18 Movie Characters Who Are Actually Two People Sharing One Body

List Rules
Vote up the characters who make the most out of a single body.

Warning: There are spoilers for the films withholding a body-sharing twist from the audience.

In a typical film narrative, we expect each character to have a consistent personality throughout, as an indicator of good acting and screenwriting. But in the case of these films, one character actually contains two (or more) people sharing one body. These may be characters with dissociative identity disorder (split personalities), characters whose bodies are being controlled by another consciousness (supernatural or otherwise), or those who physically transform from one person to another within the same body (often through scientific experimentation). In each case, differences in personality, behavior, and even physical appearance occur within a single character at various points in the story.

Some of the films below take a humorous approach to the concept, while many horror/thriller films use it as explanation for aggression coming from an otherwise docile character. In each case, what is most significant is that multiple human identities are contained within a single physical body. Characters with split personalities can also be found regularly within anime films and series, though the following only contains live-action examples.

Which of the following characters best represent this cinematic trope? Vote up your favorites.

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  • Fight Club is unique in that the audience never learns the name of the protagonist narrator (Edward Norton), but we do have one for the mental projection of his alternate personality, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Because they are represented by different actors for most of the film, the audience and narrator alike are unaware that these two people are actually just one person. It isn’t until flashbacks reveal the sequences from a less subjective view that we understand the unreliability of the narrator.

    Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel, Fight Club follows the narrator’s satirical rebellion against the capitalistic and consumeristic nature of society by starting an underground fight club with his imaginary friend. When his alternate identity begins making decisions without his knowledge, the narrator discovers Tyler has larger anarchistic plans for the group of dissatisfied middle-aged men in the club.

    59 votes
  • Once a Stoorish Hobbit, Sméagol became enchanted by the One Ring after his cousin found it fishing one day. After Sméagol slays his cousin for possession of the ring, he begins to be overtaken by Gollum, a disassociated identity created over centuries of being corrupted by the ring’s power.

    Sméagol remains as his "good" personality, retaining knowledge of the decent elements from his past like friendship and love, with the alter ego of Gollum representing his "bad" personality. These split identities have the ability to interact with each other, often carrying out conversations to debate what course of action the deformed Hobbit will take.

    51 votes
  • All of Me is a fantasy comedy about a 38-year-old attorney named Roger Cobb (Steve Martin), who has the spirit of an eccentric millionaire placed in his body when a soul-transfer ceremony goes terribly wrong. Upon receiving the news that she is dying, Edwina Cutwater (Tomlin) enlists the help of a mystic (Richard Libertini) who has mastered the secret of transferring human souls. When the bowl containing Cutwater’s soul hits Cobb in his head, he is forced to share half of his body with her.

    Cutwater has control over the right side of the body while Cobb controls the left, leading to several slapstick-heavy scenarios. Along with seeing her image in his reflection, Cobb is able to hear Cutwater’s thoughts in his head, allowing him to communicate with her. Despite initially clashing over how to use the single body, Cobb and Cutwater are eventually able to bond with each other through the ordeal of being bonded.

    26 votes
  • Often considered the precursor to the slasher, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho shifted the focus of horror movies away from animalistic monsters found in films like Dracula or The Wolf Man. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) represented the psychological terror of a monster who seems absolutely normal based upon outward appearances alone. Suddenly, human monsters were more frightening to audiences, because of the possible horrors hidden within the psyche of seemingly average strangers.

    It is no coincidence that over 90% of movies involving psychotic characters were released after 1960, showing the impact of this dual-personality monster on the future of the horror genre. It is not a scientific experiment but a traumatic childhood implied as the cause of the horror. While the slayings initially appear to be carried out by Bates's conservative and possessive mother, the final act reveals that a split in the young man’s mind causes him to take on a murderous personality modeled after the deceased matriarch. Dressing in a wig and his mother’s old clothing, Bates eliminates the film’s initial protagonist (Janet Leigh), spending the remainder of the film attempting to cover up the crime he believes has been committed by his mother.

    37 votes
  • There are multiple cinematic adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, including Rouben Mamoulian's adaptation from the early sound era. The story had been brought to the screen no fewer than 13 times before this release, and countless other adaptations would be made throughout film history, but this 1931 release is often considered the best.

    Fredric March won the Academy Award for his portrayal of the dual characters, with Mr. Hyde being created from the doctor’s experimentation with human nature. The kindly doctor discovers the ability to release the darker side of his personality with the invention of a potion, and the homicidal Mr. Hyde is born. While March played both identities, makeup effects were used to give the wilder Mr. Hyde an animalistic look. The monstrous appearance of Hyde created by makeup artist Wally Westmore would influence future iterations of the beloved horror classic. The story of Jekyll and Hyde would be revised and reworked a number of ways, even inspiring the dual personalities of Bruce Banner and the Hulk.

    36 votes
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    26 VOTES

    Thomas Reilly/Penny/Harrison/Julia/Milo, From 'Heart and Souls'

    When Harrison (Charles Grodin), Penny (Alfre Woodard), Julia (Kyra Sedgwick), and Milo (Tom Sizemore) lose their lives in a 1959 bus crash, the four passengers become ghosts attached to a child born at the moment of their passing. The baby grows up to be businessman Thomas Reilly (Robert Downey Jr.), who spent years in psychotherapy as a child after claiming to have four imaginary friends.

    Reilly believes he is having a psychotic break when the spirits return to him as an adult, until the ghosts inform him they need his help with unfinished business so that their souls can travel to the afterlife. After discovering they have the ability to possess Reilly’s body, the four spirits take turns using his physical form to address the unresolved issues from their lives.

    26 votes