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I Am Not Leonard Nimoy

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"And yeah, that's what I'm calling him. I know the character has a name, but fuck it, you're never going to call him that, you're just going to call him "Will Smith fish."

Sometimes an actor is so iconic, famous, or interesting that their celebrity casts a shadow over the roles they play. That's not Hancock in skin-tight leather flying around saving people; that's Will Smith! In Hitch, that's Will Smith giving dating advice. Independence Day has Will Smith as a fighter pilot! Audiences are unable to commit to a Willing Suspension of Disbelief and simply see the actor on screen rather than the character.

Sometimes this occurs because the actor is a media darling or tabloid punching bag, constantly in the news. After a while, audiences become so familiar with the actor's personal life that they can no longer see him or her as another person. Other times this is the result of movie stars becoming typecast or having limited range. Audiences come to expect the actor to play the same role over and over again, which becomes part of the actor's larger-than-life persona.


Polar opposites of this trope are actors such as Geoffrey Rush, Gary Oldman, and - to a lesser extent - Brad Pitt, who are capable of putting masks on and completely becoming another character or person entirely. Hence, this isn't an inherently bad thing; some of the most successful actors in history have been of the "As themselves" type. So they can still be very good; they just tend not to be very versatile, and you'll usually only see them in the same (or similar) types of roles.

For an actor's career, this can be a double-edged sword. If people like the actor, they'll stay loyal to him and see his movies regardless of what they're about. On the other hand, if audiences turn against the actor, they won't be able to appreciate his work no matter how good the material is. And if they really want to be taken seriously and play Hamlet, it's a real (but not impossible) obstacle to overcome.


The complete opposite of this trope is I Am Not Spock, where an actor is unable to step out of the shadow of their most famous role. See also Typecasting and Adam Westing, when an actor falls into this and cultivates it willingly.


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  • Sean Connery is always Sean Connery, mostly due to him Not Even Bothering with the Accent. It doesn't matter if he's playing James Bond, an Irish cop in prohibition-era Chicago, a Lithuanian submarine captain in the Soviet Navy, an American history professor, a freaking Spaniardnote , or even someone who was evidently as American as apple pie, he shtill hash that shignature Shcottish brogue. Most other Bond actors were not so lucky, succumbing to the opposite trope.
  • John Wayne was famous for "playing himself" in almost all of his films. His personality was so larger than life that his characters were ultimately just different names for the same man in different circumstances. Wayne himself admitted as much, though he did at least find his role as Ethan Edwards in The Searchers so unique that he named his son after the character. When Wayne tried to branch out too far, such as by playing Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, the results were predictably disastrous (although filming near the Nevada Test Site and getting dusted with radioactive fallout certainly didn't help).
  • Samuel L. Jackson is generally perceived to be "Samuel L. Motherfuckin' Jackson" in any role he played after Pulp Fiction. Even as a motherfuckin' Jedi, he was still Samuel L. Jackson, and yes, the "L" is important. As shown here.
  • Clint Eastwood's roles in westerns are always seen as simply the "Clint Eastwood Gunfighter" character. Beginning with his role as "The Man With No Name" in the Dollars Trilogy with Sergio Leone, any future western with Eastwood would undoubtedly be seen as that character in a different setting, regardless of any actual backstories. The character has even come out of retirement twice, once after having become a priest in Pale Rider and once after having settled down as a farmer in Unforgiven. However, Eastwood has gone on record as saying that as far as he's concerned, William Munny from Unforgiven is the Man With No Name, and that it's the end of his story.
    • On the other hand, he's also Dirty Harry half the time, to the extent that Gran Torino has been called "the sixth Dirty Harry film". Arguably, though, Gran Torino is more successful for it.
  • Humphrey Bogart was an extremely popular actor who played characters with very similar personalities, encouraging this trope.
  • Edward G. Robinson did the same.
  • Jackie Chan's films are, well... Jackie Chan films. People watch them to see Jackie get up to crazy action hijinks. His characters are even called "Jackie" in many dubs. The Rush Hour blooper reels have multiple instances of Chris Tucker addressing him as "Jackie" instead of his character's name. Realizing the take was wasted already, he often responded in kind.
    Don Cheadle: His name is Lee, goddamn it!
  • Jack Nicholson is always Jack Nicholson, whether he's Satan, the Joker, or a psychotic writer. With the notable exceptions of Charley Partanna in Prizzi's Honor (Remember? He's stupid), Jack Gittes the detective in Chinatown, and a retired insurance salesman.
  • Bela Lugosi was typecast as a horror villain, and especially as Dracula. Later, he would try to break type by auditioning for other roles, but inevitably got second billing or no contracts at all. Upon his return to America, Lugosi was interviewed for television, and revealed his ambition to play more comedy. Independent producer Jack Broder took Lugosi at his word, casting him in a jungle-themed comedy that even had Lugosi's name on its title: Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla (1952). It did not work. Much better had been 1933's International House where Lugosi played a White Russian nobleman who'd been married to Peggy Hopkins Joyce and now wanted her back.
  • Christopher Walken began playing a caricature of himself somewhere around the mid-to-late nineties and hasn't looked back.
  • From Blue Velvet to the end of his life, Dennis Hopper basically played the same guy who always seemed at least little crazy, in a possibly dangerous way.
  • Adam West, who used to be the other trope, until he embraced it and played parodies of himself, naming a new trope in the process.
  • Tommy Lee Jones always plays basically the same character in all of his movies. Namely, Tommy Lee Jones. Now he's very good at playing Tommy Lee Jones, but in general its always the same guy with maybe one minor twist here and there (ie. an alcoholic in Rules of Engagement)
    • Oddly, Josh Brolin is also very good at playing Tommy Lee Jones, but that is what made that performance so impressive.
  • Bruce Lee always played his own personal avatar in every film. Hey, if you see a man kung fu fighting like Bruce Lee, how are you supposed to think he's not Bruce Lee?
    • Put this way: Does anybody remember the names of the actual characters he played in any of his movies? Every character is just "Bruce Lee". It's hard to stand out when you're played by what many consider to be the greatest martial artist to have ever lived.
  • Most B-movie action films have such shallow stories and characterization that they rely heavily on the action persona of their star, leading the star to essentially play the same role over and over again under different circumstances:
  • Shahrukh Khan is always Shahrukh "EYEBROWS" Khan.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, to the point that whole films have been made specifically to be Arnold does X: "Ahnold gets pregnant," "Ahnold shops for Christmas toys," etc.
    • One review of Last Action Hero pointed out that the idea Danny is a fan of Jack Slater, not Arnold Schwarzenegger, is interesting, but Arnie is entirely the wrong actor for the point.
    • The Cracked article "4 Things People Mistakenly Think Are Automatically Hilarious" discusses this trope at length while discussing the tendency for reviews to attempt to add cheap comedy by simply referring to a character by their actor's name or the name of a character that actor is more famous for, noting how when this sort of thing is done right, it's done to point out this trope. It goes on to speak on Arnold specifically, and how basically every role of his was "here's Arnold if he were an <insert movie-worthy occupation>", ending by noting that saying something like "here's the scene in Junior where Arnold Schwarzenegger is about to give birth" isn't a forced joke formula, that's actually what the scene comes across as.
    • Taken to the logical extreme with the Taiwanese title for The Running Man, which is simply "Arnold the Devil" (devil means badass here).
  • People from sketch-comedy shows tend to fall into this.
  • Jimmy Stewart was always Jimmy Stewart, even when playing real people like Charles Lindbergh or Glenn Miller. Unless he happened to be your superior officer in the Air Force, in which case, his name was Brigadier General Stewart.
  • Cary Grant always played the handsome, cool, smooth leading man, except in Bringing Up Baby or Arsenic and Old Lace. Those are both earlier movies; as his career progressed, he was more and more pigeonholed into that one role, the 'Cary Grant leading man' role. Which he actively worked to cultivate over the years, noting wryly at one point that "Even I want to be Cary Grant."
  • Ronald Colman tended to play himself, whether he was a royal impersonator, a gallant Foreign Legionnaire, a wanderer finding his place in life, a smooth-talking magician-thief, or an actor who's gone quietly, murderously mad. For some reason, starting in his silent film days, he was repeatedly cast in dual roles, usually a decent guy with an Evil Twin.
  • William Shatner's hammy persona and trademark delivery dominates his various roles.
  • The Marx Brothers played virtually the exact same characters in all of their movies. Despite the fact that their respective characters were essentially identical in all of their films, in each film the characters have different names, jobs, and backstories. Even so, to the audience they're still always Groucho, Chico and Harpo...and sometimes Zeppo. (They were billed as themselves in Monkey Business.)
  • Abbott and Costello, to the point where most of their later films simply had them playing themselves.
  • Look everyone, it's Bruce Campbell—er, whatever cocky, sarcastic character he's playing this time.
  • Woody Allen will always play a version of his professional persona: an insecure, put-upon, wise-cracking Jew from New York.
  • Robert Downey Jr. does always seem to be playing a smartass these days. And not just a smartass, but a flawed, womanizing (with varying success), substance-abuse-prone, freakishly charming smartass. In fact he seems to just play himself. (Except Tropic Thunder when he's playing Christian Bale/Russel Crowe.) Tropes Are Not Bad: the above traits are why his portrayal of Tony Stark is so spot-on.
  • Morgan Freeman has acquired such a reputation as a calm, smooth man of authority that most of his later film roles became simply Morgan Freeman calmly and smoothly delivering exposition. This is in contrast to his earlier career, with roles like Lean on Me, before he'd earned this reputation.
  • Somewhere along the way Tom Cruise both stopped aging and stopped disappearing into his roles. This may or may not be related to his perennial fondness for playing an action hero who uncovers various secrets and plots (not that there's much to disappear into in most cases.)
  • As it says at the top, Will Smith. Back in the mid to late 90's, he was the same smooth-talking ladies' man-slash-flippant, snarky action hero, always locked and loaded with an "Aw, hell naw" at the ready to take down giant ships, giant bugs or giant spiders. He's expanded post-millenium to more serious dramas but all that means is he's now seen by fans as 'Will Smith acting really well'.
  • Seth Green seems to have the same deadpan personality, no matter what part he's playing. He's also pretty good at getting in character though, so he comes off as some hybrid of Seth Green and whoever he's playing. It got to the point where he was a full-on Ink-Suit Actor in Mass Effect.
  • Seth Rogen is widely known as a lovable stoner manchild with a hearty laugh. He plays this persona in just about every role except Observe and Report, which seems to have been made specifically to break his Typecasting.
  • Keanu Reeves. "Whoa, dude." Also inverted: for some time he apparently worried that his tombstone was inevitably going to read "Here Lies Ted." Then there was The Matrix.
  • Nathan Fillion. As the quote on his page says, "Nathan Fillion always seem to play Nathan Fillion. And frankly I'm okay with that."
  • Look! It's Owen Wilson as a spy! Check it out, Owen Wilson as a Cowboy/Cop/Model/Pseudo Sergeant! Occasionally averted, since he is rounded enough to play other roles; he just doesn't very often.
  • Harrison Ford, thanks to having two iconic film roles. Although those roles are big and famous enough to override it; in those he's Han Solo and Indiana Jones. In anything else, he's Harrison Ford. The poster for Air Force One actually says "HARRISON FORD is the President of the United States of America."
  • Sir Ian McKellen is known as the distinguished classical British actor, no matter what he does. He only just escaped I Am Not Gandalf (or, to a lesser extent "I Am Not Magneto" in X-Men Film Series) by being so darn respectable and having a Sir on the front of his name. The likes of Apt Pupil prove he can transcend the "Look, It's Sir Ian McKellen" effect.
  • Liam Neeson is an extremely talented and versatile actor, but of late many of his films, despite his excellent and varied performances, can best be described as Liam Neeson is a Jedi, Liam Neeson is Zeus, Liam Neeson Loves It When A Plan Comes Together, Liam Neeson Fights Batman, and Liam Neeson Demonstrating His Particular Set of Skills.
  • Averted by Peter Sellers. In an interview, he was asked what he, personally was like. He paused for a moment, looking honestly puzzled, and responded, "I don't know."
  • Patrick Stewart seems to pull off both this trope and I Am Not Picard, interestingly.
    • It helps that he's tapped into his inner goofball with roles like the agency director in American Dad! and his all around ability to poke good-natured fun at himself, while still having survived Star Trek: The Next Generation with a still-bankable career outside of the convention circuit.
  • Mr. T shall always be Mr. T, fool!
  • Tom Hanks mostly just plays Tom Hanks these days.
  • Ryan Reynolds always seems to play the cool, funny guy in a romantic comedy or screwball comedy. Or the Green Lantern movie.
  • Tim Curry is always Tim Curry. If he turns up in anything, it's odds-on that he is evil and/or will die at the end.
    • King Acorn and King Arthur are two notable exceptions. Also Nigel Thornberry, who many don't even recognize as him.
    • Also in video games: in Dragon Age: Origins, Tim Curry is the voice of the Evil Aristocrat who murders the PC's entire family (if you follow Human Noble origin) and goes on to help start a civil war before ultimately being killed by the PC and their party
  • Steve Carell is an example similar to Harrison Ford above. In The Office (US) and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, he's Michael Scott and Brick Tamland, respectively. In anything else, he's Steve Carell.
  • Most of the lead actors in The Expendables. They're not Barney Ross, Lee Christmas, and Yin Yang. They're Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Jet Li.
  • While pretty much no one can complain about his performance, several people lamented the fact that having J. K. Simmons voice Cave Johnson in Portal 2 had the drawback of making it pretty much impossible to picture someone other than Simmons saying those lines, regardless of all the portraits of Johnson lying around.
    • For British players, this also applies to Wheatley. Try to hear his voice without picturing Stephen Merchant. Bonus points if you start expecting Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais or Barry from Eastenders to turn up, as Merchant's voice almost sounds strange without them.
  • Voice Acting Example: Norio Wakamoto as a newspaper editor; Norio Wakamoto as the Emperor of Britannia; Norio Wakamoto as a flying cat.. alien... thing... that may or may not be Santa Claus; Norio Wakamoto as a vacuum cleaner.
  • Michael Cera is pretty much the same awkward young guy in every role, to the point that some are getting a little sick of it.
  • BRIAN BLESSED: Completely and utterly embraces this trope, absolutely revels in his reputation as a Boisterous Bruiser in spite of the fact he is perfectly capable of "proper" acting if he feels like it (see I, Claudius for proof).
  • Stephen Fry is this through and through; if he isn't playing "Stephen Fry as a...", then he can easily be found using his instantly identifiable voice to narrate soothingly.
    Stephen Fry: My role in this film as a gay, intelligent man with a sense of humor and appreciation for high culture is a real stretch for me.
  • Robin Williams, with the exceptions of One Hour Photo, Insomnia and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Although even in his SVU appearance, his penchant for doing funny voices is specifically made into a plot point.
  • Bruce Willis, unless he's playing John McClane.
  • Colin Firth is always playing a stuffy Brit.
  • Rob Schneider is... a carrot!
  • This one's an odd case... Elton John is best known for being a musician, and whenever he does do an occasional acting bit, he almost always plays himself. However, when he was talked into taking up a part in The Movie version of Tommy, a Concept Album turned Rock Opera by The Who, he ended up not playing himself, but rather a character called the Local Lad, also known as The Champ (though the character's often called the Pinball Wizard by mistake because of the song he sings). Even though it's not Elton, the character seems to oddly have his fashion sense and style (and there's even a keyboard built into his pinball machine), thus people seem to easily confuse the character for Elton himself, which has not happened to any of the other performers in that movie (save for the previously-mentioned Jack Nicholson). It also doesn't help that a lot of people don't know the character's real name since it was never really said by anyone...Or the fact that he got to keep the boots afterwards...
  • Jude Law became this trope in a single year — having five films on the market at once will do that. Even when he's not acting, scandals about his personal life usually sell, to the point where Closer becomes a retroactive invocation of this trope: at the time, Law was famous for being very attractive and playing undeniably charming Lotharios. In Closer, his character repeatedly cheats, holds others to a double standard, and is the movie's least sympathetic protagonist. As Law's personal life increasingly became news, with the scandals focused on his tendency to cheat on his wives, his role in Closer suddenly became playing to type.
  • Elvis Presley, similarly to Elton John, is primarily known as a musician, and pretty much was playing "Elvis" no matter what the role. It didn't help that most of his films were formulaic "Elvis musicals" as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had contracted him to play, and much to Elvis' eventual frustration, he rarely got to break away from the formula (though films like Love Me Tender and Flaming Star showed he had potential as an actor.)
    • Eddie Murphy in Delirious observed that it was easier to get Elvis to sing than act. "Lemonade...That cool refreshing drink."
    • Equally, too, so had The Beatles, at least together, but at least John Lennon and especially Ringo Starr showed themselves capable of different roles years later.
  • Ice-T admitted that his Law & Order: Special Victims Unit character is "what I'd be like if I were a cop".
  • According to Filipino writer Jessica Zafra, Romnick Sarmienta suffered from this trope: "when you see Romnick Sarmienta on the screen, you don't see the role he plays. You see... Romnick."
  • Johnny Depp. When was the last time anyone saw a Depp featured movie that wasn't "Johnny Depp wears a silly costume and speaks in a funny voice?" Though there's a bit of Peter Sellers-like behavior here as well. Will he be a soft-spoken nerd? Or a cowardly hero? Or manic-depressive chaos magnet? Yeah, you go to his movies to see Johnny Depp, but the only thing you know in advance is that he won't be normal.
  • Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. Most of his on-screen characters are just toned down versions of The Rock character. The Scorpion King is the lone exception though, around the time he got his own movie, he was a bit more in line with The Rock.
  • Charlie Sheen seems to play himself (or a toned-down version) in his more recent TV series such as Two and a Half Men and Anger Management. He appears as The Danza and is almost Adam Westing.
  • Jason David Frank is the Green/White Ranger. In the MMA, he's even nicknamed the "Green Ranger", with one opponent he defeated lamenting "He could've at least Morphed before he took me on".
  • Like Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton zig-zags between this trope and I Am Not Spock. Although widely known as Geordi, he's also prominent for hosting Reading Rainbow and starring in Roots.
  • Whether he's in outer space, an amusement park full of dinosaurs, or the Wild West, you can usually count on Chris Pratt to be playing the same kind of friendly-but-snarky action hero.
  • James Dean didn't have a long enough career - dying at the age of twenty-five - and so has experienced this. His two most famous roles - East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause feature him memorably playing Troubled, but Cute teenagers who are both very similar . As Rebel especially is iconic, people will dress up wearing his costume from that, saying they're dressing up as him rather than his character (not helped by the character's name being Jim). His final film Giant - features him Playing Against Type clearly in an attempt to break away from troubled teen roles. It's the least remembered of his three starring roles partially for this reason. Of course in this case there is some merit to this, as James was very much like those characters. Elia Kazan remarked that James's relationship with his father was almost identical to Cal and Adam's, and John Steinbeck said "he is Cal" upon meeting him.
  • There is apparently no such thing as Obadiah Stane in Iron Man. The movie's villain is Jeff Bridges.

  • Mary Pickford is one of the earliest examples of this. She was known as America's Sweetheart - and had an iconic image of long ringlets and angelic dresses. Many famous Ingenues were played by her - such as Pollyanna, Sara Crewe, Cinderella, MadameButterfly. As such she was one of the first examples of Contractual Purity. Even when she appeared As Herself in World War I propaganda films, she still portrayed a squeaky-clean cutie version of herself. When she finally played against type in an adult role - at the age of 37 in the film Coquette - there was outrage. She retired from films not long afterwards.
  • Marilyn Monroe is such an iconic sex symbol, even back when she was still in movies, that it's nearly impossible for a viewer to see her as anything but.
  • Joan Crawford was a prime example of this in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Many biographies of her insist that Joan was not an actress; she was a movie star. In her films she played an Iron Woobie who suffered through ninety minutes of drama, usually with a slap delivered to her antagonist. Audiences went to see Joan. The lone exception seems to be Mildred Pierce, the only Oscar she ever won. She did go against type in her horror movies towards the end of her career, but it was impossible for audiences to see her as anyone other than Joan.
  • Paris Hilton, to such a degree that "See Paris Hilton being gruesomely murdered!" was the unique selling point for House of Wax (2005). The album of John Ottman's score for the film calls the cue for that scene "Paris Gets It" - even though Miss Hilton's character is called Paige. You can also see her face fall off!
  • Julia Roberts tends to be Type Cast in a narrow range of roles, in which she is so consistently a polarizing personality that "Julia Roberts movie" is almost a genre. Like Tom Cruise, she seems to have crossed some event horizon into whatever is beyond acting. She is the entity called Julia Roberts. Sometimes this entity makes a film. The advertising posters will declare Julia Roberts to be in a film. The public will base their decision on whether or not to see this film solely on this fact...eerie. Roberts may be moving toward aversion in The New '10s. Her performance in Closer was well-received and she was considered the least of the four leads. It may help that she is now "too old" to be the ingenue (by Hollywood standards). Over-exposure and formulaic movies during the '90s and early '00s kept her Type Cast, but that may be ending.
  • Angelina Jolie is the premier—some say only—action heroine of Hollywood. Any film she is in (e.g., Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Beowulf, Salt, Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)) is more about watching Angelina play the part of sexy action hero then watching sexy action heroes. Then again, half her movies are dramatic... which fit more with her real life persona!
  • At one point, Jennifer Aniston wanted to appear on one of her favorite shows, 24. The producers refused, saying that she was so well known, it would kill the effect, instead of seeing the character, they'd see Jennifer. This may be averted with her exceedingly Playing Against Type role in Horrible Bosses. She also won critical acclaim for her dramatic role in Cake and many were insisting that she win an Oscar for it. She had shown earlier that she could disappear into a role that didn't cater to typecasting in The Good Girl.
  • Jodie Foster is always an unassuming woman who'll put up with a bit of abuse before kicking some ass. Whether it be a man that makes suits out of human skin, a terrorist kidnapping her daughter or shooting a man in the face to get her dog back. It just doesn't matter. Averted when she's not very unassuming as the negotiator in Inside Man.
  • Dakota Fanning is always Dakota Fanning. Tom Cruise being in this trope as well had a weird effect on The War of the Worlds. Essentially, the central characters are Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, and Robbie. And while everyone else in Twilight is in I Am Not Spock mode, Jane might just as well be named Evil Dakota Fanning.
  • Speaking of child stars, Shirley Temple is always a Cheerful Heartwarming Orphan who sings and dances. Four of her characters were actually named "Shirley". Like Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, Shirley Temple has passed the event horizon into the realm beyond acting. The real Shirley Temple went on to do some grown-up roles which no one remembers, retired from acting, become a diplomat, and finally died in 2014 at the age of eighty-five. But the pop culture entity of Shirley Temple is forever locked in time to her twee 1930s child self. Shirley herself did not like this even as a small child. She wanted to play some of her roles differently, putting more Action Girl and Spoiled Brat stuff into her characters; her mother backed her up on this, but the studio wouldn't allow it.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar. Although she's done other work, including situational comedy, she only really has a single character; a greater or less intense version of the Action Girl she played in Buffy. Also, people who know Gellar personally have said that when she acts, she's often just playing herself in a costume.
  • Natalie Portman. Reviews of Black Swan often noted that whether the fascination came in watching "Nina" or "Natalie" succumb to the pressure for perfection was unclear, as Portman was largely playing an exaggerated version of herself. Similarly, her performance in Closer was entirely dependent on the fact that audiences were willing to believe that "Natalie Portman is Amazingly Desirable and Needs Your Love." Whether or not Portman herself can act is a contested issue, as her primary purpose in films seems to be playing the audience's fantasy of herself. (Ironically, Portman herself went to Harvard and seems quite level-headed, so she may be sliding toward Adam Westing.) Portman's attempts at branching out by taking dramatic or less sympathetic roles have not been well-received.
  • Mary Tyler Moore was so closely identified with Laura Petrie that, when she got her own show, the network nixed the show's original idea to have Mary Richards be recently divorced since the audience would think she had left Dick. It took until Ordinary People for her to establish herself as a dramatic actress playing a cold, emotionally repressed mother in a troubled family.
  • Part of the surprising amount of hate Anne Hathaway gets may be due to the fact that so many of her characters are this good girl who's always trying (or even basically Cinderella; yes, even The Devil Wears Prada is a somewhat disguised Cinderella story), a character not too far from the way she comes off herself. But see Rachel Getting Married for the exception. And then there's Havoc, which most males have seen just because she gets her kit off a lot. Her role in The Dark Knight Rises even seems to play with this; her character is introduced seemingly like a typical Anne Hathaway doe-eyed Woobie. Then with the word "oops" she reveals herself to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who is actually Catwoman - it too widely regarded as one of her best performances.
  • Kate Hudson is essentially seen as herself in most of her films. She's almost always an Adorkable Everyone Loves Blondes who's Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. Even her most iconic role in Almost Famous is an example of this. The exception seems to be the horror movie The Skeleton Key, where she played a hospice nurse. It sparked She Really Can Act reactions.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in their various direct-to-video movies (and their sitcoms Two of a Kind and So Little Time). Mary-Kate is always the rebellious edgy tomboy, and Ashley the responsible Girly Girl. Even Mary-Kate's role as the witch Kendra in Beastly caters to this. The lone exception is the film Winning London where Mary-Kate is the uptight bookworm Chloe, and Ashley the easy-going Lad Ette Riley.
  • Jessica Biel tends to experience this, and general reaction whenever she stars in something is "oh, there's Justin Timberlake's wife". Her infamous topless photo shoot at age seventeen, and her biggest hit being the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) pretty much solidified her image as a sexy Action Girl. The roles where she does go against type - The Illusionist and Easy Virtue - were well received but not what you'd call hits. Because of this she felt she was a shoe-in for the role of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Megan Fox became such an iconic sex symbol in the 2000s that she experienced this. It was partially enforced by the wishes of her husband, as Megan reportedly wanted to move past the generic Ms. Fanservice parts and go against type, but they needed the money. As a result, her casting as April O'Neal in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was met with uproar. The fanbase is split down the middle as to whether she did a good job or April was turned into a 'Megan Fox character'. It doesn't help that even before her Star-Making Role in the Transformers films, her roles were usually as Alpha Bitches or the Brainless Beauty.


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