There must come a time in every actor's career when they look at what they've done in their recent movies and think about what it says about them as an actor. Obviously, that can't be the case with everyone, or else certain actors would have stopped making straight-to-DVD garbage and Die Hard sequels years ago. But it has to be with some, given how much talk there is of breaking typecasting and how much of a currency there is attached to anyone successfully doing so.
Think about it: Matthew McConaughey's somewhat unlikely revival was considered both unlikely and a revival (or a Renaissance, to give its even more ludicrously exaggerated name) simply because he stopped playing pretend that he was a handsome, chiseled man and started playing pretend that he was more complex characters. Simply by appearing to be something else successfully, Hollywood crowned him as some sort of champion typecast underdog.
It's no wonder, then, that others have tried the same trick. Many have failed, but there are some who've managed to completely change perceptions by changing their roles...
6. Charlize Theron - Monster
It isn't entirely fair to say that Charlize Theron was entirely limited to roles defined by her looks for most of her formative acting years, but it was certainly a big factor. She even decried the limited opportunities she was getting because of how she looked:
"Jobs with real gravitas go to people that are physically right for them and that’s the end of the story. How many roles are out there for the gorgeous, f***ing, gown-wearing eight-foot model? When meaty roles come through, I’ve been in the room and pretty people get turned away first.”
She played fairly lightweight supporting roles - with some exceptions like Devil's Advocate, but even that was reliant on her looks.
How She Broke It
She's now considered a heavyweight actor with the likes of Young Adult, Mad Max: Fury Road and North Country behind her, and it took Monster to do it for her.
She changed her physical appearance and her entire demeanour to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos and the results - not only for that film but for the perception of her as an actress - were incredible.