In today’s world, many actors fall into the trap of being type cast and end up doing the same roll over and over again. Or, everyone has a common perception of your personality off the screen and know what to expect of you. Or, actors just die off as a celebrity and are never really heard from until years later when you take a new role. But, every once in a while an actor comes along who takes an insanely different character from anything they’ve ever done or are envisioned as. And they are epic. The character works so well because we have all the preconceived notions of the actor, and watching them do the opposite on-screen is hysterical. Recently I’ve seen a few, and I thought I’d share some favorites…
Sergio– P. Diddy (Get Him To The Greek)
Sergio was my inspiration for this article. Get Him To The Greek was a let down of sorts for me, but this character stole the show. Why is he so funny? Because it’s P. Diddy acting absolutely bat-shit crazy. Let me illustrate this by quoting his character a few times: “You can’t outrun me! I’m black!” or “Do you have any ideas how many Air Jordans six black kids wear?” or “Where are you? Why haven’t you called? I’m calling you right now and I just got hit by a motherfucking car!” or even texting “Where the fuck are you? I am gonna kill you. (Smiley Face).” For me, this was the character of the summer right here and P. Diddy was perfect for it. Why is it funny? Because it’s P. Diddy! We’ve all heard about the epic parties he throws but at the same time how well spoken he is on TV and how down to earth he can seem. Now try to watch him talk about mind-f@cking with a straight face and smoke the most potent mix of drugs known to man. Not mention fighting like a ninja and appearing in people’s drug hallucinations as a floating head…eating smaller versions of his own head. Sergio was the perfect use of a big name celebrity and brilliantly crazy execution by P. Diddy himself.
Neil Patrick Harris– Himself (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle)
This list could not be complete without NPH. Not one bit. In Harold and Kumar he plays “himself,” or in reality probably the complete opposite of what he would do in real life. According to the movie he is a party-oholic who is addicted to drugs and sex, willing to commit felonies, and is pretty much a complete dick. I can’t imagine NPH being like that in real life, but I guess I can’t know. I’ll go off the basis that he isn’t and reveal the obvious reason to why his character is hilarious. He’s freakin’ Doogie Howser! The cute little kid doctor all grown up! He was so nice and adorable on the show, and now you’re watching him being depicted as a psychopath. It was the perfect formula. Take an actor no one has really heard of in a while and turn him into something people never thought he would be like. And the best part? NPH embraces it and helps make himself who he is…or isn’t.
Les Grossman– Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder)
Alright, here they choose to take a well established actor, make him look completely different along with acting completely different, and hide who he is until the credits. Les Grossman is the hard-nosed and foul-mouthed boss of a production company, who really couldn’t care less about the people involved. All he cares about is getting a movie made and cashing the paycheck. And yes, somewhere under that chubby brute is the tiny and not intimidating Tom Cruise. You know, the actor all woman love because of his charm and smile. He’s also well-known for his dramatic roles in such films as Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut, and the masterful Top Gun. So now picture him ranting and raving on-screen, telling people to do such things as “take a step back… and literally fuck your own face!” That’s Tom Cruise saying that. Seriously. I lost it when I found out it was him, it didn’t take long once I heard him talk, but again this was perfect use of a household name whom we already though we knew, and then throwing him into a role completely out of the ordinary. He was also a great commentary on what society views some producers to be (Weinsteins cough cough), and played a perfect tyrant. Who knew such big words could come from such a little man.
Chad- Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading)
What Brad Pitt is known for: enthralling dramatic roles such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button recently. What this character is: A quirky and empty-headed personal trainer who never has a clue what he is doing. Again, Brad Pitt was easily the best part of the entire movie. And I know, he was in all the Ocean’s movies, but he was still the same Brad Pitt good-looking and charming character he always ends up as. Burn After Reading was a movie that used Brad Pitt in a way he never really has been before, except for True Romance where he played a stoner that held down a couch the entire movie (also a great example). Whether he’s sneaking around people’s houses or threatening CIA operatives with the “integrity of their…shit” Brad Pitt was hilarious as his dimwitted character. So many characters were perfect for this movie, but Chad wins out by far.
Feel free to add any you can think of!