The virtues of typecasting

in Actors Posts: 12,677
I read people complaining about typecasting in movies in general and fearing typecasting actors for Bond movies (especially villains). While in general I am weary of typecasting because it can often be lazy creatively, thinking about the movies in general and the Bond franchise in particular I cannot help but notice that it does have its virtues.

Joseph Wiseman, the very first cinematic Bond villain, was a veteran actor playing villainous roles. Vladek Sheybal, Christopher Lee, Louis Jourdan, to only name them, all were known to play villainous roles before they were cast in a Bond movie. And the roles fitted them like a glove. When you are typecast, you also have a certain comfort playing a certain role and while it can be a double edged sword, it can also mean you bring this type of role to perfection. In fact, typecasting has overall served the franchise fairly well.

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 18,300
    I agree, @Ludovico. Typecasting isn't necessarily a bad thing. Peter Cushing could have easily been 'typecast' in a Bond and to this day I regret that never happened. Curt Jorgens repeated himself from the Mephisto Waltz though I don't know his oeuvre well enough to say whether he was typecast or not. Look at Sean Bean. He plays the villain in a lot of things. 006 is almost a repetition from Patriot Games. Wasn't Moore, in some sense, typecast either? The Saint, the Persuaders, ...
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Robotswana
    Posts: 38,613
    I am all for typecasting. It works like a charm, why not use an actor s assets to the full?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    In the Bond franchise typecasting has worked perfectly for most of the times.
    Be it the Bond girls, villains, sidekicks or Bond himself.
    Moore and Brosnan sure were typical typecasting.
    Moore played Bond early on in The Saint and later in The Persuaders as well to a degree.
    Brosnan is Remington Steele and James Bond.

    But there are actors that can escape typecasting. Perfect example: Sean Bean, first he played mostly villains, traitors, bad boys.
    Nowadays he plays the good guys a lot and very well. He is in fact one of my favourite actors.
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    Posts: 15,534
    Sean Bean seems to die in 9 out of 10 films he makes. He should be an ideal candidate for Uncle Ben in the upcoming Spiderman film.
  • Posts: 12,677
    I actually think even now Sean Bean is typecast, or rather his good guys roles are basically an evolution from his badguys roles of his earlier career. In Ronin, he is more a two-bit loser than a true villain. In LOTR he is a flawed and then fallen hero, then in Game of Thrones he plays a full on good guy... but in a medieval fantasy, just like in LOTR. And he may play one day Benny Griessel, the recovering alcoholic cop from Deon Meyer's novels, who is basically a a rather despicable man, borderline villainous, at least for his family, turned good guy.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Robotswana
    Posts: 38,613
    Sean Bean seems to die in 9 out of 10 films he makes. He should be an ideal candidate for Uncle Ben in the upcoming Spiderman film.

    Something happens to Uncle Ben again? Spoiler tags!
  • Posts: 12,677
    Sean Bean seems to die in 9 out of 10 films he makes. He should be an ideal candidate for Uncle Ben in the upcoming Spiderman film.

    Something happens to Uncle Ben again? Spoiler tags!

    he is the only true mortal character of superhero stories, with Bruce Wayne's parents.
  • Posts: 12,677
    Thinking about it, Ralph Fiennes is also typecast as M.
  • Posts: 498
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Thinking about it, Ralph Fiennes is also typecast as M.

    I was actually going to say the opposite... he's best known for playing villains.

  • Posts: 12,677
    jackdagger wrote: »
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Thinking about it, Ralph Fiennes is also typecast as M.

    I was actually going to say the opposite... he's best known for playing villains.

    But not like say Christopher Lee, although just by playing Voldemort his villainous roles became more prominent in people's mind. He also played men in position of leadership before and if you want a British actor to play a high ranking civil servant with a military background in his 50s, his name would come naturally in the list. What will be interesting to see is if his new role as M will bring him similar kinds of roles in other movies and on stage.
  • Posts: 12,677
    Sean Bean seems to die in 9 out of 10 films he makes. He should be an ideal candidate for Uncle Ben in the upcoming Spiderman film.

  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    edited August 2016 Posts: 15,534
    Never, in a million years, would I thought that one of the few, if not the only, major Hollywood production where not a single character dies would feature Sean Bean ('The Martian').
  • edited August 2016 Posts: 12,677
    Sean Bean is the one actor that escapes typecasting only to fall into a different type of typecasting. Plays the badguy repeatedly, then the good guys who dies repeatedly. I mean plays repeatedly the good guys who die. Because you only die once. Although Sean Bean does it all the time on screen. I still want him to play Benny Griessel, a good guy with his own demons, who starts downright villainous (because he's an alcoholic and a wife beater), then redeems himself. At least he'd survive, albeit sometimes narrowly.
  • Posts: 1,198
    Typecast actors :

    David Suchet aka Poirot
    Horst Tappert aka Derrick , Munichs top cop (like Suchet he played the past for like 25 yrs)
    Diana Rigg aka Peel
    Frank Gorshin aka Riddler
    West aka Batman
    JL Curtis aka Hallween queen (why did she and Chris Lee do so many horrors , shouldn't they have foreseen they'd be type cast ?)
  • Posts: 1,198
    "Sean Bean seems to die in 9 out of 10 films he makes"

    Same thing with Bolo Yeung....when you play a bad guy chances are you'd be killed by the final reel :P
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 2016 Posts: 23,883
    I'm generally not a fan of typecasting in Bond films, but I'm not averse to it, as long as the performance is pseudo iconic.

    I think Christoph Waltz suffered on account of being cast as Blofeld as an example. He was constrained by the character in the film to an extent. It didn't allow him the freedom to 'go nuts' as he was able to do in the Tarantino films for which he is best known. That impacted my view of his Blofeld. I think that I would have been more forgiving and more receptive if another actor had played Blofeld in the same manner as Waltz.

    The same applies to someone like Anthony Hopkins, who will forever be known villainously for his iconic turn as Hannibal Lecter, because it was such an OTT role. He could never top that.

    For some reason, this didn't impact Christopher Lee, whose Scaramanga is certainly as iconic as anything he'd done before. Maybe it's because Dracula/Fu Manchu is sufficiently different as a character from 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. Or perhaps it's because his Dracula was more of a 'B' movie iteration? Or perhaps it's because Lee dominated the film, with the best performance (along with Roger Moore). Not sure.

    It didn't impact Javier Bardem either, and I think that's because his Raoul Silva was more 'animated' than his Anton Chigurh, and also really enlivened SF.

    So in short, I'd prefer to see an animated and spirited performance if the actor is playing 'to type' as a villain. The dialogue & 'lines' have a lot to do with how the performance is perceived as well.
  • Posts: 10,968
    Typecasting can be great-especially if the actor enjoys the types of films they get cast in. Peter Cushing loved playing Baron Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing for example. Even if the scripts were sub-par compared to previous entries he always gave 110% performance. Karloff, the same- he loved doing horror films and knew as long as they were being made he'd always have a job. In addition it also gave him the freedom to do non-horror classics- like The Grinch.
    There's something to be said for being versatile, but when an actor takes themselves too seriously and turns down roles for fear of typecasting they often miss out on great opportunities.
    I think casting against type because a star is currently hot can be a huge miss-step and ruin a potentially great film. Does anyone actually think SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE would have turned out as well as it did had, say Clint Eastwood or Sam Elliott played the Man of Steel instead of Chris?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Robotswana
    Posts: 38,613
    Look at Jim Carrey. One of the greatest comedians ever. In serious roles, he is just average.
  • edited August 2016 Posts: 12,677
    Let's not forget that overall villains on Bond movies have been played by actors known for their villainous roles. In genre movies also.
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