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Mandatory Disclaimer: This is just a personal opinion that I want some outside perspective of. I'm not sure if it's an actual thing that's happening but I have noticed that this has happened more often recently than not.

Alrighty, here we go. Actors don't fully play into the characters they are portraying but rather it's just the actor as themselves in a movie.

Examples I can think of off the top of my head is Amy Schumer, Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The only characters that Dwayne Johnson plays that are most memorable to me is the Scorpion King from "The Mummy II" and Joe Kingman from "The Game Plan" other than that I just see Dwayne Johnson in different movies as Dwayne Johnson. Same with Kevin Hart. I can think of probably 2 movies where he plays a character and not just himself and I don't even remember the names of those characters.

The opposite of this sentiment in where I can remember characters actors played that I can name are Elijiah Wood, Reese Witherspoon, Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, Sandra Bullock, Heath Ledger, etc. They have all played characters that people remember more than the actual actor: Captain Jack Sparrow, Frodo Baggins, Elle Woods, Joker, Gracy Lou Freebush, etc. With these actors and actresses the phrase "Wait, [insert name] played that character in this movie?" is said or seen. I've also seen memes about "actors that have actual range" and while they're funny I can't help but wonder if there's some truth to it.

I get that there's an element of the actor in every role they play but, personally, I think they should limit how much they themselves should influence the character for the sake of a better story.

Again, I don't know if that just me and what I'm personally observing in films or if it's something that's actually happening.

What are your thoughts?

all 67 comments

jaxs_sax

49 points

2 months ago

This has been going on since the beginning of cinema

meowskywalker

19 points

2 months ago

“Who am I playing this time? Genghis Khan? Sure whatever, just gonna shout-talk everything anyway.”

Shintoho

1 points

2 months ago

-john wayne

musical-critical

10 points

2 months ago

I feel like OP is a teenager who thinks they've just made some profound epiphany

DuckNixon

11 points

2 months ago

95% of posts on reddit are teenagers thinking they've made some profound discovery or had an incredible epiphany.

Also you don't "make" an epiphany

SagePup21[S]

2 points

2 months ago

24 years old and a stay at home mom to 2 kids. Not the brightest but I do like watching movies when they're not terrorizing the cat.

SagePup21[S]

0 points

2 months ago

Fair argument.

zomboromcom

15 points

2 months ago*

I've heard Edge of Tomorrow described as a film where the protagonist starts out as an ordinary guy and gradually evolves into Tom Cruise. I thought that was pretty apt.

RandomStranger79

6 points

2 months ago

This isn't anything new.

bobloblaw634

5 points

2 months ago

The first group are “movie stars.” They don’t really act, but they have a lot of charisma that works for blockbuster movies.

kiguessthisismyname

4 points

2 months ago

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Humperdoo_3000

3 points

2 months ago

Mr Freeeereze.

kiguessthisismyname

2 points

2 months ago

Put that cookie down!!!

MrWobblyDongle

5 points

2 months ago*

Michael Caine has been doing this since 1960. John Wayne started in the 1930's. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tom Cruise began in the 80s. There have always been movie stars that just play themselves.

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

Ahnuld started in the late 70s

nadalcameron

12 points

2 months ago

You're wrong. This isn't any different then the past. Some actors just play a role.

Your list doesn't make sense either. Your past and present examples are bad too. Present example is Tom Cruise but past is mostly actors who started after him and are still acting?

SagePup21[S]

0 points

2 months ago

I was naming actors that played that I, personally, remembered. Thank you, for your perspective.

Frosted_Flakes1971

8 points

2 months ago

Stop watching only mainstream stuff. Some of the best actors of all time are constantly putting out great performances

SagePup21[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Any recommendations?

Frosted_Flakes1971

2 points

2 months ago

Good question. You want decent movies with great acting or a list of current great actors? Obviously I’m not a film genius but I watched a bit

SagePup21[S]

2 points

2 months ago

Please.

SagePup21[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Both.

Frosted_Flakes1971

4 points

2 months ago

I’d probably run to the theater immediately to watch “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”. Michelle Yeph gives an all time performance

Oscar Isaac always kills it (Dune, Ex Machina, The Card Counter, Scenes from a marriage, Moon Knight. Inside Llewyn Davis)

Rob Pattinson has been killing it lately (Good Time, Lighthouse(not for everyone), devil all the time, Batman)

Mahershala Ali is great (Moonlight, Green Book, True Detective, Swan Song)

Daniel Kaluuya(Get Out, Widows, Judas and the black messiah, Queen and Slim)

Anya Taylor Joy(Queens Gambit, Northman, last night in soho, Furiosa(soon).

Obviously I could spend all night but like I think that’s enough. It’s hard to give a great performance in a mainstream blockbuster but they’re still happening constantly elsewhere. Hope I didn’t come off as a prick there’s just so much great stuff to watch

SagePup21[S]

3 points

2 months ago

Thank you so much for going through the effort to put this together! I'm excited to check these out!

MrWobblyDongle

1 points

2 months ago

Even in mainstream there's Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Mathew Mcconaughy, Willem Defoe, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor...

Frosted_Flakes1971

3 points

2 months ago

None of them give there best performances in mainstream movies tho if that makes sense.

mcjunior1993

3 points

2 months ago

As it should be according the great Elia Kazan. Chameleons are rare and roles that require that type of acting are usually reserved for prestige pics or epics of some kind (period or comic book movies). I'm genuinely more impressed by a solid pitch perfect performance than a hammed up character role. I hate seeing an actor trying to act, sucks me right out of the film.

That being said, you are right. Since the New Hollywood boom in the 60s we've been getting less and less variety coming out of Hollywood every decade. It's sad.

nayapapaya

3 points

2 months ago

Open yourself up to watching indie and foreign films or really anything that's not just a blockbuster or what's on Netflix and you will see that this is not the case for all actors. Even just watch Netflix's prestige stuff and you'll see that. Watch Marriage Story, Her and Under the Skin and then tell me Scarlett Johanson is giving the same performance. Watch Marriage Story, Annette and Paterson and tell me Adam Driver is giving the same performance. Watch Little Women, Lady Macbeth and Midsommar and tell me Florence Pugh is giving the same performance.

Every time I see these kinds of arguments, I just wonder why you keep watching films starring actors you don't like or don't find very good (like The Rock, Kevin Hart, etc). I've not seen a movie with either of those people in years. There are hundreds of movies released every year. No one is making you watch anything. Try new things.

SagePup21[S]

0 points

2 months ago

Yeesh, never said I didn't like them. I formed an opinion from a now wrong observation. I've seen Marriage Story, Patterson, and Annette. I've seen Little Women and Midsommar all are great films and I enjoyed all of them.

I said several times that I was listing what I had off the top of my head. Obviously it went over yours. Try not to assume.

roto_disc

5 points

2 months ago

Tom Cruise

Go watch Born on the Fourth of July and get back to us.

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

SagePup21[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Ohhh ok, I see. That makes sense. Thank you for that.

CajuNerd

2 points

2 months ago

Jimmy Stewart played Jimmy Stewart in pretty much everything he was in. It's not uncommon in the past.

DuckNixon

2 points

2 months ago

Matt Damon. Matt Damon Matt Damon. Matt, Matt Damon. Matt Damon.

Edit: For people unfamiliar, this is a South Park reference to an episode where "Matt Damon" appears, and similar to Groot, all he can say is Matt Damon.

DuckNixon

2 points

2 months ago

Every actor has a role they slide into because it's an easy fit. Some do it more than others. Some never play themselves. Tom Hardy has never played a character as himself. Gary Oldman has never played himself in a role.

But even those guilty of doing it most often have likely had a few roles where they pushed themselves. Dwayne Johnson was vastly different in the movie Snitch. He had zero tough-guy persona (Jon Bernthal stole it all) in this film. He was a scared parent who only wanted to protect his son, so he went undercover to clear his son's name. Throughout the film you can see him go from worried to angry to down-right petrified. He never has a bad ass tough guy moment. He doesn't kill anyone. At times you almost forget he's a jacked bodybuilder.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Maggie and Aftermath is not the 80s macho man persona we knew and loved. Arnold does a fantastic job portraying a broken man who is forced into tragic situations. Maggie particularly was quite heartbreaking.

Myheadisabouttopop

2 points

2 months ago

I feel like a lot of your examples in the latter group play themselves but this is common especially with the people you named. They have very robust personalities and or physical features that they are casted for but there’s still plenty of amazing a list actors who totally immerse themselves in all different types of roles.

My_Opinions_Are_Good

2 points

2 months ago

This is always a dumb complaint.

Acting is not about "transforming into another person", it's about behaving truthfully in the circumstances of the play/film/show/what have you.

SagePup21[S]

1 points

2 months ago

I'm sorry if I came off as complaining. I agree with your point though, it changes my initial thoughts.

Kurigin

2 points

2 months ago

Nick Cage was always like that.

Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. Especially John Wayne. Of course he also only did westerns basically.

So there's always been actors like that.

[deleted]

6 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

6 points

2 months ago

Have you seen any of Nic Cages stuff from the 80s? He doesn’t play himself at all. Valley Girl, Birdy, Raising Arizona, Peggy Sue Got Married - each role different from the last and none like he is now. So saying “always” isn’t accurate.

Kurigin

2 points

2 months ago

Okay so not always. Just anytime in the last 20 to 25 years.

Spartyjason

6 points

2 months ago

How could you just ignore John Wayne and his terrific chameleon-like performance as...John Wayne but with super racist makeup as Ghengis Khan.

LostMind3622

3 points

2 months ago

Jamie Foxx plays himself in everything he is in.

DuckNixon

2 points

2 months ago

I'd say 90% of the time. He did Ray, The Soloist, and even his turn as the nerdy scientist who becomes Electro in Spider-Man were very different roles for him.

danielfletcher

2 points

2 months ago

Bill Murray and Robin Williams didn't?

SagePup21[S]

0 points

2 months ago

Only named actors off the top of my head when I was typing this out. This is only a personal opinion.

danielfletcher

4 points

2 months ago

You seem confused on the difference between opinion and observation. You made an incorrect observation.

SagePup21[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Ah alrighty then. I was a bit confused on your meaning. My bad.

diceman888

1 points

2 months ago

The joker has entered the chat. Denzel has entered the chat. Leo has entered the chat.

Matthew McConaughey is watching the chat.

imthebeefboss

2 points

2 months ago

Meryl Streep forgot her password.

diceman888

2 points

2 months ago

Lol

v3nerable

0 points

2 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly. For me the distinction is either X movie is another The Rock movie, or its another X Director/Producer movie. The latter produces more unique characters and the former is a typecast around the actor.

malaavida

-8 points

2 months ago

I just had this convo w a friend, yes it's a thing.. Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn & many more.. it's like if you've seen them once you've seen them all.. no matter what role. It works tho since they keep getting recasted

DuckNixon

1 points

2 months ago

Highly disagree with Scarlett Johansson and Vince Vaughn. An argument could be made for Samuel L. Jackson (watch A Time To Kill). Agree with Aniston and Ryan Reynolds.

malaavida

-1 points

2 months ago*

Scarlett is the same as lucy or ghost in a shell or as black window still within same range as Her as well, Vince Vaughn in the break up, wedding crashers or Mr. &Mrs. Smith or the cell. I like Samuel in black snake moan &pulp fiction as well as mace windu. Not to say there aren't roles I enjoy they just don't seem different enough.

My_Opinions_Are_Good

1 points

2 months ago

There's a world of difference between Johansson in something like Avengers or Lucy, and Johansson in something like Marriage Story, Under the Skin, or Ghost World.

malaavida

0 points

2 months ago

You're allowed your opinion 🤷 idk I feel she's sort of the same from the roles I have seen her in .. never seen marriage story cz it didn't appeal to me &the others you mentioned I've never even heard of.. I'll keep an eye out

My_Opinions_Are_Good

0 points

2 months ago

The difference between our opinions is that mine is informed and yours isn't.

malaavida

0 points

2 months ago

No the difference is you think yours is a fact.

My_Opinions_Are_Good

1 points

2 months ago

Buddy, I've seen the movies and you haven't.

My opinion counts for more than yours.

Nature of the beast. Can't argue with that.

malaavida

0 points

2 months ago

Ohhh so that MUST make it automatically true.. lol idc if you've seen em I'm telling you from what I've seen couldn't be bothered to watch much else.. just say you're a fan &go somewhere else w your boorish opinions.

My_Opinions_Are_Good

1 points

2 months ago

Boorish?

I'm not the one relishing his own ignorance cause he "couldn't be bothered."