What could be more iconic of the modern world than some of our most famous stars? Jennifer Lawrence, Keanu Reeves, Peter Dinklage (and that kid who played his adolescent tyrant of a nephew in Game of Thrones) are as much a symbol of our modern culture as iPhones and Instagram. Surely these stars are part of what sets us apart from history. You might see a picture of Andrew Garfield and be reminded of a time just a handful of years back when Spiderman was a little more brooding and not nearly as funny, but you wouldn’t be thrown back to the class struggles of the early 20th century Russia. Or would you?
Films and shows like Pirates of the Caribbean or Game of Thrones notwithstanding, we don’t expect to see our cultural icons popping up throughout history. Orlando Bloom is just so much better looking than anyone born in the previous century. And yet, when a photo of Nicolae Grigorescu, a Romanian writer born in 1838, is compared to Bloom’s handsome mug, it’s impossible not to see the resemblance. Are our modern stars really unique to our time and place, or have ghosts from the past traveled forward in time to be caught up in the spotlight and chase down bands of orcs in front of a green screen? You decide.
We’ve come up with a list of 50 modern stars who have a doppelganger from history. Several years ago, Nicholas Cage appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (who is already becoming a relic of the past himself) to address whether or not he’s a vampire from the Civil War. When presented with a photo of a man from the 1860s who bore an uncanny resemblance to the actor, Cage noted that it looked like “a somewhat slowed-down version of me.”
Matthew McConaughey Was a Foppish Dandy.
Is this Detective Rust Cole or the original Sherlock Holmes? On the left is a face we’ve recognized for the past 25 years, but who is that handsome devil on the right? We don’t know exactly when the picture on the right was taken, but the distinguished gentleman pictured almost certainly traveled forward in time in order star in everything from Dazed and Confused to True Detective. The stately Victorian-era gentleman apparently thought the future was going to be “alright alright alright.”
Nicolas Cage Fought in the Civil War
Nicolas Cage has apparently been a national treasure since long before he appeared in National Treasure. Although he appeared in the 1980s cult movie, Vampire’s Kiss (where he famously screams, “I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!”), he maintains that he is indeed, not a vampire. “There’s a photo of me,” Cage remarked to David Letterman, “and you can’t take pictures of vampires. Good point, Nick, but we’re going to watch that movie a little more closely next time.
Jay-Z Has Been Looking Cool Since The Great Depression
Jay-Z claims he was born the same year as the moon landing. But we suspect he’s been around far longer than that. Shortly after the picture on the right was taken, Shawn Corey Carter realized he needed to stop recording those grainy phonograph records and freeze himself until the Grammy Awards got invented. Oh, and change his name to something a little more futuristic. After selling 50 million albums, he’s definitely not looking back to the good old days!