Whats Your Typecast

20 Mar

If someone asked you what character you would cast yourself as, what would you say?

The tough guy?
The geek?
The slut?
The mother?

Typecast Characters

I had this discussion with a group of actor friends of mine and found it quite surprising about how they viewed themselves.

Typecasting isn’t based on your personality but it is the way you look. A 6ft tall, size 8, very attractive female is highly unlikely to ever ever be cast as a butch, aggressive criminal in a gangster movie, even if she has had a few clash ins with the police in real life. She would most likely be cast as the beautiful girlfriend or successful business women.

I noticed that most people cast themselves as how they want to be viewed as a person and not how they stereotypically look. A male friend of mine thinks his casting is the leading man and the successful entrepreneur. I was shocked by this as he has only ever played supporting roles as the thug or the common best mate. When I told him what he would actually get cast as, he got very defensive and said he hates it when people cast him as the thug for the reason that they are not the roles he wants.

Well tough luck! The acting world is cruel and if you want to get jobs and become successful you need to embrace your typecast as no one is ever going to cast you as the innocent teenager when you are in your mid twenties and covered in tattoos. You will just be fighting a losing battle. You may not at first like being stereotyped but once you embrace it and the jobs start coming in, you will soon start to appreciate it.

Some of my type casts are like my personality and others aren’t.

My type casts:
Bimbo – very stereotypical, as I am a blonde.
Girl next door – I have a young face.
The girlfriend – just a role that I always get cast in.
The bitch – not something I would ever want to be perceived as in real life but as a slim blonde people seem to cast me as the bitch.
The young professional – I’ve been the librarian, the trainee nurse, the office worker. This one stubs me as why from my appearance but I like to think its because I look smarter than I am. Ha!

Of course I would love to play many other characters but I have excepted these are the role I usually get auditions for just from my headshot.

A lot of very successful actors seem to have got stuck with their typecast and recycle their performances over again but it is great to see that many are able to get the opportunities to break this cycle.

Helena Bonham Carter – Crazy, eccentric typecast. (Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland.) This character has done well for her recently in Hollywood with the help of her husbands, Tim Burton, movies. I am happy to see her branching out more (The Kings Speech) to show her true talent. We know she is a great actress from all her previous work, before Hollywood came calling.

Colin Firth – Wet, serious and awkward typecast. A great example of an actor that used his look to his advantage but since his roles in The Kings Speech and A Single Man he has been able to break away from his typecast.

Others however, use it to their advantage as they don’t seem to have the acting ability to create other characters.
Hugh Grant
Jennifer Anderson
Sarah Jessica Parker

The most legendary actors are the ones that never play the same characters twice in movies but you need to play to your typecast when starting out in your career.

Embrace your typecast as a newbie because as an actor your appearance is your first selling point, so you might as well use it to your advantage.


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