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filmfann's avatar

Have you ever had trouble seperating an actor from a specific role?

Asked by filmfann (39557 points ) February 22nd, 2010

I can’t watch Sean Connery in any movie, and not think James Bond. Or Paul Reiser and not remember that he was the guy who tried to kill Ripley in Aliens.
They are fine actors, but so effective in one role I cannot watch them without bringing that baggage with them.
On the other hand, I can watch Jeff Bridges or Anthony Hopkins, who are always terrific, independant of anything else they have done.
Who do you have trouble watching without relating to their other roles?
What made those roles so captivating? How can they escape such typecasting?

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77 Answers

filmfann's avatar

This question was inspired by a comment I left on another question, where I mentioned that I can’t watch “That 70’s Show” because I always associate the guy who plays the Dad (Kurkwood Smith), with the guy who tried to kill Robocop!

Trillian's avatar

Funny that you should ask that. I have a tough time with Dennis Hopper. I just think he’s creepy, and I can’t look at him without hearing “Oooo, Mommie.”
Also Matthew McConnaghy (spelling) I can’t get past the naked bongo drum thing.

filmfann's avatar

@Trillian Good example!

jrpowell's avatar

I have a hard time watching Flashpoint without thinking that Enrico Colantoni is the guy from Just Shoot Me!.

knitfroggy's avatar

I saw a movie called Bastard Out of Carolina. Ron Eldard plays a man that molests a child. It’s pretty graphic. I cannot watch that guy in any movie or TV show. He gives me the creeps.

MrItty's avatar

I’ve watched about 5 or 6 episodes of “The Middle” and it still feels like I’m watching The Janitor from “Scrubs”.

It took me at least 2 seasons of “Bones” to not see David Boreanz (sp?) as Angel.

Which is actually kinda weird, because it took me no time at all to see Allyson Hannigan as someone other than Willow on “How I Met Your Mother”.

Oh, and Denny Crane may as well have been a just-slightly-more senile Captain Kirk for the entire run of “Boston Legal”

noyesa's avatar

Bruce Campbell. He plays Sam in Burn Notice but it feels like a sham. He’s Ash, dammit.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Patrick Stewart will always be Jean-Luc Picard to me. :-)

filmfann's avatar

Another one: Tim Curry will always be Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
At any moment, in any film he is in, I think he is gonna suddenly strip, and perv it up.

TheJoker's avatar

For me it was Kain Hodder’s portrayal of Jason Voorhees, he just IS Jason!!!

TheJoker's avatar

@noyesa Bruce Campbell is just the coolest dude!!! Long live Ash!

erichw1504's avatar

@filmfann Got another 70’s Show actor: Wilmer Valderrama. Don’t think I could watch anything else he is or will be in without thinking of his Fez character.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Alan Alda from Mash. He just is that guy whose name I fail to remember at the moment.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Chevy Chase will always be Clark Griswold.

MrItty's avatar

@ChocolateReigns Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce, better known as Hawkeye.

philosopher's avatar

That’s how I felt about the guy who plays Sylinar on Hero’s. He did a nice job in Startrek and I guess I am over it.
LOL I may have spelled Sylinar wrong.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@philosopher Yeah, it’s Sylar. I thought the same thing in when I saw Star Trek. I also recently saw an old season of 24 that had the same actor, Zachary Quinto in it. It was hard for me to get past the feeling of “Hey, it’s Sylar!”.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I can’t watch keenu Reeves,dude.
Robert Shaw might be Quint from Jaws,but in my dreams he’s…..—mine—;)

philosopher's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities
Thank you it is nice to know I am not alone.
LOL I knew I spelled it wrong.

MrItty's avatar

@philosopher See, I thought Quinto played a great Spock. I had no problem separating him from Sylar in that role at all.

erichw1504's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Keanu Reeves will always be Neo.

LunaChick's avatar

Neil Patrick Harris will always be Doogie Howser.

MrItty's avatar

@LunaChick Did you see the episode of How I Met Your Mother where they referenced Doogie? Barney (NPH’s new character) took a girl back home, then put on some music to set the mood. The music was the Doogie Howser theme song. Then he sat down at his computer to update his blog. When we saw the computer, it was all blue with white text, and his inner-voice did a monologe of his blog entry.

I nearly doubled over laughing. It was awesome.

casheroo's avatar

I recently saw The Lovely Bones and Stanley Tucci was so beyond creepy. I just watched Julie & Julia and Stanley Tucci was in it..and his voice just makes me think of a pervy pedo-killer now.

Silhouette's avatar

George Clooney owned the role of Ulysses Everett McGill in O Brother, Where Art Thou? now I hear the same hillbilly voice every time I see him in something else.

ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08e9k-c91E8

LunaChick's avatar

@MrItty – I am in search of that clip, as we speak! :) As we type? Are speak and type interchangeable, in this situation?

mattbrowne's avatar

Not really. But sometimes there’s a strange feeling. Like an implant-free ex-Borg showing up in Two and a Half Men.

philosopher's avatar

@MrItty
I agree with you.
He is a great actor.
That is why that image of evil is burned into my head.
I grew up watching Startrek. It is hard to accept a new actor in the role of Spock.

ubersiren's avatar

Any of the major Buffy (tv series) characters. I saw Eliza Dushku in Wrong Turn some years ago, and I was like, “Faith, you’re a freaking slayer, just kick their asses!” the whole time.

MrItty's avatar

@mattbrowne or on Boston Public, or on Leverage….

mattbrowne's avatar

@MrItty – I guess this applies to many Star Trek actors of the more exotic races…

MrItty's avatar

@mattbrowne well when you see Michael Dorn or Ethan Phillips in another role, it’s easier to not “see” them, as they were wearing so much makeup and prosthetics. But when you hear them, that’s when I get that moment of “what the…?!”.

ucme's avatar

Jim Cavei…Cazev..Cavez…Oh Jesus Christ you know!

tinyfaery's avatar

I do this so much. All the key players of Buffy will
always be associated with those roles in my mind.

Ed O’Neil will always be Al Bundy.

Ever since I saw American History X, Edward Norton has taken on a violent quality to me.

LunaChick's avatar

@ucme – thanks for making me laugh.

erichw1504's avatar

@tinyfaery I don’t agree with you on Edward Norton. Any role he takes on is unique and separate in it’s own way. I can’t nail him down to just one. How many other films of his have you seen?

Symbeline's avatar

Orlando Bloom will always be Legolas to me.

Also, I get surprised when any of Sean Bean’s roles don’t die in a movie.

tinyfaery's avatar

@erichw1504 You don’t have to agree. It’s my opinion.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@erichw1504 -Was Neo from Bill and Ted’s…..?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@mattbrowne My brain isn’t working too well this morning. Which ex-Borg is that?

SuperMouse's avatar

That guy from Beauty and the Beast, what’s his name? Ron Perlman! Had to look him on up IMDB. Anyway, no matter what I see him in I see him with whiskers.

Jude's avatar

Christopher Lloyd – Back to the Future

ucme's avatar

Clint Eastwood has & always will be either a cowboy or a cop.Space Cowboys? An insult to the great man’s name.

Sarcasm's avatar

@johnpowell I, on the other hand, can’t look at mister Colantoni without thinking “He’s Veronica Mars’ father.”
@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities False! Chevy Chase will always be Fletch! This is not opinion, this is fact.

Also, I can’t see Matthew Broderick without thinking he’s ditching class.
Arnold Schwarzeneggar will always be here from the future.
Brad Pitt will always be a figment of my imagination.

Ryan Reynolds will always be a wiseass with a snarky remark. Oh, well, that’s just because that’s how he’s always cast.

Dilettante's avatar

This phenomenon is known in the entertainment industry as “Typecasting.” You can probably wiki it, or just put it in your search engine to explore it. Many actors struggle to overcome this. I think, personally, Sean Connery has done so. His performance in The Hunt For Red October for example, and many more.
The key, for me, lies in the term “Suspension of disbelief,” another term to explore.

How the truly great actors can transform themselves, “become,” the character they are portraying. How I can sit there, and due to the excellence of the performance, not find myself saying, “This is Sean Connery acting the part of a Submarine Commander,” and just sit back and get “lost” in the film…suspension of disbelief. That’s also why I can never really enjoy Sci-Fi films, or even this latest one, that won all the awards…I took a look at the trailers, and said to myself, “Hey, their faces are blue, how silly.” I’m too much of a skeptic, I suppose. I may be the only person on earth who has never watched a complete “Star Trek” segment. Just not my cup of tea. Believeability is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps, as is beauty.

Consider Donald Sutherland’s leap from, say, his role in “Kelly’s Heroes” to his performance in “Eye of the Needle.” This is an earmark of the great ones; too many to name. Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, a long, long list. Some actors can be termed, “character actors,” and have a reputation in the industry which enables them to be called upon when a Producer needs a “bad guy” or a goofy, lighthearted sidekick. They make a fine living at this, and have become content with their function.
Bit of a ramble…just thinking out loud. Hope this helps some.

Dilettante's avatar

Oops, just reread your question, and saw I somehow missed your mention of typecasting in your last sentence.

zephyr826's avatar

I show French films to my high school classes, and in French I we watch A la folie ou pas de tout (He Loves Me, He loves Me Not.) It stars Audrey Tautou (Amelie) as a crazed stalker. My students can not see her as anything else. Several of them have told me they saw “That crazy French Lady” in Da Vinci Code, and when we watch Amelie in French IV, they refuse to trust that her character does not have an ulterior motive.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@erichw1504 -Can’t make me watch it!lol!

Bluefreedom's avatar

Gene Wilder will always be Willy Wonka or Dr. Frankenstein.

erichw1504's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Why? It’s one of the greatest films of our time.

erichw1504's avatar

@Bluefreedom That’s “Fronkensteen” to you!

Cruiser's avatar

@erichw1504 Keanu will always be Ted…. anything else he has acted in has been bogus!

erichw1504's avatar

@Cruiser Well I guess it would depend on what movie you saw him in first. Ted or The Matrix. For me it was The Matrix.

Chongalicious's avatar

I never even bothered to find out Jelly’s real name (out of Analyze This) haha I’ve seen him in other movies but I just love him so much in that role :D!

Cruiser's avatar

@erichw1504 Actually I like Matrix a lot but it took a lot to get past Ted…keep expecting Nero to say “most excellent” at any moment in the movie! lol!

erichw1504's avatar

@Cruiser Haha, that’s interesting. Whenever I see him in any new movie, I expect him to all of the sudden say, “Whoa!” or bust out some crazy karate moves.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@erichw1504 -I can’t stand his movies.He doesn’t appeal to me at all.He’s just not very dreamy.LOL! ;(

Shuttle128's avatar

Contrary to Leonard Nemoy’s declaration of “I Am Not Spock,” he will always and forever be Spock.

Nathan Fillion will always be Captain Malcolm Reynolds to me. As well as others.

Truthfully, even though Anthony Hopkins does other roles excellently (I loved his performance in Meet Joe Black) I cannot look at him without thinking of the line “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

I always see Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka….even while watching his Mel Brooks movie performances (I do love him as Dr. Fronkensteen).

erichw1504's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Agreed. The Matrix is pretty much the only one of his that I like and it’s not because of his acting!

MrItty's avatar

@Shuttle128 Have you actually read I am Not Spock? You should. He wasn’t trying to separate himself from the character at all. Also, because so many people didn’t read the book past it’s title page, decades later, he wrote I am Spock.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Yes, I can’t even watch Gladiator without looking for the unsteady gait of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Every Russell Crowe movie I watch reminds me of it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Shuttle128 Just seeing Anthony Hopkins picture makes me queasy.

SuperMouse's avatar

Stockard Channing will always be Rizzo to me.

SeventhSense's avatar

John Travolta will always be Vinny Barbarino to me.

MacBean's avatar

No matter who/what James McAvoy plays, he will forever be Mr. Tumnus to me. That’s not even the first role I saw him in, but it’s the one that he is to me.

Symbeline's avatar

In my eyes, there’s just no way that Vincent Price could be anything but the Gandalf equivalent of horror.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Dr_Dredd – Seven of Nine

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@mattbrowne Ah, yes. Sex of Nine… I mean Six of Nine… I mean Seven of Nine. :-)

Shuttle128's avatar

@MrItty No but I was aware that he didn’t mean to make it seem as though he was distancing himself from Spock as a character. My friend’s mother had a copy on her bookshelf for a long time and I would see it on a regular basis, the title had quite an impact despite Nemoy’s intentions.

MrItty's avatar

@Shuttle128 yes, yes it did. In I am Spock he talks about how the title wasn’t his idea, but the publisher thought it would sell better. The idea was supposed to be something like “I am not Spock, so how come I keep thinking like him?” or “I have to keep reminding myself that I am not Spock, because I sometimes forget”. Of course, people just saw the title, and figured the whole book was him complaining that he hated the role and wanted to get away from the typecasting that would follow him.

SeventhSense's avatar

I loves me some sexy 7 o’ 9

LunaChick's avatar

Earlier this evening, I was reminded of this thread. I was watching a movie with some friends and, when the DVD was ejected, Spiderman 3 was on. I started laughing and then had to explain: I went with my mom to see the movie Brothers. When it was over she said to me “Spiderman was really good – he should get an award” Poor Tobey Maguire – no matter how great he is in a role, he’ll always be Spiderman, to my mom.

SeventhSense's avatar

Tobey Maguire will always be that guy from Pleasantville to me.

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