Hollywood success requires actors being one with their character

Graphic by Fani Hsieh
Graphic by Fani Hsieh

To be successful in Hollywood, it is expected that an actor completely immerses themselves into a role in order to make the audience believe that they are actually that character, opposed to just reciting memorized lines. It is believed that being able to play several different roles while maintaining that level of believability is what makes an actor great, but what about those who immerse themselves so deeply into a role that they can’t seem to let go of that single role?

It may be the years of playing the exact same character that causes Radcliffe to have a tough time separating himself from the Harry Potter brand, but for actors that are a part of a series, it becomes the biggest test of time to separate. Will they be able to move on from this? With regards to Radcliffe and his post-Harry Potter film appearances, the answer for me has still been no. Perhaps it’s because of a childhood attachment to the series—almost encapsulating and representative of my entire childhood, but I refuse to see him in any other light.

I may not hold the television show as close to my heart as the regular attendees of Phil’s Sundays, but it’s impossible to break from Ribero’s character Carlton’s distinct antics. His case definitely was not aided by his resurrection of the character’s signature dance moves on Dancing With the Stars, recently. Although having won the competition, similar appearances as himself on game shows and nightly entertainment have kept the actor’s name afloat except for a few forgettable television and film roles.

There’s not one specific role that constricts Lawrence from her acting tries, it’s just her personality. Being so open and personable definitely keeps her in the spotlight and on our minds. However, it may have cost her the opportunity to transform through roles. We see Lawrence as our best friend, the down-to-earth actress who’s somehow managed to shield herself from the celebrity. But this also keeps the audience from believing her portrayals in American Hustle, or Silver Linings Playbook. In our eyes, no matter how convincing the acting, we can’t un-hear the late night skit, “Come Dance with Us.”

Being a star on one of the highest paying television shows on air, Jim Parsons has hit the jackpot. That is unless he hopes of extending his track sheet with other television or movie appearances. His appearance in Home, as it was solely his voice, may have helped him avoid complete recognition and in de-legitimizing his character. Having taken the role of such a distinct character and Big Bang Theory’s numerous seasons will trap Parsons to be inevitably typecast in similar roles.

Many of these conclusions are drawn from a viewer’s own experiences, how well a movie or television show remains in their memory. However, it’s impossible for actors who star in beloved movies and shows, to not always wear a badge of their previous characters on their sleeve. It’s the largest caveat to come along with the profession.

Perhaps that’s the downfall of success.

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