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Ten actors that we want to save from the dreaded 'type cast'

Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:57 PM Central

by John Couture

It's a crime, but it happens everyday in Hollywood. Some talented actor or actress gets typecast and they are forever stuck with a litany of roles that differ only in the character's name.

We've lost a great many souls to this time-honored tradition, but today we're going to put a stop to this shameless practice. We've highlighted our top 10 list of typecast actors and published their "crimes" for the world to see.

We have also added a bit of our career advice that would go a long way toward rectifying this issue. Help us save these wayward souls before it's too late and turn into Michael Madsen or Tommy "Tiny" Lister.

NAME: Jason Statham
CRIME: Random Action Hottie
EVIDENCE: The Transporter, The Transporter 2, The Transporter 3, Crank, Crank: High Voltage, Death Race
SENTENCE: Not since Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both in their prime have we seen such an actor typecast as the "action guy." We're not looking to see him carry a Victorian period piece drama or anything, but he demonstrated in The Bank Job that he can handle more meaty roles and we'd like to see him get that chance before he's the next governor of California.
INTERESTING FACT: Despite being two of the most successful action stars of all time, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have never appeared together in a feature film.

NAME: Patrick Dempsey
CRIME: Romantic Comedy Leading Man
EVIDENCE: Made of Honor, Enchanted, Grey's Anatomy, Sweet Home Alabama
SENTENCE: McDreamy sure has earned his nickname lately after his stint on the breakthrough TV series made him relevant again in the genre where he cut his teeth. In between though, Dempsey demonstrated some genuine acting chops in a wide array of movies. His work in 2007's Freedom Writers proved that he can play serious. For some reason, we'd like to see him try to tackle something like Jack Nicholson's role from The Shining. This would be a good start to a more versatile career.
INTERESTING FACT: It seems that he is the original Ashton Kutcher. When he got married the first time, he was 21 and his bride was 48. They met on the set of In the Mood. Two years later Dempsey would star in Loverboy where his pizza delivery guy character learned to appreciate his girlfriend by bedding and talking to older women.

NAME: Michael Cera
CRIME: Dorky but Reliable Boyfriend
EVIDENCE: Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
SENTENCE: Poor Michael has fewer that half dozen movies on his resume and already he's known throughout the cinematic world as the dorky but reliable boyfriend. And don't think for a moment that he gets a full pass on Superbad. Had that movie continued for 10 more minutes, he would have totally been that guy with his new girlfriend. The future does look promising though in that he's starring opposite of Jack Black in Year One as a couple of slacker hunter and gatherers kicked out of their primitive times tribe. We'd like to see him grow a backbone and be that bad boy just once.
INTERESTING FACT: He auditioned for the role of Cole Sear, played by Haley Joel Osment, in The Sixth Sense. Had he gotten that role, we might be talking about a whole different typecast today.

NAME: Kate Beckinsale
CRIME: Sci-Fi Hottie
EVIDENCE: Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Van Helsing
SENTENCE: First off, allow me to say that I will never ever turn down an opportunity to see Kate Beckinsale don her skin-tight leather outfit from Underworld. That being said, some might say that she was just in a rut and she seems to be righting her ship, but considering that her husband writer/director Len Wiseman has a thing for Sci-Fi, it's a safe bet that we'll see her pop back up in the genre. So far, her career has been pretty spread out and this is more a cautionary tale than an outright damnation. But, we'll be watching Kate. We'll be watching.
INTERESTING FACT: According to a 2001 interview on the British TV show "The Big Breakfast," Kate hates to wear "knickers," which is British slang for underwear. Did we mention how much we hate Len Wiseman?

NAME: Simon Pegg
CRIME: Funny Foreigner
EVIDENCE: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Run Fatboy Run
SENTENCE: Simon is good at comedy don't get us wrong and we are certainly not suggestion that he try and tackle Shakepeare of anything, but he did some great work in the underappreciated Big Nothing. While there was certainly comic aspects to his character, it was very dark with lots of complexity. We would love to see him explore similar territory in the future. Up next is J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek franchise as Scottie. He'll surely knock it out of the park, let's hope he aims higher after that.
INTERESTING FACT: Simon has a habit of making movies with his friends, who all seem to be talented comedy actors and/or directors. He, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright all worked together on Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Spaced.

NAME: Seth Rogen
CRIME: Lovable Geek
EVIDENCE: Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno
SENTENCE: Seeing Seth in an all-guy prison movie is one way to cure him of this geeky schtick with the ladies. But something tells me that he wouldn't last long in such a situation. He does have The Green Hornet coming up in which he's also writing the script. If writing yourself as a bad-ass crime fighter isn't the cure of being type cast as the loveable geek, then I'm afraid there is no cure.
INTERESTING FACT: When Seth moved out to L.A. to pursue acting, he told agencies that his goal was to be in a Kevin Smith movie. On Halloween, Seth will finally realize his goal as the star Zack in Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno. In an ironic twist, at one point early on in the development, Kevin Smith was briefly attached to The Green Hornet.

NAME: Christian Bale
CRIME: Brooding Serious Guy
EVIDENCE: American Psycho, The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight
SENTENCE: Serious guys also seem to surprise us with their comic timing. Just ask Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro who played against type in a couple of memorable comedies. Christian hasn't spent much time in the comic world, prefering instead to stick to the dramas, but a chance to lampoon himself in a movie might be a nice break to insure that he doesn't become the next Sean Penn
INTERESTING FACT: Ironically, Christian made his professional debut on a London West End stage as a child opposite Mr. Bean himself Rowan Atkinson. However, his dramatic turn in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun and the accolades that came with his performance sealed the deal in terms of his future dramatic stylings.

NAME: John C. Reilly
CRIME: Funny Sidekick
EVIDENCE: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Step Brothers
SENTENCE: Also known as being type cast for being in movies with really long names or movies starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly went from being THE character actor that you could count on to deliver an Oscar worthy performance each time out to a punchline. Of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman isn't complaining as he has filled this void rather nicely. Three of John C. Reilly's last four movies have been in this type. It's time for him to rediscover his roots.
INTERESTING FACT: Right before this recent turn to the comic sidekick, John was on a roll. He starred in three of 2003's five nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Chicago, The Hours and Gangs of New York).

NAME: Drew Barrymore
CRIME: America's Sweetheart
EVIDENCE: Home Fries, Ever After, The Wedding Singer, Never Beem Kissed, Duplex, 50 First Dates, Fever Pitch, I think you get the point...
SENTENCE: Never since Molly Ringwald has there been such a type cast actress in American film. I'm not saying that she's not good at it or that these films aren't enjoyable because they absolutely are. However, tucked in the midst of these films was a little ditty called Donnie Darko in which she really stretched her acting legs. It reminded us of the precocious child actress that blew us away in E.T., Firestarter and Poison Ivy. We'd like to see take more risks in her career.
INTERESTING FACT: For Drew, she has always taken life at a fast pace. At seven years of age, she was the youngest person ever to host Saturday Night Live. She published her autobiography "Little Girl Lost" at age 14.

NAME: Tom Hanks
CRIME: America's Leading Man
EVIDENCE: Everything from Forrest Gump on. I could list them all, but this article is already really long.
SENTENCE: The last thing that he did that was even remotely edgy was 1993's Philadelphia and he won the Oscar for that performance. Since then, everything has been carefully selected and as mainstream as it gets. This the guy who gave us the original donkey show in Bachelor Party and the sadly underappreciated The Man With One Red Shoe. It seems that Tom is ready to ascend to that throne in American film handed down most recently from Paul Newman to Harrison Ford and now to Hanks. His reign will be short-lived though as Steven Spielberg will surely force him to pass the baton to the chosen one Shia LaBeouf before too long.

INTERESTING FACT: Tom got his big break after a small appearance on Happy Days. Star and fledgling (at the time) director Ron Howard was impressed with Tom's work and asked him to come in and read for a small role in his next movie Splash. He ended up with the lead instead and the rest as they say is history. The pair have collaborated on three other projects including the upcoming Angels & Demons.

So, how did we do with our list? Are there a few other type cast stars that we missed? Or should some of these guys and gals be left to fade away into type casting obscurity?