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All in the Family: Parent-Child Acting Duos

As the saying goes in Hollywood, "It’s not what you know, it’s who you know." Sometimes, it’s even who you know better than anyone else. That was the case at least in Maleficent, which opens this weekend, when Angelina Jolie shared the screen briefly with her real-life daughter Vivienne. It turns out, no other four-year-old would come close to Jolie in costume, making her daughter the last resort. This got us thinking . . . what other films shared parent-child acting duos on screen? You may be surprised.

Tomb Raider


It’s no secret that Jolie and her father John Voight haven’t always had the greatest relationship. In 2001, however, they worked on the film Tomb Raider, where they played father and daughter on screen as well. Not only did working on Tomb Raider help repair Jolie and Voight's damaged relationship, it also sparked Jolie's humanitarian efforts—much of the film was shot in Cambodia, inspiring Jolie to help alleviate the surrounding poverty.



Sylvia (2003) introduces us to the heartbreaking life of Sylvia Plath, the poet, novelist, and short story writer who took her own life in 1963. Gwyneth Paltrow does an outstanding job as Sylvia alongside her real-life mom Blythe Danner who plays Sylvia’s mother Aurelia Plath. This film leaves no doubt where Gwyneth got her talents.

Evening (2007)


In Evening, Vanessa Redgrave plays a dying mother telling the story of her past to her two daughters, played by Toni Collette and Redgrave's real-life daughter Natasha Richardson. As she lays dying, her mind goes back fifty years, when she met the man she loves. Sadly, Redgrave has actually outlived her daughter, who also happens to be the late wife of Liam Neeson; Richardson’s death from a skiing accident was a loss not only to her family but to the acting community at large.

Knocked Up,This Is 40, and Funny People


Judd Apatow definitely likes to keep it in the family. Leslie Mann, his real-life wife, acted alongside their daughters, Maude and Iris Apatow, in Knocked Up. The three also worked together as a mother-daughter trio in This is 40 and Funny People. Apatow is known for his humorously heartbreaking way of exacerbating real-life situations, and young Maude and Iris definitely share their mother’s flair for comedy.

The Winter Guest


Emma Thompson (Frances) and her mother Phyllida Law (Elspeth) play mother and daughter in The Winter Guest. After losing her husband, Frances is left with a teenage son caught between mourning the loss of his father and watching his mother slowly fall apart. Fun fact: This was also Alan Rickman’s debut as a film director. If you remember the movie Love Actually, Alan Rickman played Emma Thompson’s husband. You’re welcome.

The Fog and Halloween H2O


Mother-daughter duo Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh shared scenes in both The Fog and Halloween H20. I don’t care what anyone says; I actually like Halloween H20, and "Halloween" is my favorite horror series. Granted, Leigh and her daughter share limited screen time, but they packed in so many bonuses. Leigh’s character in H20 is named Norma. She also acted in Psycho (Norman Bates . . . Norma . . . get it?). In one Halloween H20 scene, when walking out to her car, you can see that Leigh is driving the same car she drove in Psycho. The license plate is the same as the one on the second car she bought in Psycho, and the letters on the plate are Norman Bates’ initials.

Rocky V


Sylvester Stallone is definitely more than just a meathead action movie actor. He wrote almost all the Rocky movies and screenplays for the Expendable films. In 1990 he cast his son, Sage Stallone, to play Rocky Balboa Jr. in Rocky V—their only film together. Sage ended up playing small roles later on until his unfortunate passing in 2012 of a heart attack.