Oh Brothers: Twins Shawn and Aaron Ashmore Stay Friends On and Off the Set

      It's been years since Shawn and Aaron Ashmore were a brother act, but they still act as you'd expect of young brothers.

      On the set of Skulls 2, Aaron playfully put his younger (by one minute) brother in a headlock.

      Aaron was cast as one of the bad boys in the movie, a sequel to last year's suspense flick about dark doings inside an exclusive Ivy League fraternity. It filmed in Toronto last month. Shawn had dropped by to visit his brother, as well as cast member Christopher Ralph, with whom he'd co-starred in the teen medicos TV series In A Heartbeat.

      Since high school, when they were routinely confused with each other, the 21-year-old twin talents have grown a lot less identical.

      Aaron is now more sturdily built, has a broader face and is maybe a little taller. Maybe.

      "It's shoes and hair," Shawn explained of that.

      They're getting different work these days as well.

      "Shawn always gets cast as the nice guy and I usually get the jock or the bad boy or the jerk," Aaron said. "I guess people say I'm a little more aggressive than Shawn, so that kind of comes across. It's fun. It's nice that we get to do different stuff."

      In Skulls 2, Aaron plays a frat boy implicated in the disappearance of a college girl. Since then, he has completed the part of a wounded G.I. who gets a Dear John letter from his girlfriend in the Showtime cable film Charms For The Easy Life.

      Between them, the brothers have nearly three dozen film and TV credits. Shawn's most high-profile film part so far was playing mutant Bobby Drake/Iceman in X-Men.

      The pair began acting back in Alberta around age 10 after a talent scout contacted the multiple births association -- or as Aaron calls it, the "multiple rugrats" support group -- to which their mother belonged. First it was TV commercials, sometimes together, sometimes filling in when the other one got sick. Sometimes, they competed for the same role.

      "When we were younger, it was kind of difficult because you've got to deal with rejection if you didn't get the job. But we realized -- or I realized (I don't want to speak for Shawn) -- I realized that whoever does the better job is going to get the part. So you know, it wasn't like I hated him for getting a role or vice-versa."

      By the time they'd reached Brampton's Turner Fenton Secondary, they were working enough that they never had to ask anybody, 'Do you want fries with that?' but not so much that they had to drop out of regular school or see their marks slide.

      "We were, I think, normal high school kids. We liked to have fun, liked to party. But it was always, 'Do your school work first,' that sort of thing. We had all the same friends. We took all the same classes. We were always together," Aaron said.

      They still are. Now they're roommates.

      "It's interesting. You always have a best friend. You always have someone to hang out with. So it's good."

Claire Bickley // Toronto Sun