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30th May 2016

This ‘Frasier’ face swap picture shows how truly genius the casting of the Crane brothers was

Those producers really knew what they were doing

Declan Cashin

Hollywood has a bit of a patchy record when it comes to casting people who are supposed to be family members in movies and TV shows.

For instance, in the recent ensemble movie This Is Where I Leave You, we’re supposed to accept that Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll and Adam Driver are siblings (and the offspring of Jane Fonda to boot).

Not buyin’ it.


Via YouTube

On the other hand, it’s much easier to imagine that Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller were brothers in Prison Break. Good casting makes all the difference when it comes to the suspension of disbelief required to truly immerse yourself in a good piece of fiction.


Via Newsweek.

But this Twitter user has really found an example of just how spectacularly on-point one piece of modern TV casting was.

Entertainment writer RT Churchill posted this image from an episode of the classic ’90s sitcom Frasier, in which he used the popular face swap feature to switch the mugs of Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and his on-screen brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce).

The results are, well, uncanny.

Honestly, you can barely tell the difference from their real faces:


Via FrasierDenied

It was a very smart, gimlet-eyed casting director who first copped onto the physical similarity between the two actors. Hyde Pierce had worked on a short-lived sitcom called The Powers That Be (it lasted just one year, in 1992), and when that show was axed, a casting director named Sheila Guthrie showed Pierce’s audition headshot to David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee, who were at the time developing Frasier as a spinoff to Cheers.

They were so wowed by the resemblance between Hyde Pierce and Grammer (especially him as a younger man in his Cheers days) that they created the role of Niles especially for him.

In a past interview with The AV Club, Hyde Pierce recalled his casting in the show:

“At the time, what happened was, they brought me in. There wasn’t a part. They were thinking of maybe having a brother. The casting director and the three creators chatted with me: “Well, we think Frasier went to Harvard, so we think Niles went to Yale, and we think Frasier’s a Freudian, so we think Niles is a Jungian. And that’s kind of what we know.” That was it. And then my agent called and said, “You got the part.” I hadn’t even seen the script. In fact, I thought, “Gosh, I got the part, and I don’t even know what it is.” And when they sent me the script and I read it, I thought, “Well, this is terrible.” Because they had written two of the same character. Niles is just like Frasier. What sense does that make?”

Of course, the actor’s initial doubts about the viability of the character were totally wrong. Niles became the breakout star of the show once it started airing in the US in 1993, and Hyde Pierce ended up winning four Emmys for the role.