The TV IV:Proposals/One Actor Multiple Characters

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It's not uncommon to have one actor play multiple roles in one show - especially in animated series. This also happens some times in live action shows where one actor lends their voice to another character. Right now, it's typically handled by listing one actor, and putting multiple characters under there. The other logical method is to list each character seperately, and have the same actor listed. Examples follow:

Actor Character Duration
Billed Cast
Michael Shanks Dr. Daniel Jackson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Supreme Commander Thor (voice) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
Michael Shanks Dr. Daniel Jackson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Supreme Commander Thor (voice) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
Actor Character Duration
Billed Cast
Michael Shanks Dr. Daniel Jackson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Recurring/Supporting Cast
Michael Shanks Supreme Commander Thor (voice) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10

Discussion

  • I strongly prefer the second format, I think it's a bit easier to read, and it separates the main cast from the secondary cast better, so you know where to look. I think it also simplifies the tables and makes them less cluttered. At the very least, I think the format to be used should be standardized. --Stabbey 12:40, 31 December 2006 (EST)
  • When I first added Thor I did it like the second set of lines I added to the first example with the actor's name centered which I think is a lot less confusing and is how I've generally done this in the past. Not sure why someone changed it. I think listing the cast twice is confusing and unneccesary. It's a cast list not a character list and regardless of who they're playing the cast member is still billed. (The SG-1 page was confusing since unlike every other page it said "Supporting Characters" instead of "Supporting Cast", I fixed it). The billed actors are under contract to appear on the show it doesn't matter who they're playing. Michael Shanks is a bad example since from season 7 on he is billed specifically "as Dr. Daniel Jackson" a better example is Jeffrey Tambor on Arrested Development. He was a billed cast member and played two seperate but very prominent characters even though only one was a "main" character and at times he appeared more as Oscar than George because the actor has an episode count contract not the character. Plus on animated shows it is often the case where a specific billed cast member will voice only a bunch of supporting characters. --The-jam 02:18, 1 January 2007 (EST)
  • I don't understand your Arrested Development example. Jeffrey Tambour is listed as playing only one character, so if he played two prominent characters then it should be listed somewhere. Your point about the billed actor playing multiple minoir roles is a good one also. --Stabbey 15:12, 1 January 2007 (EST)
    • He should have been listed as playing two characters I fixed it. This is a pretty common problem when a main cast member plays a second recurring character. The second character usually gets left off even though if they were played by someone else they'd be listed for sure. --The-jam 15:39, 1 January 2007 (EST)

Inverse Problem

  • A concurrent problem is multiple actors playing the same character the second example of splitting the listing up makes a bit more sense in this case since it is a cast listing and the second actor is not always billed but this also adds confusion about whether there are more than one character with the same name. Two examples where this has been a problem with frequent back and forth editing are The O.C. and The 4400. Roseanne also had two billed actresses play the same character. --The-jam 02:18, 1 January 2007 (EST)
I agree that when two different actors play one character, they should be listed in the style of the first example. --Stabbey 09:16, 1 January 2007 (EST)