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10 Performances by Actors Playing Against Type

10 great performances by actors in out-of-character roles.

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  • Tom Cruise - Les Grossman

    Known for: charming leading man roles. (Jerry Maguire, Risky Business) In Tropic Thunder: fat balding Hollywood executive with a short fuse.

  • Jim Carrey - Truman Burbank

    Carrey's foray into drama. Before The Truman Show: quirky, slapstick characters. (Dumb and Dumber, The Mask)

  • Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands

    The first of Depp's many eccentric characters. (Ed Wood, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) Before Edward Scissorhands: perceived as a teen heartthrob. (21 Jump Street, Cry-Baby)

  • Robin Williams - Walter Finch

    Known for: quirky comedic and tearjerker dramatic roles. (Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire) In Insomnia: calculated murderer and sociopath.

  • Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump

    Hanks' foray into serious drama. Before Forrest Gump: comedy and romance. (A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle)

  • Heath Ledger - The Joker

    Known for: romantic leading men roles. (10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale) In The Dark Knight: psychotic mass-murdering villain.

  • Robert Downey Jr. - Kirk Lazarus

    Known for: playing white men. (Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) In Tropic Thunder: an Australian with plastic surgery.

  • Liam Neeson - Henri Ducard

    Known for: good guy roles. (Schindler's List) In Batman Begins: unforgiving villain.

  • Denzel Washington - Alonzo Harris

    Known for: morally upstanding characters. (Philadelphia) In Training Day: morally bankrupt police detective.

  • Nicolas Cage - Charlie/Donald Kaufman

    Known for: taking bad roles. (Gone in Sixty Seconds, National Treasure, The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Next, Bangkok Dangerous, Knowing) In Adaptation: not one, but two good roles.

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