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Monty Mike
March 3rd, 2009, 03:43 PM
Thought this was an interesting question and one I've often wondered myself. Take a look at Jim Carrey, for example, or Robin Williams. These two seem to be largely the same on and off-stage. After watching American History X a while ago I was looking up Edward Norton and under the trivia section of IMDB and it says of him: "Known to play characters who have dual personalities. Often plays intelligent but troubled characters." So I guess all actors have their 'trade marks', but how much do you think that is linked with their own personalities and lives outside of Hollywood? Are they often so good at playing particular roles because to a certain extent they are exaggerating their own qualities (both good and bad)?

Wondering what people's opinions are. How much can you tell about an actor from the roles they play?

Seak
March 3rd, 2009, 06:59 PM
I think you can tell a lot. Every time someone acts, it's a part of themselves they're bringing out.

This topic makes me think of what caused Heath Ledger's death. There are lots of theories that it was the role that made him do it.

Eldanuumea
March 3rd, 2009, 11:39 PM
Interesting topic.
There are some actors who play themselves in every role. Kevin Costner, for example, is always himself, whether he's Robin Hood or Dances with Wolves or the Postman or a pitcher. He maintains his essential persona.
Same with Clint Eastwood: regardless of the role, he's that gritty, hard-nosed guy who fights back. (Though I think his roles recently have become a bit more finely nuanced, at heart he's still Clint Eastwood.)

The truly great actors, in my opinion, are the ones who transform themselves with each role. Names that come to mind are Viggo Mortenson, Charlize Theron, Alfie Woodard, Johnny Depp, Sir Ian McKellan (Gandalf - did I get his last name right? It's past my bedtime.), Dame Judi Dench, and Paul Bettany.

kged
March 11th, 2009, 10:27 AM
Since the advent of the DVD age, with extras aplenty being included with films and TV shows, I have become quite fascinated with this sort of thing. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of actors who play Police officers or soldiers getting involved in real-life situations, just acting on reflex; chasing after muggers, etc. I suppose that points to them having been changed by the role they've played. And I had to laugh at Bradley Whitford – who played Josh in “The West Wing” – talking about how he sometimes found himself watching a story on the TV news, and thinking “I must talk to the President about that. Oh, wait…I’m an actor!” But my absolute favourite example of an actor being affected by his role would have to be the story Leonard Nimoy tells of an argument at home between his teenage daughter and his wife, with insults and accusations being hurled back and forth, until his wife turns to him and yells “Well don’t just stand there!!” - at which point he becomes aware that he is standing bolt upright, head tilted, arms folded, detachedly observing their behaviour. I suspect that if he’d raised one eyebrow and said “Fascinating” she’d have belted him with a saucepan.

Equally fascinating, though, is the mysterious art of casting actors in roles. Of course some examples are quite straightforward, but how on Earth do the casting directors make some of their decisions? I remember before the first X-Men movie came out here, and there was an appearance on a chat show by some guy called Hugh Jackman, who was to play Wolverine. On he came – and he was the campest, cheeriest, Broadway song-and-dance man you could hope to see. I just thought “You have got to be kidding…”, but look at him in the role; how does a casting director see that savage berserker, in this guy in (IIRC) the salmon-pink blazer?

manephelien
March 11th, 2009, 02:15 PM
Tom Cruise is always Tom Cruise, no matter what role he plays. That is, if the director lets him get away with it. One of the few exceptions was IMO Eyes Wide Shut with Kubrick.

I once saw an interview with Jim Carrey, where he kept pulling those "funny" faces he always uses in any comedic role. It looked almost like he suffered from Tourette's and couldn't control his facial contortions. I haven't been able to watch any JC movie since.

Sean Bean tends to pick roles where he plays the villain, and almost always gets killed. I'm not sure how much this is due to typecasting, how much due to him wanting to play such roles. That said, he's certainly my favorite bit o' rough!

Re Hugh Jackman, he was quite an accomplished TV actor in Australia before winning his first movie or musical role. I bet the casting director for X-men went back to those earlier macho roles.

Seak
March 11th, 2009, 02:18 PM
Tom Cruise is always Tom Cruise, no matter what role he plays. That is, if the director lets him get away with it. One of the few exceptions was IMO Eyes Wide Shut with Kubrick.

I once saw an interview with Jim Carrey, where he kept pulling those "funny" faces he always uses in any comedic role. It looked almost like he suffered from Tourette's and couldn't control his facial contortions. I haven't been able to watch any JC movie since.

Sean Bean tends to pick roles where he plays the villain, and almost always gets killed. I'm not sure how much this is due to typecasting, how much due to him wanting to play such roles. That said, he's certainly my favorite bit o' rough!

Re Hugh Jackman, he was quite an accomplished TV actor in Australia before winning his first movie or musical role. I bet the casting director for X-men went back to those earlier macho roles.
Sean Bean's one of my favorite's too. Have you seen Equilibrium?

manephelien
March 18th, 2009, 06:41 AM
Not yet, but I plan to. And not only for SB.

I'm having a hard time thinking up any typecast females, except in a very general way, where most women are only picked for their looks and the rest are character actors with a potential to have a longer career.