Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com
Even the most successful actors in Hollywood have a tendency to get typecast. Tom Hanks will forever be playing nice guy parts, Steve Buscemi will always be a quirky shady guy, Sandra Bullock will always be Sandra Bullock, etc, etc. While most celebrities rarely get a shot at breaking the cycle of typecasting, many have been bold enough to make fun of it. Here are 15 actors who poked fun at their typical onscreen personas to great comedic effect.
Katie Featherston has done pretty well for herself with the Paranormal Activity franchise, but thus far has failed to break out in parts outside of horror roles. Though playing herself in a mockumentary may have had a Blair Witch effect on her career, Featherston gamely mocks the typecasting in the Funny or Die video below.
The Player is a classic, though its funniest bit may be the film’s movie-within-a-movie. Said meta scenario gamely capitalizes on Julia Roberts’ then-typecasting in romantic comedy roles. The fictitious film, Habeas Corpus, mocks Roberts’ previous rom-coms by placing her in a death-row set screwball comedy opposite Bruce Willis.
The Last Action Hero wasn’t a massive hit with audiences, but it did allow star Schwarzenegger the chance to mock his own typecasting for a solid two hours. The film has some great bits, though nothing tops Schwarzenegger’s take on Hamlet, which you can find below.
After Steven Seagal’s action career dwindled into the straight-to-video territory, the D-listing allowed the actor the chance to ridicule his penchant for ridiculous action films. The Onion Movie ranks as Seagal’s greatest bit of self-parody, offering up a fake, NSFW trailer for a Steven Seagal effort by the name of… well, we’ll let you follow the link for yourself.
Unlike Seagal and Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris wasn’t just typecast as a dated action star, but also an unlikely internet meme. With his brief return for The Expendables, Norris was finally allowed to get in on the joke.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Our final action star (we promise) didn’t just make fun of his own typecasted career, he made an entire movie skewering it along with his ego and his fading relevancy. The French film JCVD allowed Jean-Claude Van Damme the opportunity to play himself in what can only be described as the Lost In Translation of action movies.
Neil Patrick Harris
Doogie Howser M.D. typecast Neil Patrick Harris as a squeaky clean former child star for well over a decade. What broke the spell? Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, a stoner comedy that cast NPH as a sleazebag version of himself. The move revived Harris’ career and helped establish him as one of America’s favorite comedic actors.
Let’s face it– Michael Cera typically plays Michael Cera in every movie he appears in. Superbad, Scott Pilgrim, Arrested Development— the 25-year-old actor seems to be stuck in a perpetual series of awkward, sweet natured young male characters. Yet This Is The End may have broken the cycle, allowing Cera to pull an NPH on everyone by playing a sleazy, hard-partying sociopath named Michael Cera. A NSFW bootleg supercut of his performance is currently floating around YouTube for curious parties, not that we encourage that sort of thing.
Photo: Joe Kan/WENN.com
Like Cera, Jesse Eisenberg has been playing awkward, nervous young men since his debut in Roger Dodger. After The Social Network, Eisenberg was able to parody his own onscreen persona (opposite the real-life Mark Zuckerburg no less) while hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live. Check out Eisenberg’s self-mockery in the show’s opening monologue.
Following the success of The Breakfast Club, Hollywood sentenced Paul Gleason to play an unending stream of A-hole authority figures in everything from Die Hard to Maniac Cop 3. Not Another Teen Movie didn’t do much for audiences, but it did allow Gleason to reprise his Breakfast Club role and get the last laugh on his dumb teen co-stars. See the profanity heavy clip below…
Alice Cooper’s film career hasn’t been a storied one, but in all of his features– from Monster Dog to Prince of Darkness– the actor has more or less played his spooky onstage persona. Wayne’s World offered the musician a game opportunity to subvert this image, while also offering audiences an important lesson on American history. We’re not worthy….
Samuel L. Jackson
Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com
For a stretch after the release of Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson seemed locked into a never-ending stream of badass criminal/cop roles. During this time Jackson agreed to star in Snakes On A Plane, an internet sensation in the making that inspired Jackson to make fun of his previous performances. Check out Jackson’s f-word heavy declaration of war on snakes (on planes) in the clip below.
Jersey Girl may be a blight on the resumes of Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith, but the film allowed an established Will Smith to mock a time when he was still being typecast as The Fresh Prince. Ironically enough, most of the jabs at Smith are delivered by Affleck in the film’s opening, leading up to a noteworthy cameo from the former fresh one in the film’s climax.
Machete Kills hits theaters this October, an over-the-top action romp that puts Charlie Sheen in the role he was born to play: himself… if he was president… or something. Let’s face facts– the actor’s previous Tiger Blood meltdown has more or less typecast Sheen into playing unhinged, hard-partying middle aged men (re: himself). Watch him roll with the punches as President Estevez in the trailer below.
Since the 1970s, William Shatner has been typecast into the ridiculous role of William Shatner. Rather than fight his campy image, Shatner has embraced it countless times over the course of his career. While his self-parodying career offers several highlights, we’re going to go with his MTV Movie Awards remake of Se7en below.