21 Actors Who Played Against Type and Killed It

Bruce Willis made a successful transition from comedy star to action hero
21 Actors Who Played Against Type and Killed It

As much as they like to insist they can be any person or animal or tree, even the best actors can get locked into one particular type of character because they’re just really good at it. Angelina Jolie will usually be some combination of sexy/scary. Jason Statham will usually be bald, sweaty and shooting someone. And sorry, Emma Stone, we just don’t see you as a villain. We want to go shopping with you too much.

That’s not to say she couldn’t surprise us — the woman has two Oscars, after all. And plenty of actors who were frozen in the public’s mind as a Type of Guy have broken out of their cages of consciousness.

“I’m thinking of funny guy Robin Williams, who played the creepy photo tech in the movie One Hour Photo and did a damn fine job,” user beastinsideabeast told r/Movies. “Perhaps not surprising to you if you were following the career of Robin Williams and had seen most of his movies, which show he has quite a bit of range, but I basically thought of Robin Williams as a comedian only. And of course, he had done some drama also, but I had not seen him in any other movie do what he did so well with the role of Seymour Parrish.” 

They then asked, “Which actor surprised you by taking on a role they don’t usually do and doing it very well?,” and, true to its typecasting, Reddit provided all sorts of interesting answers. 

Daniel Craig

Bruce Willis

Anthony Michael Hall

Tom Cruise

Olivia Colman

Emily Blunt

Liam Neeson

Tom Hanks

Matt Damon

Will Ferrell

Charlize Theron

Henry Fonda


Leslie Nielsen

Bryan Cranston

John Lithgow

Neil Patrick Harris

Colin Farrell

Heath Ledger

Jeff Daniels

Joe Pesci

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