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->''"[Audrey] Tautou has made several movies, but in America she is known for only one, ''Film/{{Amelie}}'', in which she played a wide-eyed innocent. Here she is just as wide-eyed, but if she's innocent it's only by reason of insanity. ''Film/HeLovesMeHeLovesMeNot'' has its own charms, but part of its wicked kick is that it's the anti-''Film/{{Amelie}}'', presenting romantic fixation, not as noble and sweet, but objectively, as something selfish and volatile..."''
-->-- '''Mick [=LaSalle=]''' on Creator/AudreyTautou's role in ''Film/HeLovesMeHeLovesMeNot''

So we have TypeCasting, which is cases in which an actor is known only for playing certain kinds of roles (in its most extreme form, IAmNotSpock, when the actor is only known for a particular role). Then we have PlayingAgainstType, which is when an actor deliberately plays a role extremely different from his or her established type.

Then there's this trope, a sub-trope of PlayingAgainstType, in which an actor plays against type in such a way as to specifically play with, subvert or outright deconstruct his or her previously established character type.

Supposing, for example, Bob is best-known for playing charming, funny {{Nice Guy}}s. In this trope, Bob takes on a role superficially quite similar to his established character type - only for the film to reveal that Bob's character is only capable of being charming and funny while [[TheAlcoholic drunk]], and that he is driven to alcoholism by his history of social awkwardness and depression. (This trope can hence overlap with DeconstructedCharacterArchetype, if Bob's character type is a recognizable archetype in its own right.)

Note that this trope is not limited to comedic character types being PlayedForDrama; it's entirely possible to do this by playing dramatic character types for laughs (''e.g.'': Bob is best-known for playing tough-as-nails gangsters, and then plays a wannabe gangster who acts tough but is in fact easily frightened and can barely hold a gun, let alone fire one), or exploring facets of a dramatic or comedic character type previously left unexamined.

When successfully executed, this trope can cast an actor's earlier roles in an entirely new light and lead members of the audience to cry, "HeReallyCanAct!" When done poorly, it can seem jarring and awkward and may lead the audience to ask "WTHCastingAgency" (especially if the actor in question is insufficiently skilled to pull it off).

Compare IAmNotSpock, IAmNotLeonardNimoy, AdamWesting, SelfParody, MetaCasting, CastingGag, TomHanksSyndrome and LeslieNielsenSyndrome. In-universe, compare with HiddenDepths, CharacterDevelopment, FlatCharacter and RoundedCharacter.

'''Note:''' Do not list a different actor indented under another actor's example just because they appeared in the same work. Indented examples should only be examples of when the same actor played with their character type in multiple different roles. See Administrivia/ExampleIndentationInTropeLists for more information.

!!!'''Unmarked spoilers below.'''



!!! Live-Action Actors

[[folder: Film]]
* Creator/RobinWilliams is best known for playing cheery, funny and manically upbeat characters, but in ''Film/OneHourPhoto'' he plays a character whose outward cheerfulness masks the fact that he is a StepfordSmiler StalkerWithACrush.
* Creator/JimCarrey:
** He subverted his reputation for upbeat, funny, over-the-top characters in BlackComedy ''Film/TheCableGuy'', playing a character whose demented zaniness is indicative of his StalkerWithACrush tendencies.
** Likewise in ''Film/TheTrumanShow'', in which his character's superficial friendliness and wacky charm [[StepfordSmiler hides his inner loneliness and yearning to escape his dreary life]].
* Creator/AudreyTautou, as per the page quote, is best known (especially in the English-speaking world) for her role in ''Film/{{Amelie}}'', in which she plays a sweet, innocent, hopelessly romantic young woman (essentially a ManicPixieDreamGirl, except that she's the protagonist). For the first half of ''Film/HeLovesMeHeLovesMeNot'', she appears to be playing a similar type of character, only for the film to reveal that she is in fact a violent, insane {{Yandere}}, whose innocent romantic spirit is symptomatic of her complete and utter detachment from reality.
* As part of ''Film/{{Unforgiven}}'''s GenreDeconstruction of Westerns as a whole, Creator/ClintEastwood's role in the film is a deconstruction of his earlier Western character(s), namely those from the Film/DollarsTrilogy.
* In what has actually become a sort of type casting itself, Creator/MorganFreeman, who is known for playing "[[MagicalNegro wise old man]]" characters, sometimes plays "wise old man characters... who turn out to be evil", with ''Film/{{Wanted}}'' being a good example of this.
* Creator/AdamSandler has played with his stereotypical persona more than once:
** In ''Film/PunchDrunkLove'', his character is, like always, antisocial, [[ManChild emotionally immature]], and prone to uncontrollable fits of anger. Instead of that being a source of comedy, [[RealityEnsues it leads to awkward, embarrassing situations, and the character leads a lonely, depressing life.]] Creator/RogerEbert discussed this in his [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20021018/REVIEWS/210180308/1023 review]] of the film.
** His character in ''Film/{{Click}}'' is a workaholic with very little time to spend with his family, but as the film goes on the audience learns that this attitude makes him miss out on most of his life, leaving him a broken man.
** He also plays a broken character in ''Film/ReignOverMe'' where the character's seemingly carefree attitude is actually just an escape mechanism so he doesn't have to acknowledge a terrible trauma in his life. Any attempts to disturb his escape from reality tactics are usually met with violent denial and outburst.
* A OneSceneWonder example in ''Film/NaturalBornKillers'', with Rodney Dangerfield - replete with LaughTrack and his "I don't get no respect" shtick - playing Mallory's violent, sexually abusive father. Makes for very uncomfortable viewing indeed.
* Creator/RobertDeNiro has made a career for the past ten or more years out of subverting, parodying, or deconstructing the tough-guy cred he had accumulated over a long and illustrious career. Examples include ''Film/AnalyzeThis'' and ''Film/{{Stardust}}''.
* Creator/LeslieNielsen's goofy role in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' was a play on his previous roles of the studly, stoic hero. One critic quipped that what was needed of him in his dramatic roles and his comedic roles was exactly the same: the ability to recite patently absurd dialogue while keeping a perfectly straight face. This was so successful that he's now [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome better-known as a comedic actor than a dramatic one]].
* Anthony Perkins in ''Film/{{Psycho}}''. Thitherto this, Perkins had been known for playing likeable, affable, somewhat socially awkward supporting roles. When adapting the film from Robert Bloch's book of the same name, Creator/AlfredHitchcock was unimpressed with the original characterization of Norman Bates, a grouchy, overweight alcoholic with much more overt problems with women and sex (directly based upon the inspiration for Bates, Ed Gein). He instead decided to change the characterization to superficially match Perkins's earlier roles, largely because Perkins looked, in Hitchcock's own words, "like a boy scout". This made Bates's character more sympathetic, the DecoyProtagonist element easier to swallow and the TwistEnding much more shocking. Alas, this gambit was so successful that Perkins ended up being typecast as Bates for the rest of his career.
* Creator/JohnTravolta has a natural screen presence that can be described as a complete embodiment of the NiceGuy in TV shows and movies like ''Series/WelcomeBackKotter'', ''Film/{{Phenomenon}}'', and ''Film/LookWhosTalking''. On the other hand, he seems to LOVE subverting that niceness by playing AffablyEvil or FauxAffablyEvil characters in movies like ''[[Film/BrokenArrow1996 Broken Arrow]]'' and ''Film/TheTakingOfPelhamOneTwoThree''. His role in the movie ''Film/FaceOff'' zigzags this trope, where he starts out as a NiceGuy FBI agent who has to swap faces with evil terrorist Creator/NicolasCage. This allowed Travolta (and Cage) to play both sides of their personas in the same movie.
* The protagonist of ''Film/ThePerfectHost'' is a bank robber who is looking for a place to hide. So he manages to trick his way into the house of a guy played by David Hyde Pierce who seems to be the latter's usual milquetoast character a la [[Series/{{Frasier}} Niles Crane]]. Then Pierce's character reveals himself to be an AxCrazy maniac who proceeds to drug the protagonist and torment him for most of the night.
* Music/DavidBowie started getting film offers almost as soon as he had his commercial breakthrough via his AlterEgoActing persona of Ziggy Stardust, a flamboyant alien (or TouchedByVorlons) rock musician, MessianicArchetype, and TragicHero who succumbs to SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll, ego, and his own fans. But virtually all of the roles he was offered were Ziggy {{Exp|y}}ies. Instead, his first major film role was that of Thomas Jerome Newton in ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth''. Newton is also an alien MessianicArchetype TragicHero...but he's TheStoic and {{Moe}} before Moe was trendy, and his succumbing to Earthlings and their vices is the result of [[HumanityIsInfectious humanity proving infectious]] rather than success going to his head. Also, he can't sing.
* In ''Film/TheDescendants'', one of the main plot points is that the protagonist (played by Creator/GeorgeClooney) has found out that his comatose and slowly dying wife has been cheating on him. Early on he and his daughter find a picture of the guy...and he's played by Matthew Lillard, to which he and his daughters react with "Seriously? THAT'S the guy?". While this could simply be a crack at his appearance (who would go from Clooney to Lillard?), audiences familiar with Lillard's typical "annoying jackass" roles will likely start figuring this is yet another one of those...then once they actually meet Lillard's character, [[HeReallyCanAct you're blown away]].
* Creator/MarkSheppard is very well known for playing slightly sinister, slimy sons-of... whom you can't help but admire even as they're stabbing your protagonists in the back. Then he appeared as one of the Regents on ''Film/{{Warehouse13}}''. When an episode was centered around Pete getting assigned by Mrs. Frederic to find out which Regent was TheMole, IKnewIt was the immediate reaction when Sheppard's character quickly turned out to be an evil bastard making some kind of play for control of the warehouse. Then it turned out that Pete hallucinated the entire thing, and in a later episode Sheppard's character would even made a HeroicSacrifice to save the main characters.
* Creator/GaryOldman is well-known for playing villains, so when he was cast in ''Film/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban'' as Sirius Black, a mass-murderer after Harry, no one was surprised. By the end, it's revealed that Sirius never murdered or betrayed anyone, and in later movies he becomes the closest thing Harry has to family (naturally, this came as no surprise to viewers who'd already read the books).
* A retroactive example: Kate Winslet spends most of ''Film/AKidInKingArthursCourt'' as ProperLady Princess Sarah. Then comes the twist: [[spoiler: Princess Sarah is an ActionGirl, who has been secretly dressing as the Black Knight]].
* Creator/JamesMcAvoy in ''Film/VictorFrankenstein''. The actor was almost always TypeCast as a WideEyedIdealist, he often appeared in {{Period Piece}}s, and he had about a dozen roles where he portrayed an intellectual character. Between 2013 and 2015, however, he was PlayingAgainstType as all of his onscreen and theatre personas suffered from mental illness. [=McAvoy=]'s interpretation of MadScientist Victor Frankenstein combines ''all'' of these elements; Victor is a dark character, but even he possesses a hint of naïveté when he says things like, "I dream of a world where hope replaces fear." That line of dialogue could have been spoken by the benevolent [[Film/XMenFirstClass Dr. Charles Xavier]] (which is [=McAvoy=]'s most famous example of TypeCasting), but in Victor's case, his idealism is mixed with SanitySlippage, and they twist him into a WellIntentionedExtremist.
* Barbara Hershey as MyBelovedSmother and MamaBear at the same time, notably in ''Film/BlackSwan'' and ''Series/OnceUponATime''. It's a similar situation in ''{{Film/Insidious}}''...except she's unambiguously the hero this time.
* Creator/RobertRedford's role as Alexander Pierce in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' riffs off his earlier roles as liberal or left-wing heroes taking down fascist conspiracies, but then reveals that he's the leader of the film's fascist conspiracy.
* Likewise in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, Creator/CobieSmulders plays Maria Hill as what [[Series/HowIMetYourMother Robin Scherbatsky]] would be like if she worked for a government intelligence agency.
* ''Film/EndOfDays'': The movie was sold on the premise of "Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger fights the devil". However, instead of depicting Arnold as an unstoppable force of nature that can destroy everything in sight, this movie depicts his character, Jericho, as being genuinely flawed, such as [[DrivenToSuicide being suicidal]], not being able to do the death-defying acts that the other heroes Arnold has played (not counting the scene where he [[Literature/{{Pinocchio}} has no strings to hold him down]]) and, in the end, [[spoiler:there was not any other way to stop Satan from causing the End unless Jericho killed himself]] but, at least [[spoiler:Jericho can be with his family again]]. In interviews, Schwarzenegger said that he took this role because he thought it was the perfect script to make his return to action movies, which makes this part even more weird.
* Creator/JasonStatham is well-known for his roles as steely-eyed, razor-sharp badasses. In ''Film/{{Spy}}'', he plays Rick Ford, a steely-eyed, razor-sharp CloudCuckoolander suffering from SmallNameBigEgo. When he's not recounting ludicrous, probably-made-up tales of his previous exploits ("I drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while on fire. Not the car; ''I'' was on fire."), his action-hero attitude is constantly screwing up attempts to be a stealthy spy.
* Before undergoing TomHanksSyndrome, Creator/AnneHathaway played a lot of wholesome squeaky-clean girls in various Disney films. In ''Film/AliceInWonderland2010'' she plays the White Queen as a sort of darker take on her earlier innocent characters. The Queen is in the UncannyValley and is strongly implied to be a StepfordSmiler. WordOfGod says that she surrounds herself with so much light imagery because she's too tempted by the dark side.
* Creator/KeiraKnightley eventually became typecast as a PluckyGirl ahead of her time in various period pieces. In ''Film/TheDuchess'' she starts off as this type...and then runs into the sexist and oppressive laws of the time. She invoked this in ''{{Literature/Atonement}}'' too, as Joe Wright had wanted her to play the adult Briony. Having had enough of "coming of age ladies", Keira chose to play Cecilia instead.
* Creator/TomCruise is one of the quintessential confident, competent and easy on the eyes action heroes. In ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow'', he plays US Army Major William Cage, and we are introduced to him giving interviews looking like every bit like an experienced war hero...and then the minute he's ordered to go into a war zone, we learn that he's a glorified PR drone who has never been in combat a day in his life and proceeds to do ''everything'' he can in order to avoid fighting, such as grovelling, blackmail, and outright desertion. After being dragged kicking and screaming into battle and dying fairly quickly, a twist of fate gives him the power to trigger a time loop after death. We then see him spend the rest of the movie (and LOTS of death triggered loops) [[CharacterDevelopment slowly becoming the Tom Cruise hero we all know and love]].
* Creator/NaomiWatts often plays heroic Woobies that endure plenty of suffering. In the ''Film/{{Divergent}}'' films she's a JerkassWoobie who's ''causing'' the suffering.
* ''Film/AmericanHustle'' features Amy Adams playing a sort of InnocenceLost character, and there are a few scenes that evoke her more familiar sweetheart personas in other films. But her character Sydney has had to reinvent herself as a sexually aggressive FemmeFatale - though she wants to escape that life and settle down.
* Creator/DeborahKerr was Hollywood's favourite ProperLady in the 1950s and her most famous role is arguably Mrs Anna in ''Film/TheKingAndI''. In ''Film/TheInnocents'' she plays around with that benevolent governess image. She believes her two children are being possessed by ghosts, but it's left entirely open whether she's just imagining that as a result of her sexual repression.
* Creator/ChanningTatum entered TheNewTens playing his DumbMuscle image for [[LeslieNielsenSyndrome laughs]]. Then came ''{{Film/Foxcatcher}}'', where this is PlayedForDrama and his character feels inadequate compared to his more beloved older brother. In a different vein, it's something of a RunningGag for Channing to have lots of HoYay with his male co-stars. This film implies something of a twisted sexual relationship between Mark Schultz and John Du Pont.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' Anthology film ''Film/RogueOne'', Creator/MadsMikkelsen - who is primarily typecast as villains in American films and television - plays a scientist working for ''''THE''' TropeCodifier, if not the TropeNamer, of the EvilEmpire. The catch? In this film, he's actually a ''[[ReluctantMadScientist Reluctant]]'' MadScientist ([[{{Pun}} pardon the pun]]) who ''helps'' the heroes in this movie [[spoiler:destroy the Death Star]].

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'': In the episode "Made a Lady Think I Was God," Roseanne Barr guest stars as a character with her usual insulting personality, until Earl inadvertently turns her into a kindly nun.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Bones}}'' Creator/RobertEnglund (of ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' fame) guest-stars as a creepy janitor who hangs out in the basement of the school - who, in a subversion of NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize, isn't the perp.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'':
** Creator/BryanCranston was best known for his performance as Hal in sitcom ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'', an archetypal BumblingDad and HenpeckedHusband frustrated by his dead-end job and poor financial standing. His character in the series, Walter White, starts off as a very similar sort of character, which makes [[ProtagonistJourneyToVillain his transformation into a vicious, ruthless drug dealer]] all the more shocking.
** For those who watched ''Series/FridayNightLights'' first, it at first seemed that Jesse Plemons as Todd was playing a criminal version of Landry: an extreme NiceGuy and even a little {{Adorkable}}. Then [[WouldHurtAChild he unexpectedly murders a child with no hesitation]] and [[TheSociopath only gets more creepy as the show progresses.]]
* In Creator/SummerGlau's first guest appearance as Skylar in ''Series/{{Alphas}}'', she is initially depicted as the kind of bizarre, waif-like young woman who she became famous for as River in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' and Cameron in ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles''. It then comes as more of a surprise when it's revealed that the {{MacGuffin}} that she's searching for is actually her daughter, as nobody would expect her usual type of character to have a child.
* Robert Carlyle is often the ButtMonkey of the story in some way. In ''Series/OnceUponATime'' his character (Rumpelstiltskin) started out as one. His status as this is PlayedForDrama and motivated him to become TheChessmaster BigBad known as the Dark One.
* Creator/AndreBraugher plays Captain Holt in ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' like he's still on ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'', with much of the character's humor coming from his [[TheStoic overly stoic]] demeanor [[TheComicallySerious contrasting with the wackiness of what goes on in the presinct.]]

!!!Voice Actors

* The voice actress Creator/RieKugimiya almost always voices heroic characters (typically those with a {{tsundere}} personality), which allowed for an effective BaitTheDog with Nena Trinity in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00''. Nena initially comes off as a standard cute and quirky character and then sort of out of nowhere, she decides to use her mech slaughter a wedding party because they were having a good time and she wasn't. Then [[CuteAndPsycho her actual character is established]]. ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' is a much straighter example, as her characters (Mithra and the villager who looks like her) are almost complete opposites to her established typecasting.
* The casting of ''Anime/{{Doraemon}}'''s voice actress as Monokuma in ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'' is a perfect example. Monokuma is a parody of a Japanese kawaii mascot character with a NonStandardCharacterDesign, who speaks with affected cuteness, as well as being openly a vicious, psychotic EvilGenius manipulating people into killing each other, explicitly for his own amusement. Him choosing to use a voice associated so strongly with the wonder of childhood in generations of the Japanese consciousness[[note]]The go to analogy for international audiences is "imagine [[Franchise/{{Saw}} Jigsaw]] voiced by MickeyMouse"[[/note]] perfectly fits his personality.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Creator/NolanNorth:
** His role in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' as Cpt. Martin Walker initially appears to be quite similar to North's usual type (specifically the "Drake" voice from ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}}''), but as the game wears on it turns into a savage deconstruction of the character type, with Walker becoming increasingly violent and unhinged as a consequence of the horrific actions he is forced (or believes himself to have been forced) to carry out. Curiously, this was apparently unintentional on the part of the development team.
** Then there was his role in ''VideoGame/TheLastOfUs'' as David, the leader of a group of survivors, who is kinda in a sense Nathan Drake if he was the leader of a group of survivors. But then [[spoiler: you find out he's not only violently crazy, but he's also a cannibal and possibly a pedophile.]]
* Also in ''Spec Ops'' and in the same vein, Bruce Boxleitner as Col. Konrad is an inversion of his roles as TheCaptain following ''Series/BabylonFive'', a good leader that had become a military despot, a ColonelKilgore with a nice voice and good use of words. And then we find out that Walker has charged into the situation without being given all the information and things are not what they seem... [[spoiler:like the fact most of the rantings Walker (and the player) has heard throughout the game are ''Walker's own hallucinations'']].
* Creator/MatthewMercer is known for voicing sarcastic badasses. [[VideoGame/TalesOfXillia Alvin]] is one of these, but [[spoiler:he ends up betraying the party multiple times and undergoes SanitySlippage]].
* Creator/BrycePapenbrook is often casted into {{Nice Guy}}s who have [[WideEyedIdealist an idealistic view in the world]]. He is casted into [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening Henry]] and [[VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2 Nagito Komaeda]], who are both {{Nice Guy}}s at heart, but are twisted in a dark way.
* Creator/StephanieSheh, in her own words, is often cast as "[[FragileFlower super-shy high school girls]] or [[{{Yandere}} completely bipolar types]]". This is probably why she was cast as [[VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2 Mikan Tsumiki]], [[spoiler:since she's both]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Nick Frost in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge4ContinentalDrift''. He voices a CloudCuckooLander [[TheDitz Ditz]]... who is one of the villains.
* Creator/SarahSilverman often plays foul-mouthed, sarcastic jerks. It looked like her character Vanellope von Schweetz in ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' was just a more kid-friendly version of that. [[JerkassWoobie Of course,]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer it wasn't]] [[KidsAreCruel nearly that]] [[BreakTheCutie simple.]]
* Creator/TomKenny as the Ice King in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''. At first, it's one of his many [[CloudCuckoolander Cloud Cuckoolanders]] (who's also a HarmlessVillain). Although once his backstory as [[spoiler:Simon Petrikov]] is established, it fits his less-common more serious roles he doesn't play as often.
* Creator/GreyDeLisle as Major Doctor Ghastly from ''WesternAnimation/EvilConCarne'' shows her as a Mad Scientist who actually cares about other people compared to her [[WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy other]] [[WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents villainous]] [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender roles]].
* Creator/PatrickStewart as Seti from ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' is a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who loves his sons... and had thousands of innocent children murdered without remorse.