Actor IS the Title Character
aka: Big Star Is Main Character
A common turn of phrase on film posters is to have it stated that an actor is the main character. Sometimes, the poster designer wants to convey that the actor is so much like the character that he is the character. It's a slightly odd expression, even with Dyeing for Your Art in play. Often used when the character's name is also the movie's title. A fairly common parody form, when describing an actor who is both known for always playing the same kind of character to the extent that it qualifies as being As Himself, and is also a big enough star to be starring in a self-centered vanity piece of a film, is to give it as "Actor Name IS Actor Name IN Actor Name!"
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Films — Live-Action
- Angels & Demons: "Tom Hanks is Robert Langdon".
- Air Force One: Harrison Ford IS the President.
- Nearly imperceptible, but on the poster it says clear as day "Harrison Ford is Blade Runner"
- Arnold Schwarzenegger IS The Terminator.
- On the poster for The Bourne Identity: Matt Damon is Jason Bourne.
- Harrison Ford is The Fugitive.
- "Jim Carrey is Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon".
- Johnny Depp IS Rango. Rather ironic given that Rango is a pseudonym.
- Julia Roberts IS Erin Brockovich.
- Kevin Costner is Robin Hood.
- In Monty Python's Life of Brian, the Pythons wanted George Lazenby to play Jesus as a cameo, purely so they could say "George Lazenby is Jesus Christ!" They couldn't get him, so it didn't pan out.
- Michael Keaton IS Beetlejuice. (Funny when you consider the correct spelling is Betelgeuse.)
- One poster design for You Only Live Twice, which was competing with the Casino Royale (1967) spoof, had "Sean Connery IS James Bond." Ironically it was this movie where Connery quit the role partially because he wanted to be known as something other than Bond.
- Parodied in the trailer for Pee-wee's Big Adventure: "Pee-Wee Herman is Pee-Wee Herman."
- The teaser trailer for Star Trek The Motion Picture did this with the whole cast. With Orson Welles narrating. See here.
- Steven Seagal films have this title scheme as a tradition. "Steven Seagal is... Out For Justice / Hard to Kill / On Deadly Ground," etc.
- ... which is in itself an odd use of the trope, since most of those aren't character names; they're usually descriptors which might well apply to Seagal (or the character he's portraying).
- Tom Hanks IS Forrest Gump.
- A variation on Inglourious Basterds, almost all the principal characters had "X is a Basterd" on their character posters. "Brad Pitt IS a Basterd", and so on.
- David Hyde Pierce IS The Perfect Host.
- In the RiffTrax of Captain America lampshading the Captain's movie serials "Captain America is Captain America in Captain America." Which is how it happens in the movie except we're never shown for sure that the movie serial is actually called Captain America.
- "The Incredible Lou Ferrigno is Hercules."
- Angelina Jolie IS Maleficent.
- "Paul Newman is Harper."
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 often spoofs this with their films, such as "Joe Don Baker IS Santa Claus". They spoof it even more if the actor on-screen bears similarity to more than one celebrity: "Jane Curtain IS Kate Moss AS Isadora Duncan!"
- For Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary, the Radio Times released twelve special edition covers, one for each actor to take the title role: William Hartnell IS the Doctor. Articles announcing the next Doctor often run with this format.
- Emphasizing its Concept Album and stage persona nature, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars was promoted with an ad proclaiming "David Bowie is Ziggy Stardust"; at the bottom, in smaller type, it read "Ziggy Stardust is David Bowie".
- The Simpsons episode guest-starring Mark Hamill played with this, with two posters in the Dinner Theater performing Guys and Dolls: "Mark Hamill IS Nathan Detroit" and "Pepper Steak IS the Entree".
- In the South Park episode "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," all the parody trailers close with: "Rob Schneider is The Stapler/A Carrot/Da Derp De Derp Da Teetily Derp Da Derpee Dumb/Kenny! Rated PG-13."