After having seen Anthony Hopkins earn a number of rave reviews (and some very bad ones) for his portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock in (the aptly named) ‘Hitchcock’, I got to thinking about the range of roles he has played over the years. This, in turn, made me think about all those Hollywood actors and actresses who have shown huge versatility when it comes to the characters they have played on the big screen.
Many great actors continue to be typecast in similar roles, despite their fantastic ability. For example, Jack Nicholson will always play characters who are a bit crazy (Jack Torrance in The Shining, The Joker in Batman, Dr. Buddy Rydel in Anger Management and Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and Morgan Freeman will always play the trustworthy wise man (God in Bruce/Evan Almighty, Lucius Fox in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, Detective Lt. William Somerset in Se7en and Pastor Miles Evans in Levity). That’s not to say that these great actors haven’t strayed away from their typecast at all, it’s just to say that they will always come back to it.
But some actors simply rarely play the same kind of role twice and that, to me, is what makes an actor truly stand out from the crowd.
With that in mind, I have compiled a list of 9 of the most versatile actors and actresses from the modern age of cinema, citing just a few of the roles for each individual that express that great versatility.
9. Charlize Theron
Pictured here in ‘Monster’, this role alone was so far removed from what we expect from Charlize Theron that her versatility has to be admired. In order to play serial murderer Aileen Wuornos (a role for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress), Theron had to gain 30 pounds of weight and shed her normally beautiful image to become a much less glamorous individual.
When you compare this to her action role as Æon Flux in the eponymous movie, her fantasy role as Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, her role as the troubled and mentally deteriorating Mary Ann Lomax in The Devil’s Advocate and her role as determined outcast Josey Aimes in the brilliant North Country, you can only admire the wide range of Theron’s acting ability.
This article was first posted on February 9, 2013