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muppetish's avatar

You mean that's the same guy?

Asked by muppetish (13986points) August 22nd, 2010

Now and then I will be watching the telly or a film and recognize on some level, the face or voice of a person without being able to clearly identify who they are. These instances used to haunt me (not in a spooky, startling sense, but in the troublesome way as when you forget the tune or lyrics of a song you know you know.) Thanks to IMDB, it doesn’t take long at all to track down answers. And it blows my mind when I trace the portfolio there.

For me, this more readily occurs with voice actors. Voice actors with distinct voices (such as Jim Cummings, Charlie Adler, Tress MacNeille, and Cree Summer) are easy to distinguish, but some have such a breadth of voices that I’m often scratching my head at how two characters can possibly be the same person. How can Tomokazu Sugita possibly voice both Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Graham Specter from Baccano!?

Range isn’t the only thing to trip me up. I never would have guessed that Michael Keaton dubbed the titular character of Porco Rosso or that the same woman, Lea Salonga, leant her singing voice to both Princess Jasmine and Mulan.

This has also occurred often when my first introduction to a performer’s body of work spans from when they are very young to when they are much older. I knew that Ephram Brown (portrayed by Gregory Smith) from Everwood looked familiar but had no idea that he was Sport from Harriet the Spy until I looked it up. I was deeply amused when I discovered that the little boy playing an arcade game in Back to the Future Part II is none other than Elijah Wood.

The show Freaks and Geeks is host to several actors I only began to follow after they had grown—such as a very young Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens and Transformers), Alexander Gould (the voice of Nemo and a star on Weeds), and Rashida Jones (The Office and Parks and Recreations.) There are also plenty of actors I recognized by sight (such as Ben Stiller and Jason Schwartzman), but it took some convincing before I accepted that that was Joel Hodgson in 70s get-up or Chauncey Leopardi playing Alan White (whom I knew far better as Squints from The Sandlot.)

Have you ever had what I propose should be called a Scotty Smalls Moment when you didn’t realize that a performer (or any professional for that matter) was someone you were already familiar with?

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27 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I think your surprise has something to do with the quality of the performer. If she/he is good, then you’re not seeing them. You’re seeing the character as a real person.

If you want some real surprises, study the silent film stars like Lon Chaney who created elaborate makeup to enhance their characters. He did the Hunchback of Notre Dame and many more characters that are unrecognizable.

muppetish's avatar

I’m almost ashamed to admit as a budding silent film aficionado, that I have yet to sink into the realm of horror. I’ve been meaning to watch so many of them for such a long time, and I do not know why it has taken me so long to begin (there’s really no excuse for it!) Maybe I’ll do just what you suggested and begin with Lon Chaney :)

Frenchfry's avatar

I do that with animation cartoon or movies. I hear a voice. I can place it . I say is that so and so? That is when I pay attention to the credits.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

That Captain Leland Stottlemeyer from “Monk” was also Jame ‘Buffalo Bill’ Gumb from “Silence of The Lambs”.

muppetish's avatar

@Frenchfry It’s so much fun trying to identify voices. My favourite Scotty Smalls Moment involving voice actors occurred when I was giving a presentation on James Earl Jones in tenth grade. Nobody, and I’m Not Making This Up, realized that Darth Vader and Mufasa were voiced by the same man.

@Pied_Pfeffer That one caught me off-guard too! He’s a talented (and overlooked) actor.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Honestly, to many to count or remember. This happens to me at least once a week. Especially for actors who, despite being well-known, haven’t actually been in that many major roles. Paul Rudd was a huge one for me, because I loved Clueless, and him in Clueless, but didn’t put it together until a few months ago that it was him, as well as Phoebe’s Mike from Friends.

Sorta the opposite, but when I was 13, I forgot that animated characters are drawn (I blame the stress of puberty), and spent months trying to figure out who the actress who played Daphne on Scooby Doo was, because I was convinced it was the same actress who played Rose/Aurora in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

aprilsimnel's avatar

When I was a teenager, and MST3K was on PBS in my town in its early days, I had a HUGE crush on Joel Hodgson. Huge.

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily It happens to me quite often too and my intent behind this question was anecdote fishing. It’s funny you mentioned Paul Rudd because I watched Clueless recently for the first time (maybe a year ago) and I still didn’t realize that was him. Your story about Daphne and Aurora is the most adorable thing I have read today.

@aprilsimnel You are not alone, and that’s all I can say about that ;) The things I daydreamed…

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish I love Larry Miller’s work, but every time I go to his IMDB page, I’m surprised at how little he’s been in compared to how familiar he seems to me. I may have seen 10 Things I Hate About You more times than I thought. And he was only in 3 episodes of Boston Legal, but such memorable performances (despite 2 episodes having, like 2 scenes with him) that I often think it’s more.
Tony Shalhoub from Monk and Wings – always surprises me that he’s also Jack Jeebs in MIB and the guy who didn’t like Frasier in one episode and Fred Kwan in Galaxy Quest.
Erica Christensen. OMG. Apparently, before Parenthood, I had never seen her in anything. But I swear to God, no matter what IMDB tells me, I KNOW I have seen her in tons and tons of things. Why? Because she looks so much like at least 5 other actresses.

I am adorable.

muppetish's avatar

A quick search on Larry Miller: totally saw him in 8 Simple Rules. I loved that show and was sad to see it canceled. I’m eagerly waiting to see what Shalhoub’s next project will be because he’s a fantastic character actor.

A funny one that happened to my younger brother, was when I told him the kid from who played William Miller in Almost Famous was a young Patrick Fugit (who was playing a character on House, M.D. at the time.) I pulled IMDB and photographs for him and he still refused to believe it.

Someone else who watches Parenthood! Jabbar is so cute it makes me want to kidnap him (I didn’t mean for it to sound that creepy.)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish I actually stopped watching Parenthood after a few episodes because I didn’t like how they were treating Erica. She seemed so kick-ass, so full of fire, and then just lets Rachelle (sp?) walk all over her. It was too frustrating. But Jabbar is soooooo cute – don’t worry, it’s only creepy if you actually kidnap him.

I can’t remember if I’ve seen 8 Simple Rules or not. I know I’ve seen a couple of episodes, but I don’t think I’ve seen that much.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish Oh! Also on Parenthood: Mae Whitman. I constantly have that experience with her (her? really??) even though I’ve seen over half her work.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@papayalily Mae Whitman? Awesome! Arrested development and Avatar: The Last Airbender. What’s not to love? ;).

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily I honestly thought you were making an Arrested Development joke just because the show is awesome, but when I searched Mae Whitman I would have done a spit-take had I been drinking. I didn’t realize that was her.

Thought of another one: Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett and a young Mr. Chekov in Star Trek) played a one-time character on Curb Your Enthusiasm (I think he was Cheryl’s nephew or cousin or something?) I was so amused when I caught him during reruns of the early seasons.

Anton was also gave fantastic performances on Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Criminal Minds, but I don’t count those since I knew it was him when I watched those episodes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities AND the sexy runaway rich girl turn homeless family matriarch on SVU.
@muppetish Yup, it’s her, and the show is awesome. Double trouble.

augustlan's avatar

This happens to me all the time. Often, I never do figure it out, either… so frustrating! The only one I can think of at the moment was when I realized that Dr. Gregory House was also the dad from Stuart Little. I love Hugh Laurie.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan Have you seen him in A Bit Of Fry And Laurie?

muppetish's avatar

@augustlan Little high, little low! Little hey, little hoe! (I don’t care what anyone says, I think that movie is cute.) Hugh and Stephen Fry are great together on A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Blackadder :) I always nudge House fans to check them out, but they prefer dramas over British comedy. At least I tried.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish Which is sad, because one of the great things about House is the comedy. When Vogler comes in and meets with House for the first time, and House is playing Baby O’Reily? Crowing moment of awesome. When Vogler leaves, House goes back to playing The Who, only to accidentally play Hava Nagila? One of my favorite moments of the series.

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily Even though Vogler was such a douche, I loved him because I feel nothing but love for Chi McBride. He has some of the best comedic timing I have ever seen and it was such a treat to watch him performing with Hugh.

Speaking of Scotty Smalls Moments and House, I knew Robert Sean Leonard was the kid from Dead Poet’s Society but it still astonished me every time I thought about it. And Jesse Spencer? I had his song Sheets of Egyptian Cotton on my MP3 player for years before I realized that was him singing.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish Chi McBride does have huge comedic chops. I was sooooo bummed when Pushing Daisies was canceled.

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily “Bitch, I was in proximity!” is a daily quotation of mine. Pushing Daisies’ cancellation hurt like no other. It was my weekly pick-me-up. I’m still waiting for Lee Pace to return to doing great things instead of Marmaduke.

I didn’t recognize Ellen Greene as Aunt Vivian at first, but the moment she spoke there was no mistaking her voice :) And I didn’t realize until after a Lost marathon, but Swoosie Kurtz (Aunt Lily) had a cameo appearance as Locke’s mother.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish It was so fresh and original and larger than life. So twistedly funny. And everything else on is just shit compared to PD.

Did she? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the older episodes. I thought the last we saw of Locke’s mom she was giving him up for adoption?

muppetish's avatar

@papayalily She was in season one and briefly much, much later when we see her car accident and Locke’s birth.

I probably had a million Scotty Smalls Moments while watching Lost. There are just loads and loads of characters in that series.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish They did have seemingly thousands of 1-or-2 line parts.

aprilsimnel's avatar

My first Scotty Smalls Moment as a kid was recognizing that Paul Benedict was on The Jeffersons as Mr Bentley and was the painter guy with Stockard Channing on Sesame Street. She was another one, because I saw a movie where her character gets plastic surgery to become beautiful and she’s disillusioned that men are so shallow, then she was in Grease, and I thought, Hey, that’s the same chick who ate that dude’s sandwiches on “Sesame Street”!

The Electric Company is full of those if you are an American person who was a primary school-aged child in the 70s. Seeing Morgan Freeman as the pimp in Street Smart is a long way from him playing “Easy Reader” on The Electric Company. And I didn’t realize that Rita Moreno had been in West Side Story or Singin’ in the Rain until I was at uni and we watched those films in my classes. Some years ago, I worked with her on a TV show for a few months, and it was all I could do to keep myself from going up to her and begging that she yell, “Hey, you GUYYYYYYYS!”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Anna Paquin is the most recent child star to shock the daylights out of me. That little girl from I’ll Fly Away and The Piano is unrecognizable today.. Just Google her name and click on images.

Gillian Anderson was on The Graham Norton Show, and I about fell out of the chair when she spoke with a British accent. Apparently, she spent a chunk of her youth in England and slips back into the accent when around it. Check it out.

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