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    26 More Roles So Well-Performed, They Made People Realize An Actor Was Better Than They Originally Thought

    Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge an actor based on one role!

    Twice now, we've taken a look at a viral Reddit thread that asked, "What film made you notice an actor was better/had more range than you originally thought?" and we've received even MORE great responses from our very own BuzzFeed Community! So here are even more of the movie roles that made people reevaluate the way they felt about certain actors.

    Also, WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead for several of these movies!

    1. Jennifer Aniston as Claire Bennett in Cake (2014)

    View this video on YouTube

    Cinelou Releasing

    "Oh my goodness, she WRECKED me in this film! She has comedy nailed, but this VERY dramatic role was immensely well done by her. I felt all of her pain and completely forgot it was her I was watching. I had massive respect for her after that."


    2. Will Smith as Dr. Robert Neville in I Am Legend (2007)

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    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "I knew he was always a brilliant actor, but this really sealed it for me!"

    —Lynsey Mcauley, Facebook

    3. Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne in Batman (1989)

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    Warner Bros.

    "Going from goofy, comedic roles (Mary Tyler Moore Hour, Mr. Mom, and Beetlejuice) to playing Batman was a risky move for him, but he pulled it off!"


    4. John Cusack as Hillary Van Wetter in Paperboy (2012)

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    Millennium Films

    "I’m so used to seeing him as the good-natured guy, but holy balls, that movie was so freaking disturbing. I had nightmares after watching it!"

    —Nadia D, Facebook

    5. Zendaya as Marie Jones in Malcolm & Marie (2021)

    View this video on YouTube


    "She's obviously amazing in Euphoria, but that's still a teenage character. She played an actual adult in this movie — opposite a much older costar — and nailed it. If her performance is any indication, she'll have a super-long, successful career!"

    Evelina Zaragoza Medina

    6. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014)

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    Focus Features

    "Hands down, the single best performance I’ve seen onscreen. It was wholly believable that he was progressively deteriorating from a degenerative motor neuron disease."


    7. Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly in I, Tonya (2017)

    View this video on YouTube


    "Enough said."


    8. Elizabeth Olsen as Jane Banner in Wind River (2017)

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    The Weinstein Co.

    "Powerful movie! All the actors did a great job, but I didn’t expect her to do such a good job as that character!"


    9. Ross Lynch as Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer (2017)

    View this video on YouTube


    10. Tom Hanks as Capt. John H. Miller in Saving Private Ryan (1998)

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    DreamWorks Pictures

    "I remember when I heard that he was going to be in this, I thought it was ridiculous: He only does romantic comedies! Well, I was proved to be dead wrong."

    —Beth Moore, Facebook

    11. Janelle Monáe as Teresa in Moonlight (2016)

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    "I love her music, but I was not expecting her to be so good in this! Not only did she play the character well, but the soft-yet-stern kindness she brought really contributed so much to the tone of the movie."

    Tessa Fahey

    12. Jamie Dornan as Edgar Paget in Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

    View this video on YouTube


    "I'd only known him from Fifty Shades of Gray, but he was unexpectedly hilarious in this!"

    Annika Meek

    13. Dakota Johnson as Emily Summerspring in Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

    View this video on YouTube

    20th Century Fox

    "I really misjudged her after only having seen her in — well, you know. She is incredible in anything she’s in because she is such a confident, warm person. She has mad range!"


    14. Kal Penn as Nikhil Ganguli in The Namesake (2006)

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    Fox Searchlight Pictures

    "If you only know him from comedies, you will be so surprised by this performance — I know I was!"


    15. Will Ferrell as Harold Crick in Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

    View this video on YouTube

    Sony Pictures Releasing

    "I can’t believe this answer wasn’t on either of the other lists!"


    16. Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman (2019)

    View this video on YouTube

    Paramount Pictures

    "He did such a phenomenal job, I almost forgot it was him."


    17. Diana Ross as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

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    Paramount Pictures

    "She was brilliant as Billie Holiday and brought the legendary jazz singer’s persona to life (it’s honestly hard for me to watch this movie because she’s just THAT good a dramatic actress)! She should’ve won the Academy Award that year!"

    Kayla Yandoli

    18. Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee in The Dirt (2019)

    View this video on YouTube


    "The entire cast of that movie was incredible, but MGK really took me by surprise. I didn't know he could act!"


    19. Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

    View this video on YouTube

    Focus Features

    "McConaughey and Jared Leto BOTH blew me away in terms of truly owning their roles, but it was unlike anything McConaughey has ever done. For me, it’s without a doubt his best performance ever."


    20. Jason Statham as Rick Ford in Spy (2015)

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    20th Century Fox

    "He’s always been the 'action-movie guy,' but he was actually comedic in this and so freaking funny — I had no idea. Instant love for him!"


    21. Steve Martin as Jimmy Dell in The Spanish Prisoner (1998)

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    Sony Pictures Classics

    "He plays a villain in this, and if you've only seen him in comedic roles, you have to watch!"


    22. Stanley Tucci as George Harvey in The Lovely Bones (2009)

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    Paramount Pictures

    "The role was so far removed from anything he ever did before or has done after, and his portrayal sent shivers down my spine!"


    23. Sasha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2021)

    View this video on YouTube


    "Borat-style comedy is not my thing, but he blew me away with his performance in this. I kept double-checking to see if it was the same person because I didn't believe it!"

    —Nicole Sheese, Facebook

    24. Kevin Hart as Dell Scott in The Upside (2019)

    View this video on YouTube


    "If I’m being honest, he wasn’t one of my favorite comedic actors, so I was a little hesitant to watch this movie — a dramedy about a recent parolee (Hart) who becomes the caretaker of a paralyzed billionaire (played by Bryan Cranston). The film was a big hit, though, so I agreed to go see it and was very quickly impressed by Hart’s performance! He wasn’t just doing his usual comedic persona, but really acting. He perfectly captured his character’s vulnerability, and there was a sweetness to his performance. And when he had a comedic moment, it really worked because it wasn’t the whole performance, just a part of it. I’m definitely interested in seeing him try more complex acting roles like this in the future."

    Mike Spohr

    25. Kristen Stewart as Emily Lewin in Adventureland (2009)

    View this video on YouTube

    Walt Disney Studios

    "It came out right after Twilight and flew pretty much under the radar, at least where I live in the UK. Most people saw Bella Swan as her 'breakout performance,' but it was this movie where she first showed me she could actually act!"

    —Gavin Campbell, Facebook

    26. And finally — Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in Avengers (2012)

    View this video on YouTube

    Marvel Studios

    "Before the Avengers movie, all the movies I had ever seen him in were rom-coms (13 Going On 30, Just Like Heaven, View From the Top, etc.). Then suddenly I saw him in Avengers and was very pleasantly surprised to see him playing a superhero!"

    Padawan Ryan

    Now it's your turn! What film role made you reevaluate your feelings toward an actor's abilities? Share your pick or picks in the comments below! OH, but first — if you enjoyed this list — be sure to check out the other lists (here and here) to see if your pick is on there!

    Note: Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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