25 Actors Who Showed Their Versatile Talents Even After Being Typecast
Acting as something that you’re not is a talent that not every aspiring performer can pull off. It takes a certain amount of skill and talent to be able to convincingly portray different characters in different shows. Sometimes certain actors tend to be typecast as a particular stereotype in movies as well. Names like Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan etc., come to mind as typical examples. When we hear the names of the lead actors themselves, we already know how the movie’s plot-line will play out.
Sometimes, however, certain actors can break out of our expectations and deliver a spectacular performance even after they have been typecasted. Recently, a Reddit thread questioned netizens asking them to share instances where they’ve noticed this happening and folks were quick to respond with their keen observations as you can see below.
#1 Tom Hanks was the adorable jokester and lovable romcom man until he did Philadelphia and then he became very versatile for everything.
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#2 Robin Williams playing a killer in Insomnia was always so striking to me. He did such a great job and it was so different from his prior roles.
#3 Gary Oldman played a lot of bad guys. Liam Neeson played a lot of good guys. Christopher Nolan reversed that typecasting in Batman Begins.
#4 Tom Cruise – Les Grossman.
#5 Robert Pattinson post-Twilight BUT ALSO I have so much respect for Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe. They made their money and then just started doing BONKERS stuff that they really believed in and wanted to do. Elijah Wood in Sin City and I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (plus SpectreVision which is a production company he started that produces proper B horror), and Radcliffe in Horns, Swiss Army Man, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Agree 100%. Loved Elijah so much growing up, then he went from hobbit to serial killer and it was chilling.
Green street hooligans is a great movie that he really gave his all in. Completely changed my view of him
#6 Ik it’s a TV show but Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad is a no brainer for this.
#7 Woody Harrelson. It would be an understatement to say people were surprised when Woody from Cheers showed up starring in Natural Born Killers. Also, Bruce Willis. Until Die Hard, everyone knew him as a romantic lead. He was in Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd.
#8 I think Sally Field provided the blueprint for breaking type casting originally with Sybil. Then came her Oscar wins.
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#9 Stanley Tucci in the Hunger Games.
#10 Most recently I would say Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All At Once. She is known for pretty or sexy or put together characters. In Everything she is dowdy (sometimes evil) but never her usual – and she was great.
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#11 Surprised I haven’t seen Ralph Finnes in here. Guy built his career on prestige drama roles, and never shied away from playing an unlikable character. See The English Patient, Schindler’s List, Red Dragon, The Dutchess, Harry Potter, etc. His performances are always heavy. Then he goes and does The Grand Budapest and you see the guy has great comedic timing. Blew my mind to be laughing at Ralph Finnes.
#12 Bruce Willis broke into action roles with Die Hard.
Yeah people these days forget Bruce Willis was a TV heart throb when Die Hard came out. People were used to 80s body builders starring in action movies and a lot of the buzz came from confusion “An action movie starring BRUCE WILLIS wtf??”
Audiences laughed en mass when trailers for Die Hard were aired. The thought of Bruce Willis playing an action hero was hilarious to the general public.
#13 Steve Carell comes to mind for mainly being known for his comedic roles to then doing films like foxcatcher and beautiful boy.
I think Little Miss Sunshine was his first real dramatic role.
#14 Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems.
I scrolled too damn far before I saw Adam. That man is a Robin Williams level actor in the right films when it comes to flawless serious and comedic acting.
The problem is he figured out he gets paid more to hang out with his friends on camera for mid comedies (ex. Grown Ups). You can’t blame him if the studio is gonna pay for you and all your bros to hangout in Hawaii for a few months AND you get a dump truck of cash, you would do it too. So even though I think he has the actual acting potential to equal Robin, his overall filmography never will which is sad.
His debut comedies are eternal classics and Punch Drunk Love, Longest Yard, and Uncut Gems are all extremely well made serious films.
#15 Jeff Daniels in *Dumb & Dumber*
#16 Heath Ledger as the Joker
#17 Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. That movie showed the world that he could act and wasn’t just a pretty actor.
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#18 Several have mentioned Robin Williams but I didn’t see any mention of *Awakenings*, a straight dramatic role with virtually none of his usual comic shenanigans.
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Macaulay Culkin in *My Girl* plays a role that’s almost a total opposite of the *Home Alone* character he’s best known for.
#19 Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. People were scoffing at the idea that the snarky goofball from Fantastic Four would be the stalwart, noble leader of the avengers. Said Downey would act him off the screen in Avengers. That the character itself was too boring and he wouldn’t elevate it. Instead became the heart and soul of the MCU and a superhero icon.
#20 I think Matthew McConaughey is up there for breaking out of the romcom stuff to do things like Interstellar.
#21 Charlize Theron in *Monster*.
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#22 John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Everyone and I mean everyone at the time associated him with the Look Who’s talking movies and Saturday Night Fever. Then he just gets this amazing career revival and puts out a badass performance in an instant classic.
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#23 Between the latest James Bond movies and *Layer Cake*, **Daniel Craig** is mostly known as “suave British spy / criminal.” But later he proved he has comedic talent and also a knack for southern accents in *Logan Lucky* and the *Knives Out* films.
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#24 Marlon Wayans in Requiem for a Dream
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#25 Most recently Dave Bautista in Knock at the Cabin.
Bautista in every role. Dude broke in with Guardians and then made a decision to go as varied as possible to break the typecast and prove he’s got skill. He’s the anti-Rock.
I love that he very obviously cares about working with great directors and pushing boundaries with interesting roles. The Rock has chosen instead to chase money & feed his ego – & thus, has taken on almost no roles that take risks. At one time he did seem relatively eager to take on different types of roles (like in Be Cool), but somewhere along the way he became satisfied with just playing the same character over and over. I don’t mean to say that all of his films are bad. The Jumanji reboot & the sequel were surprisingly good. I just always know exactly what I’m getting from The Rock in a movie & that can become stale pretty quickly.