Some actors do the same thing in almost every movie: Tom Cruise plays secret agents, Bruce Willis plays bald guys holding machine guns, and James Marsden causes women to bang other men.
But as we've pointed out before, other actors find themselves in the same oddly specific situations in different movies. Not because they're typecast, but seemingly by pure coincidence. For example ...
#6. Keanu Reeves Always Commits Suicide to Thwart Superhuman Evil
Keanu Reeves, you have a problem. And that problem is that you keep killing yourself to stop some ultimate evil from taking over the planet, often in religious or pseudo-religious situations. That isn't healthy, Keanu. We think it's time you gave it a break. Let someone else save the world -- what's Alex Winters doing these days?
This all started in 1996's The Devil's Advocate, an entire movie based on the idea "What if Keanu Reeves was literally Satan's attorney?" (that phrase was also the entire screenplay). Then it turns out that Satan, played by Al Pacino, is not only Keanu's boss but also his father, and his master plan involves getting Keanu to have sex with his own sister in order to produce the Antichrist.
"And I saw a beast having seven heads and 10 horns, and upon his body a diaper, because he was too inbred to control his own bowels."
Keanu tries to shoot Satan, but his bullets have no effect, because Satan eats AK-47s for breakfast. Since simply not screwing his sister is apparently not an option, Keanu, in a shocking twist ending, turns the gun on himself and blows his brains out, fucking up Satan's whole plan.
This was also his exact reaction to the Sad Keanu meme.
The twist ending is not so shocking when it happens again in the film Constantine, in which Keanu portrays a modern-day exorcist who must stop Satan's son, the demon Mammon, from taking over the Earth behind his daddy's back. Knowing that his own soul is damned to hell because of all those times he cheated in Monopoly, Keanu cleverly slits his wrists specifically so he can have a chat with Lucifer and rat out Mammon.
How many black suits has Keanu ruined in his career?
After he has dealt with Junior, Satan tries to take Keanu's soul to hell, only to find out that he can't because Keanu's been redeemed by his self-sacrifice. So, instead, he begins ascending to heaven.
Look familiar? You might remember Keanu floating in a similar pose at the end of the Matrix trilogy. This time, Keanu, as Neo the cyber-Jesus, allows himself to be absorbed by the virus that's putting both humans and our machine overlords in jeopardy, letting the machine leader send an energy overload through his body -- killing Keanu and the virus at the same time. Once again, the day is saved by Keanu Reeve's suicide!
"We would have used Norton, but the license expired."
#5. Jennifer Connelly Really Likes Standing at the End of Piers
Directors borrowing shots from other directors' movies is nothing new; Quentin Tarantino has built his entire career on that, and besides, there are only so many ways you can frame Samuel L. Jackson's angry face. But sometimes filmmakers will copy exact shots from other films without even realizing it -- and without even realizing it, they'll also put the exact same actress in them.
Take Alex Proyas' 1998 neo-noir sci-fi cult classic thriller Dark City, which, true to its title, contains no shots in daylight throughout the entire movie ... until the last 60 seconds, when we see a long pier framed by a stunningly blue ocean, with a woman standing at the end and holding a red dress.
And, somewhere beneath the pier, Jaws lurks.
Yep, it's a striking visual -- one that was repeated two years later in Darren Aronofsky's lighthearted romp about addiction and ass-to-ass action, Requiem for a Dream. In a dream sequence, the stoned protagonist sees his girlfriend standing at the end of a beautiful pier and walks toward her. Now the woman is actually wearing a red dress.
The "woman at the end of a pier" shot appears yet again in the 2003 drama House of Sand and Fog, although this time it's a bit less sunny and a lot more seagull-infested.
She's still wearing the red dress, it's just covered in bird droppings.
And here's the kicker: The woman in all those shots? That would be Jennifer Connelly. Check it out:
"Comeeeee ooooon, I've been here all day."
According to Aronofsky, this was a complete coincidence -- he says he hadn't even seen Dark City when he came up with his version of the "woman on a pier" shot, and only found out it had been done again when Connelly herself mentioned how strange it was that both films used the same image (at that point, it was too late to change it). By the time the director of House of Sand and Fog asked her to do the same thing yet again, her reaction was "Wait, how many times have I done this now?"
#4. James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair Twice Play African Royalty Whose Son Flees the Country
Disney's The Lion King is often accused of ripping off a lesser-known Japanese cartoon called Kimba the White Lion, and while the evidence to support that accusation is pretty compelling, we think there's another source that deserves at least as much credit: Eddie Murphy's Coming to America. Seriously.
Disney owes you money, Eddie.
More specifically, veteran actor James Earl Jones (best known for playing Darth Vader's voice in Star Wars) portrays suspiciously similar characters in both movies. While they differ in superficial details, like their degree of horniness, whether they're dead or alive, and the fact that one of them is a talking lion, Jones was paid to do pretty much the same thing in both movies.
"The craft services table for Coming to America had better have wildebeest jerky."
In The Lion King, Jones voices King Mufasa, an African lion and father of Prince Simba (Matthew Broderick). When Mufasa is killed, Simba leaves the kingdom and spends the rest of the movie hakuna matata-ing before an encounter with his dad's ghost motivates him to make a triumphant return and become the king himself.
This vision had nothing to do with the mushrooms Pumba and Timon gave him.
Meanwhile, in Coming to America, Jones portrays the awesomely named King Jaffe Joffer, whose son, Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy), also leaves the kingdom early in the movie, in this case to work at a knockoff McDonald's in America. Like in The Lion King, a third-act encounter with James Earl Jones' character causes Akeem to return to his homeland and marry his sweetheart. In fact, someone went ahead and pasted some dialogue from Coming to America on top of Lion King footage, and it works pretty well.
Of course, King Joffer isn't quite as wise as Mufasa, so the happy ending in Coming to America probably wouldn't have happened without the intervention and common sense of the queen, played by veteran actress Madge Sinclair. If you're wondering what other movies she's been in, here's one you might have seen: She voiced Queen Sarabi, Simba's mom, in The Lion King. We're now convinced that Disney would have gotten Eddie Murphy to play Simba, too, but then they'd have to legally call it a remake.
"Sweet coat, right? Found it lying under a bunch of wildebeests."