I am not talking about projects that are named for the star like “Rosanne” or “Reba” or about actors or celebrities playing themselves. I’m talking about situations where a character who appears in a scene or two of a film or maybe is in an episode or two of a series. It can’t be a coincidence that all of these people are being cast in parts that share their first name. Do these tend to be parts written in after the script is written in the main and the show decides it needs another scene or character? Are they favors to the actors or someone else in the business? Are the character names changed after the casting process and if so why?
I’m sure it could be either case. Usually, the script is written before casting the part, and no one really pays attention to the actors name when casting until he or she has the role. So it could easily be coincidence.
Other times, when the name of the character isn’t important, then they may change it after the role is cast.
It can be deliberate. Not quite what you’re looking for but clearly similar was Robert Altman’s Images with the cast and characters as follows:
Susannah York ... Cathryn Cathryn Harrison ... Susannah Rene Auberjonois ... Hugh Marcel Bozzuffi ... Rene Hugh Millais ... Marcel
It must have been very confusing on the set.
Actor L.Q. Jones, born Justus E. McQueen, Jr., took his acting name from the character he played in the movie Battle Cry (1955).
Actors and their characters from The Office:
Angela Kinsey … Angela Martin
Phyllis Smith … Phyllis Lapin
Creed Bratton … Creed
Oscar Nuñez … Oscar Martinez
Interesting, but I’m not really looking for examples of significant characters who share the name of their actors but whether there’s some explanation for it happening so often with minor throwaway-type characters.
There was an Australian series called The Games where practically all the characters, major and minor, had the same names as the actors. Not distracting, to me at least, because it was the first time I’d ever heard of any of them. Except Sam Neill was in one episode, but I don’t remember if they ever mentioned his character’s name.
I think it was just part of the satire of the show. It was a mockumentary of the bureaucrats organizing the Sydney Olympics. In a show about a real event, in real time, using their real names (even though they were actors) kind of blurred the fact that it was fictional.
The character Bobby Singer on Supernatural (played by Jim Beaver) takes his name from executive producer Robert Singer.
Also, didn’t the Lone Gunmen on The X-Files once go by the alias of their actors’ names (Tom Braidwood, etc.)?
Woody Harrleson played Woody Boyd on “Cheers.” Woody isn’t a terribly common name so I always wondered about that.
The champion: Pelle Hvenegaard was cast in the lead of the film Pelle the Conqueror. He was chosen because the director liked his acting, but the coincidence of first names is no coincidence: Hvengaard’s parents were fans of the book that formed the basis of the movie, so named their son after the character in the book. So the son was named for the character he played before the movie was produced.