Talented actors and actresses get typecast all the time. Michael Cera could play an awkward teen well into his mid-40s and nobody would bat an eye; Seth Rogan has carved out a nice niche for himself as the lovable muttonhead stoner; and it’s hard to imagine Jennifer Aniston as anything but a smoking-hot, down-to-earth 30-something (seriously, does she ever age? Because I’ll be crushing on that woman long after her Social Security kicks in). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and sometimes it’s probably unavoidable. Some actors are just better suited for certain roles than others.
But this is old news. There are countless blog posts, editorial pieces, and list articles about the most typecast actors in Hollywood, and I don’t have a whole lot to contribute on that front. Instead, let’s check out a few examples of actors playing nearly identical roles in two completely unrelated franchises. Some entries on this list may or may not be a result of typecasting, but they still stand out on their own since each actor has proven their range in a variety of genres.
These are the types of characters who make me pause and think, “Come on, the director had to have done this on purpose.” Let me show you what I mean.
1) Ben Stiller in Heavyweights (1993)/Dodgeball (2004)
Heavyweights is one of those movies that got funnier over time for me; I didn’t even know who Ben Stiller was in the early 90s, and his over-the-top Tony Perkis character aged for my friends and I like so many pounds of expensive cheese. And when Dodgeball came out in 2004, Stiller played the role of a ridiculous, relentless, used-to-be-fat fitness freak whose dastardly plans get thwarted by a rag-tag group of altruistic (though mostly out of shape) do-gooders. So yeah, I guess those plots are basically identical too.
But just look at Stiller in both of these flicks! He’s got the same hair, the same aloof-but-definitely-lacking-in-the-intelligence-department demeanor, the same brand of hilarious oddball one-liners. Jesus, he’s even accompanied by roided-out cronies in both movies.
Spin-off idea: Lars and Me’Shell star as fledgling photographers, and obese people ALWAYS break Lars’ cam-er-a.
What the director must have told him on the first day of shooting: “OK, Ben, here’s the deal. Remember that crazy asshole with sweet quads you played 11 years ago? This is basically a sequel. Same guy, new script. Oh, and we’re giving you a mustache.”
Fun (and possibly related) fact: Judd Apatow co-wrote Heavyweights in 1993, the same period in which he worked on The Ben Stiller Show as co-creator.
Old School was a great movie, and the fun lasted right up until about the 42,000th time I heard “Fill it up AGAIN!!!” at a college kegger. Jeremy Piven plays Dean Pritchard, a snarky, manipulative douche who will stop at nothing to get his way in the political world of collegiate academics. Entourage premiered on HBO just a year or so later, and who should appear as Vinny Chase’s bloodthirsty agent but a non-four-eyed Pritchard.
What the director must have told him on the first day of shooting: “Heyo, fill it up again, am-I-right? But seriously, try to envision yourself as Dean Pritchard, but with even more success, even more acerbic wit, even more duplicitous assholery. Also, your suits will cost $5,000 each.”
Fun fact: Ari even gets Frank the Tank’s old wife!
For anyone keeping track, I’m obviously cheating on this one; Ryan Reynolds is typecast often enough as badass eye candy. Heck, my girlfriend banned me from watching Van Wilder just last year because of his awesome, awesome.. just awesome abs…Um, anyway, the real reason I’m cheating here is because Blade and Deadpool are under the same Marvel umbrella. Reynolds’ persona is similar in a bunch of different roles, but for these ones he plays a snarky ne’er-do-well who ABSOLUTELY HATES LONG-SLEEVED SHIRTS.
What the director must have told him on the first day of shooting: “Hey, so I see you’ve still got a shirt on. What would you say if I told you I’d trade you that ONE shirt for TWO swords?”
Fun fact: This is my official man crush.