Familial relations in Hollywood are rampant. We’ve seen sons and daughters follow in the acting footsteps of their parents, like Kate Hudson following her parents Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn; and even multiple generations of family stars, like the late Debbie Reynolds, her late daughter Carrie Fisher, and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who currently appears in the series Scream Queens.
When it comes to siblings, it’s no surprise that plenty of them share the acting gene. It’s often the case that one sibling ends up being the breakout star — sorry, every Baldwin but Alec. But sometimes, the talent runs deep enough for prosperous careers all around.
Here are 10 pairs of sibling actors who’ve each become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.
Ben and Casey Affleck
Ben has had a long and successful career as an actor, producer, and director, starting with his Academy Award-winning screenplay written with best friend Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting (1997), right up to his most recent performances, both in front of the camera and behind it, including Gone Girl, Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and many others. His younger brother Casey has also become a rising star, thanks to roles in films like Ocean’s Eleven, Gone Girl, and his Academy Award-nominated performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He’s following that up with another Oscar nod as a favorite to win for his role in the drama Manchester by the Sea. Sure, Casey suffered a slight hiccup with that odd mockumentary, I’m Still Here (with brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix), but his resume is looking more impressive each year, making both brothers massive stars.
Maggie and Jake Gylennhaal
Jake seems to have a knack for picking great, eccentric roles including his work in films like Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, and of course, Brokeback Mountain, which garnered him an Academy Award. Given that the Gylennhaal’s are rooted in the entertainment business — father Stephen is a film director and mother Naomi a film producer and screenwriter — it’s no surprise that both siblings have made their way in the art, with Maggie appearing alongside her brother in Donnie Darko, along with a string of acclaimed films, including Secretary, The Dark Knight, and Crazy Heart, for which she too was nominated for an Oscar (though she lost to Mo’Nique). Maggie is now in post-production for a TV series called The Deuce, and Jake has a number of projects in the works, but most recently appeared on the big screen in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.
John and Joan Cusack
As one of the most successful teen actors of the ‘80s, John Cusack is perhaps best known for his roles in 1989’s Say Anything and of course, the iconic John Hughes film Sixteen Candles. But his resume extends far into the later decades, including roles in High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, and the hilarious Hot Tub Time Machine. He most recently appeared in the crime thriller Arsenal. While he’s known most for his time in front of the screen, Cusack has also had his hand in writing and producing some of his best films. Meanwhile, his elder sister Joan received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress in Working Girl and In & Out. She voices the character of Jessie in the Toy Story movies, and made a shift to the small screen in Showtime’s Shameless, where she received Emmy nominations five years in a row. She can be seen most recently in Netflix’s acclaimed A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Chris and Liam Hemsworth
These siblings are occasionally confused for one another given their similarly chiseled good looks and piercing eyes. Both Australian-born actors have had success, though the elder Chris is the more bankable star. We know Chris for playing Thor in the Marvel Studios franchises, as well as from his roles in Star Trek (as George Kirk), The Cabin in the Woods, Show White and the Huntsman, Red Dawn, and Rush. He recently got attention for displaying a more comedic side as the male secretary in the new Ghostbusters movie, and will reprise his Star Trek role in the upcoming film. While little bro Liam hasn’t become a leading man on par with his older sibling, he did snag a big supporting role in the massive Hunger Games franchise, in which he played one of Katniss’ love interests, Gale. He’s also racked up roles in films like The Last Song and Independence Day: Resurgence, as well as the widely-panned western The Duel, opposite Woody Harrelson, but he’s still a bankable star whose name carries cache. It’s worth noting that a third Hemsworth brother (yes, there are three of them!) Luke Hemsworth is making a name for himself in the acting world as well with a big role in the hit HBO series Westworld.
Luke and Owen Wilson
These two brothers started out together with the Wes Anderson film Bottle Rocket, which Owen co-wrote. Since then both have become known for their roles in a string of comedic flicks, including Old School, Legally Blonde, and The Ridiculous Six for Luke and Wedding Crashers, Zoolander, and Starsky & Hutch for Owen. However, they have also played more serious roles. Some of Owen’s most notable ones include in Marley & Me opposite Jennifer Aniston, and as the lead in Woody Allen’s box office hit Midnight in Paris. Luke currently appears in the HBO series Enlightened, while Owen has been enjoying broad feature success for roles in films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, She’s Funny That Way, and the recently released Lost in London. Perhaps one of Owen’s most consistently successful roles, however, is that of the voice of Lightning McQueen in Pixar’s Cars film franchise, which he’s reprising for Cars 3, due out this June. While Owen’s career has taken a more successful path than his younger brother’s, both continue to be active in the business, and are working together on a biopic about the Wright Brothers, in which they will both reportedly star.
Rooney and Kate Mara
While it was initially all about Kate with roles in successful projects like House of Cards, 24, Brokeback Mountain, and American Horror Story: Murder House, her two-years-younger sis Rooney broke onto the scene as well with her 2011 role as lead character Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. From there, it has been an upward rise for the younger Mara sis, with roles in movies like Carol and Her and, most recently, in the 2017 Academy Award-nominated film Lion. She also had a haunting voice role as twin sisters in the Oscar-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings. But sister Kate hasn’t slowed down either – she continued with roles in massive films like Fantastic Four, The Martian, and Captive, and this year, will appear as the title character in the upcoming biographical film Megan Leavey. This sibling duo is clearly taking Hollywood by storm.
Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen
These half-brothers (Martin Sheen is their father) are both recognized names in the entertainment business, though they have taken very different paths. As part of the ‘80s Brat Pack of teen actors, Estevez reached the height of his career in the ‘80s and ‘90s with iconic films like The Breakfast Club and The Outsiders, as well as The Mighty Ducks and Young Guns. While Emilio is admittedly shy in the spotlight, his younger brother Charlie is the complete opposite, known for craving attention. He, too, enjoyed a successful career in the ‘80s and ‘90s in films like Platoon, Young Guns, and Major League. And, of course, Sheen also went on to take the television world by storm in Two and a Half Men, which catapulted him to becoming the highest paid television actor in the long-running series. After his very public break with the show (and subsequent breakdown) Charlie popped up once again in FX series Anger Management, which ran until 2014. He most recently starred in the Crackle original comedy Mad Families, and has completed shooting on the film Nine Eleven opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Gina Gershon. Though Estevez has been absent from the acting scene for a number of years, he’s currently working on project called The Public starring Taylor Schilling and Alec Baldwin.
Zooey and Emily Deschanel
These sisters both share big success on the small screen, each with her own long-running series: Zooey on Fox’s New Girl, and Emily on fellow Fox comedy-drama series Bones. Zooey has appeared in several films as well, like Mumford and Almost Famous, though she has become best known for her more comedic roles, like her part in the Christmas classic, Elf, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Failure to Launch. She was nominated for an Emmy for New Girl in 2012, and the show has been going strong since 2011, currently in its sixth season. Older sis Emily doesn’t have quite as long a resume — mostly because she’s been playing the lead role in Bones since 2005, and has been a producer on the series since its fourth season — but she found time to appear in films like It Could Happen to You and Cold Mountain. With the latest season of Bones confirmed to be the last, we won’t be surprised to see Emily move on to bigger and better gigs.
Ralph and Joseph Fiennes
With stellar resumes in theater before turning their attention to the big screen, these brothers have racked up some serious acting cred. Joseph is known for portraying William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love, as well as appearing in the second season of American Horror Story. Eight-years-older brother Ralph, however, has as stacked a resume as they come, having appeared in well-known films like Schindler’s List and The English Patient, both of which garnered Academy Award nominations, followed by a steady string of movies since the ‘90s, including The Constant Gardener, Clash of the Titans, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. His most notable roles of late are as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films, and as Gareth Mallory/M in the latest James Bond movies. Sure, while Joseph’s latest project, where he played Michael Jackson in TV movie Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, got shelved, the younger bro is still enjoying an active career. He’s currently filming a TV series called The Handmaid’s Tale.
Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine
With a career spanning more than six (!) decades, Hollywood legend Warren Beatty has been nominated for an impressive 14 Academy Awards, and is the only actor to have been nominated twice for acting in, directing, writing, and producing the same movie, including 1978’s Heaven Can Wait and 1981’s Reds; he won the award for Best Director for the latter. But his acting history includes a long list of hits that go far beyond these two films, including Bugsy, Dick Tracy, and Bonnie and Clyde. He hasn’t been active on screen of late, but recently appeared in the romantic comedy-drama Rules Don’t Apply last year, which he also wrote, co-produced, and directed. Meanwhile, older sister Shirley is a legend in her own right, with an impressive list of Academy nods, including six nominations and one win for Terms of Endearment. She got her start in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 film The Trouble with Harry. Also an accomplished author who has written on her beliefs on spirituality and reincarnation, MacLaine has continued to be active on the small screen in series like Downtown Abbey and Glee. Shirley’s most recent project is the comedy The Last Word.
James and Dave Franco
Known for his willingness to commit to oddball projects, James is one of the hardest working men in Hollywood. After getting his start on the cult comedy Freaks and Geeks, his star took off with more serious roles, including playing Harry Osborn in the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man franchise, and later as adventurer Aron Ralston in the biographical drama 127 Hours, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. He also revels in comedy, though, acting in films like Pineapple Express and Why Him, and even branched out to try his hand at soap operas with a role on General Hospital. His resume seems to scroll on for miles, including his more recent role in Ridley Scott’s Alien: Convenant, a prequel to Alien due out this May. Younger brother Dave followed in his footsteps. After making his acting debut in 7th Heaven in 2006, Dave appeared in a number of comedies like Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Neighbors, and Neighbors 2. Though not nearly as accomplished as James, he’s appeared in a diverse selection of projects, with perhaps his biggest box office role being a key player in the Now You See Me films alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson.
- From Glenn Close to Will Smith: 15 A-list actors who have never won an Oscar
- The best comedies on Hulu right now
- The best Netflix original movies
- The best Hulu original series you can stream right now
- The best movies on Peacock right now