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Old 03-04-2020, 06:16 PM
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Best Performances "Against Type"


I'm sure I'll think of one later, but the first one that comes to my mind would be Robert Mitchum in "Ryan's Daughter" because he was one of the most virile men in Hollywood and plays a cuckold, and does a good, convincing job.

Someone elsewhere mentioned Andy Griffith for "A Face in the Crowd", but that was his first movie, so he didn't have a "type"
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:29 PM
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Eric Laneuville, who played the likeable orderly (and later Physician's Assistant) Luther Hawkins on St Elsewhere, was also a stone-cold killer on Hill Street Blues. Aside from Henry Fonda in One Upon a Time in the West, I've never seen an actor go from playing a good guy to a bad guy so convincingly.
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:33 PM
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There is nothing funny or sympathetic about Robin Williams’ character in Insomnia.
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:39 PM
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One of the reasons that I've long liked Brad Pitt as an actor is because he may be renown for his looks but he does not always play the pretty lead, and is in fact good as the quirky weirdo, a la 12 Monkeys
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:40 PM
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There is nothing funny or sympathetic about Robin Williams’ character in Insomnia.
Yes, and he does play against type with "One-Hour Photo"
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Old 03-04-2020, 06:50 PM
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The obvious one is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. I thought he did a good job in he first real non-comedic role.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:05 PM
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Meryl Streep as an aged rabbi in Angels in America.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:10 PM
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Fred MacMurray. Most of his early career he played happy-go-lucky romantic leads. Then Billy Wilder cast him in Double Indemnity and he was a hard-nosed insurance agent and film noir killer.

MacMurray went back to genial comedies, but Wilder cast him again as Mr. Sheldrake, the smarmy boss having an affair with Shirley MacLaine.

These were both completely against type. Evidently MacMurray didn't like that sort of role and he quickly went back to being a genial good guy. But those two performances are among the most powerful in film. Wilder evidently saw that MacMurray's type made a great heel.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:13 PM
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Denzel Washington had been playing virtuous hero leads for a long before the villainous lead in Training Day.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:16 PM
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In Lost in Space, Gary Oldman does not play a typical Gary Oldman-style psychopath. He plays Dr. Smith. In several scenes, if you close your eyes, you can visualize Jonathan Harris playing the scene, because Oldman mimics Harris' vocal mannerisms perfectly.

Mulholland Falls is a murder mystery with several actors playing against type. The more stereotypes you have about the actors, the less likely you are to spot the real killer.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:25 PM
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Eddie Arnold in the first Longest Yard.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:38 PM
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Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina (1954), playing against type as a (fairly) honest businessman and eventual romantic lead.
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:49 PM
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David Tennant as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:54 PM
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Tim Allen in Red Belt, written & directed by David Mamet. Rather than his usual improv wacky comedy, he was playing a very boring, straight-laced action star, kind of a Kevin Costner/Bruce Willis kind of guy with no sense of humor. It made for a funny bit in the "making of" part of the dvd:

Allen: "I'm used to just taking the script and kind of improvising my way through a scene."
Mamet: "If he can improvise better than I can write, I should go home."
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Old 03-04-2020, 07:59 PM
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Henry Gibson in Nashville.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
One of the reasons that I've long liked Brad Pitt as an actor is because he may be renown for his looks but he does not always play the pretty lead, and is in fact good as the quirky weirdo, a la 12 Monkeys
For which he should have won the Oscar.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:27 PM
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Ted Levine, who went from über-creepy Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs to Monk's put-upon boss Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer on Monk.
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:46 PM
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In the 1990s, John Ritter starred in a made-for-TV movie about a man who's going through a divorce that is amicable, until his STBX starts dating a guy who the kids instantly dislike, and he turns out to be an unemployed psycho stalker.

The unemployed psycho stalker is played by Henry Winkler - and he was PERFECTLY cast for that role!
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MortSahlFan View Post
I'm sure I'll think of one later, but the first one that comes to my mind would be Robert Mitchum in "Ryan's Daughter" because he was one of the most virile men in Hollywood and plays a cuckold, and does a good, convincing job.

Someone elsewhere mentioned Andy Griffith for "A Face in the Crowd", but that was his first movie, so he didn't have a "type"
Andy Griffith as a amoral conman in Hawaii 5-0. He and Joyce van Patten were very good.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0598072/?ref_=tt_ep_pr
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:27 PM
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Andy Griffith as a amoral conman in Hawaii 5-0. He and Joyce van Patten were very good.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0598072/?ref_=tt_ep_pr
Buddy "Jed Clampett" Ebsen played the mastermind behind a gang of traveler's check thieves in another episode of Five-O. It started out with the cold-blooded murder of the drivers of an armored car.
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:44 PM
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It's been a long time since I've seen Savages, or Pray for the Wildcats, but they had Andy Griffith playing the bad guy
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:01 AM
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How on earth Helena Bonham Carter (archetypical costume drama English rose) got herself cast as the female lead in Fight Club has always been a mystery to me. But well done to her for managing it, and she did a great job.

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Old 03-05-2020, 07:07 AM
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A long time ago now but Mary Tyler Moore was a cold blooded monster in Ordinary People. Only played very warm blooded people before that.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:11 AM
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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson went from Schwarzenegger 2.0 uber manly man to a pink loving (probably closeted) gay man in Be Cool and he was fucking hilarious.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:22 AM
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Robert Walker played kid-next-door and best friend types and was the psychopath killer in Strangers on a Train (1951).
Not someone you would want next door as your best friend.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:23 AM
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When Ray Romano first appeared in the Parenthood series in 2012-2013, I only knew him from stand-up and Everybody Loves Raymond. I was really impressed with his portrayal of Hank Rizzoli, a photographer with Asperger syndrome.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:23 AM
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Angela Lansbury in the first Manchurian Candidate
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:33 AM
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Former child actress Kim Richards, maybe best known for her Disney films, turned in an excellent little performance as Christina Ricci's angry, abusive mom in Black Snake Moan.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:05 AM
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Fair to say Ben Kingsley's Don Draper in Sexy Beast was a bit of a departure.

Not sure he had a type, but Ghandi is his career-defining performance and you can't get further away from Don Draper than that.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
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The obvious one is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. I thought he did a good job in he first real non-comedic role.
And before that in Punch-Drunk Love.

My nomination would be Gene Hackman in The Conversation.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 03-05-2020 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:25 AM
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Eddie Arnold in the first Longest Yard.
Nitpick - Eddie Albert. Eddie Arnold is the country singer.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:47 AM
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We talked about this recently in another thread, but I nominate Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, and especially Leslie Nielsen in Airplane! Straight dramatic actors all, doing great jobs in a satirical comedy.
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Old 03-05-2020, 09:09 AM
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For the exact opposite of what this thread is talking about, Will Farrell attempts and fails miserably at drama in Downhill.
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Old 03-05-2020, 09:12 AM
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Fred Munz in an episode of Criminal Minds playing a man who is killing off the gang members who forced him to watch them rape and murder his pregnant fiancee before almost knifing him to death. He is in a psychotic break, not remembering actually doing the murders. It was a marvelous episode, where the murderer was not the bad guy.

And not Malcom in the Middle.
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Old 03-05-2020, 09:17 AM
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Fred Munz in an episode of Criminal Minds playing a man who is killing off the gang members who forced him to watch them rape and murder his pregnant fiancee before almost knifing him to death. He is in a psychotic break, not remembering actually doing the murders. It was a marvelous episode, where the murderer was not the bad guy.

And not Malcom in the Middle.
Frankie Muniz, not Fred Munz.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:24 AM
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Sandra Bullock as a racist bitch in Crash. I know may people disliked the film; I loved it. But her in that role was . . . curious. It almost shouldn't have worked but someone it made it more horrifying to me.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:16 PM
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For the exact opposite of what this thread is talking about, Will Farrell attempts and fails miserably at drama in Downhill.
Yes, but Will Ferrell does an excellent job with a dramatic (and reserved) performance in Stranger Than Fiction.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:23 PM
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Fair to say Ben Kingsley's Don Draper in Sexy Beast was a bit of a departure.

Not sure he had a type, but Ghandi is his career-defining performance and you can't get further away from Don Draper than that.
I just watched a movie last night where he played Adolf Eichmann.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:37 PM
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The mention of Malcolm in the Middle a few posts back got me thinking -- does Bryan Cranston really have a "type"? When Breaking Bad started airing, most people knew him from Malcolm in the Middle and assumed he was playing against type, but I'm not so sure. Before Malcolm he had a recurring role on Seinfeld, but IIRC he also played a string of bad guys on various TV dramas. From what I recall from an interview I heard years ago, it was his role as the villain in an X Files episode that got him considered for Walter White.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:49 PM
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Angela Lansbury in the first Manchurian Candidate
Not to mention her debut film performance - a conniving little schemer in Gaslight.
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Old 03-05-2020, 02:15 PM
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Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt.
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Old 03-05-2020, 03:48 PM
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The obvious one is Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. I thought he did a good job in he first real non-comedic role.
Reign Over Me was another dramatic role (and I much preferred it to Uncut Gems).
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:15 PM
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And before that in Punch-Drunk Love.
The Adam Sandler movie I was going to mention was Spanglish. After seeing Terry O'Qinn play lawmen and doctors, I was surprised by The Stepfather.

ETA: Sandler is surprisingly good in dramatic roles. He should do more. I heard that he says it's 'work' unlike his dial-it-n comedies.

Last edited by Biggirl; 03-05-2020 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:17 PM
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Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In The West.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:20 PM
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From the Great Actors never in Great Films thread: James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:29 PM
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Fair to say Ben Kingsley's Don Draper in Sexy Beast was a bit of a departure.

Not sure he had a type, but Ghandi is his career-defining performance and you can't get further away from Don Draper than that.
Gandhi. Not Ghandi.
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Old 03-05-2020, 06:04 PM
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Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina (1954), playing against type as a (fairly) honest businessman and eventual romantic lead.
I opened this thread to name Bogart for The Caine Mutiny: figure that he’d paid his supporting-actor dues as a sneering tough-guy gangster heavy, and that he earned his leading-man Oscar nomination as iconic antihero Rick Blaine in between perfecting the private-eye role as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe; and that, after heading up one war movie after another as the confident military officer who knows what he’s doing, he wasn’t really anybody’s go-to choice to earn another Oscar nomination being flustered and overwhelmed as a weak-willed stammerer who’s in over his head.
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Old 03-05-2020, 06:28 PM
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I opened this thread to name Bogart for The Caine Mutiny
Great example.
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Old 03-05-2020, 06:50 PM
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Fair to say Ben Kingsley's Don Draper in Sexy Beast was a bit of a departure.

Not sure he had a type, but Ghandi is his career-defining performance and you can't get further away from Don Draper than that.
Don Draper? The Mad Man?

ETA: Logan, Don Logan

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 03-05-2020 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 03-05-2020, 07:35 PM
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We talked about this recently in another thread, but I nominate Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, and especially Leslie Nielsen in Airplane! Straight dramatic actors all, doing great jobs in a satirical comedy.
Airplane! was a comedy, but with the exception of Stephen Stucker everybody played it straight. It needed actors like Nielsen and Bridges who could be absolutely serious to make it as funny as it was. It was brilliant casting, and obviously all the serious actors were in on the joke, but they weren't exactly playing against type.

In the same vein, Tommy Lee Jones was hysterical in Men in Black. When he's interrogating a dog and treating it like the most normal thing in the world, it's brilliant.

Also George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove. That's another comedy that's played mostly straight, but Scott has the gung ho turned up to 11 and he's excellent. I read somewhere that he was unhappy about it, though. Stanley Kubrick wanted the character to be over-the-top, and was having trouble getting the performance he wanted. He asked Scott to do a few takes as broadly as possible, with the promise that he wouldn't use them, and then put them in the film anyway. I don't know if Scott got over his objection; the finished film is clearly a masterpiece.

Hmm, maybe every deadpan comedy needs one silly character just for the contrast; someone the other characters should laugh at, but don't.
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