->''"[[Creator/SylvesterStallone Stallone]] does pretty well for himself, playing a partially deaf small town sheriff, holding his own against Creator/HarveyKeitel and Creator/RobertDeNiro of all people. The fact that he matches two of the best actors working today punch for punch without getting blown off the screen is pretty remarkable."''
-->-- '''''Website/TheAgonyBooth''''' [[http://www.agonybooth.com/agonizer/Arnold_vs_Sly_King_of_the_Action_Heroes.aspx?Page=2 on]] ''Film/CopLand''

A FanSpeak phrase: this is what you say to yourself when a comedic performer [[PlayingAgainstType gets their first serious role, instead of the goof-off they've always been]], and you're at least half-expecting a train wreck, and then... wow! They pull it off! Turns out He Really Can Act after all.

May result in TomHanksSyndrome. The in-universe version is MasterActor.

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!!Examples:

[[index]]
* HeReallyCanAct/{{Film}}
* HeReallyCanAct/LiveActionTV
* HeReallyCanAct/VideoGames
* HeReallyCanAct/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Creator/JohnnyYongBosch is a bit typecast; he used to work on ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and typically plays confident, outgoing heroes. Then comes... Well, this entry has been changed at least ''three times'', which tells you how good he is:
** ...''Anime/FiveCentimetersPerSecond'', in which his character is a wistful young man who is no longer with his childhood love, who he still yearns for.
** ...''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'', where he plays a wimpy, timid NonActionGuy with a bloodthirsty, vengeful SuperpoweredEvilSide, and carries both roles with ease.
** ... ''VideoGame/FragileDreamsFarewellRuinsOfTheMoon'', in which he plays a man, sorrowfully narrating on his deathbed about his childhood days wandering through the post-apocalyptic world.
** ...''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'': Orga was a character many mere ''not'' expecting Johnny to well in, due to the noticeable difference in the timbre of his voice and and that of Creator/YoshimasaHosoya. He changes his game by using a slightly lower, raspier voice than usual, and pulls Orga's charismatic bravado and (mostly) hidden uncertainties off like a champ.
** Additionally, Lelouch Lamperouge in ''Anime/CodeGeass''. He pulls off insanely dramatic laughs, as well as absolutely heartbreaking and magnificently awesome lines. To the point that quite a few people may prefer him over Creator/JunFukuyama.
** His voice work in ''VideoGame/BinaryDomain'' surprised a lot of people when he showed up as Sergeant Kurosawa, a ByTheBookCop ReasonableAuthorityFigure. Instead of his usual HotBlooded LargeHam characters, we got a relatively understated (but unsurprisingly awesome) character who actually had a Japanese accent as opposed to [[NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent a lot of of his other work.]]
** His VA roles in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4 Arena}}'' have to count as this. In the first one, he does the voice-overs for the MC, but he also plays villain [[spoiler: Detective Adachi]], which requires him to switch from the persona[[note]]No pun intended[[/note]] of [[spoiler: a goofy, bumbling police officer]] to an AxCrazy sociopath. He pulls it off without skipping a beat. Then he dips back into the AxCrazy part for ''Arena'' by delivering the [[spoiler: illusory words]] of Yu Narukami, sounding for all the world like his [[spoiler: Adachi persona from the previous game.]] Anyone who doubts his acting talents after that [[InJoke can get stuffed!]]
** He also gets to play AxCrazy in ''LightNovel/FateZero'' as Ryunosuke Uryu, and he sounds like he absolutely relishes it.
** Zack from ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce's'' short-lived anime dub is a squat little nerd with some compassion problems. This is what we call PlayingAgainstType.
* Creator/SteveBlum has always been a good actor, but his PlayingAgainstType in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' sees him playing the lovable, childlike and squeaky Guilmon, as well as the dorky Kenta, both of whom are not his normal vocal type. He's also ''terrifying'' as [[BigBad Amon]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' as well as very charismatic, commanding the screen in every scene he was in, [[spoiler:and both he and Creator/DeeBradleyBaker had one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire season at the end]].
* ''Manga/VampireKnight'', ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'' and ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'' convinced several anime and JRPG fans that Creator/BrycePapenbrook had a significant amount of promise, despite his less-than-stellar performances in earlier shows. ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' only solidified it- his performance as Rin has won unanimous praise from the show's fans.
* Virtually everyone in the English dub of ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]'' got this reaction but special mention goes to Creator/CaitlinGlass as Winry Rockbell in S2 E10 ''Backs to the Distance'' (aka the episode where [[spoiler: Winry learns the truth about her parents' deaths and confronts their killer, Scar]].) Even more impressive? She directed not only herself (as the scene was very emotional for her) but also the other voice actors. Whoa.
* Alicyn Packard delivers a pretty emotional performance as Jibanyan in the episode "Jibanyan's Secret" in ''Anime/YokaiWatch''. Especially when he starts crying after learning about his past that he forgotten.
* [[SmallReferencePools Most viewers know]] Creator/RachaelLillis as [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Jessie and Misty of Pokemon]]; yet since neither character has much nuance beyond {{Tsundere}} FieryRedhead and IneffectualSympatheticVillain FieryRedhead, there wasn't much potential for her to showcase her abilities there. Her voice-work for PluckyGirl [[Manga/RevolutionaryGirlUtena Utena]] likewise offered little opportunity for much serious acting... until [[WhamEpisode the episodes]] leading up to the GrandFinale. ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome And Ms. Lillis kills it]].'' [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming D'awws]] and [[TearJerker sniffles]] aplenty.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Drama]]
* ''BigFinishDoctorWho'':
** Many critics -- and even the writers who worked on them -- have pointed out that one of the best things about the Creator/TomBaker audio dramas is that, between getting more emotional scenes to do and several decades of personality maturation, he makes a specific point of acting in them, rather than just relying on his own LargeHam natural personality and VoiceOfDramatic to carry everything like he frequently did in the bad old days. The character comes off more [[TookALevelInKindness subtle and kind]] as a result.
** Creator/ColinBaker, aka the Sixth Doctor, was widely considered the worst from his short TV tenure on ''Doctor Who''. When Baker reprised the role for the Big Finish audio dramas, he was later voted the ''best''.
** Bonnie Langford as Mel had everything against her on television. She was an attempt at StuntCasting during the series's most awful DorkAge, and was widely disliked as a public figure to begin with; internal production team politics led to her being intentionally written as TheScrappy and directed to act as a ScreamingWoman in a stagey, {{Panto}} style in order to sabotage her. The audios give her much, ''much'' better material, altering her character from a one-note DamselScrappy into a DefiantCaptive DeadpanSnarker. This gives Langford full opportunity to show off what she's actually capable of as an actress, and she comes across like she's really enjoying the role.
** The Big Finish audios also gave [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap pretty epic upgrades]] to some other [[TheScrappy scrappier]] companions, such as Peri.
* The ''Focus on the Family Radio Theatre'' series by Focus on the Family have surprisingly good voice acting. Look to their renditions of ''Ben-Hur'', the story of Squanto and ''A Christmas Carol'' for proof of that. Their ''Adventures in Odyssey'' series also had great voice acting in its golden era (specifically from its early days to up until Whit's second voice actor Paul Herlinger sadly passed away), whether it be for comedy like the BTV episodes or for drama like the Novacom saga.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/{{Gorillaz}} bassist Murdoc is voiced by Phil Cornwell, who's a comedian by trade. Since the tone in the interviews and animated shorts is usually [[NonSequitur weird and light-hearted,]] this works out pretty well. But in the iTunes session interviews, there are some surprisingly frightful parts, and Cornwell proves himself as an actor by bringing Murdoc across as [[{{Jerkass}} phenomenally scummy,]] even intimidating. The brutal on-tape fights and [[spoiler: [[HoYay suggestive]] chloroform scene]] are played quite convincingly for the characters, adding a dark new layer to the {{Music/Gorillaz}} story development.
* Music/KanyeWest in [[TearJerker We Were Once a Fairytale]]. ''[[UpToEleven Twice]].'' Also him on ''Music/TheClevelandShow''.
* Creator/MeganFox in Music/{{Eminem}}'s [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uelHwf8o7_U&feature=related "Love The Way You Lie" music video.]]
** Speaking of Eminem: while it's not acting, per se, his rapping as the title character in "Stan" is practically a performance in and of itself. His tone gets more frenzied as the song reaches its climax, and eventually the listener just loses themselves in the character. The song wouldn't be half as good if Em wasn't such a good actor as well (which ''8 Mile'' would go on to prove).
* The [[SteamPoweredGiraffe Vice Quadrant]] album was a chance for David Michael Bennett and Isabella Bennett to show off their acting skills as the Astronaut and Commander Cosmo (David), and the Necrostar (Isabella). Compare [[TheComicallySerious The Spine]] to [[TragicVillain the Astronaut]], or [[CloudCuckoolander Rabbit]] to [[BigBad the Necrostar]]. Special mention should also go to the heartbreaking scene of the end of "Oh No", where the Astronaut [[spoiler: is separated from Cosmica, who lets him regain his sanity just long enough for him to see everything he did, before he dies.]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* People in general (and theatre critics in particular) were sceptical when Creator/LennyHenry (mostly known for his comedy performances and characters) announced he was taking on the lead role in a production of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/{{Othello}}''. Against expectations he got pretty good reviews for the most part with most critics either praising his performance or at least conceding he did a decent if not outstanding job.
* Although people already knew he was a great actor at this point, nobody was really prepared for how Creator/NeilPatrickHarris ''killed it'' as the title role of ''Theater/HedwigAndTheAngryInch''. He set a new high standard for the character, molding himself physically and vocally into Hedwig and absolutely owning the stage, earning a well-deserved Tony Award in the process.
** From the same production: Lena Hall's performance as Yitzhak. Up to that point, she mostly was known for being in lighter shows (''Kinky Boots'', ''Cats'', ''Tarzan''), but she delivered a crushing performance, playing resentment, devotion, and resignation perfectly while barely saying a word. Especially worthy of note: the look of pure joy she has when Hedwig gives her the dress at the end and she runs up the aisle before emerging again near the end of "Midnight Radio." She, too, won a well-deserved Tony, and a shit-ton of respect from the Broadway community.
* Sutton Foster in ''Violet.'' She had already earned respect for her formidable singing and dancing in shows like ''Anything Goes'', ''Theater/TheDrowsyChaperone'', and ''Thoroughly Modern Millie.'' With ''Violet'', she showed that she could deliver a raw, emotional, and heart-wrenching performance without necessarily tapping her brains out. Her tragic naivete and eventual [[HeroicBSOD breakdown]] when she finds out [[spoiler: the TV preacher she idolized couldn't help fix her facial deformity]] were killer.
* Nobody said the man couldn't act, but Creator/LinManuelMiranda's performance during the largely tragic middle of the second act of ''{{Theatre/Hamilton}}'' comes way out of left field. Hamilton's bravado comes crashing down when [[spoiler: his son dies]], and his panic at the beginning of "Stay Alive (Reprise)" and resignation during "It's Quiet Uptown" show that Miranda can bring real gravitas to the character.
* Though his ''Film/CoolAsIce'' performance was panned, Music/VanillaIce earned appraisal for his performance in the Captain Hook in the Chatham, Kent Central Theatre pantomime production of ''Theatre/PeterPan''.
* Broadway actress Lesli Margherita is mostly famous for her [[CloudCuckoolander wacky backstage vlogs]] and for originating Mrs. Wormwood in the Broadway cast of ''Theatre/{{Matilda}}''. Got that image in your head? Here she is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40rDjGK9Slo singing "God Help the Outcasts"]] as [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame Esmeralda]]. There's a reason she has an (unrelated) Olivier.
** A subtler example is in one of the vlogs, where she has a [[TalkingToHimself conversation with Wormwood]]. She (herself) calls Wormwood a bad parent, to which Wormwood replies, "I'm not a bad ''parent'', I have a bad ''daughter."'' A line that shows she clearly knows Wormwood inside and out.
* ''8'', the play based on the Prop 8 trial, had two odd examples in that both actors were best known for the same work: ''Series/{{Glee}}''.
** Matthew Morrison certainly hasn't been bad on ''Glee'', but his turn as co-plaintiff Paul Katami was fantastic. He conveys his character's hurt over being considered a threat to children perfectly.
** Creator/ChrisColfer's acting on ''Glee'' has always been praised (he received a Golden Globe), but his [[OneSceneWonder short but memorable scene]] in ''8'' left no doubt how talented he is. Can be seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kwBzbd9bHQ here]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'':
** Creator/JessicaNigri, more well-known as a cosplay model, was very highly praised for her voice-acting role as Cinder Fall, cementing Cinder as a terrifying and badass villain with only a few lines. She continues to deliver as Cinder takes a more active role in in Volume 3, culminating with her epic villain speech [[spoiler:addressed to the crowd in the Vytal stadium to discredit Ozpin, Ironwood, the Huntsmen and the kingdoms.]]
** In a similar vein, Creator/MichaelJones of RageQuit fame definitely proved his chops for his portrayal of Sun Wukong. As a result, he managed to land another role with a similar character: Sting Eucliffe of ''Manga/FairyTail''.
** [[Characters/RoosterTeethOthers Barbara Dunkelman]] did a fairly good job voicing [[CoolBigSis Yang Xiao Long]] all through the first series run, but she was especially praised by the viewership for her convincing delivery of a [[AngerBornOfWorry highly emotionally-charged]] scene between Yang and Blake in Episode 6, Volume 2. In Volume 3, she does an even better job [[spoiler:as the events of Volume 3 very quickly turn Yang into a BrokenBird.]]
** Fans were quick to respond positively to Neath Oum's portayal of Lie Ren for Volume 3.
** Though Garrett Hunter's role of Adam [[{{Narm}} wasn't always very well-received]], fans absolutely ''loved'' his extended scene in "Heroes and Monsters", where plays a [[NightmareFuel terrifyingly]] AxCrazy [[BastardBoyfriend abusive ex-boyfriend]] to Blake.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'':
** It might not have been intentional, but the Critic's "nasty-wasties" speech in WebVideo/{{Kickassia}} proved to a lot of people that Doug Walker can act legitimately terrifying whenever he wants to be.
** While most of the Critic's proper woobie moments are just Doug putting his natural-born PuppyDogEyes to good use, his breakdown before the CrowningMomentOfAwesome in the "Commercials Special" wasn't just shouting, screaming or OTT crying, it was... genuinely sad.
** And he does it yet again in ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights''. From Ma-Ti's [[spoiler: death]] to Linkara giving him an idea for another quest, the Critic looks and acts like his whole world has been destroyed. And not just common review suffering, he's 100% broken. Doug should be proud of himself.
** ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'' once again brings his acting chops to the fore as he breaks down and begs the other reviewers to help him [[spoiler: save Ma-ti]]. It's not over the top, it's not wimpy or heartbroken, it's just him owning up to his mistakes and genuinely asking for help for the first time.
*** His performance in the Creator/Critic scene was so good that he got a SoProudOfYou from his dad and the cast commentary even stopped talking so they could enjoy it again.
** His scenes in the latter and {{cerebus syndrome}}d half of WebVideo/DemoReel can be exhausting on one's emotions. One commenter even said they could have desperately used some ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' birds after Donnie numbly and sarcastically apologizes to the family for giving a bad performance [[spoiler: after hearing that his mother '''killed herself''']], and they think he's kidding.
** Even people who couldn't stand the writing or the plot of "The Review Must Go On" freely admit he did a great job playing a terrified Donnie, a dominating Critic who is just loving calling the shots for once, himself having a breakdown, and [[ItMakesSenseInContext the last ten minutes when Donnie is still mostly Donnie, but Critic's traits are and eventually do win out completely]].
** Rob got to show off in WebVideo/DemoReel too, as Karl was completely unlike his usual ham; funny, but also a tortured ShellShockedVeteran with a increasing affection for his ReplacementGoldfish family and with plenty of sad moments of his own. And Rob pulled it off wonderfully.
** Doug was one of the best things about the not-exactly-liked WebVideo/{{Sonic}} movie, playing a ''[[PlayingAgainstType silent]]'' stoic soldier who was ready to FaceDeathWithDignity.
** While WebOriginal/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses is usually hammy and somewhat terrifying, Doug's reenactment of the final speech from ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen'' is legitimately well-acted.
* WebVideo/{{Todd in the Shadows}}' breakdown during the "Hoedown Throwdown" in the ''Hannah Montana: The Movie'' review. While it's mostly played for somewhat goofy reasons (it's just a song), Todd does sound genuinely panicked and upset, and some of the things he says ("I'm sad all the time...I can't sleep at night") are pretty {{Adult Fear}}-inducing. It's certainly a lot more dramatic than his usual freak-outs.
** Similarly, his discussing a traumatic high school experience in his [[Music/TaylorSwift "Fifteen"]] review. He later revealed [[spoiler:he wasn't really acting as much as he thought]], but as a turning point for Todd's character in-universe, it's handled masterfully.
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'':
** Lewis Lovhaug had a "holy shit, he can act!" moment, too, when he's nearly DrivenToSuicide in the last Silent Hill: Dead Or Alive review. Unlike most times on the site when it was SuicideAsComedy, the [[http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g8/NotABadKissa/5.gif crushed look on his face]] is terrifying.
** Lewis is amazing at portraying fear and sadness, portraying these in Cry For Justice 5-7 and Care Bears 13.
** 90's Kid [[spoiler: possessed/replaced by the Entity]] is easily the high point.
** Lewis really shows his acting chops in the ''Batman: Noel'' review, when Harvey Finevoice [[spoiler: has to confront his son's death]]. Never has so much anguish been portrayed on the show.
* "8-Bit" Mickey Paradis surprised a lot of people with his acting chops in ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights''. Known more for his wacky dancing and willingness to lose his clothes, his range of emotions was a big change.
* Nella in WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's "Dark Nella Saga". Scary but funny, hammy but menacing and in the last two reviews she could go between fangirl and evil quickly and awesomely.
* The cast of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' have proved that, for a group that initially just consisted of a few guys screwing around on a web production, they can really act. For Burnie Burns, that's whenever Church is breaking down or the rare moments when he acknowledges his creator's influence as an Ai, for Joel Heyman it's when [[spoiler:Caboose is sobbing because he's lost his best friend]], and for Gus Sorola and Geoff Ramsey it's when it looks like Grif might die.
** On that note, Creator/ElijahWood deserves a mention. He'd been praised for an okay performance in ''Film/LordOfTheRings'', but they'd not been overtly positive. Then he played Kevin in ''Film/SinCity'' and scared the shit out of everyone. When he got into ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' as [[AIIsACrapshoot Sigma]], and he steals every scene he's in, making you simultaneously detest and love him at the same time.
** Miles Luna was hardly bad as Felix in the opening arc of ''Machinima/RedVsBlueTheChorusTrilogy'', but the fact that Luna was head writer got him flack at the time, with others considering him a little generic. Come Season 12 and TheReveal [[spoiler:that Felix is the biggest KnightOfCerebus in the entire show, a terrifying sociopath and ManipulativeBastard]] has won him a ''lot'' of praise.
** Gray Haddock was previously known as just the voice of Roman Torchwick from ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', a role he did alright in but didn't really push himself with. Then he got the role of Locus and got a lot of praise, particularly for the character's NotSoStoic moments.
* Ashly Burch of ''HeyAshWhatchaPlayin'' also has another, less-frequently updated series called ''Baked Goods''. The episode "Automatonic Asphyxiation" lets her show genuine fear and rage.
* Creator/MatthewMercer was generally well-received as a voice actor in video games and anime, but he was known for two things: generic BadassBaritone voices ([[VideoGame/TalesOfXillia Alvin]], [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil6 Leon Kennedy]], [[Manga/AttackOnTitan Levi]] and the like) and [[VideoGame/Persona4 replacing]] [[VideoGame/Disgaea4 the]] [[VisualNovel/ZeroTimeDilemma more]] [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight widely-known]] actor Creator/TroyBaker. That changed completely with ''WebVideo/CriticalRole'', where he acts as Dungeon Master for a group of voice actors and reveals himself to be an insanely talented ManOfAThousandVoices. He plays everything from {{Adorkable}} geeks to CampGay wizards to gravelly-voiced vampires and dragons to a [[EnsembleDarkhorse crazy-prospector-esque black powder merchant]], along with a variety of [[CrossDressingVoices female characters]] who each sound distinct and convincing. Even the other players -- all of them professional voice actors -- are in awe of his range.
[[/folder]]
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