There are some actors who, no matter what character they’re playing, always seem to play themselves. Not literally, of course. The characters aren’t all meant to be the same, but for one reason or another, the character seems to become the actor.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s not always due to an actor lacking acting skills or acting range.
Most of the time, they’re actually quite good at acting—but they acted so well in a particular role that they become typecasted. It’s almost like these actors are so uniquely identifiable as a given persona that they become their own character franchise.
Here are our favorite typecasted actors who (generally) play the same character in every movie!
10. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson is a pro-wrestling champion turned Hollywood celebrity who carried his wrestling alias—first “Rocky” and then “The Rock”—from the ring to the big screen.
Sadly, no matter how hard he tries, it appears that his origin as a pro-wrestler continues to cling to him, making him unable to shake off his iconic image as “The Rock.”
Johnson plays the ripped action hero in nearly every movie role, even when dipping his toes into comedy and family films. His most notable roles include 2001’s The Mummy Returns, 2015’s San Andreas, 2017’s Jumanji, and, of course, the Fast and Furious franchise.
9. Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum isn’t only known for his exceedingly good looks (though that plays a big part in his persona). His impressive dance skills are what really help him stand out.
Catching his first wave of mainstream popularity with the hip-hopping musical drama Step Up in 2006, Tatum has gone on to swoon viewers with his strikingly handsome face and shirtless handstands, even leading as the sexy stripper in 2012’s Magic Mike.
Although Tatum has occasionally branched out into other genres, he’s mainly known for comedy and romance. From 21 Jump Street to Dear John, one thing is for sure: Tatum will always be the cool guy.
8. Michael Cera
Michael Cera’s awkward performances and eccentric style make him a one-of-a-kind gem of comedy.
Whether it’s as the lanky teen or the oddball sidekick, Cera perfectly embodies the essence of a geek. Despite his wispy voice and blank expressions, Cera has a distinctly matchless on-screen presence.
Cera’s acting career really took off in 2007 when he starred in the highly successful indie flicks Superbad and Juno. He carried that same energy forward into Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which infamously blended comic book with coming-of-age comedy.
7. Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan is the modern-day equivalent of Bruce Lee, with a hefty dose of masterful comedy mixed in.
A kung-fu master with an aptitude for slapstick, Chan is a family-favorite movie star who kicks his way through comedic drama. Chinese culture and American humor are united by Chan’s iconic performances as the lovable action hero.
You can find his hilarious action-oriented antics in his famous collaborations with Chris Tucker in Rush Hour and with Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. He also brought a new dimension to the sport through his touching portrayal of the beloved Mr. Miyagi (or Mr. Han) in 2010’s The Karate Kid.
6. Seth Rogen
Why does Seth Rogen always play a stoner in movies? Well, probably because he’s a stoner in real life! So much so that Rogen even launched his own marijuana company (Houseplant) in California.
Most don’t know that Rogen is also a writer, having started his writing career at the tender age of 13 with the first draft of Superbad, which wouldn’t be turned into a movie until 15 years later.
But for the most part, Rogen can found fogging up the lens with comedy flicks like 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 2007’s Knocked Up, 2008’s Pineapple Express, 2014’s The Interview, and many more.
With James Franco often by his side, Rogen has proven his talents for both writing and acting—and furthering the stoner archetype.
5. Jim Carrey
One of the most surprising things about Jim Carrey is that he has a surprisingly wide acting range, thanks to his dedicated method acting. In fact, Carrey was literally trained by the CIA to endure torture for his role in 2000’s The Grinch.
But most movie-goers remember him best for his zany personality and hilarious slapstick. Few actors can achieve the facial muscle control of Carrey, who can contort his face to a caricature-like degree.
Carrey’s most extreme and cartoonish characters can be found in 1994’s The Mask and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber, 1997’s Liar Liar, 2003’s Bruce Almighty, and even 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog as Dr. Robotnik.
4. Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis is undoubtedly Hollywood’s number one action hero. Detective, superhero, black ops agent—Bruce Willis has done them all. A hard man with good morals, Willis will always defeat the bad guys while things explode behind him or time bends backwards.
Bruce Willis’s reputation as a leading man started with the oft-debated “Christmas” movie Die Hard, and carried on with 1998’s Armageddon, 2000’s Unbreakable, 2006’s Lucky Number Slevin, 2012’s Looper, and, of course, the rest of the Die Hard movies.
3. Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell is one of the most recognizable faces in American comedy—as the happy-go-lucky elf in 2003’s Elf, the man-baby step-brother in 2008’s Step Brothers, or the cocky anchorman in 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Everyone’s seen at least one of these Ferrell personas, and they all share a sort of child-like quality, an ignorance to the world around him, that only Ferrell can pull off in a convincing manner.
Ferrell often takes an absurd approach to masculinity, with his characters manifesting the loser, the child, the failing everyman. He’s perfect for any mismatched buddy movie, and often stars alongside John C. Reilly and Mark Wahlberg.
2. Ricky Gervais
If there’s one trait that unites every Ricky Gervais performance, it’s sarcasm. King of dry British humor, Gervais rarely plays a character who DOESN’T have a bitterly pessimistic view of humanity.
The stand-up comedian launched his mainstream on-screen career as the awkwardly inappropriate David Brent in The Office (UK), and has gone on to write most of his own work since.
The uncomfortable silences and underdog humor in The Office (UK) shaped Gervais’s reputation, and he took that with him into films like 2008’s Ghost Town and 2009’s The Invention of Lying, as well as the critically acclaimed After Life TV series on Netflix.
1. Bill Murray
Bill Murray is practically a character to himself. He has no particular genre and can play pretty much anything—hero or villain, comedy or drama, character or cameo.
But in all of his roles, it rarely feels like he’s assuming a character. Bill Murray is always playing Bill Murray, regardless of the film’s time period, setting, or character. Even when voicing the animated ginger cat in 2004’s Garfield, he’s still a disembodied Bill Murray.
Murray has had a long run of leading roles, including 1984’s Ghostbusters, 1993’s Groundhog Day, and 2003’s Lost in Translation. But he also loves to make cameo appearances where viewers can have that “Hey look, it’s Bill Murray!” moment.
As a long-time collaborator of Wes Anderson, Murray has popped up in films like 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom and 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. But he’s also appeared elsewhere, most notably 2009’s Zombieland where he literally played himself.