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List: Top 5 Actors Who Will Never Break Out Of Typecast Roles

Acting is a fine art. Whether you engage in slapstick comedies or heart ripping drama’s, the actors and actresses that portray a variety of roles in todays television shows, movies and stage productions are an especially gifted breed. Entering into acting takes a large investment of both time and money. Some take off right straight away, while others spend their entire lives looking for that perfect role (many never finding it). Actors are always remembered for a specific role or two but being able to step out of that character and into another is a talent all its own. Many performers fall into a typecast. They portray a specific character or a specific type of character for their entire career. With this in mind, we bring you our list of the top five actors who will never break free of their typecasted role.

  1. Jim Parsons: In thinking about creating this list, Jim Parson’s was the very first person who popped into my mind. Watching him on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson last night, it occured to me that although his character, Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper, is a stretch of his natural persona, it’s not that far off. Parson’s lives and breathes his character, exhibiting many of the same quirks that the neurotic Cooper demonstrates in the show. Whenever The Big Bang Theory eventually comes to an end, the Emmy Award winning Parson’s will never move past his role as Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
  2. Knocked Up's Seth Rogen

    Seth Rogen: Actors who play themselves have an interesting line to walk. Living somewhere in between their fictional persona and their real life, it can often be tough to determine when that character is acting. Some, like the legendary Jim Carey, play themselves but have so many alternative personalities that they can pull it off. Unfortunately, Seth Rogen is just Seth Rogen. Over the last half a decade, Rogen has become the most typecasted actor in movies, portraying the slightly overweight, lovable oaf. Starring in increasingly forgettable roles, Rogen got off to a great start with small roles in 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad. Now, a few years and a few too many movies later, Rogen’s career has slowed to a halt. He will never break free from this typecast.

  3. Jesse Eisenberg: This young man will have to enlist the help of some other young actors who were thrown into monster roles. Similar to Daniel Radcliffe, who will never leave Harry Potter behind, Eisenberg got to play the role he was born to play in only his second major theatrical release. Despite his true gift as an actor, Eisenberg exhibits a number of obsessive compulsive tendencies, many of which shined in The Social Network. It is with this in mind that many film lovers will never be able to think of him outside the shell of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
  4. Jon Hamm: Despite a modest acting career before entering the stage as Mad Men’s leading man Don Draper, Jon Hamm has developed into a living breathing variation of the fictional television character. Even in movies such as The Town, it was hard to imagine him without a glass of scotch in his hand and a cigarette hanging from between his lips. A recurring joke, he has even fallen into playing that same role in shows like 30 Rock, in which he spends a few episodes mocking his TV alter ego as Tina Fey’s talentless, good looking boyfriend. With no end in sight for Mad Men, Hamm may never have to worry about this but in his post AMC career, it seems unlikely he will ever shed Donald Draper.
  5. Keifer Sutherland: When people look at you and then think of your television characters name before anything else crosses their mind, you are typecasted. In my circle of television watching confidants, it is a running joke that Keifer Sutherland is 24‘s Jack Bauer. With a bad ass mystique and a knack for brutal torture, merciless killings and never sleeping or going to the bathroom, Sutherland’s role in the Fox drama that ran for nearly a decade turned a low key movie actor, into an unforgettable television superstar. Now that 24 has wrapped, Sutherland is yet to appear on screen and is planning a run the Broadway show, The Championship Season. With very little in the works, it looks like it will be awhile before Sutherland attempts a post Jack Bauer Role.

Honorable Mentions

Juliette Lewis: This was a name that hit my radar as I was trolling through movies to create this list. After some research, it was clear that she fit in perfectly. Roles in movies such as Old School, Due Date and Starsky and Hutch all portray her as a whining brat who is often white trash.

Michael Cera: This is an actor who could of easily appeared at the very top of this list. If not for superb roles in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Youth In Revolt, he probably would have slipped to #1. With these two more diverse roles under his belt, Michael Cera has taken one step in climbing out from behind his annoying, soft spoken, indie rock persona so elequantly displayed in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Superbad.

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4 Legacy Comments

  • Comment by katy posted February 04, 2011 at 10:44

    hey i got one right! :)

    my list (in no particular order):

    -jim parsons
    -jack black
    -eugene levy
    -seann williams scott
    -jason segal
    -samuel l. jackson

    honorable mentions: paul rudd, john cusack

    also, i don’t really agree with the daniel radcliffe argument/reference: he’s been in the broadway play “equus” and was phemonenal. you forgot harry potter existed while he was on stage. he’s a young actor, who had his break in hp. i think he’s going to do great things after the hp series ends. think about harrison ford and his role as hans solo…do you only think of the star wars character every time you see him? probs noootttt.

  • Comment by Paige posted February 04, 2011 at 22:37

    okay. first of all, as for Jim Parsons, you can’t ” stretch of his natural persona, it’s not that far off.” -you should pick one.

    Also, I don’t agree about Daniel Radcliffe. Being typecasted in a role is NOT the same as being known for a role. He will always be known for Harry Potter, but has actually been in a number of films and plays that are as far from Harry Potter as you can get.

    Also, I don’t think an actor can be typecasted into a role unless they have actually played the same type of role multiple times, like more than two. Maybe Jesse Eisenberg belongs on that list, but not yet. Michael Cera should be more than just an honorable mention when compared to other people you have on the list.

  • Comment by Melissa posted February 07, 2011 at 11:23

    I have to add Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to this list. Vince Vaughn plays the exact same character in every movie, and while I love it- he is absolutely one of the most commonly typecasted actors in Hollywood. The same goes for Owen Wilson.

    On the other hand, I don’t agree with Keifer Sutherland as a choice on this list. He’s had a successful career that’s spanned decades, and just because 24 was a breakout hit, doesn’t mean that he’s only going to be cast as that “save the world” type forever. He’s proven over the years that he can play different characters, and I think in time he’ll show up in a different role.

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