5 Actors who always play the same character

Steven Allison

As we eagerly await the release of Lorcan Finnegan’s new sci-fi thriller, Vivarium, curious if Jesse Eisenberg will star as yet another jerk, let’s take a look at five more actors who play the same character (sometimes themselves) in every film

There was no better pick than Jesse Eisenberg to portray arrogant Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Come to think of it, there’s no better pick than Jesse Eisenberg to portray any narcissistic millennial in any movie. 

But Eisenberg isn’t the only typecast actor wandering the corridors of Hollywood. Here are five more familiar names we see in the same roles over and over… 

 

1. Jennifer Aniston 

Jennifer Aniston’s name pops up a lot in conversations around this topic. Now and then, the 51-year-old gets to put her dramatic chops to work. A great example is her turn as a tortured soul mourning the loss of a child in heart-breaking drama, Cake.  

For the most part though, we’re used to seeing the Friends actress keep it nice and safe, playing characters closely resembling the funny, good-natured Rachel Green we’ve come to know and love. But most people enjoy the likes of Rose in We’re the Millers and Kassie in The Switch, who clearly reflect Aniston’s own delightful charm, so who really gives a hoot if she rarely strays far from comfort? 

 

2. Adam Sandler 

The same goes for Adam Sandler, who has starred alongside good friend Jennifer Aniston in two films to date: Just Go With It and Murder Mystery. In both, she unsurprisingly appears as her usual appealing self, while he slips into the shoes of loveable class clown. And the actor does so effortlessly, acting the immature goofball in not only these comedies, but also in nearly all other movies he’s made. Big Daddy, Grown Ups and Happy Gilmore are a mere handful of titles on a long and growing list.  

The guys Sandler portrays mirror his own kooky personality, making us chuckle since the mid-80s. But the 53-year-old’s gags are getting a little old now, which is partially why his transformative performance in Uncut Gems—widely seen as the best of his career—totally won over audiences.  

 

3. Rebel Wilson 

Another recurring persona beginning to bore viewers is the sarcastic, self-deprecating loudmouth Rebel Wilson keeps playing. At first, the Aussie actress was a breath of fresh air, all fat and fart jokes in flicks like Bridesmaids, Bachelorette and Pitch Perfect. Then cinephiles and critics quickly realised, even if she’d make the ideal drinking buddy, Wilson had zero intention to introduce the smallest scrap of nuance to later roles.  

Although her one-note characters rattle many a cage, there must still be a healthy market for her cocksure brand of humour because the work continues to fly in. The 40-year-old recently starred as Penny in heist comedy, The Hustle, and while she dipped into her well-used bag of tricks, she was admittedly hilarious. Maybe her time isn’t up quite yet.  

 

4. Michael Cera  

Even though the sun may be setting on Rebel Wilson’s limited repertoire, the proverbial fat lady hasn’t yet sung for Michael Cera. The Arrested Development actor, renowned for that trademark adorkability we first fell for back in the early days of Mitchell Hurwitz’s biting comedy series, recently reprised the role of George-Michael Bluth.  

He sure didn’t disappoint, coming off as such a wonderfully and genuinely awkward cookie, you literally have to stop yourself climbing through the screen and squeezing him so tight he bursts. And the very real temptation to do so doesn’t differ with the 31-year-old’s movies, just a few being Juno, Youth in Revolt and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist—all worth a watch, by the way.  

 

5. Katherine Heigl  

Last but not least on this non-exhaustive list is Katherine Heigl, who was, for a spell, the undisputed rom-com queen everyone loved to hate and hated to love. In so many films, like The Ugly Truth and Knocked Up, she played the humourless, uptight girl who can’t help but give guys a hard time. And behind the scenes, the Grey’s Anatomy actress was giving producers a run for their money too.  

This probably explains why the 42-year-old can now almost exclusively be found on TV. Or perhaps she simply told Hollywood to go fly a kite, sick of portraying one cranky misandrist after another. Maybe Heigl is a meano in reality too—maybe she isn’t. Either way, check out Unforgettable, a recent thriller in which she goes way off-piste as a psycho bent on destroying her ex-husband’s new fiancée.  

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