When it comes to cinematic performance, there are two common types of modern actors. There are the method actors and those with a star persona. There are also theatrical actors, but these are practically extinct in the film and television world of today. Method actors are what are often labeled as chameleons. They are actors who are capable of inhabiting any role by being a character rather than pretending to be one. This is achieved through the method of isolating personal experiences, memories, and psychology and personifying it onto their role. Actors like these include Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Eli Wallach, Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Day Lewis, and the list continues. A common misconception is that method actors are ones who are unidentifiable from one role to the next. Daniel Day Lewis Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood is nearly the antithesis of his Abraham Lincoln. However, this is merely an extension of the method, even if differences between the characters they play is a common indication. There are several non-method actors who achieve the same result through their own process and skill. Peter Sellers, for example, is one who changes drastically from one role to the next, but he is no method actor in Stanivlaskian definition. He is simply talented, gifted, and imaginative at pretending to be a German, an Englishman, and an American in Dr. Strangelove. Method actor, though? No. Star persona, on the other hand, is a type of actor who is successful at playing a typecast role. Chances are that whenever an actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance, plays a non-action role, the film will tank. If either Hugh or Cary Grant ever tried to not play a charming, smooth man, then the film would drown in heartbroken fans tears. Success is only assured to actors like these when they continuously perform in the genre to which they most conform. As long as Arnold Schwarzenegger acts in an action flick, people will watch it. It is a matter of expecting rather than accepting when watching their films. But what about those with a cemented star persona who manage to escape it? There are countless examples of actors who crash and burn when they attempt this, but every once in a while, some actors parachute their way against the flow. This article will focus on seven actors who managed to escape their star persona and tumble-dried audiences with the unprecedented success in their trial. Be warned that spoilers lie ahead!
I'm currently enrolled in the Film Studies program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. If you haven't guessed by now, movies and media are as a big of a passion for me as they are for you and would love to hear what you've gotta say as well!