Skip to main content

Many actors, whether they have recently completed their acting classes or have been in the profession for decades, often play specific roles or have a type that is associated with them.

This is the concept of typecasting and can be seen as a cycle; an actor plays a part particularly well, so casting directors, producers and directors will often cast them in similar roles or ones that, consciously or otherwise, evoke a previous performance.

This was most associated with popular franchises such as Star Trek, where several of the series’ most famous actors struggled to escape their association with a popular genre product. Most famously, this was the case with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart.

However, being typecast is not eternal, as there are many surprising cases of actors transcending what they were considered capable of and creating incredible moments in the process.


Jean-Claude Van Damme – JCVD

Action movie starts are often quite rigidly typecast and their attempts to break out of their role as a somewhat one-dimensional invincible heroic character can have somewhat mixed results. For every The Terminator, there is a Twins. For every Cop Land, there is a Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Jean-Claude Van Damme was in a similar position, having portrayed strongly-accented martial arts heroes looking to seek vengeance ever since the infamous Bloodsport in 1988.

However, this changed to fantastic effect when Mr Van Damme played himself in the film JCVD, a self-directed send-up of his career that highlighted some tremendous hidden depths.


Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time In The West

The exceptional visual spectacle that is Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time In The West shows its ambition early on with Henry Fonda’s cold, sadistic portrayal as the villain Frank.

Unlike the wholesome characters he had played previously such as in 12 Angry Men, The Wrong Man and The Grapes of Wrath, Mr Fonda’s villainous performance was chilling, in no small part because of the face behind it.

Leave a Reply