5 Actors Who Keep Playing Weirdly Specific Roles
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. If that's true, then Hollywood might actually be full of crazy people. How else do you explain certain actors doing the exact same thing in every movie they are in and expecting me to NOT point it out and make fun of them again?
Ryan Reynolds Keeps Changing Bodies/Consciousnesses
Detective Pikachu is one of the strangest goddamn movies I've ever seen. So it's an adaptation of a fairly obscure Pokemon game. Fine. So Pikachu can talk. OK? So he's (SPOILER) actually a detective INHABITING the body of a Pikachu. Oh, and the guy is Ryan Reynolds. Who the hell came up with this? HOW did they come up with this? To answer my own question, I'm guessing it's that someone looked at Ryan's filmography and said to himself, "Ah yes, this person sure has a lot of experience starring in mind-swapping movies."
It all seems to have started in 2000 with Boltneck, a horror comedy in which Reynolds dies and gets reanimated with the brain of a murderer. It's basically Frankenstein, only instead of exploring the themes of sentience, parenthood, and nature vs. nurture, it's just Reynolds beating the shit out of teens with the brain of a guy named Skeeter in his skull. The 2011 movie The Change-Up was somehow even less dignified, and involved Reynolds switching bodies with Jason Bateman after they both piss in the same fountain as it gets hit by lightning.
Reynolds' next attempt at making this shtick work was the 2013 "Men In Black, but with ghosts and also stupid" action comedy R.I.P.D. Reynolds plays a ghost cop who, while on Earth, appears to everyone as an old Chinese man.
Perhaps still searching for the perfect mind-swap role that would finally fulfill him, in 2015, Reynolds starred in Self/less as a man who pays off his daughter's medical bills by selling his body to a company that implants the consciousness of a dying billionaire inside him, artificially extending the billionaire's life. A sort of similar thing happens in 2016's Criminal, only it's Reynolds' consciousness that gets implanted in the brain of a sociopath played by Kevin Costner. Both movies asked complicated questions about the profound connection between mind and body, but only one has a "Please take me seriously again!"-era Kevin Costner, so I guess you know which one you're watching tonight.
Mads Mikkelsen Needs To Invest In Some Eye Protection
I've waited about 20 years for a decent adaptation of The Witcher, and it seems like I will be waiting another 20, because I just cannot see Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia. A) He looks worse than the guy in the crappy Polish adaptation that was somehow made on a budget of negative dollars, and B) Geralt clearly should have been played by Mads Mikkelsen. He not only has the range for it, but Geralt also has a scar over his eye, and Mads is all about playing characters with messed-up peepers.
Mads became widely known to American audiences with Casino Royale, in which he plays Le Chiffre, a terrorist financier with an injured eye that weeps blood. You might best recall the scene wherein he beats Daniel Craig's nutsack with a knotted rope, making you wonder if this whole gritty Bond reboot was such a good idea after all.
A few years later, Mads starred in the Danish film Valhalla Rising, in which he plays a viking warrior called One-Eye -- a nickname he did not get ironically. 2016 then came around and saw the release of Doctor Strange, in which Mikkelsen plays an evil sorcerer with burns around his eyes. It would have been funnier if Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange had been an optometrist in the movie, but I suppose you can't have it all.
2019 did not slow down Mads' weird vendetta against his eyes, as he played Duncan Vizla, aka "the Black Kaiser," in the Netflix action thriller Polar, for which he sported a fashionable eye patch. And what does the future hold for him? Well, we know he's providing motion capture, 3D scans, and vocal performances for Hideo Kojima's upcoming game Death Stranding, and screenshots confirm that even if his face doesn't get mauled, he does smear some shit across his eye for dramatic effect:
Peter Dinklage Is Always Building Superweapons, Fighting Kings, Or Both
After the series finale of Game Of Thrones, the main question on everyone's minds was "Wait, what happened with the whole 'Prince That Was Promised' subplot?" followed by "Wait, if Bran said he no longer has desires, why did he WANT to be king all of a sudden?!" followed by "Wait, do I still have time to cancel my HBO subscription before they bill me for the next month?" Then, way down the list, some people might have been asking themselves what Peter Dinklage will do next after playing Tyrion Lannister for nearly a decade.
I can answer that last one. Based on his previous roles, Dinklage will either build another superweapon or try to kill a royal. Quite possibly both, having done so on at least two occasions. First, on Game Of Thrones, he constructed a medieval nuclear bomb by filling a ship with Wildfire while trying to beat the forces of King Stannis Baratheon. Later, he was accused of killing King Joffrey before fleeing and helping Queen Daenerys fight Queen Cersei.
In Avengers: Infinity War, he basically does the same thing, playing Eitri the Dwarf, who forges the badass axe Stormbreaker for Thor (while almost killing the King of Asgard by having him stand in the energy blast of a star to reheat his forge). It's almost like the Kingslayer Gene is hereditary and transcends time and space. (Hey, that still wouldn't be the dumbest thing in the Marvel Universe. Looking straight at you, Thanos' helicopter.)
In X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Dinklage took a break from fighting kings to focus more on his superweapon hobby by constructing the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. But that's probably because he'd already had his fill of attempted regicide from The Angry Birds Movie (in which he voiced Mighty Eagle, who fights against King Mudbeard) and The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian, where he plays Trumpkin the dwarf, who wants to overthrow the unjust king of Narnia. No, really, that's his actual name. Trumpkin the dwarf. I'm so sorry, Peter. You deserve so much better.
Scarlett Johansson Keeps Trying To Evolve
Scarlett Johansson is one of the most famous actresses working in Hollywood right now, and yet her biggest role ever still ended with her sacrificing her life for a man. So it's no surprise that she wants more. Not in terms of fame and respect, but more like ... evolution, judging by the fact that a lot of her movies include her trying to hop onto the next plane of existence.
Although you could make the case that this started with Under The Skin, in which she plays a seemingly featureless goo-alien trying to construct a human body for herself, it originated before this with Her, where she's essentially a Sexy Siri. She plays an AI named Samantha who falls in love with her user, Joaquin Phoenix. By the end, she and other AIs upgrade themselves and evolve into beings of pure energy, leaving Earth for a world beyond physical space. Before she does, though, she admits to Phoenix's character that she's also "in love" with hundreds of other people, because isn't that always the case with people claiming to be some kind of a supreme being?
From there, Johansson moved to Lucy, which was a kind of mix between Her and Under The Skin. She gets a kilo of a superpower drug literally kicked into her, and she gains an increasingly number of abilities, including telepathy, telekinesis, an immunity to pain, and whatever the writers felt like at the time, eventually becoming the next stage of human evolution. She then ingests more of the drug and turns into ... a pitch-black, seemingly featureless goo-alien, after which she moves to a world beyond physical space and gives humanity a weird "You can do it!" film-ending pep talk.
Finally, in 2017, Johansson starred in Ghost In The Shell as Mira Killian, the first successful transplant of a human mind into a fully cybernetic body (Ryan Reynolds must have turned this one down). It's a profound example of artificial evolution that allows humans to transcend our physical bodies and limitations. Also the need for clothes.
Naomi Watts Is A Magnet For Weird, Creepy Kids
Naomi Watts has had a tremendous film career spanning more than 30 years, which now allows her to choose less mainstream, more artistic passion projects. But before she made it as a Hollywood star, she had to make a living by dealing with super weird, super creepy kids, like some kind of horror movie babysitter.
One of Watts' earliest roles was in the straight-to-video schlock fest Children Of The Corn IV: The Gathering, which can most generously be described as a movie that came out in 1996. There, Watts played Grace, a medical student fighting a demonic child preacher whose magic takes over the minds of the local kids and turns them into homicidal monsters. Grace ends up defeating the preacher by showering him in mercury while the audience desperately hopes that Blockbuster offers refunds.
From then on, it seemed like Watts was trying to cinematically talk herself out of ever having kids, although she now has two, so, you know, that's awkward. In 2002, she starred in the American remake of The Ring, in which she battled a demonic ghost child killing people via a cursed videotape. Sorry, I guess I should explain that for younger readers: See, before Earth turned into Hellworld, dying was something that people wanted to avoid. Watts played the same role in The Ring 2, and after that things went quiet on the creepy kid front ... or so we thought.
She never truly escaped this curse, as we see in 2016's Shut In. Here she plays the stepmother of a disturbed kid who gets into an accident and pretends to be in a vegetative state for six months so he can be closer to her. While this is happening, ANOTHER kid is living in Watts' crawlspace, turning Shut In into one of the greatest birth control methods ever.
Technically, you can also mention Movie 43, which has a kid called Kevin, who has a mop with Watts' character's face on it that he calls his girlfriend. But I don't know if this counts, because Watts is the one who made him that way. Through homeschooling. Because she's Kevin's mother. Ha! That's ... comedy?
Cezary is a freelance writer and editor. You should follow him on Twitter.
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