I frequently hear people doing impressions of actors on radio and TV, but they all seem to be actors who were young and popular 25 to 35 years ago. Pacino, DeNiro, Walken, Woody Allen are all still done. Are their any younger actors to imitate that are distinctive enough that a lot of people would recognize right off the bat?
On an slightly related note: does it freak anyone else out that Taxi Driver and Dog Day Afternoon were released almost 40 years ago? Yikes!
It’s harder now as many modern actors, including most of the great ones, do far more to change their voice and accent than in the past. To do an impression of Daniel Day-Lewis, Heath Ledger, or Leonardo DiCaprio, for example, one would have to do an impression of a particular character they were playing.
Stevie Ryan of StevieTV does impersonations all the time - I’ve seen her do spot-on impersonations of Zooey Deschanel, the Jersey Shore people, Kardashians, other Reality TV people I don’t recognize, etc. I’m out of touch with who many of the people are that she impersonates, but my teens seem to know who they are.
There’s a guy named Tris on youtube who does several impressions that Britcom fans may appreciate: here’s his take on Richard Ayoade’s Moss character from the IT Crowd, and another where he mimics both leads from Peep Show pretty well. (His rendition of Sean Nelson’s vocals at the end of the latter clip needs work though.)
The cast of SNL do impressions of young actors all the time, Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise have already been mentioned (their “appearances” on Celebrity Jeopardy with Will Ferrel are close to classic), more recently Kristin Stewart (the chick from Twilight) comes to mind.
I think “everyone” has a Pacino, DeNiro, or Walken impersonation because these actors have a large body of work that has withstood the test of time, and at the same time have cultivated and maintained a unique style and presence that is easily recognized and hard to ignore.
New actors, however, often change their style and mannerisms (even accents) for each role, aren’t as well known, and also aren’t as established, so poking fun at them isn’t as enjoyable. The SNL sketch I mentioned above that lampooned Kristin Stewart was spot-on and hilarious to me, but to anyone who hasn’t been forced to watch Twilight or isn’t a teenage girl it would have been meaningless.
Basically, if someone says “‘You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” they’re impersonating DeNiro. If someone says “WHY…SO…SERIOUS?” they’re impersonating the Joker.