One thing so many actors attempt to free themselves of, is stereotype. The idea of being pigeonholed into a certain brand of filmmaking, or certain type of character detracts from the diversity of acting, and that innate desire to try new things and expand your horizons. It’s suffice to say that sadly this isn’t always the case; and while some actors evidently thrive in their stereotype – building entire careers for themselves based on characters that sometimes merely reflect their own personalities, such as Seth Rogen for instance – for many others, it’s not something they wanted to happen, but sadly, something that already has.
It can be a real challenge to break free, as audiences can become comfortable with the similar roles, and grow to be afraid of change in case the results aren’t as positive. And we’re now going to examine a few examples of those who have failed to break free and succumbed to their stereotype. Oh, and if you like this one, why not check out our other feature where we highlight some of those who not only broke free of their stereotype, but then went on to build an accomplished and triumphant career for themselves.
In his prime, there were few actors as famous as Macaulay Culkin. The problem is, that prime came before he had even reached the age of 15. Now labelled the “failed child star” – his career has nosedived since the glory years of Home Alone, Uncle Buck and Richie Rich. It’s a shame to see such huge talent go to waste. And if you’re wondering what he’s up to now, he was recently booed off the stage in Nottingham when playing live with his band The Pizza Underground, who parody the music of The Velvet Underground with pizza-inspired lyrics.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Ask anyone who Sarah Jessica Parker is, and they’ll either tell you “she’s that one from Sex and the City” or they’ll look at you blankly, wondering what on earth you’re talking about. You only need to look at her on-screen partner Matthew McConaughey in Failure to Launch to see that breaking free of the romantic comedy stereotype and trying new things can be done. Sadly for Sarah Jessica Parker, failing to launch is an apt description of her rather disastrous career beyond the popular TV series.
There is the age old notion of sticking to what you’re good at. It’s something many abide by, and can make very healthy careers from doing so. However in acting it can be somewhat detrimental, and Linda Blair epitomises this fact, having never truly ventured out of the horror genre following the success she had from The Exorcist, which she starred in when just 11 years of age. Since then she has made Exocist II: The Heretic, Hell Night, Savage Island, Reposessed, Dead Sleerp… Need we go on? Rarely does she brand out into other genres – and though still an iconic character in one of the greatest films ever, it’s a shame we never saw the potential she had across a range of different cinematic styles.
Ask pretty much anyone who watches Friends, and they’ll tell you that Matthew Perry’s Chandler was the star of the show. The actor was graced with the most one-liners, but it was deft, distinctive execution that made for such a hilarious character. However what he has achieved since the hit TV series came to an end is not quite so prosperous. Though efficient in comedy17 Again, he has also made films such as Birds of America, Numb, andServing Sara. Heard of any of those? No? Us neither. It seems he was unable to truly escape his sarcastic, droll comedy style, and though inevitably wanting to explore other genres, not many were truly willing to take the gamble.