In my opinion, the best actors are those who can be versatile. You may think that versatility is a given prerequisite for any wannabe actor and yet, how many Hollywood A-listers have actually played widely differing roles?
It would seem that most actors end up being stereotyped anyway, and in an industry as fickle as the movie business, it is necessary to accept any jobs while they are still coming your way, stereotypical or not.
I watch so many films where actors are playing the same part, albeit with a different hairstyle or accent and it just gets so boring.
It seems that only a handful of the most exceptional (and most high profile) actors are talented (and lucky) enough to be offered more versatile roles – the most success-assured (if played well) being biopic or real life roles.
Unfortunately there do not seem to be many opportunities for actors, especially women, to play differing roles once they have made a name for themselves playing a certain type. Can you imagine Jason Statham playing a quiet, intelligent writer who falls in love with his cleaner? Or Colin Firth wielding a machine-gun and assassinating various knife-toting baddies?
No, neither can I.
And to be fair neither would I want to as both actors play their roles very well, and have been successful in building careers around one particular type of character.
Yet while it may work for some, only ever playing the role of damsel-in-distress / feisty damsel-in-distress / psychotic damsel-in-distress would bore me silly.
During my long and colourful semi-career as a supporting artiste / short-film actress / theatre actress, I have played various roles and donned various wigs. I have adopted different accents, different nationalities and even a different gender. I have played a peasant, a princess, a spy, a mental patient. In fact I am versatility personified.
As you can appreciate, these differing roles have required a great deal of skill and concentration and I have often found myself returning home after a days work on set, still in the mind-set of the character I am playing. That mind-set usually being blank.
Playing different roles is so much more interesting than regurgitating a character that is boringly predictable and there should be more roles out there that explore our multi-faceted personalities rather than mainstream stereotypes.
And so in case I am ever offered the role of lead chameleon, I go through life trying to attempt as many new things as possible (aside from drugs) in order to experience versatility first hand.
Well, it’s all in the method after all.