Charting The Fame Trajectories Of Hollywood’s Sibling Actors

Movies and television shows are full of siblings who both managed to achieve impressive levels of success. That doesn’t mean, however, that their stars all rise at the same rates. Here’s an unscientific look at several famous crews. posted on

1. The Fannings

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On the left, Dakota and Elle in 2007; on the right, Elle and Dakota in 2011.

While Dakota is older and was praised for her performances early on in movies like I Am Sam, in recent years its Elle who has become the Hollywood obsession, due to her impressive performance in Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere (and her fashionista image).

3. The Deschanels

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On the left, Zooey and Emily in 2005; on the right, Emily and Zooey in 2012.

Emily Deschanel has basically made a career out of the success of her show Bones, while her sister Zooey slowly rose through niche roles in movies like Almost Famous, before breaking it big in 500 Days of Summer and starring in her own show New Girl.

5. The Hemsworths

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Liam, left, and Chris Hemsworth in 2011.

Both Hemsworths (as well as their older brother Luke) started acting in Australia, where Chris was on the TV show Home and Away. It’s their shared rugged good looks that have won them roles in the U.S. – though it’s Liam who has been catapulted to fame due to the overwhelming success of The Hunger Games.

7. The Gyllenhaals

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On the left, Jake and Maggie in 2002; on the right, Maggie and Jake in 2010.

Though Maggie’s known more for being an indie film darling, she’s broken through past the leading man looks of her brother with an Academy Award nomination for Crazy Heart. That being said, Jake made some missteps on his end post-Brokeback Mountain (Prince of Persia anyone?).

9. The Olsens

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While the Olsen twins stopped acting as a pair in 2003, Mary-Kate kept up her chops in roles on Weeds and The Wackness. Since Elizabeth broke onto the scene in 2011, though, there’s only one real actor in the family.

11. The Wilsons

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On the left, Owen and Luke in 2004; on the right, Owen and Luke in 2006.

The Wilson brothers started off working together, largely with Wes Anderson, on movies like Bottle Rocket. But soon after, Owen found commercial success in movies like Wedding Crashers and critical acclaim with Midnight in Paris, while Luke did movies like My Super Ex-Girlfriend. He’s since had a mild career resurgence, on Enlightened.

13. The Maras

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Though Kate broke out on the scene first, Rooney shot far past her with a small but memorable part in The Social Network and the lead role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But Kate’s recently crept up on her sister, snagging the lead in the new series House of Cards.

15. The Baldwins

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Billy, Stephen, Alec and Daniel in 2010.

Trying to chart the career trajectories of the Baldwin brothers is sort of hopeless; they lead such confused lives. But one thing’s clear: Alec is prospering, while Stephen has had better days.

17. The Cusacks

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John, left, and Joan in 2012.

While John is arguably more of the movie star, ever since his life-altering role as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, Joan steals the scene in many of the films they do together, and has broken out on her own, like when she played opposite Jack Black in School of Rock. (And don’t forget about sister Ann; she’s got a healthy career herself.)

19. The Culkins

Macauley, left, and Kieran in 2005.

The Culkin’s dominated kid’s movies when they were young, especially Macauley, but in later years, it was Kieran who impressed. He took roles in more niche films like Igby Goes Down and Scott Pilgrim that earned him acclaim.

21. The Afflecks

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Ben, left, and Casey in 2004 and in 2013.

Casey Affleck developed a respectable career starring in his brother’s movies and on his own in the Ocean’s films, but he really shot ahead when Ben made a series of diasterous choices, like Gigli and Jersey Girl. Luckily for Ben, little bro is far behind now, thanks to The Town and Argo (and also because of Casey’s less-than-well-received “documentary” I’m Still Here).

This is a very unscientific look at career trajectories, based solely on assumed popularity of films starred in (hindsight is 20/20). How wrong were we? Tell us in the comments.

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