The Babies Who Played Rachel's Daughter on 'Friends' Are Now Twinning in Jordan Peele's 'Us'
By Stacy Lambe
In Jordan Peele’s latest horror film, Us, Lupita Nyong’o leads a cast of familiar faces -- Elisabeth Moss, Winston Duke -- and a roster of rising stars, including Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex as her onscreen children, Zora and Jason, as well as Madison Curry, who plays a younger version of the actress’s character, Adelaide Wilson. Also in the mix are teenage twin actresses, Cali and Noelle Sheldon, who play Becca and Lindsey, daughters to Moss’s character, Kitty Tyler.
While they may not look instantly familiar, the sisters have the second-longest acting careers in the cast, second only to Moss, who has been acting on screen since 1991. And they probably have one of the most recognizable roles of the bunch, playing Emma Gellar-Green, Rachel and Ross’ baby daughter on Friends.
The character was first introduced when Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) gives birth during the two-part season 8 finale in 2002, with Cali and Noelle taking over the role in 2003, playing Emma for the remainder of the series. They made their first appearance in the season 9 episode, “The One in Barbados,” and famously starred in the Emma-centric episodes, “The One With the Cake” and “The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits.” Their final appearance was during season 10 in “The One Where Estelle Dies.”
Now 16 years old, Cali and Noelle are the same age that Emma would be in real life. When this fact was discovered last summer, it caused a meltdown among fans who were feeling their age or reeling from the fact that it had been over a decade since the hit NBC series went off the air.
After Friends ended in 2004, the twins played a one-year-old girl, coincidentally named Emma, in the 2006 movie Novel Romance. They later appeared in the pilot for Damian Lewis’ short-lived NBC series, Life, and a few short films.
In 2015, when the girls were 12 years old, ET caught up with them to discuss their famous role. “I grew up knowing that I was on Friends, but I didn’t realize the extent of it until I was 10,” Noelle said. When asked if they could tell each other apart on the show, Cali said she could because “Noelle had more baby fat.”
At the time, neither sister had seen any of the show aside from the episode, “The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits,” which featured guest star Christina Applegate as one of Rachel’s sisters. They told ET at the time they were waiting until their 13th birthday, when their parents would let them watch it all. “I’m just gonna go on Netflix,” Noelle said, with Cali adding it would be a “24-hour Friends marathon.”
While they said wanted to continue acting, it would be three more years before they landed dual roles in Us.
“So thankful for this opportunity and excited to work with such amazing actors and Jordan Peele.” Cali wrote on Instagram when the full cast was announced last July.
“So happy I got to be a part of this movie, it looks amazing and terrifying!” Noelle wrote on Instagram when the trailer dropped on Christmas Day.
In the film, which opens Friday, Cali and Noelle play twin daughters to Kitty, who is best friends with Adelaide and is married to Josh (Tim Heidecker). First appearing on the beach, when the Tylers and Wilsons meet up for a relaxing afternoon in the sun, the girls appear to be as obnoxious as their parents.
“The Tylers see themselves as better than the Wilsons, but they try not to show it,” Cali said in the film’s production notes. “Lindsey and Becca don’t really like the Wilson kids, Zora and Jason, so they play little pranks on them and are mean to Zora and Jason in subtle ways. They don’t like us much either.”
Without spoiling the film, the characters don’t do themselves any favors. But the twins do get to put their gymnastic skills on display. “They have a couple of scenes where they really steal the show,” Peele said.
Knowing that the actresses were on Friends, the director included an Easter egg in the film. Sharp-eyed viewers may notice Josh’s tattoo of the twins on his forearms, which was based on a template created from an image of Cali and Noelle when they were sharing the role of Emma.
While they told us back in 2015 that they hadn’t stayed in touch with their adult Friends co-stars, they did manage to stop by Aniston’s Hollywood Walk of Fame in February during as they geared up for the Us premiere. “We found the coolest star,” Noelle captioned a pic of her and Cali with the “star.”