A few weeks ago it was announced that Australian actor Damon Herriman of Justified fame will be taking on the role of infamous cult leader Charles Manson in both the second season of David Fincher’s acclaimed TV crime drama Mindhunter and Quentin Tarantino’s next movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
It’s unknown whether Herriman nabbing the role in Mindhunter influenced Tarantino to cast him as Manson too or that he’s just really convincing as a cult leader, but he’s by no means the first actor to tackle the same character twice in a different movie.
And no, that's not just characters returning for sequels or prequels (or shared universes) either; sometimes a familiar character played by the very same actor randomly pops up in a movie that’s otherwise unrelated to their first onscreen appearance...
10. Danny Trejo - Machete
The Character: Isador ‘Machete’ Cortez
The Movies: Machete, Machete Kills and the Spy Kids franchise
Believe it or not Uncle Machete – the tough guy with a heart of gold who saves his estranged family at the end of the first Spy Kids movie – is the very same vigilante who spent the entirety of both Machete movies committing the kind of gruesome acts of violence that earn a film an R rating.
Although the character of Machete made his big screen debut in 2001 with Spy Kids, director Robert Rodriguez actually began drafting a Machete film years earlier after casting Trejo as hitman Navajas in his 1995 film Desperado. Both director and actor never thought a film focusing on a character that Rodriguez envisioned as a “Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme” would ever see the light of day and so a more family-friendly version of the character was inserted into the Spy Kids movies.
But when Rodriguez collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on 2007’s Grindhouse and produced a fake trailer for a Machete movie, interest in Uncle Machete’s violent day job was piqued and soon enough we got to see the far more savage side of Isador Cortez in Machete and Machete Kills.