You may know them as some of the most famous actors and comedians in the world who seem to appear as almost the same person in each and every role they take on. Occasionally, we may get a bit tired of watching these stars in the same role continuously, but do we really want them to change? I think not as these Hollywood stars go from success to success and keep on churning out movies featuring their most reliable characters. From Adam Sandler’s childlike loser persona to the reassuring voice and presence of Morgan Freeman, these actors deal in a public image that begs for more of the same in the future.
Let’s start with Adam Sandler, the Saturday Night Live alum who has spent the last 20 years carving out his own version of the man-child character that has become his most popular persona. From ‘Billy Madison’ to ‘Happy Gilmore’ and his later appearances in ‘Grown Ups’, his films tend to follow the same formula and feature a team of comedians who have similar acting and comedy styles, such as Kevin James and Rob Schneider. Unlike many of his fellow stars on this list, Sandler did try to break free of his typecasting in ‘Punch Drunk Love’; despite being critically acclaimed, the movie was not commercially successful and has seen the comic largely return to his regular typecast roles since that film.
He may be everybody’s favorite high school virgin, but Canadian actor Michael Cera has reached his mid-20s without seeming to graduate to college. Forever typecast after his role in the cult sitcom ‘Arrested Development’, Cera remains a popular figure in movies, playing high school students and college freshmen, despite reaching his mid-20s. Films such as ‘Superbad’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ may have made Cera a household name, but unlike his co-stars such as Jonah Hill, they’ve yet to make the leap to more serious and adult roles.
Speaking of his co-stars, ‘This Is The End’ co-star Seth Rogen is another Hollywood celebrity who has struggled to shake off the character. He has become typecast playing to an extent. His break out performance as the stoner boyfriend of Katherine Heigl in ‘Knocked Up’ is now the character he plays on a regular basis. Stoner comedies like ‘Pineappple Express’ with James Franco have become the stock in trade of Rogen, who like Adam Sandler, has tried to shake off his best known character with little success. A small role in the latest Steve Jobs movie is unlikely to see his future career depart from the past despite the best efforts of the Canadian born actor and writer.
We’ve now arrived at the heavyweights of typecasting in Hollywood, which begin with Will Ferrell, who’s another comic actor forever destined to appear as the man/boy stuck in a world he doesn’t understand. Ferrell, like Sandler, made his name with SNL and went on to carve out a successful, if limited movie career for himself. Ferrell was typecast as soon as he pulled on a pair of tights to play Buddy the Elf and the helmet of Ricky Bobby as the man, who doesn’t quite understand the world he lives in and struggles to cope with an uncertain future. Ferrell has also tried to depart from his typecasting, but moviegoers only want another installment in the Ron Burgundy franchise.
Morgan Freeman may seem like a strange choice for this list filled with comic actors from across TV and the movies. However, the soothing tones of Freeman’s voice have made many blockbuster movies a little easier to watch after he broke out for the movie going public in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. Freeman has seen his soft narration for many movies featured on shows like ‘Family Guy’, which has seen the star of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ become one of the best known and much loved actors of the modern time. He’s also an environmentalist and had offered his voice for the narration of the film ‘March of the Penguins’ back in 2005.
Typecasting has always been seen as one of the worst problems for actors who’re looking to create a popular and varied career. However, these actors have forged successful careers by playing similar roles in many top movies, which makes typecasting one of the best ways for comic and dramatic actors to enter the hearts of their fans.