Sunday, April 10, 2011

Actors Who Tried to Branch Out (and We Wouldn't Let Them)

Actors act, it's what they do. But before you roll your eyes and say "Way to go Captain Obvious", hear me out.

Everybody knows what actors do, but when you work in Hollywood and achieve a certain level of fame, one of two things usually happen;
1. They start varying their roles almost immediately.
Example: Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, etc

2. They milk out their success by playing the same type of roles over and over again.
Example: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, etc
This article here is mostly about the latter, although I came to realise something even more amusing. Some actors don't mind being typecast as long as they can have a steady stream of work.

But there are also those who got tired of being labelled a certain something and attempted to branch out. The only problem is, they pretty much have a fixed fanbase. So once these actors start lurking in an unfamiliar territory, we end up laughing nervously at these actors whom we thought we knew, but couldn't really recognise.

#1 Jim Carrey
Best known for : His trademark "rubber face" character. Wacky, zany characters with no inhibitions whatsoever.
e.g. The Mask [1994], Ace Ventura [1995], Liar Liar [1997]

He also tried : Dramatic roles, as well as psychotic characters without the funny.
e.g. The Truman Show [1998], The Number 23 [2007]

Jim Carrey is one of my favourites, although I'm sure I want to finish that sentence with "actor" or "comedian" because I don't really see him as either one. Jim Carrey is just Jim Carrey, there is no other like him.

That is why we love the guy, because there is literally no one else who can do what he does best. I think that's the reason why so far there is only one of his more dramatic roles that actually worked; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [2004]. But you have to admit, whenever he tried to go outside his comfort zone, there's really nothing impressive about it because there are plenty of other actors who can do a better job than him.

In other words;

Anyone can do this better than him,
But no one can beat him at this.
#2 Jackie Chan
Best known for : Comedic fight choreography as well as (literally) death-defying stunts.
e.g. Police Story [1985-2004], Rush Hour [1998], Shanghai Noon [2000]

He also tried : Dramatic roles
e.g. Gorgeous [1999], Shinjuku Incident [2009]

I feel bad for Jackie Chan, because if I'm completely honest, I too find little enjoyment in watching any of his movies that didn't feature him kicking some butt. Now, it is true that I was able to appreciate Shinjuku Incident [2009], however it wasn't so much about seeing Jackie Chan in a different light but it was really because that movie was good. If anything, I feel kind of bad watching a helpless version of Jackie Chan.

In reality, we all love Jackie Chan because he puts himself into situations that nobody in their right mind would be willing to do. And he literally risked his lives so many times for the sake of movie-making. I can't help feeling like a bit of a sadist, though. You know he sustained countless amounts of injuries yet we keep asking for more.

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