10 Actors Who Brilliantly Reinvented Themselves

The actors who switched it up and made it work.

Steve Carrell Office Foxcatcher
CBS/Annapurna Pictures

Being an actor is not an easy job. It takes years and years of work and unshakable passion to make a name for yourself, and even then many fail to hit the big leagues. Those who do make it find themselves having to deal with the trials that Hollywood puts in their way.

For many, being typecast, appearing in flop after flop, and being chained to the same genre film after film can begin to take its toll, and lead to the decision to cast aside their roots and branch out into entirely new roles.

Take Liam Neeson - a great dramatic actor in the earlier stages of his career, he has since emerged as a butt-kicking, box-office smashing action star. A risky move, to be sure - and not one that's always worked in his favour - but Neeson is nonetheless a perfect example of an actor trying something new in the later stages of their career.

The following list is concerned with other such actors. Whether they made a name for themselves starring in one particular genre, or simply outgrew their previous image, here are 10 actors who brilliantly reinvented themselves and ushered in an entirely new era of their careers.

10. Emma Stone

Steve Carrell Office Foxcatcher
Fox Searchlight

Much like Jonah Hill (who almost made this very list), Emma Stone got her start in Hollywood by starring in 00s comedies such as Superbad (2007), Zombieland (2009), Easy A (2010) and Friends with Benefits (2011). Though a competent comedy actress who is often the stand-out in her earlier films, it was clear going forward that she was destined for something bigger.

Her roles in The Amazing Spider-Man films (2012, 2014) and Crazy Stupid Love (2011) saw her begin to branch out her CV into more serious territory, but it wasn't until Birdman (2014) that she spread her wings (sorry) and became the actress fans now know.

Birdman was followed by a string of dramatic roles, including Battle of the Sexes (2017) and The Favourite (2018), but to date her greatest performance is that of Mia Dolan in the romantic musical La La Land (2016). This role won her an Academy Award, and confidently cemented herself as one of this generations best actors, able to move between genre without fault and offer up just as many tears as she can laughter.

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I get to write about what I love, so that's pretty cool. Be excellent to each other.