Many actors are good at one type of role – the funny friend, the scheming chaebol, or the handsome male lead. They get typecast and often appear on-screen playing similar characters. However, some actors express new facets of their talent. They can skillfully play contrasting roles, which can come as quite a surprise to the viewer. Thank to playing a variety of different roles throughout their filmographies, these actors have kept their careers intriguing to a broad audience.
For example, Emma Stone usually plays cute girls with a sense of humor, but she appeared in the role of the insidious villain, Cruella, in the movie of the same name. Her character caught huge attention with a lot of good reviews from movie fans and critics. The actress also proved that role diversity is important to the actors, as they always challenge their acting abilities to the limit.
Below are 11 actors who are not afraid of artistic challenges and shined in their contrasting roles.
#1 Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne in “Batman” (1989) and Beetlejuice in “Beetlejuice” (1988)
Starring in the film’s title role, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Beetlejuice, a trickster, and mischievous ghost, launched the actor in the direction of leading characters and critical success. After “Beetlejuice”, the actor took a slew of lead roles, reuniting with Burton for Batman, in which he played Bruce Wayne or Batman, a superhero of Gotham City.
#2 Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator in “The Terminator” (1984) and Conan in “Conan The Barbarian” (1982)
Arnold Schwarzenegger was known for the role of Conan, a barbarian warrior, who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents in “Conan The Barbarian”. Two years later, he took part in “The Terminator” where he played a cyborg assassin.
#3 Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in “Rocky” (1976) and John Rambo in the “Rambo” franchise
Sylvester Stallone is not afraid of portraying diverse characters. “Rambo” is an ultimate action movie franchise centered around Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character John Rambo, a United States Army Special Forces veteran. However, in “Rocky”, he embodied Rocky Balboa, an uneducated, small-time club fighter and debt collector who gets an unlikely shot at the world heavyweight championship held by Apollo Creed (Weathers).
#4 Krister Stewart as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” series and Joan Jett in “The Runaways” (2010)
“The Runaways” is a 2010 American biographical drama film about the 1970s rock band of the same name. The film starred Kristen Stewart as rhythm guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett. However, Kister Stewart rose to fame in “The Twilight” series. She portrayed a 17-year-old girl who fell in love with a vampire.
#5 Dylan O’Brien as Thomas in “The Maze Runner” (2014) and Stiles Stilinski in “Teen Wolf” (2012)
Dylan O’Brien is confident in playing different types of characters. Dylan O’Brien played Stiles Stilinski, a main character of the Teen Wolf series. Stiles Stilinski is funny, outspoken, and extremely clever when leading the way in working through many of the mysteries in Beacon Hills. Contrary to the character image of Stiles Stilinski, Thomas in “The Maze Runner” is too impulsive to be a leader.
#6 Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich in “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman” (1990)
Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman” is the role that brought Julia Roberts worldwide fame. The character is spirited, generous and a breath of fresh air compared to the other women Edward has dated. In 2000, she took part in the “Erin Brockovich”, in which she become a heroine without superpowers, just fearless determination, and unwavering compassion.
#7 Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton in “The Notebook” (2004) and Regina George in “Mean Girls” (2004)
Rachel McAdams played dozens of different women. She played Regina George who is considered the Queen Bee and the leader in “Mean Girls”, but in “The Notebook”, the actress playing Allie Hamilton, became a well-mannered, yet feisty and never followed conventions that her mother laid out for her romantic life.
#8 Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) and Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey” (2020)
Harley Quinn is Margot Robbie’s iconic character. In “Birds of Prey”, the character Harley is a delightfully deranged woman who loves bright colors, wears gaudy makeup, and tattoos cover quite a bit of her body. We could see a different image of the actress in “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Margot Robbie was in the role of Naomi, one of the more likable characters and part of the reason comes from her intelligence.
#9 Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014) and the Black Panther in “Black Panther” (2018)
In “Get on Up”, Chadwick Boseman was in the role of James Brown, who is not all bad, just single-minded in his conviction. However, in “Black Panther”, Chadwick Boseman became a warrior and defender of Wakanda.
#10 Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in “Walk the Line” (2005) and Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” (2001)
In “Legally Blonde”, Reese Witherspoon fulfilled her role of Elle Woods, a positive person who always sees the best in others and herself. In 2005, she embodied the tough and resilient woman, June Carter.
#11 Queen Latifah as The Wizard of Oz in “The Wiz Live” (2015) and Bessie Smith in “Bessie” (2015)
Queen Latifah became a mysterious and powerful wizard in “The Wize Live”. At this time, the actress has the challenging task of portraying the edgy and tough side of the 1920s Blues icon in the “Bessie”.