Didn’t Realize Were Co-Starring With Their Own Kids

Have you ever watched a film and had the feeling that an actor onscreen looked surprisingly familiar? And more specifically, that said actor looked a lot like a younger version of a more established star? If so, then don’t worry – it’s not some weird form of déjà vu. Since the earliest days of movie stardom, young actors have been following their parents into the profession. Some examples immediately spring to mind – the Sheens or the Sutherlands, for instance. In some cases, though, you mightn’t have even realized that a star was appearing alongside their child. Here are 20 pairings where a closer look is likely to reveal some startling similarities.

20. Demi Moore

You may not think a movie about stripping would be the best of environments to invite a young child to. And yet Demi Moore clearly had no qualms with bringing daughter Rumer Willis – who was seven at the time – to work while filming 1995’s Striptease. Far from a flying visit, though, the actress actually had her girl cast as her on-screen kid, too.

Alas, the same couldn’t be said for their next project together: 2013’s After Earth. Opening to bad box-office takings and worse reviews, the film became Will’s “most painful failure” due to his son’s involvement. “I led him into it,” the star rued to Esquire in 2015. “That was excruciating.” Still – bearing in mind Jaden’s current music career and fashion label – we’d say it didn’t hurt his kid’s career too much.

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19. Carrie Fisher

Princess Leia’s son Kylo Ren may have turned to the Dark Side in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But at least actress Carrie Fisher’s real-life daughter Billie Lourd was by her mom’s side all the way. In the 2015 sequel, Lourd – in her screen debut – played Kaydel Ko Connix, a subordinate of Leia.

By 2017’s The Last Jedi, Lourd’s character was playing an even greater role in the story. Sadly, though, this would be the last time the actress would get to play opposite her mother. Following Fisher’s 2016 death, Lourd was the only one in the family to appear in 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, in which she also played a younger version of her mom.

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18. Ryan O’Neal

Fresh from an Academy Award nomination for 1970’s Love Story, Ryan O’Neal was Hollywood’s hottest new performer. And for his next project – a Depression-set film about a grifter and his surrogate daughter – the actor enlisted his 10-year-old child Tatum. Yet unfortunately for Ryan, his daughter’s performance in Paper Moon somewhat overshadowed his own rising star.

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While Ryan was the star of the show, Tatum received all the praise. And she even became the youngest performer to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. In the end, the plaudits apparently drove a wedge between Tatum and her resentful father, as their relationship deteriorated soon after. As The Daily Mail quoted Ryan as saying in 2020, “Everybody hated everybody because of that Academy Award.”

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17. Janet Leigh

In 1960, Janet Leigh made movie history by becoming the first Scream Queen in Psycho. And years after she was hacked to death in a shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis perfected the horror heroine with 1978’s Halloween. So considering their towering contributions to horror, it makes sense the pair would team up at some point.

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But it actually took the two 20 years to come together in the fittingly titled Halloween H20. A sequel to the original Halloween’s 1981 follow-up, the film cast Leigh as the secretary of Curtis’ character in a role full of nods to Psycho. And while their appearance on-screen together is short, it’s still a loving homage to these horror icons.

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16. Sylvester Stallone

One of cinema’s most enduring creations, Rocky Balboa made Sylvester Stallone into the star he is today. And for the film series’ fifth installment in 1990, the actor decided he wanted his son in on the action. too. Then only 14, Sage played the boxer’s teenage son Rocky Jr. who fights for his father’s affection throughout the movie.

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But Rocky V wasn’t to be the star-making vehicle Sylvester possibly envisioned it to be. Now widely regarded as the worst film in the series, the actor himself called the stilted sequel “a mistake” when speaking to The Sun in 2010. For his part, Sage shied away from acting in later life and allegedly declined an offer to return to the role in 2006’s Rocky Balboa.

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15. Jerry Stiller

Born with comedy in his veins, Jerry Stiller was a titan of comedy. Alongside his wife Anne Meara, the comic was a mainstay of 1960s TV while his role as the hotheaded Frank Costanza on Seinfeld endeared him to 1990s kids as well. But the star had another claim too – fathering the equally acclaimed actor and director Ben.

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Throughout his career, Ben gladly cast his pop in supporting roles – most notably Maury Ballstein, the title character’s agent in 2001’s Zoolander. Yet familial bonds didn’t prevent the odd onset disagreement, as Jerry divulged to Washington Latest in 2012. “He wanted perfection, and I was getting a little huffy,” he said of his son’s directorial style. “I didn’t even want to be in the movie.”

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14. Brendan Gleeson

Fans of Harry Potter are no doubt aware that Domhnall Gleeson portrayed Ron Weasley’s brother Bill in The Deathly Hallows. What they may not know, though, is that the actor shared the screen with a real member of family in that film. Namely his dad Brendan, who memorably played the role of “Mad-Eye” Moody.

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Besides Harry Potter, the father and son team have also tackled darker material together. For 2014’s Calvary, Brendan portrayed a church minister attending to Domhnall’s incarcerated killer in a scene that – though tough to film – was ultimately rewarding. Speaking to UPI in 2014, the proud pop gushed, “It was a real treat to engage with an actor of that quality.”

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13. Meryl Streep

Few actors have the critical credibility of Meryl Streep. And with 21 – yes, 21 – Academy Award nominations to the star’s name, acting opposite her can surely be a daunting thought for inexperienced actors. But there’s at least one person who finds Streep’s presence more comfort than a challenge: her daughter Mamie Gummer.

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For 2015’s Ricki and the Flash, Gummer portrayed the neglected child of Streep’s runaway mother. And despite all the animosity shown onscreen, the pair’s close relationship actually made the acting easier. As Gummer told The Daily Telegraph in 2015, “I don’t know if I could have done it with anyone else. It would have been very hard with a stranger to unleash that degree of emotion without worrying.”

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12. Tom Hanks

With his down-to-earth demeanor, Tom Hanks is rightly regarded as America’s Dad. So it’s hard to imagine the actor as anything other than a supportive and easy-going father. That being said, the star did give filmgoers a glimpse of himself as a no-nonsense patriarch in 2009’s The Great Buck Howard opposite his actual son Colin.

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Rather than the caring man we’ve come to love on-screen, Tom here played a stern taskmaster who disapproved of his author son’s career choices. In our minds, though, we still like to imagine the Forrest Gump star as an encouraging father-figure. And given his son’s own journey into acting, it’s probably safe to say this impression is accurate.

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11. Blythe Danner

It’s only natural for parents to try to push their kids the extra mile. But when Blythe Danner appeared with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow onstage in 1994, the mom may have been a little too “hard” on her kid. Explaining herself on her daughter’s goop podcast in 2018, the actress admitted, “I thought you had to sweat blood and tears to give a great performance and you never did.”

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Just under ten years later, the duo would have the chance to work together onscreen with 2003’s Plath. And though they played a real-life mother-daughter pairing with a complicated relationship – Aurelia and Sylvia Plath – they didn’t seem to have any further falling-outs onset. Perhaps the fact that that Paltrow won an Acadamy Award in the intervening years helped Danner to accept her daughter’s talents.

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10. Angelina Jolie

For her role in 2014’s Maleficent, Angelina Jolie donned some scary makeup including horns, claws and evil eyes. And while the look helped the glamorous star sell her role as the “Mistress of Evil,” it did have one unwanted effect. As the actress explained to Entertainment Weekly in 2014, her appearance left child actors too petrified to perform with her.

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Now, given that Jolie’s character spends much of her time with the young princess Aurora, this was naturally a problem. So producers turned to the one kid who wouldn’t run away no matter how the actress looked: her daughter Vivienne. “It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws,” the star told Vanity Fair. “So it had to be Viv.”

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9. Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges may be a Hollywood legend, but he’s not the only person in Hollywood bearing the family name. First, there’s his older brother Beau whom he acted with in 1989’s The Fabulous Baker Boys. And then there’s their father Lloyd – a cinema mainstay who gave his boys their first exposure to the business.

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During his son’s childhood, Lloyd pulled strings to get Jeff on his TV show Sea Hunt. Years later, The Big Lebowski star returned the favor by having his father cast in 1988’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream as a shady politician out to sabotage his character’s ambitions. Lloyd also appeared alongside his son in 1994’s Blown Away.

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8. Will Smith

If you need someone to play your son on-screen, then it makes sense to use your own, right? That must have been Will Smith’s thought, anyway, when the actor cast his boy Jaden, who was eight at the time, in 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness. And though it was his first role, Jaden – who won an MTV Movie Award for his performance – arguably stole the show from his father.

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As well as Striptease, the duo later worked together on Now and Then and TV show Empire. It certainly seems that these early experiences rubbed off on Rumer, who’s since appeared in the likes of 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Recently, she even honored them appearing in Striptease together by posting a cute on-set snap of the two to Instagram.

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7. Stellan Skarsgård

Stellan Skarsgård has been working with director Lars von Trier since the 1990s. So it perhaps makes sense that he’d pick one of the Danish filmmaker’s works to act alongside his equally famous son Alexander. In 2011’s Melancholia, Stellan portrayed the best man to the True Blood star’s groom in a wedding that doesn’t exactly have a happy ever-after.

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As befitting a film by von Trier, Skarsgård’s role was less than pleasant. But though the Thor actor may have played “a douche bag” onscreen, Alexander was just happy to be working with his dad. Speaking to MTV News in 2011, the son enthused, “It was awesome. We’ve never worked together before. He’s one of my best friends.”

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6. Melanie Griffith

When she was a girl, Melanie Griffith almost lost an eye to a lion on the set of her mother Tippi Hedren’s 1981 film Roar. Based on this encounter, then, you’d understand her not wanting to follow the family business. And yet Griffith would become a star in her own right – and so would her daughter Dakota Johnson, too.

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Just like her mother did for her, Griffith helped her daughter put her foot on the showbiz ladder. Thankfully for Johnson, though, there were no wild cats to act alongside on the set of her first movie role in 1999’s Crazy in Alabama. Instead, the then nine-year-old simply portrayed her mom’s onscreen kid.

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5. Clint Eastwood

He’s played his fair share of outlaws in real-life, but Clint Eastwood is a family man deep down. So much so, in fact, that the famed actor and director loves to cast his kids in supporting roles. Most notably, his son Scott made his name appearing in his pop’s films such as Gran Torino, Invictus and Trouble with the Curve.

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And Scott isn’t the only member of the Eastwood household who gets in on the Hollywood action. There’s also daughter Francesca, who had a small part as a waitress in Clint’s 2014 music biopic Jersey Boys. Plus both Alison and Kyle have appeared in their dad’s films The Mule and J. Edgar respectively.

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4. Robin Williams

Some of you may remember seeing Robin and his daughter Zelda Williams appearing in a Nintendo promo back in 2011. Perhaps a little more obscure, though, is the film the pair starred in together seven years earlier. Grossing just under $400,000, The House of D was barely seen in its day, but it’s notable for pairing this father-daughter duo onscreen.

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Directed by David Duchovny, the film saw 14-year-old Zelda portray a young Anton Yelchin’s girlfriend, with Robin complimenting the casting as the latter’s developmentally disabled best friend. Unfortunately, reviews for The House of D were even worse than its box office, with Roger Ebert coining the adjective “doofusoid” to describe it. Still, the role landed Zelda a mention on People’s list of upcoming talent in 2007.

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3. Susan Sarandon

As a child, Eva Amurri Martino had the best role model anyone could ask for: her mother, Susan Sarandon. Regarding her Oscar-winning mom, the actor told My Three Cents in 2019, “I think the biggest lesson there was just the permission to want a lot for yourself, career-wise as a woman. I think that was extremely valuable to me.”

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Over the years, Martino began her first steps into acting with a little help from her mother. In 2002, the then 17-year-old played the daughter of Sarandon’s former-groupie in The Banger Sisters. And fans of Friends may also remember that Martino appeared alongside her mother in the episode The One with Joey’s New Brain.

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2. Judy Garland

There are few Hollywood mother-daughter relationships as iconic as that of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. Through roles in The Wizard of Oz and Cabaret respectively, Garland and Minnelli both became titans of cinema. But while the pair famously performed together on TV in The Judy Garland Show, few can recall them appearing in the same movie.

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They did, though, albeit only once. Way before Minnelli came to fame as Sally Bowles, the star made her first screen appearance alongside her mom in 1949’s The Good Old Summertime. At just three years of age, the star’s completely unrecognizable in the role of Garland’s onscreen daughter.

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1. Jon Voight

When it comes to feuding Hollywood families, nothing compares to the relationship between Jon Voight and his daughter Angelina Jolie. Since Jolie’s early childhood when her father left the family, the two have always been on fraught terms. But they still managed to pull it together for one shared screen appearance.

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In 2001 Jolie played the title character in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider while Voight was cast as her onscreen dad. But though this seemed to be a sign of father and daughter making up, the pair’s relationship apparently didn’t get any better afterwards. The fact that Voight didn’t reprise his role in 2003’s The Cradle of Life seems to suggest as much, anyway.

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