Typecasting is a difficult double-sided conundrum for an actor: if you’re great at playing a certain type of role, why stop while the money keeps coming in? At the same time, audiences may eventually tire of an actor and assume they simply haven’t got any range, so they’re best advised to shake things up every now and then.

These 8 world-class actors have certainly proven themselves diverse actors throughout their careers, but that hasn’t stopped them becoming typecast in ways either thoroughly unconventional or not immediately obvious to audiences or even the actors themselves.

None of these actors will be facing the unemployment line any time soon, but some of their samey career choices are nothing if not bizarre.

8. Tom Hanks Is…A Guy Who Sucks At Travelling

DreamWorks & Columbia

Tom Hanks really doesn’t have the best of luck when it comes to leaving the house, does he? His globe-trotting antics over the last two decades in particular have landed him in some perilously hot water, and in one instance even resulted in his character’s demise.

Examples: Hanks was sent into space and almost killed by shuttle failure (Apollo 10), died during a mission in WWII Normandy (Saving Private Ryan), was marooned after his plane crashed over the Pacific Ocean (Cast Away), was left stranded in an airport on his way into the U.S. (The Terminal), had his cargo ship attacked by pirates (Captain Phillips), was forced to crash-land a plane on the Hudson River (Sully), and almost ended up murdered by maniacs multiple times in both France and Italy (the Robert Langdon trilogy).

Granted, going into space and to war are inherently dangerous, but working for Fed Ex, Maersk and Harvard University are about as safe as jobs get, right? Plus, isn’t flying the safest way to travel, especially if you’re the freaking pilot, as in Sully’s case?

7. Ryan Reynolds Is…A Body Swap Extraordinaire

Universal, Focus Features & Summit Entertainment

If you ever need someone’s body to leap out of or into, apparently Ryan Reynolds is Hollywood’s go-to-guy, considering he’s played that part three times in the last six years alone.

Examples: Reynolds has been a fun-loving bachelor who swaps bodies with an overwhelmed parent (The Change-Up), served as the lifeless vessel for a terminally ill man’s consciousness to be downloaded into (Self/less), and finally, had his dead CIA agent’s memories transplanted into the mind of a violent criminal to help complete a vital mission (Criminal).

It’s extra hilarious and weird when you consider that the latter two of these movies came out within 9 months of one another.

Apparently Reynolds just really, really likes the whole body swap genre…even though all three of these films were widely panned and it doesn’t make sense for any actor to consciously keep rehashing roles in a very specific type of movie.

6. Paul Giamatti Is…A Doctor…All The Time

Warner Bros, Roadside Attractions & Fox

Paul Giamatti is without question one of the greatest actors of his generation, so why the Hell has he been getting cast in forgettable roles as doctors so much recently?

Examples: He’s played a Doctor of Medicine (The Congress), a seismologist (San Andreas), a therapist (Love and Mercy), a sports psychologist (The Phenom), and most recently a psychiatrist (Morgan).

While there are plenty of actors who carve out fine careers for themselves playing cops, doctors and so on, this one’s especially weird considering that Giamatti is better known for playing slacker schlubs than professionals, yet over the last four years, he’s played a doctor of some kind five times.

More to the point, of his six most recent theatrically-released roles, four of them have been as a doctor. It’s an odd pattern, but at least Giamatti’s upcoming credits don’t list anymore doctor roles…yet.

5. Julia Roberts Is…Unable To Form A Functional Family

Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, Open Road Films

Despite her enormous popularity, Julia Roberts just can’t seem to escape playing characters with horrendously dysfunctional family lives.

Examples: Roberts has died in a car accident that tore her family apart (Fireflies in the Garden), gotten divorced and gone on vacation to “find” herself (Eat Pray Love), been unhappily married to Bryan Cranston (Larry Crowne), been a wicked stepmother (Mirror Mirror), attempted to beat up her elderly mother (August: Osage County), suffered through her daughter’s brutal murder (Secret in Their Eyes) and given up a daughter as a youngster only to be confronted by her many years later (Mother’s Day).

While some of these scenarios do ultimately have semi-happy resolutions, a lot of them don’t, and it’s odd that someone as talented as Roberts has been typecast as such a specific and often morbid character type.

4. Brian Cox Is…A Guy Who Always Creates Amnesiac Killers

New Line Cinema, Universal & Fox

Brian Cox is a master at creating cold-blooded killers, having done so on three very specific, unforgettable occasions.

Examples: Under the employ of the CIA, Cox’s characters have been responsible for the creation of agency assassin Charly Baltimore (The Long Kiss Goodnight) and blank slate asset Jason Bourne (The Bourne franchise), while as General William Stryker, he headed up the Weapon X program which led to the creation of Wolverine (X-Men 2)

In each instance, his tinkering comes back to bite him, though, as he ends up dead in all three movies when his creations don’t exactly take his experimentation lightly, shockingly enough.

3. Matt Damon Is…A Guy Who Always Needs Rescuing

Paramount, Warner Bros & Fox

Matt Damon is cinema’s prototypical “guy who needs to be rescued”, and it only really works because audiences actually like the guy so damn much.

Examples: Damon is the sole survivor of four brothers fighting in WWII and a rescue mission is mounted to bring him home (Saving Private Ryan), astronauts launch a mission to rescue him after he claims the ice planet he inhabits can sustain life (Interstellar), and after he’s stranded in Mars, a global effort is launched to bring him back safely (The Martian).

In each instance Damon’s character is presumed to be extremely important, and a gigantic, arguably disproportionate mission is then launched to rescue him.

In the first two movies the missions cause deaths, while The Martian surprisingly doesn’t feature a single fatality at all.

If Damon didn’t seem like such a nice guy, it wouldn’t be so easy to buy into these elaborate rescue missions for just one man, yet ironically the one truly vital mission of the three (in Interstellar) is also the only one where he ends up playing a duplicitous a**hole.

2. Paul Dano Is…Mentally Ill

Warner Bros, Roadside Attractions & A24

Some actors just have a knack for playing mentally ill, even unhinged characters, and Paul Dano sure has leaned into that over the course of his career.

Examples: Dano has played a serial killer (Taking Lives), a suicidal homeless man (The Good Heart), a young man with the IQ of a 10-year-old (Prisoners), a paranoid schizophrenic (Love and Mercy) and a suicidal man who believes a washed-up corpse has come to life (Swiss Army Man).

It’s something of a running joke by this point that Dano seems so adept at playing deranged and lost souls, but at least to his credit he’s played them in a wide variety of genres, from thriller, to drama, biopic and even off-kilter comedy, which from his perspective probably doesn’t seem quite so samey.

1. Kevin Spacey Is…Everything Modern America Fears

Warner Bros, Netflix & EuropaCorp

Nobody plays a world class piece of s*** piped into an expensive suit quite like Kevin Spacey. More to the point, he’s had a habit over the last decade-or-so of playing suited-and-booted villains who tap directly into present concerns of modern Americans. We might be here a while…

Examples: Spacey has played real estate scammer Lex Luthor (Superman Returns), a North Pole bureaucrat trying to ruin the sanctity of Christmas (Fred Claus), a corrupt lobbyist (Casino Jack), the a**hole President of a financial firm (Horrible Bosses), the murderous President of the United States (House of Cards), the megalomaniacal CEO of a private military contractor (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare), Richard Nixon (Elvis & Nixon) and a Donald Trump-esque business tycoon (Nine Lives).

What’s extra amusing about Spacey’s typecasting is that he’s not merely been content to play the harbinger of doom over and over again in movies, but also on TV shows and video games.

You’d think the guy might want to branch out and experiment with a few heroic roles, but for the most part he’s boxed himself into playing terrible people who spell out America’s troubling social issues (and admittedly does a fantastic job of it).

While to Spacey his career may not seem quite so singular, as he tends to play distinctly different roles in much smaller movies, to mainstream audiences who never see these films, he clings pretty closely to this one major archetype.

Which actors do you find to be the most egregiously typecast? Shout them out in the comments!

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