Have you ever done the six degrees of separation exercise with movies? Sure, it’s originally intended to reveal how closely linked everyone is, but we recently discovered that when played using movies, there are plenty that feature the same actors working together time and time again. Regardless of the genre or how much time is taken between projects, actors like Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep (who will soon be seen in Mary Poppins Returns) or Natalie Portman and Jude Law (most recently paired in Vox Lux) keep finding ways to come back together on-screen.
We’ve rounded up 14 pairs of actors who have worked together more than once, sometimes in the same genre and sometimes in totally different ones. Some of them are obvious, while others might surprise you. Take a look at some of their best clips below.
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1. Natalie Portman & Jude Law
Natalie Portman and Jude Law explore a new relationship in Vox Lux, which features Portman as a frenetic pop star and Law as her caregiving manager. The pair have also starred in three other films together: Cold Mountain in 2003, Closer in 2004 and My Blueberry Nights in 2007.
2. Matt Damon & Ben Affleck
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been working together since 1992, and they’ve been best friends for just as long. These two starred in School Ties in 1992, Glory Daze in 1995, Good Will Hunting and Chasing Amy in 1997, Dogma in 1999, The Third Wheel in 2002 and Jersey Girl in 2004. Deadline reports they’ll soon team up for the first time in over a decade on a film based on the true-crime story of the ex-cop who rigged the annual McDonald’s Monopoly game back in 2001.
3. Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling
Emma Stone said in a recent interview that she “can’t imagine life without” Ryan Gosling, which is super-relatable. The actors formed a solid friendship by working together in three different films: Crazy, Stupid, Love in 2011, Gangster Squad in 2013 and La La Land in 2016.
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4. Scarlett Johansson & Chris Evans
Before costarring in several Marvel films as Black Widow and Captain America, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans also starred in the teen flick The Perfect Score in 2004 and romantic comedy The Nanny Diaries in 2007. “It’s nice for Chris and I to get to do dramatic work together,” Johansson told the LA Times, per ScreenRant. “We work well together, I think, and admire one another as actors, and we’re used to being able to throw the ball back and forth because we’ve done that in the past in other films that we’ve done. We’re also older actors now and more comfortable taking our time. You can wait for the emotion to come and let the moment happen.”
5. Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have starred in four films together: Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, American Hustle in 2013, Serena in 2014 and Joy in 2015. Cooper told Deadline in 2015 that though the pair doesn’t have much of a relationship in real life, learning the dance scene for Silver Linings Playbook together created a lasting on-screen connection. “I wonder if these guys who do Dancing With The Stars like have a connection forever. I really do think that really provided the basis by which we can just work together,” he said. “We don’t talk often, but when I showed up in Boston for Joy, then all of a sudden it was like we never stopped. We just started where we left off, and that’s rare. It’s just easy to look at her and feel like I’m telling the truth.”
6. Seth Rogen & James Franco
James Franco and Seth Rogen are not only an iconic pair of celebrity BFFs, but they’ve cultivated an epic on-screen friendship too. These best buds first met while working on the short-lived TV show Freaks & Geeks back in the ’90s and have gone on to work together in Pineapple Express, This Is the End, The Interview, Sausage Party, The Night Before and The Disaster Artist.
7. Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter
Thanks to their mutual connection, director Tim Burton (Depp’s longtime friend and collaborator and Carter’s former husband), Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter have worked together three times over the course of their respective decadeslong careers. To date, Depp and Carter have costarred in 2005’s Corpse Bride, 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland.
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8. Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been real-life partners for 35 years, but they’ve also shared the screen. The pair has starred in three movies together, including the new Netflix original Christmas movie, The Christmas Chronicles. They also costarred in Swing Shift in 1984 and Overboard in 1987.
9. Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks
America’s sweethearts, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, have appeared in four feature films together: Joe Versus the Volcano in 1990, Sleepless in Seattle in 1993, You’ve Got Mail in 1998 and Ithaca in 2015. During an interview pegged to the return of Sleepless in Seattle to theaters nationwide for its 25th anniversary, Ryan told Today why she loved working with Hanks then and now: “He’s just so easy. He listens; he roots for other people.”
She went on to note that they both have the same on-set demeanor too, commenting, “[Hanks] doesn’t like there to be drama. I feel the same way. We’re just really there to have fun, this is supposed to be a creative experience and there’s no reason to get heavy.”
10. Winona Ryder & Keanu Reeves
In 2018, we learned that Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves may have accidentally gotten married in the early ’90s, which we’ll chalk up to a quirky footnote in their long shared working relationship. To date, these two have costarred in four films together: Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992, A Scanner Darkly in 2006, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee in 2009 and Destination Wedding in 2018. In an August interview with Vanity Fair, Ryder said of getting to work with him on Destination Wedding, “I just love being together with him so much.”
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11. Penélope Cruz & Javier Bardem
Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem have been a couple since at least 2007 after meeting on the set of Vicky Cristina Barcelona; they got married in 2010 and now have two children together. They’ve also acted in three additional movies together: The Counselor in 2013, Loving Pablo in 2017 and Everybody Knows in 2018.
Cruz told Vanity Fair in May that navigating tough subject matter is easier with a support system: “The fact that [Bardem and I] lean on each other and trust each other so much really helps.” She also said making movies together “is not something we plan to do every two years… just once in a while, if it feels right.”
12. Emily Blunt & Meryl Streep
Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep first worked together on The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, but they’ve since reunited for two musicals: Into the Woods in 2014 and Mary Poppins Returns in 2018. In a November 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Blunt remarked just how funny it is that she and Streep often play characters who are in opposition to each other: “It is a bit hilarious that we always play people who are contentious with one another. From Prada to the Witch and the Baker’s Wife and now [two] cousins who drive each other insane, I did finally ask her, ‘When are we gonna play lovers or something?!’ She said, ‘Dream on.’”
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13. Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have been married since 2012 and have two children together, though they’ve been dating since at least 2007 when they met at a birthday dinner. But these two are not only a solid unit off screen — they’re a heck of an on-screen duo too. The pair has starred in three films together: When in Rome in 2010, Hit & Run in 2012, and CHIPs in 2017. Not only have they had complete costarring gigs, but they’ve also done cameos in each other’s projects. Most notably, Shepard has a guest role in one episode of Bell’s hit TV show The Good Place, and he popped up in her 2016 film, The Boss.
14. Anthony Hopkins & Emma Thompson
In 1992, Emma Thompson starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in Howards End, then took home the Oscar for best actress for her performance. A year later, when the pair costarred in The Remains of the Day, they both took home Oscars for their leading roles; the film also won best picture and best director.
In 2018, she told Entertainment Weekly she was happy to reunite with him after more than two decades for King Lear: “I was very pleased to be asked, and I would never have said anything but yes because I love Tony Hopkins so much. We had always said, ‘Whenever we get the chance, let’s do something else.'” She added, “Tony, who’s an extraordinary actor and person, was so generous and so wonderful to watch. Every take he would give everything that he had. Then he’d do it again when it came onto our shot, so he would never sit back on it because he’s just too, well, generous actually, but [also] professional and well-trained and all of that. Goodness me, it was an extraordinary thing watching him do it.”
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