There are a lot of actors who get typecast into a certain role that they can’t break out of. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing when it pays the bills, most actors strive for a lot more with their careers. Today, we’ll take a look at some actors who were able to step outside of the typecasting (and perhaps their comfort zones) with fantastic results. These five examples stand out as some of the best instances of celebs pushing the limit with their career choices.
South African actress Charlize Theron has been noted as a blonde bombshell since the start of her career thanks to roles in films including “That Thing You Do!”, “The Devil’s Advocate”, and “The Italian Job”. While that has continued to be her standard role for the most part afterward, Theron took on a much different look for the 2003 film “Monster” when she played real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
Theron had to undergo a transformation that made her look unrecognizable. Interestingly enough, Theron didn’t know the story of Wuornos when she took on the role. “The guys always get to play those great gay characters, and somehow women always tend to be black and white,” Theron said. “So I knew this was also something very unusual and might never come my way again.” The role earned Tehron an Oscar win for Best Actress in 2004.
Robin Williams got his career kicked off as a standup comedian, and his slapstick humor translated well onto the small screen as Mork in both “Happy Days” and “Mork & Mindy”. In the 1980s, Williams continued his comedy career with films including “Popeye” and “The World According to Garp” while also adding some more serious roles. After the 1990s when he had a nice mix of comedy and light drama, Williams took on a much more sinister role in 2002’s “One Hour Photo”.
Williams took on the role of Sy Parrish, a retail store photo tech who becomes obsessed with a family. Things turn dark over the course of this 96-minute small-studio film which also stars Connie Nielsen and Michael Vartan. Williams was nominated for a slew of awards, including winning the Saturn Award for Best Actor. The risk ended up paying off for Fox Searchlight as the film earned $52 million against a small budget.
Austrian native Arnold Schwarzenegger has been pushing the limit with his career choices since the very beginning. Schwarzenegger started off as a bodybuilder and received so much notoriety that he began an acting career. Schwarzenegger starred almost exclusively in action movies throughout the early part of his career. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that he branched into comedy, showing off his great timing.
Arnie then made a career jumping back and forth between the two genres before pushing his career even further. Schwarzenegger began a career in politics, running for Governor of California during the 2003 election when Gray Davis was recalled. He ended up winning the position and served as the leader of the state until the start of 2011.
Hilary Swank was a gifted child who was a star athlete and actor, performing on stage before she was even 10 years old. Her family had moved around quite a bit before they made their way to Hollywood during her teenage years where she look to begin her professional acting career. When she was 17, Swank made her screen debut on the television series “Evening Shade” while also landing a main role in the short-lived “Camp Wilder”.
As for her film career, Swank starred in several movies including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and, of course, “The Next Karate Kid”. Things really took an upward trajectory for Swank’s career when she went outside of her comfort zone to star in the 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry”. Swank starred a transgendered man looking for love, and the role earned Swank the Oscar win for Best Actress.
When you think of Matthew McConaughey, you tend to think that almost all of his roles are him playing a stoner, surfer, or some other man who’s simply coasting through life in either a romantic comedy or just straight-up comedy. While McConaughey had dabbled into drama just a little bit by 2013, he went fully into it when he took on the role of Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyer’s Club”.
Not many thought McConaughey could have pulled off a performance like that, but he ended up earning himself the Oscar win for Best Actor. It also helped McConaughey land more serious roles, including films like “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “Interstellar”, and “Free State of Jones” in the subsequent years. The speech that he gave after winning the Oscar was an all-timer, too.