As an aspiring actor who has yet to book their first role, I started researching who is landing roles in Hollywood and noticed a trend. It seems that many working actors are the children of or otherwise related to famous actors! They are known as “nepotism babies” or, as my teen cousin calls them, “nepo babies.” Here is a list of some surprising examples:
You may already know this one, but, in case you don’t, the musician and actor Jaden Smith is the child of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. He made his major acting début in the film “The Pursuit of Happyness,” playing the son of Will Smith’s character, making him a natural fit for the role.
In the third season of Netflix’s hit series “Stranger Things,” we’re introduced to a character named Robin Buckley, played by Maya Hawke. She may look familiar to you. That’s because Maya is the daughter of the actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. Looks like the acting gene runs in the family!
You may also have noticed a fresh new face in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood.” In a breakout performance alongside the A-lister Brad Pitt, Margaret Qualley portrays a member of Charles Manson’s cult. Because their last names are different, many people are unaware that Margaret is the daughter of the actress and former fashion model Andie MacDowell. One could assume that Margaret took her father’s last name to prove that she was forging her own path, without the aid of her mother’s reputation. But, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that there almost always is a nepotistic connection. Also, that Qualley and MacDowell have very similar faces.
The early-two-thousands pop-culture darling Jessica Simpson is known for her chart-topping albums, her stint as a reality TV star on “The Newlyweds,” and her performance in the movie “The Dukes of Hazzard.” What you may not know is that her uncle is none other than the star of the small screen Bart Simpson. Once you notice that they have the same striking blond hair, it’s impossible to unsee the resemblance. Ay caramba, indeed!
Luca Guadagnino’s film “Call Me by Your Name” introduced many of us to the heartthrob Timothée Chalamet. It also introduced us to another scene-stealer—the peach. What some people don’t know is that the peach’s father was none other than the titular giant peach in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach.” It’s no wonder that both were able to turn in such organic performances.
This next one will shock you. Vin Diesel, the star of the long-running “Fast and Furious” franchise, and Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson, Hollywood’s highest-paid actor, are not related. But it feels like they should be.
Noah Baumbach’s film “Marriage Story” earned six Oscar nominations. One of the movie’s most memorable scenes features the actor Adam Driver punching a hole through a wall in a fit of rage. Driver may be a self-made talent, but his scene partner is related to an international star. That’s right, the wall he punches is the grandson of an icon of democracy—the Berlin Wall.
Although all the actors mentioned above are masters of their craft, it’s hard not to be discouraged. How can I, an up-and-coming thespian, compete with these well-connected nepotism babies? Should I give up and enroll in a coding bootcamp? When I find myself on the verge of defeat, I remind myself—in a sea of Lily-Rose Depps, be an Adam Driver. Which is why I’ve decided to join the Marines, in the hope of being medically discharged, so that I can then enroll in the drama division of the Juilliard School and meet some famous walls. Fingers crossed! ♦
This content was originally published here.