Who’s the most typecast of them all?

Who’s the most typecast of them all? April 8, 2009

We know that Godfather Al “Scarface” Pacino is in talks to play the power-mad King Herod for the film Mary, Mother of Christ.

Today, MTV’s MovieBlog reports that he’s about to play another heavy-handed leader (although in this case, that heavy hand will be held, um… “closer to the vest”)…

Yes, Pacino is soon to be heard shouting like a power-mad Napoleon.

But I don’t think the Academy is going to be in any hurry to give him another Oscar. They know it’s inevitable that he’ll eventually make a great Kim Jong Il. That’s the performance the world is waiting for.


Speaking of typecast actors, which actor could give Al Pacino a run for his money? We know Pacino’s capable of playing other kinds of characters… and once in a while he’ll even turn in a performance without SHOUTING. But really, do we need to see Pacino as Saddam Hussein? Pacino as Idi Amin? Pacino as Harvey Weinstein? The man is still a great actor. He was great in Michael Mann’s Heat and, in my opinion, equally compelling in Mann’s The Insider. I wanted to see him play King Lear, because even though that is a kingly character, it’s a character who is humbled and ruined. I was sad to see that project canceled.

Which actors are most predictably cast as a certain sort of character? Who needs to break out and show us that they’re capable of doing something else?

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8 responses to “Who’s the most typecast of them all?”

  1. Jason Schwartzman: he’s been playing himself ever since I Heart Huckabees -he was a time-travelling version of himself in Marie Antoinette.

    And how about that Megan Fox? I just know she has some serious acting chops, if only she was given substantial roles… like She-Hulk, for instance.

  2. Brendan Fraser. Whether by choice or not, his dramatic range has gone unchallenged for some time now.

  3. Samuel L. Jackson – Not only does he need to be in an actual good movie (besides a post-closing credits cameo) but he is currently poised to take Pacino’s crown as the shouting, intimidating guy.

    Ben Stiller – Needs a role that requires him to do neither of the following: 1) Wear a ridiculous wig 2) Endure humiliation and degradation in his search for love.

    Ashley Judd – Needs a role that doesn’t involved making her lower lip tremble or her being victimized

  4. Well, in a submissions that’s likely to be unpopular, I want to suggest one of my favorite actors, Bill Murray. There’s no doubt that he’s shown himself to be a great actor, particularly in the last ten years, yet, he usually plays variations of the same character.

    You know the one– the emotionally detached, mostly expressionless guy who has lost his love for life. He’s played a version of that in “Rushmore,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” and “Broken Flowers.”

    Certainly, no one plays that character better, evidenced by the fact that most of the above roles were written specifically for him. But I think Murray has more talent and versatility as an actor than that. Also, because of the subtle, nuanced nature of these roles, he is particularly in danger of coming across as kind of lazy.

    I want to see Murray play someone completely different, maybe for starters, a guy who loves life.

  5. I want to see Paul Dano as a steroid-injectin’ beatboxin’ Hamas renegade up against John McClane in “Get Rich or Die Hard Tryin'”

  6. Johnny Depp. If I hear one more person marvel at how unique all his characters are, I’m going to scream. . . his trademark now is to just be the kooky, outlandish character–and while I love his Jack Sparrow and Sweeney Todd, it’s worth noting that his roles are becoming increasingly predictable, especially when he teams up with Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, even Sweeney’s more outlandish moments). The reason Jack Sparrow was such a breath of fresh air was because Depp surprised everyone by taking a typical Hollywood hero role and turning it into a funny and bizarre creation. Willy Wonka was a tired, Mike Myers-esque creation and his work in Alice in Wonderland seems to be more of the same. Acting silly doesn’t automatically equal comedic brilliance.

    And it’s a shame because Depp is such a strong actor–just look at Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, etc. He’s sadly just turning into an A-list character actor…hopefully Public Enemies changes that, as Michael Mann can work magic with directors when he wants.

    Also, Jim Carrey is becoming the new Robin Williams for sappy New Age comedies….but when he takes a chance he can be dangerously funny or surprisingly dark and subtle. I would also say that you’re beginning to see Steve Carrell (nice-guy doofus), Gerard Butler (roguish charmer) and Clive Owen (dark hero) suffer the same fates and Christian Bale (noble, stoic hero) may not be far behind if he keeps jumping at every single franchise that comes his way (we don’t need a Terminator 4).