Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Great Moments In Reverse Typecasting Of The Day

And a few that weren't so great. By Chip Carter at Moviefone.

SIR ALEC GUINNESS IN STAR WARS -- An Academy and Tony Award winner and renowned star of stage and screen, Guinness shocked his peers when he took the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in some weird little sci-fi film by an unknown director. But Guinness was shrewd enough to negotiate a piece of the action -- 2% of the take from 'Star Wars,' which made him filthy rich. He hated the character, and in fact, persuaded George Lucas to kill him off because he "just couldn't go on speaking those bloody awful, banal lines."

CHARLIZE THERON IN MONSTER -- The beauty definitely turned into a beast here -- but she was amazingly good as the last female serial killer executed in the United States.

ROBIN WILLIAMS IN ONE HOUR PHOTO -- You always knew under that comic exterior there existed an incredibly creepy little man. Here he is! Nanu nanu, suckers!

ANALYZE THIS -- Bobby D? A comedian? Fuhgeddaboutit. All he'd ever been was mean and psychotic. Here, he was mean, psychotic -- and funny as hell.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO IN TOTAL ECLIPSE -- Leo was still a heartthrob and popping up on the cover of Tiger Beat in 1995 when he decided to change directions -- seriously change directions. He plays 16-year-old poet Arthur Rimbaud, gay lover of older, creepier poet Paul Verlaine, and even has an uncomfortably long full-frontal nudity scene. Teen girls everywhere were dismayed.

BRAD PITT IN FIGHT CLUB -- When pretty-boy Pitt turned up in this 1999 classic as a raggedy, trash-talking brawler and human lard collector, our hearts melted.

MARY TYLER MOORE IN ORDINARY PEOPLE -- TV's version of Snow White played an ice-cold beeyotch. First-time director Robert Redford said his biggest challenge was making audiences believe it. It worked -- the film won four Oscars.

GEORGE CLOONEY IN BATMAN AND ROBIN -- "I'm Batman." No, you're not.

RUE MCLANAHAN IN STARSHIP TROOPERS -- The late Golden Girl was golden indeed as a blind biology professor in this sci-fi classic. Her cameo is made even more memorable by the fact that Denise Richards pukes in the scene.

THE RAZOR'S EDGE -- Sure, there have been plenty of movies where Bill Murray wasn't funny -- but this was the first one where he wasn't supposed to be funny. This 1984 remake of the W. Somerset Maugham classic was a box office bust with Murray in the same role that Tyrone Power played in the 1946 film that was nominated for four Oscars. The reception was so harsh, Murray took a four-year break from show biz.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS IN HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE -- Before he was Barney, he was Doogie, and Doogie he still was when he popped up as the funniest thing in a ridiculously funny film... playing a doppelganger of himself, no less.

HERMAN MUNSTER IN MY COUSIN VINNY -- Fred Gwynne shed his big ol' boots for a judge's robe in one of the most "What?!?" moments in movie history. What is a "yoot," anyway?

JULIE ANDREWS IN S.O.B. -- Mary Poppins shows her breasts. 'Nuf said.

THE ENTIRE CAST OF AIRPLANE -- Sure it's obvious now, but at the time the Zucker Bros. were filming this classic collection of one-liners and inanities in 1980,
casting stoic Hollywood heroes Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and Peter Graves in parodies of their stolid film personas seemed like the worst idea ever.

JOHNNY DEPP IN CRY-BABY -- He got his start in the firs
t 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and became a teen idol on '21 Jump Street.' People thought he'd flipped his wig when he turned up in John Waters' 1990 parody of teen musicals. Just in case the little girlies thought he was kidding, Depp also starred in 'Edward Scissorhands' that same year. After that, it was just the little emo girls who wanted to take him home.

(Full article at Moviefone.com)


  1. These are awesome. I love the ones that succeeded more than the ones that didn't. There's something incredibly satisfying about watching someone play against type and succeed.

  2. Charlize Theron, Mary Tyler Moore and Robin Williams FTW. Ordinary People forever changed the way I think of Mary Tyler Moore.

  3. I liked Fred Gwynne in "My Cousin Vinny." Great movie all around, in my opinion.

  4. I really wasn't a Brad Pitt fan until Fight Club. George Clooney should have never put on the nipple suit.

    Ordinary People is a beautifully made film. Another actor playing against type in it is Judd Hirsch who was best known (at the time) for his role on Taxi.

    Johnny Depp is one of those guys that you either like or you don't -- regardless of the roles he plays. I like.

  5. My mother-in-law is from the Czech Republic and like my husband, lived under years of communism. The communists rarely allowed American movies to be played in Czechoslovakia however they did allow "Ordinary People". (probably to show how effed up being a rich American is) To this day my mother-in-law hates Mary Tyler Moore and thinks of her as an awful, cruel and hateful woman. (mind you, my m-i-l has never hated anyone before) I tried explaining it to her but who can change an old woman's view who grew up during communism?

  6. Ordinary People is one of my favorite movies. It always gets a bum rap because it beat out Raging Bull for Best Picture in 1980, but it was understated and powerful and beautifully acted.

  7. Someone should throw John Ritter in Sling Blade onto this list.

  8. Yes! Great call, Aries. Loved him in that movie, and very much against type...although he did play a straight man playing a gay man in Three's Company. Not sure if that counts or not.

  9. I suspected in One Hour Photo that we were seeing a fair bit of the real Robin Williams. Very creepy indeed.

    I loved The Razor's Edge with Bill Murray. But I saw it while studying in Paris and was lonely and hungry for American films so maybe it really sucked.

    Loved Ordinary People. I didn't understand the fuss over Moore's character because that was simply...MY mother.


    Well before that Robin Williams was in the very serious Awakenings, based on a true story about people whose bodies are so wracked with seizures that they freeze up and appear catatonic to everyone else. Williams played the doctor who discovers how to bring them out of that, if only temporarily, and Robert DeNiro plays one of the patients. It's one of the few movies where Williams doesn't come across as an attention-seeking cokehead, and it's one of my all-time favorites for some reason.

    I concur about aries's addition of Sling Blade. I also concur with woodwoman that Razor's Edge wasn't all that bad.

    Thanks for the list, Cary. There are probably a couple films I should see here as an adult (like OP).

  11. I think any of the OVER THE TOP actors out there are OVER THE TOP to mask that nasty shit burbling underneath. Jim Carey has done some great work as a not jackass (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

  12. The Razor's Edge was excellent.
    I loved Murray in it.
    I always thought it was his best role.

  13. How about the comic genius Jack Lemmon in "Glengarry Glen Ross"? That was a rough movie. Very good, but harsh.

  14. Need to toss in my vote for Murray in Razor's Edge. It'll never be as popular as The Wizard of Oz or The Princess Bride, but I think it's a sleeper favorite none the less.

  15. I agree that I think Robing Williams was playing more of himself then we know in One Hour Photo. I agree with Kushibo about Awakenings. I credit Penny Marshall's direction for keeping that nutbag contained.

  16. Before Leo DiCaprio hit it big, he played a mentally retarded adolescent in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE? Even then I thought this guy is either disabled in real life or he's one hell of an actor. And Gilbert Grape was played by Johnny Depp, also playing against heartthrob type as the put-upon son of an obese, housebound mother in a small town.

    Ah yes, ORDINARY PEOPLE...I watched it in a "Film 1950-present" class in college. Because it was the fall semester and it was a Wednesday night class, the scheduling was such that it was the film we watched the night before Thanksgiving. Talk about wanting to go home and open a vein...

  17. So what you're saying then, roger, is that any movie where Leonardo DiCaprio is NOT playing a mentally retarded man, it would be reverse typecasting?



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