When I read that current Hollywood ‘it’ boy James Franco has a lesser-known younger brother named Dave, I thought, “Shit, what would it be like to be James Franco’s younger brother?” Right now, I’d imagine it’s a pretty golden ticket to Tinseltown decadence. Until recently, Dave’s biggest role was Cole Aaronson on the final, shockingly-bad Season of US sitcom Scrubs – his previous roles include Greg the Soccer Player (Superbad) and Telephone Tree #5 (Milk).
Then, 127 hours after his small turn as Rich, opposite Ben Stiller in Greenberg (2010), MTV’s Nextmovie.com listed Dave as one of the ‘breakout stars to watch for 2011’. And the rest (i.e. a leading role in the upcoming film version of 21 Jump Street) is his story. Still, Dave must love the reach of his actor, painter, screenwriter, author, model, Green Goblin brother’s stylishly-tailored coattails. But it got me thinking, who else has a less famous sibling burning with bitter disappointment, ready to step in in case of an emergency?
Obvious one first: The Baldwin dynasty! Now this is a family of actors. Can you just imagine them all sitting round the BBQ, open shirts, hairy chests and medallions everywhere, swapping stories of Kim Bassinger, Miley Cyrus and rehab. Oldest brother Alec’s clearly miles ahead when it comes to Hollywood credibility. Daniel’s claim to fame is John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998). And William Baldwin’s struggled to recover from the damage inflicted by his billed-to-shine leading role opposite Cindy Crawford in Fair Game (1994). Youngest brother Stephen’s the clear runner up, with a mixed bag of roles that includes The Usual Suspects (1995), Bio-Dome (1996) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). But where do you go after Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas (2000)? A Hannah Montanna tattoo, that’s where...
This one really caught me off guard. I was watching an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm late one night ('The Rat Dog' – Season Six) when I thought I saw a ghost. “That can’t be Chris Farley?” I thought. But when he stamps the rat dog to death, Mike the Exterminator looks exactly like an overweight, arm-flailing reincarnation of the late Beverly Hills Ninja star. Turns out it’s his younger brother Kevin. No way!
How funny is this one? Frank Stallone, the younger brother of Rambo himself, Sylvester Stallone. It makes you wonder, what’s Sly got that Frank doesn’t? A question I’m sure’s been burning through Frank's mind the past 30 odd years. Surprisingly, Frank’s a Golden Globe-nominated singer/songwriter (not that that means much these days). And he’s played a singer in Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). He also played “guy at a funeral” in Sly’s 2000 take on Get Carter and “diner patron” in the sixth Rocky film, Rocky Balboa (2006). Mamma Stallone (Estelle Getty?) must be proud...
Here’s a few quick-fire siblings for you:
Eddie Murphy and his younger, less-successful comedian brother Charlie.
Dakota Fanning and her 13-year-old sister Elle (Dakota already had a shelf full of awards aged 12).
Bill Murray and his older brother Brian Doyle-Murray, who co-starred with Bill in Caddyshack (1984), Groundhog Day (1993), Scrooged (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989) and The Razor’s Edge (1984).
Mark Wahlberg and ex-New Kids on the Block older brother Donnie – the basis for brothers Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon, who’s probably on a par with his real-life brother Matt these days) in the TV series Entourage.
Ben Affleck and his rapidly-gaining momentum younger brother Casey (I predict an upset).
Then there’s the Sheen/Estevez clan. Originally, Charlie Sheen and older brother Emilio Estevez were on a pretty even footing, back in Emilio’s Breakfast Club (1985), Stakeout (1987), Young Guns (1988), Mighty Ducks (1992), Paula Abdul glory days. Emilio must be wondering where it all went wrong for him really. Ramon and Renee Estevez never stood a chance.
And then there's the weird cases of Chris Penn and Eric Roberts. In the late 80s/early 90s, thanks to films like Best of the Best (1989) and The Specialist (1994), Eric Roberts was a high-profile, bankable household name. While younger sister Julia made a name for herself with films like Flatliners (1990) and Pretty Woman (1990). Now, thanks to catastrophes like Sharktopus (2010), Eric's firmly out of the running. Maybe he's putting his faith in 20-year-old daughter Emma.
Chris Penn, who also starred in Best of the Best, made a name for himself in the ‘80s/’90s with films like Footloose (1984), Reservoir Dogs (1992) and True Romance (1993). But these days, his multi-award-winning older brother Sean's way out in front. "What ever happened to Chris Penn", I thought? Turns out he died of a drug/weight-related heart problem in 2006, aged 40. Tragic...
And there you have it. A quick look at lesser-known Hollywood siblings. Who did we miss out? Who are some of your favourites? Britney and Jamie Lyn Spears? Jessica and Ashlee Simpson? Marie Kate and Ashley Olsen?