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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Actors don’t act out of character

Published: November 16, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Some actors have range. Tom Hanks has probably played 3 million roles in his lifetime, and almost all of these characters have been different. Jimmy Stewart (even with his distinctive voice), has played everything from cowboys to idealist senators to creepy disabled peeping toms. But some actors, well, they just do one thing so well that theyve never bothered to try anything different. After all, why bother when they now make millions of dollars doing that one thing?

Jeff Goldblum (Wacko Jewish Scientist Guy Prone to Dramatic Pauses):

Every sentence he has ever uttered must have a pause quota. Can you find any example where any coherent thought he has uttered doesnt have an, uh stuck in there. Also, he loves to say Must Go Faster! Its like his tagline (at least whenever hes fighting dinosaurs or aliens). Studios have turned to Mr. Goldblum since the '80s to provide that arrogant, quirky, Jewish guy who always wears black and knows everything. And in all seriousness, whether he is mutating into a disgusting fly or planting nukes in alien motherships, hes just being himself.

Mel Gibson (Martyr):

Watch nearly anything hes done (The Patriot, Hamlet, Braveheart, etc.);

Mel Gibson stands for liberty and justice and will find a way to die or lose several relatives just so he can express it. Also, he likes to yell. And stare at you.

Bruce Willis (Guy Who Tells You Hell Kick Your Ass and then Make a Wisecrack About it After He Has Done So):

John McClane is one of the greatest characters in movie history, but there isn't much difference between him and any of the other tough cops or hard-boiled heroes Mr. Willis has portrayed. And there is only one real rule that Bruce Willis will live by: he will kick your ass. Whether youre a German terrorist or a giant asteroid, he will beat you up, spit on you, and taunt your beaten ass to his buddy on the radio.

Steve Buscemi (Lovable Criminal Who Talks Way Too Much):

Steve Buscemi may have a role in every movie in existence. Its possible. Of course his role will always involve him talking in a ridiculous way about ridiculous things, and probably end in him getting shot or fed into a woodchipper. Like Bruce Willis, he too can fight an asteroid. Of course, Steve Buscemi spent the entire time playing with nuclear missiles, not kicking ass and cracking jokes. But still, the world would be a sad place without Steve Buscemi and his weirdness.

Al Pacino (Sleep-Deprived Screaming):

More than anyone else, Al Pacino likes to yell. Once a great actor (The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon), Mr. Pacino now likes to spend his time being inspirational (Scent of a Woman) or evil (Devils Advocate, Scarface), although sometimes I cant tell the difference. Somewhere along the line Pacino must have decided acting equals screaming in a funny accent for no good reason while some young guy (Keanu Reeves, Chris ODonnell) stands next to you confused. Some of you might disagree with this assertion. Id recommend you watch Any Given Sunday or Gigli (yes, Gigli hes in that) again.

Theres plenty more of these guys too. Look at some names like Peter Stormare (eastern European guy), Vince Vaughn (really annoying guy), or Dane Cook (guy who is absolutely not funny in any way), or Kurtwood Smith (80s bad guy or 70s dad), or Nicolas Cage (really weird guy in a kind of creepy way). So the moral of this article is: having acting range is a good thing, but if you dont have range, just start doing the same thing in every movie, theater production, high school musical, or interpretive dance you can and ride it to the top. Maybe some day, you can be in Armageddon too.