Actors get typecast. It’s a harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless; it happens. And by typecast I mean, after the breakthrough role that jumpstarts their career they (usually) get offered other roles, and a big percentage of such roles will inevitably be somewhat similar to the one they are known for.
In other words, as an actor it is likely producers will offer you to play a character which they think you are suitable for, based on the performance they have seen you in (which dictates what they think you are good for).
Now, if and how much actors really get typecast depends upon their acting abilities, obviously, their willingness to be adventurous and to challenge themselves, and their agent’s suggestions.
Some escape the stereotyping trap and manage to become versatile and surprise their fans with different roles and performances; others, on the other hand, fall into this trap head first and, more or less happily, start playing the same character, only with different names, movie after movie.
There are many lists of the ‘most typecast actors’ out there on the internet. So rather than listing what character a certain actor ALWAYS ends up playing, we could ask ourselves, what character will they NEVER play? Or better yet, what role would we never be able to see them playing?
(Please note: it doesn’t mean they are never going to try, or they haven’t tried in the past. Stallone might well be signing a contract right now to star in the next High School Musical. Still, it doesn’t mean we think he’s suitable for it.)
We can’t imagine…
Angelina Jolie – playing the ‘Sex and the city-esque fashionable career woman’
First of all: Angelina doesn’t do chick flicks. No way. She does thrillers, dramas, historical, adventure. But no romantic comedy and not even comedy. And before you say it: Mr and Mr Smith was only comedy because it was so bad it made you laugh, but it was still action-comedy.
And second: her films have to have dramatic, slightly depressing and/or omen-of-sad-ending titles, like Girl interrupted, Taking lives, The good shepherd, Wanted. No happy or cheesy titles that promise equally cheesy stories and happy endings. So no Prada shoes, Gucci bags, scintillating Manhattan condos and hot arm candy love interest, either.
In the same boat: Michelle Rodriguez, Maria Bello, Charlize Theron.
Nicholas Cage – playing the ‘rom-com romantic boyfriend/husband’
Nicholas is tough, he likes pain and likes to show us.
His films need to include at least two or three close-ups of him determinedly staring at his next challenge: aliens, terrorists, witches, drug dealers, Sean Bean in National Treasure. His natural call is to play the hero who kicks ass and saves everybody (except himself, usually). Ok, he’s tried romantic with City of Angels (but he still liked pain) and Family Man, but could we really say it’s worked? No. It’s not the role for him.
In the same boat: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson.
Sean Bean – playing the ‘good trustworthy guy’
Sean Bean can’t star in a rom-com, much like Angelina.
And what’s more, while Angelina usually plays the hero, when he’s not busy with the disappearances and deaths of different family members Sean is always the villain (better if in costume).
Even inside the Fellowship of the Ring he got the mean guy role who wanted to kill a little Hobbit. Is it because he’s English?
In the same boat: Christopher Lee.
Jennifer Aniston – playing the ‘kick ass tough woman with a gun’
Let alone the villain! She is ‘the’ typecast actor of this generation.
Jennifer is the opposite of Angelina: her roles seem to be an endless variation of Rachel from Friends, and the cheesier the title the better: ‘The thin pink line’, ‘Along came Polly’, ‘Horrible bosses’ (huh?!). She is ‘America’s sweetheart’, and probably always will be.
In the same boat: Drew Barrymore, Katherine Heighl, Kate Hudson.
Megan Fox – playing the ‘shy geeky non-popular girl’ or ‘the devout sweet wife/girlfriend’
It might be because of her looks, and a lot of you are surely now saying ‘Megan Fox is too good looking to play the unpopular/unattractive one!’ To which I say, err, Charlize Theron in Monster, anyone?
The truth is, Megan is not interested in such roles, just like her fans are not interested in seeing her in them. She will always play the hot shallow woman who can have anyone she wants but doesn’t really have anything clever to say.
In the same boat: Jessica Alba.