This happens to me all the time. I'll see someone on the screen and know they're a famous actor but have no idea which famous actor they are. Last night, for example, I mistook Mathew Modine for James Van Der Beek, which I thought was quite understandable (they both have long chins), but which my husband took as a hilarious indication that I still fantasize regularly about Dawson's Creek*.
Of course, I don't just get confused about faces on the screen. I also get utterly confused about faces in the street (or, in my case, faces in Westfield). Either I'll know I know someone, but have no idea how, or I'll know exactly how I know someone, but cannot access her name from the dark recesses of my brain. Or I'll think I know someone, but she turns out to be someone quite different to the person I thought she was. Or I'll know how I know her, and I'll remember her name, but I can't remember the names of her kids, what work she does, or if she is the one whose husband just walked out on her for his personal trainer or if that was her sister.
Or in fact, if she has a sister.
And sometimes these occasions can be embarrassing. For example:
There's only one thing that can help me. I need a Face Recognition app for my iPhone. You know how Shazaam will instantly tell you the name and artist of any song that's playing? I need an app - let's call it Whozaam - that will instantly tell me the name, personal details, and circumstances of meeting of any person I wave my phone at.
Of course, I do acknowledge that there may be some small privacy issues with this software. But let's face it: no-one has much privacy these days anyway. And the usefulness of my app will far exceed any minor concerns about having the details of one's life open to the entire world. Besides, I suppose an individual could always opt out of having their details on the Whozaam database.
But if they do, then they can't expect me to say hello to them. I know I know them, but I haven't the slightest clue how.
*Which I may or may not do.