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8 More Actors Who Didn’t Know They Were Being Weirdly Typecast –

 

 

There’s obviously something to be said for establishing a brand. Tom Hanks is the world’s favourite everyman. Johnny Depp is an idiosyncratic eccentric. Morgan Freeman plays wise men and God. Adam Sandler has made a career out of being that guy you call when you want to make an Adam Sandler movie. They’re very much typecasting examples worn consciously on the actors’ sleeves.

But what of the actors who seem to have unintentionally gotten typecast in rather more specific – and occasionally just plain weird – ways? After we established that Ryan Reynolds keeps getting cast in body swap movies and Brian Cox characters have created THREE amnesiac assassins, it seems there are even more actors who repeatedly get cast in similarly coincidental ways…

 

8. Christian Bale Has A Secret Mirror Identity

Warner Bros/Lionsgate

Given how compelling Christian Bale is on screen, it’s no surprise that film-makers would try to take advantage by having as much scope for him to perform in their movies as possible. That’s why he tends to be given roles that either require larger-than-life caricatures or which demand several layers of performance.

Perhaps because he’s so talented at slipping between characters, it seems he’s carved himself a little niche of playing characters with a dark mirror identity. That happened first in American Psycho when his Patrick Bateman facade hid his murderous underbelly, which he followed in 2005 with his duel-roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman.

And the third example came with The Prestige, which took the double identity issue one step further with the twin deception. But in all three cases, the characters were defined by a deception, split between one publicly acceptable identity and one suppressed in disguise, living in the shadows. Clearly, he’s got a knack for it.

7. Martin Freeman Is A Reluctant Road Tripper

Buena Vista/Warner Bros/Universal

The less charitable commenters on Martin Freeman’s post-The Office career might suggest that he’s a fairly limited talent whose wheelhouse involves looking at the camera in despair and generally being a bit of a loveable loser. That mentality is a little unfair, but it’s not unreasonable to say that he does tend to play likeable figures. You’re unlikely to see him play a straight villain, for instance.

But stick around with his films long enough and you might get to see him taken on some sort of road trip initially against his full free will. He is, after all, the archetypal reluctant traveller in a company of others.

He played that part first in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, then followed it up similarly as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and finished this strange trilogy of linked movies with Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. In all case, he’s basically coerced into joining a group of other characters against his better judgement, even though it’s pretty clear he has no other choice.

6. Scott Adkins Has Really Sore Eyes

Magnet/Fox/Marvel

Some actors have REALLY specific tropes in their acting careers, like Tom Hanks always going to the toilet in his movies, or Paul Rudd always dancing or Brad Pitt CONSTANTLY eating, but none are quite as specific as that of Scott Adkins.

At some stage in his career, a casting director seems to have looked at the hulking actor and decided he would look really, really good with some sort of major injury to his face. The marketing materials for Universal Soldier 4 split his forehead and brow open and bathed him in blood, Doctor Strange burned his eye sockets to mystical ash and when he stood in for Ryan Reynolds as Weapon XI in X-Men: Origins (yes, that’s really him) , he had his eyes peeled for effect.

Seriously, if you search for pictures of him, it’s almost impossible to avoid any that gave in some way injured his eye area. In fact, it even seems to be a running feature of his posters. Perhaps it’s how he sells being a bad-ass?

5. Rachel McAdams Loves Time Travellers

New Line/Sony/Universal/Marvel

It goes without saying that people tend to have “a type” when it comes to their romantic partners. Whether that’s a physical trait or personality features, you’re drawn to similar people for a reason.

And the same clearly goes for characters played by Rachel McAdams in movies. But in her case, it’s not brown hair or blue eyes that she goes for. It’s not a good job or a kind soul. It’s not good conversation or a good physique even… It’s the ability to time travel.

You’d think that would be horribly limiting, but McAdams has so far managed to play the romantic interest to FOUR separate time travelling characters, in The Time Traveler’s Wife (opposite Eric Bana), Midnight In Paris (with Owen Wilson), in About Time (as Domhnall Gleeson’s wife) and in Doctor Strange (as Benedict Cumberbatch’s ex).

It’s such a strangely specific one that you have to think it SURELY can’t be accidental.

4. Ed Norton Has Violent Monsters Inside Him

Paramount/Universal/Fox/New Line

As with Christian Bale, there’s obviously something about Ed Norton that suggests to casting directors that he’s well suited to playing characters with many layers. Even more specifically, it seems there’s been a culture of him playing characters struggling with or hiding a violent monster inside them.

In his very first film role for Primal Fear, Norton set out his stall early, playing accused murderer Aaron Stampler whose abuse at the hands of a bishop led to the development of multiple personality disorder, including an identity called Roy who murdered his abuser. It ultimately ends up being a facade, but in all of the other cases here, there’s an element of control to the changes Norton’s characters undergo.

Next, he made American History X, in which he sought to run from his violent past as a racist foot-soldier of a neo-Nazi gang leader. And then he followed it up with Fight Club, in which his violent inner self exploded out as an entirely different figure in Tyler Durden and then finally he played Bruce Banner, who was cursed by his Hulk affliction.

There’s a clear progression of the still-thematically-similar roles dealing with how inner violent personas are dealt with and they work as a quadrilogy pretty damn well.

3. Bruce Willis Meets His Former Self

Buena Vista/Universal/TriStar

In the wake of his career-defining role as John McClane, Bruce Willis has wrestled with typecasting as Hollywood sought to cast him as everyman figures in action movies – usually facing increasingly insurmountable odds. That sort of ignores some of his better roles, but that’s pretty much the point of typecasting: it works from an audience point of view as well as with studios.

But less well-noticed is the fact that he’s also been cast a few times as a character who meets his younger self in movies. And in every case, as you’d expect, he’s supposed to learn some sort of lesson from the encounters. Not always good lessons, either.

The first time it happened was 12 Monkeys in 1995 whose dark twist revealed that he witnessed his own death as a child. It then happened again in 2000’s Disney’s The Kid when he met his younger self to learn how to be a better man. And then in a return to more harrowing form, in 2012’s Looper, he met his younger self who is charged with assassinating him.

In all three cases, the younger version ends up imprinting on the elder: in 12 Monkeys witnessing his own death shapes his entire life, in The Kid, he’s taught to be a better person and in Looper, he’s literally wiped out of existence. So not exactly all self-improvement, then.

2. James Marsden Loses His Love Interest To The Hero

Fox/Disney/New Line/Warner Bros

James Marsden can’t catch a break. Despite the fact that he’s been in a lot of romantic comedies, Marsden also has a nice side-line in playing men who end up being passed over for the film’s main male hero.

In X-Men, his boy scout Cyclops is no match for the rugged charms of Wolverine and he’s unceremoniously killed off; in Superman Returns, he’s rewarded for stepping in when Superman bails on his family by Lois Lane going back to Supes; in The Notebook his fiancee chooses Ryan Gosling over him and in Enchanted he loses his fiancee again, this time to Patrick Dempsey’s cynical real worlder.

In every case, it’s not like he’s even that bad an alternative for the women who leave him: he’s just not as dangerous or edgy or as much of a gamble. Which probably makes him even more of a draw! Apparently, someone in the casting agencies around Hollywood thinks he’s got a good face for romantic rejection.

1. Leonardo DiCaprio Tragically Dead Wives

Dreamworks/Paramount/Warner Bros.

There must be something about being married to Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters that drives you to difficult periods of mental illness.

In 2010, DiCaprio was haunted by the spectres of not one but two dead wives who had suffered with mental health issues, in Shutter Island and Inception. In both cases, his own mental condition was warped considerably by his interactions with those ghosts to the point of obsession and self-destruction.

And then in Revolutionary Road, the idyllic 1950s suburban setting is broken apart by the truth of DiCaprio’s relationship with on-screen wife Kate Winslet. Their relationship and their living conditions ultimately unravel and she dies from a botched, self-administered abortion.

In every case, the aftermath of his wives breaks DiCaprio’s character and change him fundamentally, as you’d expect. There’s also a suggested link between Winslet’s character and the others in her mental health to double down on the parallels.

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