Although being typecast is generally seen as an unattractive prospect for actors and actresses, it is often inevitable. The fact is that some actors are perfect for certain roles — so much so that seeing them in any other context would just be unfathomable. Could you imagine Jack McBrayer as an alcoholic child molester? Me neither. Being typecast is not just for actors though, as many musicians shape their careers by establishing an image or sound that fans and critics come to expect. A desire to be taken more seriously or to demonstrate versatility has led to some unexpected role choices or career decisions. The following are a few examples of some of Hollywood’s biggest departures:
I’m sure that most of you remember Josh Peck from the successful Nickelodeon sitcom “Drake and Josh,” where he played a nerdy, overweight, high-voiced teenager who was the constant butt of ridicule at the hands of his step-siblings. Earlier roles included other Nickelodeon projects “Snow Day” and “The Amanda Show” where his characters were on par with the perpetually pathetic yet optimistic protagonist he portrayed in Drake and Josh. Although Peck had dabbled in serious acting as early as 2004’s “Mean Creek,” in which he plays a socially awkward bully who is accidentally murdered by his tormentors as a result of a prank gone wrong. Despite critical acclaim, the film failed to reach a large audience and Peck’s performance was ultimately overlooked. Following the end of Drake and Josh Peck made a serious attempt at a more adult role when he starred alongside Ben Kingsley and Method Man in 2008’s “The Wackness,” an independent film about a jaded high school graduate who spends the summer of 1994 selling marijuana throughout New York City and falling in love with his psychiatrist’s attractive step-daughter. Although Peck once again played a socially awkward character, the sexual and drug-related content certainly cemented a change that saw Peck go from a chubby, Oprah-obsessed goofball to a chain-smoking loner with weird 18 year-old facial hair. In November we will see Peck in another serious role, in Dan Bradley’s remake of the 80’s war film “Red Dawn.” Regardless of how Peck executes the role, it is clear that comedy is on his back-burner as he attempts to progress from child star to bonafide adult actor.
When I was in fourth grade, Limp Bizkit was just about the coolest band around. With a heavy sound and profanity filled, childish and often incoherent lyrics, Limp Bizkit capitalized on the late 90’s mini-obsession of unfortunate rap/metal combinations such as Kid Rock and Insane Clown Posse. Following the decline of Limp Bizkit’s popularity, Durst decided to take off his red New York Yankees hat and give directing films a shot. His most notable effort, 2008’s “The Longshots,” teamed him with the very gangster, yet still family-friendly Ice Cube, but the film failed to garner positive acclaim among critics or moviegoers. In addition to directing, Durst has also appeared in two episodes of “House, M.D.” and has plans to direct and produce a film called “Pawn Shop Chronicles” featuring Paul Walker. Despite his involvement with film and television, it was confirmed in February 2012 that Limp Bizkit had reunited and signed with Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records.
Mark and Donnie Wahlberg
Long before gracing several comedies and action flicks as the angry and violent leading man, Mark Wahlberg made a name for himself as Marky Mark, the shirtless, outspoken leader of The Funky Bunch, providing parent-approved raps about the importance of clean living and physical activity. Marky Mark got his foot in the door thanks to his older brother Donnie, a member of the equally atrocious New Kids on the Block. Like Mark, Donnie followed his career in music with a transition to the big screen, scoring roles in “The Sixth Sense,” “Dreamcatcher”, and three of the “Saw” movies. Although his fame as an actor has never reached the level of his brother, Donnie has successfully moved on from his boy band past and kept himself fairly relevant.