Ink Suit Actor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
The resemblance is uncanny, isn't it?
"I'm playing Killmaster. Type casting, y'know."
Lemmy Kilmister, Brutal Legend Celebrity Trailer

A famous actor whose animated counterpart is essentially the actor themselves. Actors playing themselves is an admittedly common occurrence, but one that makes less sense in animation.

Some of this began with traditional 2D animated movies; Disney's Aladdin gave top billing to Robin Williams,[1] in a very successful example, partly because he was enough of a character to be funny on his own. Movie makers noticed they could bank on an actor's star power even if viewers never saw the actor.

Later, it became common to give voice acting jobs to actors who didn't traditionally perform voice acting, just to get their names on movie posters. One simple example is for the actors to play themselves, with the assumption that the audience will recognize them anyway. This can be taken to extremes when the animated character is modified to look like the actor, even if that requires a bizarre caricature that makes no sense in the story. This has a strange effect: the character feels less genuine, as if the writers just "stole" the actor to make into a character. This can also be used with non-white characters so those in production can easily shoot down any accusations the design is racist or offensive in some way by simply stating that's what the actor actually looks like.

Many animation purists (and voice actors such as Billy West) criticize the practice, calling it "stunt casting" and denigrating it as breaking Suspension of Disbelief or pandering to the actor. Some also insinuate that big names are cast instead of talented unknowns because the story couldn't support itself on its own, and the talent hired is not really relevant to the story or role anyway. In addition, the studios who do this often seem to assume that voice acting is a simpler facsimile of "real" acting; in fact, it requires a completely different set of skills.

The advantage to this is it can assist the animator in getting the details and mannerisms to look correct, since it is even easier to reproduce the mannerisms of an actor in three dimensions as in (the already commonly done) two dimensions. Also, there is more "acting" in voice acting than most people think; it is almost impossible to voice act properly without making facial expressions and gestures in front of the microphone.

Note that actors essentially portraying themselves, as on The Simpsons, is not an example of this trope; that's basically an animated Special Guest. Note also that sometimes animated characters in live-action films are intentionally made to look like their actors so that the character can "become real" for a scene or two; two good examples are Gollum from The Lord of the Rings and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Elements of actors' mannerisms and personality are often worked into their characters; while filming A Bug's Life, for example, Pixar often films big-name voice actors and then adds a few of their gestures to their characters. This trope is for more severe cases, where the creators basically just took their voice actor and made him a bug/robot/genie/whatever.

See also Serkis Folk, where a motion capture suit is used to model an actor's movements which is then overlaid with the CGI character. Compare "No Celebrities Were Harmed", where the celebrity caricature is voiced by an impersonator, and Comic Book Fantasy Casting, which includes the modelling of a cartoon or computer character on an actor who does not voice them. Frequently Lost in Translation in dubs, since the animated character looks the same, but the voice actor is different. For bonus celebrity fanservice, see also Hey, It's That Voice!.

Examples of Ink Suit Actor include:

Deliberate[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime[edit | hide]

  • Emporio Ivankov from One Piece is based off an acquaintance of Oda's. Said acquaintance ends up voicing Ivankov in the anime, initially.
  • The Cowboy Bebop movie has a minor character voiced by Renji Ishibashi who looks like Renji Ishibashi and is even named Renji. However, this is a bit of a subversion - the writer was having trouble writing the scene, so they based one of the robbers off of Ishibashi. Shinichiro Watanabe later half-jokingly offered the part to Ishibashi, and he accepted.
  • Nabeshin from Excel Saga, Shinichi Watanabe's animated alter ego. Yes, Shinichi Watanabe does looks like Nabeshin.
    • Nabeshin shows up in other works directed by Shinichi Watanabe, including Nerima Daikon Brothers and the eX-Driver movie.
  • Tsukishima from Bleach looks a lot alike like his seiyuu Daisuke Ono
  • Shinpachi from Gintama and Sugihara Teppei from Sket Dance looks like their seiyuu Daisuke Sakaguchi.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Ultimate Nick Fury of Ultimate Marvel is modeled after Samuel L. Jackson with his permission. Turns out Jackson allowed it so that he could play Nick Fury in live-action films, starting with the Iron Man series.
    • Actually, Ultimate Fury started out as an original design (possibly with hints of Wesley Snipes) in the pages of Ultimate X-Men. It wasn't until Bryan Hitch redesigned him for Ultimates that he became Mr. Jackson.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Sentinel Prime who looks almost exactly like Leonard Nimoy (though the artists also stated that his appearance is also inspired by Sean Connery in the '70s).
  • Coraline's other father bears a striking resemblance to his singing voice actor, John Linnell.
    • As does her Other Mother to Teri Hatcher: one review noted that the Other Mother starts out looking like Hatcher circa Lois and Clark, and deteriorates into looking like Hatcher circa Desperate Housewives. Ouch.
  • Despite its fixation on maintaining its iconic characters, Disney also used obvious caricatures of its stock company voice actors in many films - thinly-disguised versions of Paul "Tigger" Winchell and Buddy Hackett show up a lot. During the golden age of Disney Animation basing characters on their voice actors was virtually company policy. Some examples include:
    • The Genie from Aladdin, possibly the textbook example of this trope, does bear some facial resemblance to Robin Williams. Except for the beard. And the muscles. And being blue, of course.
      • More obvious in Iago, a parrot given the distinctive squint and even teeth of Gilbert Gottfried.
        • Lampshaded in an episode of Family Guy in which Peter recognises the voice of the talking horse that rescues him as Gottfried.
      • Animator Andreas Deja said Jonathan Freeman is not physically like Jafar, but he tried to put his gesturing and facial expressions into him.
      • A lot of Mozenrath's character came from the studio studying Jonathan Brandis' appearance and movements.
    • According to the DVD Commentary for The Jungle Book, the characters were designed to resemble their voice actors. This is most apparent in Shere Khan... look at a picture of him and then look at George Sanders and it's obvious.
      • King Louie is Louis Prima - to the point where it raised legal issues when The Jungle Book's cast was adapted to Tale Spin (and Louie remains conspicuously absent from Disney's sequel).
      • The four vultures, with their moptops and Liverpudlian accents, were originally supposed to be The Beatles. They turned down the offer and, since Disney didn't want to date the movie too badly, "That's What Friends Are For" became a barbershop number instead of the pop style imagined originally.
    • Compare Baloo from that film and Little John from Robin Hood and Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats. All are practically an Expy of the other and all were voiced by Phil Harris. Partly explained by the fact that the films were both made during The Dark Age of Animation and Disney was cutting corners all over the place.
      • There's also the 'Oh, that's just great' scowl of each... Especially the jaw movement.
      • Also from Robin Hood, Sir Hiss is a snake-version of his voice actor Terry Thomas, right down to the large gap in his teeth.
    • Hades, the Big Bad of the Disney version of |Hercules, is voiced by James Woods, and was drawn with similar facial features and even most of the body language Woods was using when he was recording his lines. James Woods enjoyed the role so much that he agreed to play Hades again whenever needed - even in cameo parts. Phil in the same movie had his facial expressions modeled after his voice actor, Danny DeVito.
    • Oliver and Company featured Billy Joel as Dodger. Despite being a dog, Dodger still manages to bear some resemblance to Billy Joel.
    • Irene Bedard was the speaking voice and the physical model for Pocahontas.
      • Likewise, Christian Bale's character, Thomas, resembles the actor. Bale admitted as much in a 1995 interview for Disney Adventures, adding that Disney had even sent in an artist to sketch the actor's movements during recording.
    • The afore-mentioned Hackett as Scuttle the Seagull in The Little Mermaid. According to the making-of, Hackett had his wife photograph his face as he tried to make expressions that would fit Scuttle.
      • Even moreso, Jodie Benson did videos of physical activities that Ariel did in the film, as references for the animators (combing her hair with a fork, walking on "new" legs, etc.). Benson is a redhead. She knew the animators would be copying her motions; she did not know that they would be copying her face and hair.
      • Ever notice how Ariel and Thumbelina look vaguely alike despite one being a Disney character and the other belonging to Warner Brothers? It's because they're both voiced by Jodie Benson and both of their appearances are based off of her.
    • Scar in The Lion King strongly resembles Jeremy Irons, who voices him. The hyena Shenzi also resembles Whoopi Goldberg, with many of her facial expressions used. And Zazu, voiced by Rowan Atkinson, looks suspiciously Mr. Bean-esque. Adult Simba also looks somewhat like Matthew Broderick.
      • Anything played by Whoopi Goldberg is going to look like Whoopi Goldberg.
    • In what was (hopefully) a coincidence, Swedish Lion King fans have noted how Scar's voice actor, Rickard Wolff, bears more than a striking resemblance to Scar [dead link]. He even had a goatee for a while.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: Davy Jones' facial features, especially his eyes and cheekbones, were modeled directly from Bill Nighy's head using motion-capture dots on his face.
    • Ed Wynn and Jerry Colonna as Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter and March Hare, respectively.
    • Eleanor Audley as Cinderella's stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
      • Those two look very different. Lady Tremaine is all old and wrinkly. Maleficent has the windtunnel look.
      • They were both modeled off Audley's face, though; each character is just an exaggeration of certain features.
    • Hans Conried as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.
    • Verna Felton as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, Aunt Sarah in Lady and the Tramp, and Flora in Sleeping Beauty.
    • Ving Rhames as Cobra Bubbles in Lilo and Stitch.
      • Nani from the same movie looks quite a bit like Tia Carrere.
    • Of course, many of the 1950s examples are due largely to the animators' use of reference footage during this time.
    • The entire cast of The Emperors New Groove. They even said on the DVD that they already have the perfect cast for the live action version of the movie. John Goodman is the lovable big guy, David Spade is the smarmy stick, Patrick Warburton is the goofy Dumb Muscle, and as far as Yzma... even the creators admitted they were worried some of the jokes would rub Eartha Kitt the wrong way, but apparently she loved it. Even Wendie Malick looks like her as Pacha's wife.
    • Before Eddie Murphy was Donkey, he was Mushu the Dragon in Mulan.
    • According to the DVD commentary for Beauty and the Beast, the producers mentioned that Richard White and Jessi Courti were the physical doubles of Gaston and Lefou.
      • Not to mention that that Prince (after turning back to a human) bears some resemblance to Robby Benson.
    • One high point of Home on the Range: Steve Buscemi as... well, Steve Buscemi.
    • Tiana in The Princess and the Frog took a lot from Anika Noni Rose, even her left handed-ness.
      • Dr. Facilier has a gap between his front teeth, exactly like Keith David. He also moves his face in similar ways.
    • Big Daddy looks like John Goodman before he lost all that weight.
    • John Candy as Wilbur the albatross in The Rescuers Down Under.
    • When they were working on Pinocchio, the animators had a hard time trying to come up with a design for Geppetto until they cast character actor, Christian Rub for the role.
    • While Ratigan is considerably burlier than Vincent Price, Price's dramatic hand gestures were deliberately worked into the character animation.
    • Jane Porter from Tarzan looks a great deal like her voice actress Minnie Driver.
    • Kida from Atlantis the Lost Empire vaguely resembles her voice actress Cree Summer but with white hair and blue eyes.
    • And from Tangled after Rapunzel gets her hair cut she looks a lot like Mandy Moore.
      • If anything it's pretty much subverted with Flynn Rider, because when the artists designed him, they went through different styles to make Flynn as handsome as possible (Not to say that Zachary Levi isn't attractive, but the artists didn't try to make Flynn look like him.) (Although he does, actually. Zac is tall, lanky, with dark hair and eyes and a ready wit).
    • Jane Lynch as Sergeant Calhoun in Wreck-It Ralph, basically Sue Sylvester in Mass Effect armour.
  • Dreamworks Animation:
    • Antz tries to translate all actors: for the most obvious, Woody Allen plays the neurotic protagonist, Sharon Stone voices the beautiful Princess of the ants, Sylvester Stallone is a muscular soldier ant (even recreating his distinctive facial ticks, it can be unnerving), Jennifer Lopez dubs a Latin ant, Gene Hackman is a General Ripper, and Christopher Walken is a Psycho for Hire.
    • This was a major criticism of Shrek - think of what Donkey is like. (Shrek himself is built like Mike Myers...) Later applied to Dreamworks' animated works in general. A related problem is that specific actors making topical pop culture jokes dates the movie fairly quickly.
      • Shrek looks more like Chris Farley, The Other Marty.
      • Also Donkey and Princess Fiona's human form resemble Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz respectively.
      • Cameron Diaz (above) said that watching Fiona felt like looking at her brunette (uh, redhead?) sister.
        • Inverted in the German dubbing, where Fiona was voiced by Esther Schweins, who arguably looks even more like Fiona's human form than Diaz.
        • Same goes for the Brazilian dubbing regarding Shrek. He and his voice actor, the late comedian Bussunda, have a striking similarity to one another.
      • In Shrek Forever After, Jon Hamm's features on the ogre Brogan are instantly recognisable. Not so much the female ogre voiced by Jane Lynch.
    • Shark Tale modeled some of its CG characters in general terms, but the most blatant by far is Will Smith's character Oscar. Rather disturbingly, it was essentially a fish with Smith's head grafted onto it.
    • Po from Kung Fu Panda is more than a physical match for his voice actor Jack Black.
    • Megamind has Hal Stewart/ Titan, who's basically Jonah Hill with red hair.
  • Robert Zemeckis' Motion Capture films:
    • The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks, has every single character's face altered to look like Tom Hanks, resulting in a very freaky looking main character.
    • Everyone in the 2007 Beowulf.
      • Ray Winstone noted that he loved watching the film because it cut twenty years off him and sent him to the gym, while still being recognizably him.
      • Grendel did not really look like Crispin Glover that much.
    • In the new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is made to resemble his voice actor Jim Carrey (who also voices the ghosts)... that is, if Jim were an old, miserly British man.
      • Even more obvious when the Ghost of Christmas Past has Jim Carrey's face.
  • Pixar:
    • Wayne Knight as Al in Toy Story 2. It could be coincidence; either way, it was a character model that seriously suited the character.
      • Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. Although in this case, it is more of a perfect casting for an already established toy. After all Pixar are ones who rarely invoke this. And the few times they do, they make it work.
        • The same thing happened in Toy Story 3 where Ken bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Keaton, which is coincidental.
      • Tom Hanks as Woody even more so.
      • Buzz Lightyear on the other hand was based of John Lasseter, not his voice actor Tim Allen.
    • Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone in The Incredibles.
      • Brad Bird also revealed in the movie's behind-the-scenes features that his own face was often used as a model for Syndrome's.
      • Inverted again in the German dubbing, where most voice actors were known faces who resembled the characters more just than a bit, most notably Markus Maria Profittlich as Bob/Incredible and Herbert Feuerstein as his boss in the insurance agency.
    • Wallace Shawn as Gilbert Huph.
    • Although it wasn't intentional, the Captain in WALL-E looks as much like Jeff Garlin as he can without losing the "big baby" aspect that the artists needed to accomplish.
    • Despite being an entire cast of obviously and adorably inhuman creatures almost every single character in Monsters, Inc. ends up looking like their voice actor in some way, especially for Sully and Mike, who could not be any more John Goodman and Billy Crystal (respectively).
      • Word of God stated on the DVD Commentary of that film notes that Dory from Finding Nemo looks an awful lot like Ellen Degeneres, despite being a fish. Once again, it was unintentional, it just a result of the artists watching the footage of the voice actors and inserting subtle facial expressions, etc. Willem Dafeo's character, Gill, has the same facial scar.
      • P.T. Flea in A Bugs Life looks a lot like John Ratzenberger, who voiced him.
    • The opening sentence of Roger Ebert's Cars review:

I wouldn't have thought that even in animation a 1951 Hudson Hornet could look simultaneously like itself and like Paul Newman, but you will witness that feat, and others, in "Cars."

  • Rankin/Bass Productions:
    • Terry-Thomas voices one of the tailors in The Daydreamer. The character is far stouter than the fairly skinny Thomas, but shares his famed gap-toothed grin.
    • In Mad Monster Party, Dr. Frankenstein (and by extension, the monster) is modeled on Boris Karloff. The Bride of Frankenstein, meanwhile, was written for and modelled after Phyllis Diller.
  • There is no denying that Davey in Eight Crazy Nights is basically just an animated version of Adam Sandler.
  • Paul Lynde did this in his few roles for Hanna-Barbera, especially Where's Huddles? and Charlotte's Web.
  • Anastasia: Don Bluth even said in the DVD commentary that he drew Anastasia's face as half Meg Ryan and half Audrey Hepburn. Most of the other characters bear strong resemblances to their voice actors, but it doesn't terribly detract from the movie.
  • Ice Age: In the third one, it's almost scary how a one-eyed prehistoric weasel looks like Simon Pegg.
  • Sean Connery's Draco in Dragonheart.
  • Tiger from the An American Tail series does kinda look like his voice actor Dom DeLuise. May or may not be a coincidence, but probably not.
  • In Rick and Steve, Condi Ling is basically Margaret Cho.
  • In The Rugrats Movie, the two forest rangers clearly resemble David Spade and the aforementioned Whoopi Goldberg.
  • One look at the main character from Titan A.E. is enough to figure out who voices him.
  • Avatar. Which, to be sure, was kind of the point.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius' dog form has something of Gary Oldman in its face when it's viewed from the front.
    • That one could be justified in the fact that Animagus users are suppose to share similar features to their original appearance, so it could be a case of doing their research.
  • In a non-animated example, the The Gingerdead Man looks exactly like Gary Busey.
  • Most of the human characters in Curious George look startlingly like their voice actors (Maggie is Drew Barrymore, Mr. Bloomsberry is Dick Van Dyke, Junior is David Cross etc). Notable exception: Ted, who looks nothing like Will Ferrell and more like... well... The Man In The Yellow Hat.
  • Averted in Final Fantasy the Spirits Within with Gray - voiced by Alec Baldwin, but if the character looked any more like Ben Affleck, they'd have owed him a paycheck.


Puppet Shows[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Certain movie-based games have the likenesses and voices of the actors who played in the film version.
  • BioWare has been doing this a lot in their games since they started using modern game engines:
  • Speaking of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, several of the characters in The Force Unleashed are modeled after their voice actors, most notably Sam Witwer as Galen Marek (when he joined Smallville it can be a bit surprising), Nathalie Cox as Juno Eclipse, and Cully Fredrickson as Rahm Kota. As with the above example, it works rather nicely.
    • The use of motion capture to better animate the characters' faces (by capturing the facial expressions of the voice actors) was a huge factor in this.
    • Another notable example would be the former Mandalorian turned Psycho for Hire Montross from Bounty Hunter who was rendered in the likeness of Clancy Brown.
    • In fact, Ink Suit Acting in LucasArts Star Wars games goes all the way back to Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight with the main characters rendered in the likeness of the actors who portrayed them in the live action cutscenes. Jason Court hasn't been Kyle Katarn's voice actor for everything, but his appearance has continued on through several additional games.
    • A slightly different example: the Star Wars Customizable Card Game's portraits for Talon Karrde and Corran Horn depicted their creators (Timothy Zahn and Michael J. Stackpole) in costume as their characters.
  • Brutal Legend
    • Eddie Riggs in was deliberately designed to look a bit like Jack Black, even before it was a done deal that Black was playing him. There's also Ozzy Osbourne as the Guardian of Metal, Lemmy as the Kill Master, Rob Halford as The Fire Baron, Brian Posehn as the Hunter, and Kyle Gass as the neurotic cannoneer.
  • Dead Space's characters, with the exception of Isaac and those other characters you don't really see up close are modeled after their voice actors. Peter Mensah does Hammond, Tonantzin Carmelo does Kendra, Navid Negahban does Mercer, Keith Szarabajka does Kyne and Iyari Limon does Nicole.
    • Which pretty much means that, if they make a movie, they should get these guys to reprise their roles.
    • Though in Dead Space 2, they slightly redesigned Isaac's design to make him look a lot closer to his new actor, Gunner Wright.
  • Doesn't Viktoria from Thief look kind of like her voice actress, Terri Brosius?
    • Come to think of it, doesn't SHODAN bear just as much resemblance to her? Particularly in System Shock 2?
  • Agent 47 in the Hitman series of video games is closely modeled on the voice actor portraying him, David Bateson. He was originally considered to play 47 in the Hitman movie, but Bateson didn't feel he was athletic enough for the role.
  • Assassin's Creed had Kristen Bell as lab assistant Lucy Stillman. Or perhaps lab assistant Lucy Stillman as Kristen Bell. Jarring.
    • Some of the characters in II also look like their voice actors. This is particularly obvious in the live-action prequel Lineage, although Marco Barbarigo and every Auditore except Giovanni had a different voice actor in the game (Ezio was the only character to not physically resemble his Lineage counterpart).
  • The main characters in the Halo Gaiden Game Halo 3: ODST are modeled after their voice actors, who include Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin and Tricia Helfer. This is particularly apparent with Fillion's character Buck, as seen here.
    • And in Halo 3, Cortana more resembles Jen Taylor.
    • The female marines in Halo 2 are also modeled to resemble their voice actresses (Michele Rodriguez and Laura Prepon).
  • Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run had Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, provide his voicework and likeness to main character, Alex Decker.
  • Many of the "talking heads" in the original Fallout bear at least some resemblance to their voice actors.
  • As of Devil May Cry 3, stunt man Reuben Langdon is Dante. However, whether Capcom actually planned for him to take over the voice-acting duties, versus whether they just threw it in, is unknown.
    • Also, Johnny Yong Bosch is Nero (provided voice and mocap in Devil May Cry 4).
    • And don't forget Daniel Southworth as Vergil in Devil May Cry 3 (voice and mocap again).
  • There's a mod for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that replaces Uriel Septim's head with Patrick Stewart's head.
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Genesis was modelled after his Japanese voice actor, Gackt.
  • All over the place in Battlefield 3; Agent Gordon is clearly Glenn Morshower, Blackburn is Gideon Emory with shorter hair, Vladimir is Ilia Volok with extra scars...a weird case, though, is Dima, who is modeled after Oleg Taktarov, but voiced by Andre Sogliuzzo.
  • Heavy Rain: The four main characters basically look like their voice/mocap actors. Especially Scott Shelby looks exactly the same as the actor who plays him.
  • The original Onimusha Trilogy loved this. Japanese Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro was used as the basis (and voice actor) of hero Samanosuke in the first and third games, while Jubei Yagyu in the second was based on the late Yusaku Matsuda. In the third game, Samanosuke is joined by french soldier Jaques Blanc, based off none other than Jean Reno, who also voiced him in the Japanese version (The American version uses a different English voice actor, but keeps Reno's French dialogue).
  • EA's 007 game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing has pretty much every major character modeled on and voiced by a well known face. While Bond, M, Q, and Jaws resembling Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench, John Cleese, and Richard Keil was obligatory, Willem Dafoe, Shannon Elizabeth, Heidi Klum and singer Mya all have their respective characters based on them.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 features a New York senator named Lieber, which happens to be the real last name of his actor.
  • For the remake of Golden Eye Wii, in addition to Daniel Craig lending his likeness to James Bond, Alec, Xenia, and Natalya are modeled after their voice actors.
  • An odd fan-induced version. When drawing a human version of Wheatley from Portal 2, the majority of artists model him after his voice actor, Stephen Merchant.
    • For an official example, Cave Johnson's portrait of his elderly self bears more than a slight resemblance to his voice actor, J.K. Simmons.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas quite a few of the characters are modeled off of their voice actors, including James Woods as MIB Mike Toreno, David Cross as Zero, Charlie Murphy as Jizzy B, and, perhaps most notably, Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Frank Tenpenny who also shares some of the mannerisms Jackson typically has in his other films.
    • Phil Collins is the first celebrity to appear as himself in the GTA series in Vice City Stories. There is even a mission involving him where the player must prevent the Forelli mob from sabotaging Phil's concert.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Ricky Gervais and Katt Williams appear as themselves for the Split Sides Comedy Club routines while former UFC fighter Bas Rutten appears as a hyper-masculine parody of himself in The Men's Room in-game TV show.
  • Vin Diesel does this frequently. Wheelman, for instance, was labelled "Vin Diesel: Wheelman", as a pile of polygons arranged in a not-un-Vin-like shape 'played' Milo Burik, an undercover FBI agent.
  • All members of the Beauty and the Beast unit in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are based off the models who performed the motion capture for them.
  • L.A. Noire. All of it. Full stop.
  • Call of Duty 4 has Staff Sergeant Griggs, who was voiced by, named, and modeled after Infinity Ward's lead animator at the time, Mark Grigsby.


Western Animation (excluding films)[edit | hide]

  • Adam West on Family Guy. In fact, there's a whole trope for this particular arrangement.
  • Dr. Blight from Captain Planet and the Planeteers happens to resemble her voice actress, Meg Ryan.
    • Most of the villains resembled their voice actors.
  • Rick Moranis in Gravedale High.
  • John Candy in Camp Candy.
  • Rodney Dangerfield - the guy who didn't get no respect - was animated as a dog for the movie Rover Dangerfield.
  • Arthur does this a lot. Examples: Fred Rogers as an aardvark (or as close to one as the Reads are), Art Garfunkel as a moose, Yo-Yo Ma as a rabbit.
  • Ed Wuncler from The Boondocks animated series bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor, Edward Asner.
    • Rummy and Ed Wuncler III? Not so much. Averted hard (and on purpose).
  • The creators of Transformers Animated mentioned that their version of Wreck-Gar's facial features were partially modeled after those of his voice actor, "Weird Al" Yankovic. Of course, Weird Al is pretty cartoony looking himself.
    • And then there's the episode Human Error, where the Autobots are briefly turned into Humans. Their appearances were apparently modeled upon the actual voice-actors who portrayed them.
  • Stephen Colbert is one of the few guest stars on The Simpsons not to play himself, but life coach Colby Krause does have the same hair, voice, glasses and fashion sense.
    • Also Ricky Gervais as Charles.
    • This might be an inversion, but take a look at Dan Castellaneta sometime. Even though he is much thinner than Homer, there's no denying the similarity in hairstyle (or lack thereof).
      • The difference is more notable when Dan Castellaneta actually appeared as himself in a Simpsons episode. Naturally, Homer mocks him.
      • Spinal Tap have also been on the show in Ink Suit Actors, just as other bands have, except Spinal Tap are played by actors including Harry Shearer whose cartoon face gets so dominated by the facial hair and wig that he ends up looking nothing like himself.
    • The woman who goes on a date with Moe in the "Love-Matic Grampa" segment of the "Spinoff Showcase" episode looks a lot like Tress MacNeille, who voiced her. They mention it in the DVD commentary, so it was probably intentional.
    • Sarah Silverman looks an awful lot like Nikki in "Stealing First Base."
    • In "Smart and Smarter", Simon Cowell played a character so like himself it was odd to hear him called "Henry". He even lampshades it himself during the credits.
      • Homer's friends John and Ray Magini were just as obvious.
    • Marge's convict friend Dwight bears a close resemblance to Steve Buscemi, who's a good sport about the other characters calling him "needy and bug-eyed."
    • Larry Burns from "Burns, Baby Burns" is an obvious caricature of his voice actor guest star Rodney Dangerfield.
  • The Flintstones often had stars with slightly-altered names ("Ann Margarock", et al), though this shades over into Simpson-like Special Guest territory since the characters were so blatantly their actors.
  • Abis Mal from Aladdin (both the film and ongoing series) is pretty much a villainous version of George Castanza from Seinfeld, the more well-known role of his voice actor Jason Alexander.
  • Ricardo Montalban as Armando Gutierrez in Freakazoid!. He even quotes some of his old lines from Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan.
  • Parodied in American Dad: Avery Bullock, Stan's egocentric and somewhat incompetent boss, is so similar to acclaimed Shakespeare/Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart that it becomes a joke to see an obviously British individual in charge of an American national security agency. This was made even more obvious in an episode where the character attracted a short-lived (literally - he later kills her when she approaches him from behind and his combat instincts kick in) girlfriend with his "sexy accent". Seth MacFarlane has claimed that one of the challenges of scripting the character is getting Patrick Stewart to act completely out of type.
  • The Warden of Superjail looks suspiciously like his voice actor, David Wain. All he's really missing is the suit/hat combo and the yellow tint on his glasses.
    • Oddly, when he does get medium blended into live-action (at the end of "Dream Machine"), he's instead portrayed by the lead singer of the band Les Savy Fav.
    • In an earlier episode of Wainy Days, David Wain first ends up in prison, then appears dressed pretty much exactly like the Warden. Draw your own conclusions.
    • In the second season episode "Ghosts", John Waters voices some Aztec shaman that looks pretty much like him.
  • Many characters (usually the narrators and main characters) in the mostly stop-motion Rankin/Bass holiday specials of the '60s and '70s were modeled after their voice actors.
    • Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is probably the definitive example, so much so that Ives is now more famous for that role than for his folksinging or his Oscar-winning turn in The Big Country, even though he only provides a voice here. Look at a picture of the guy, and then at the snowman, and you'll see why people think of the snowman as being him rather than simply being played by him.
  • One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had the segment "Just Say Julie Bruin," featuring a buxom Funny Animal version of Julie Brown in a parody of her MTV show.
    • Earlier in the same episode, a They Might Be Giants song is played by Plucky and Hamton—both redrawn to be caricatures of the two Johns.
  • This was the original plan for The Powerpuff Girls episode "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey". The Gnome was to have been voiced by Jack Black, and was even physically based on him, though by the time recording came around, Jack Black was too busy to do his part, so they found the Poor Man's Substitute in the form of Jess Harnell, making it into No Celebrities Were Harmed.
  • In the Doctor Who animated webcast "Scream of the Shalka", Richard E. Grant voiced a now non-canonical ninth incarnation of the Doctor who looked almost exactly like him.
    • In fact, all the major characters resembled their voice actors; the hope was that the webisode would get enough support to start up the TV show again with that cast, so making the characters look like the actors would make it possible to use the webisode as part of continuity for the new series. As it turns out, that plan fell over, as the renewal of the show had already been announced before it aired.
    • Similarly in the webcast "Death Comes To Time". Apart from the Seventh Doctor and Ace (who obviously look like they did in the series), the Minister of Chance (voiced by Stephen Fry) looks like this.
    • In the Bernice Summerfield webcast Dead and Buried, Bernice looks quite a bit like her voice acress, Lisa Bowerman [dead link]. But then, she always did, long before Bowerman was cast.
  • Stripperella looks like her voice actress Pamela Anderson. Given that a major part of this series is about a well-endowed stripper turned crime-fighting Hot Amazon...
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut most of the celebrity cameos are playing people, be it other celebrities, established South Park characters or new characters, who look nothing like themselves. The exception is George Clooney, who voices Dr. Gouache, who bears a resemblance to Clooney. This may be because Dr. Gouache is a parody of Clooney's character Dr. Ross on ER.
  • The creators of Kim Possible admitted that they created the character of "Motor Ed" to look and act like John DiMaggio because they thought his off-mike personality had great comedy potential.
    • And Ricardo Montalban gets his usual treatment as Senor Senior Sr.
      • Adam West was clearly the visual model for the Adam West Expy Timothy North, aka The Fearless Ferret. The whole ep was an Affectionate Parody of the '60s TV Batman, with Adam West playing a delusional actor who thought he was the superhero he played and roped Ron into taking on the role as well.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic also appeared in Lilo & Stitch: The Series as a minstrel at a medieval festival.
  • There's a whole mess of this on The Venture Brothers:
  • Bruce Timm's toy store owner in the Gray Ghost episode of Batman the Animated Series. This episode also featured Adam West as an actor who can't get work because he was typecast by a costumed crime fighter show he did decades ago.
    • As the series itself wore on the characters started to resemble their voice actors more and more, it doesn't hurt that some of them already looked similar to those playing them, special mention goes to Richard Moll and Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Paul Williams as The Penguin, and Ron Perlman as Matt Hagan/Clayface.
    • Harley Quinn, the Joker's lovable henchwoman, was based on her voice-actress, Arleen Sorkin. The producers are apparently amazed that she still talks to them.
  • A debatable case: is Amanda Waller in the DCAU modeled on actress C.C.H. Pounder, or is it just that to get the right voice they needed an actress the same physical type as the character?
  • In the Gargoyles episode "The Mirror", the gargoyles' human forms were made to resemble their voice actors according to Greg Weisman.
    • Gargoyles also based Elisa Maza's appearance on voice actress Salli Richardson. Yes, there is a real woman who looks and sounds exactly like Elisa Maza. Recursive Perverse Sexual Lust?
    • Let's not forget that David Xanatos was modeled after his voice master Jonathan Frakes.
    • Hudson, for a gargoyle, loosely resembles his voice actor Ed Asner.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Coltrane, who debuts without a voice in "The Best Lazy Day" as the guitarist in Jeremy's band and an apparent love interest to Stacy. Later, shortly after Corbin Bleu became his voice actor, Coltrane reappeared with a new look that gave him better resemblance to Corbin.
    • In addition, the manager of the Hawaiian hotel is modeled after Phill Lewis, who voices him. (Also an Actor Allusion, since the character is basically Mr Moseby.)
  • Elmer Fudd briefly went through this in the early 1940s when the animators thought that maybe the girth of his voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, added to the humor of his speech impediment.
  • The 1959 short "The Mouse That Jack Built" had the cast of The Jack Benny Program playing animated mouse versions of themselves.
  • Four on The Fairly OddParents: Teen pop idol Chip Skylark looks a lot like N* SYNC member Chris Kirpatrik, who did his voice. Norm the Genie is modeled after, named after, and voiced by former Saturday Night Live member Norm MacDonald. Superhero "The Crimson Chin" is modeled after and voiced by Jay Leno, whose most prominent feature is his chin. Finally, Dr. Rip Studwell looks like Butch Hartman, the series creator who also does his voice.
    • Technically five, counting the Head Pixie, played the aforementioned Ben Stein (also a partial subversion, since he plays all the pixies).
  • Possibly Ricky Tomlinson as Santa in Robbie the Reindeer. Or it could just be that an overweight guy with a beard is inevitably going to look a bit like Ricky Tomlinson...
  • In the Justice League episode "Flash and Substance," Mark Hamill voices the Trickster, a Flash villain modeled on the actor who played him in the 1990s live-action series - Mark Hamill. The Trickster being an expy of sorts for the Joker. Who in the wider DC Animated Universe is played by (you guessed it) Mark Hamill.
    • Just to tie it all together, his live-action performance as the Trickster played a big part in him getting the later role.
  • Ricardio on Adventure Time is a rather creepy-looking example. Just takes George Takei's face with extreme detail and put it onto a cartoon heart.
  • Julie in Heavy Metal 2000, modeled after and voiced by B-movie actress Julie Strain. The same actress is in the same Ink Suit in the game adaptation, F.A.K.K.2.
  • King of the Hill's numerous celebrity guest stars occasionally played themselves, but whether or not they did, their characters looked like them the majority of the time.
    • John Redcorn was also reportedly modeled on Victor Aaron, his original voice actor.
  • The Narrator and title character of Willow the Wisp looks a lot like Kenneth Williams.
  • Richard Simmons as Coach Salmons in Fish Hooks.
  • In Clone High, Larry Hardcore/The Pusher is Jack Black.
  • In Hey Arnold!, the gang's teacher, Mr. Simmons, is a dead ringer for his voice actor, Dan Butler. This is especially noticeable because the show has an extremely idiosyncratic character design, to say the least.
  • Jason Anthony Griffith of 4Kids! Entertainment fame has joked that all of the voice cast for Chaotic look like their characters.
  • The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo features Vincent Price as "Vincent Van Ghoul", a sorcerer drawn as a near-exact likeness, possibly also capitalising on Price's resemblance to Doctor Strange.
  • Many of the Recess cast happen to look like the characters they played. They commented on this on a documentary they did for the Disney Channel.
  • According to the Audio Commentary, Eunice from the Futurama episode "Proposition Infinity" is modelled after the episode's director Crystal Chesney-Thompson. The brief on the character apparently was that she should look "girly, but nerdy." Animator's response? "Oh, she should look like Crystal then!"
  • In an episode of The Batman, Allison Mack voice acts for a character that looks exactly like her. Doubles as Actor Allusion because the character's name is Clea
  • Upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger project The Governator blends this with No Celebrities Were Harmed, as the main character is a fictionalized version of his voice actor (basically Arnold if he decided he wanted to be Bruce Wayne)--but animated versions of Schwarzenegger's wife and children, who aren't in the acting business, will also be featured.
  • Benny the Ball in Top Cat, voiced by Maurice Gosfield, is modelled on Private Doberman in The Phil Silvers Show' ... played by Maurice Gosfield.
  • The New Scooby Doo Movies used a number of celebrities in cartoon form, most notably Don Knotts (although Don Adams and Sonny and Cher aren't the most likely people to be seen on screen with Mystery Inc. either). Season two of Hanna-Barbera's Wait Till Your Father Gets Home had guest stars in cartoon form as well.
  • Warners Bros. cartoons did this a lot, probably reaching its zenith in Tex Avery's 1941 short "Hollywood Steps Out."
  • Cree Lincoln from Codename: Kids Next Door bears some resemblance to her voice actress and namesake Cree Summer, even with a similar hairstyle.
  • The Autobots' human forms in the Transformers Animated episode "Human Error" all resemble their voice actors David Kaye (Optimus Prime), Bumper Robinson (Bumblebee), Bill Fagerbakke (Bulkhead), Corey Burton (Ratchet), and Jeff Bennett (Prowl), respectively.

Eastern Animation[edit | hide]


Coincidences[edit | hide]

Anime[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Theater[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The characters in Archer were based on local people that the creators knew, but some ended up looking like their voice actors anyway, like Malory and Lana.
    • It's also hard to say how much of a coincidence it is that Len Trexler looks so much like Jeffrey Tambor.
    • Kari Wahlgren also plays one of these in season 2.
  • David Xanatos, the main villain in Disney's Gargoyles, clearly resembles his voice actor, Jonathan Frakes. According to the official FAQ, however, the character's appearance was settled before Frakes was cast.
    • Actually, Jonathan Frakes is a character played by meat suit actor David Xanatos.
  • Batman does not resemble Kevin Conroy. Kevin Conroy just happens to look like Batman.
  • It's unclear whether it was intentional, but Grey Delisle looks a lot like Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender, what with the soft black hair and signature red lips. The only difference is that Azula is from the Fire Nation, who are modeled after East Asians.
    • From the same show, Zhao looks quite a bit like his voice actor, Jason Isaacs.
  • In Wing Commander Academy, the animated Admiral Tolwyn bears a close resemblence to Malcom McDowell, who voiced the character, and also played the live action version of the character in Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV/
  • The main six kids in Recess eerily resembled their voice actors (though it was coincidental). Ashley Johnson (Gretchen) lampshaded this in the DVD bonus features to Recess: School's Out. For example, Gus was a dead ringer for his voice actor, Courtland Mead, with the sole exception that the latter didn't wear glasses. T.J. was this even moreso for his second voice actor, Andrew Lawrence.
  • Despite the baldness, Tenzin bears a striking resemblance to his voice actor, J. K. Simmons.
  1. even though his contract specifically requested that he not receive top billing, in return for his working for scale