Some actors are known for playing the same type of character in every film or TV show they appear in. Take Hugh Grant for example. While his repertoire has diversified a little in recent years, he is mostly known for playing the bumbling romantic in films like Bridget Jones, Love Actually, and Two Weeks Notice.
Then there are actors at the other end of the scale. The ones that manage to step into any role, whether it be a cool action hero, a down-on-their-luck college drop out, or a hopeless romantic. Here are some of those broad-ranging actors.
If you’re a Doctor Who fan, then you most likely know Peter Capaldi for his role as everyone’s favourite Time Lord. But the Scot has had a career that is incredibly varied. In 1992, he started as an artist who decided to leave his father’s business in Glasgow to move to London and become an illustrator. In 1994 and 1996, Capaldi appeared in The Vicar of Dibley as Tristan Campbell.
He later played a starring role in the BBC TV series The Thick of It and the spin-off movie In the Loop. In both, Capaldi played Malcolm Tucker, the government’s foul-mouthed Director of Communications and unofficial “enforcer”.
More recently, Capaldi played Mr Curry in Paddington and lent his voice to Rabbit in Christopher Robin.
Matt Damon is an actor that needs no introduction. According to IMDb, the American is credited with 88 different roles during his 33-year career.
After a few small roles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Damon had two big parts in 1998. The first was as Private Ryan in the classic war film, Saving Private Ryan. The second was the lead in Rounders, playing Mike McDermott, a young but talented poker player that dreams of competing in the World Series of Poker.
After that, he appeared in Ocean’s Eleven, Will & Grace, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and 30 Rock. Throughout his role as Jason Bourne in the Bourne franchise, Damon played a highly-trained spy, while in Ford vs Ferrari, he stepped into the shoes of Carroll Shelby, a talented car designer and racer.
There appear to be no limits to Damon’s talent and range as an actor.
Naomie Harris has been referred to as a “chameleon actor” on several occasions thanks to her innate ability to portray many different personalities and traits in the different characters she plays.
Playing Eve Moneypenny, the secretary to M, Harris has featured in several of the most recent James Bond films, including the yet-to-be-released No Time to Die along with Spectre and Skyfall. In the 2006 remake of Miami Vice, she played Trudy Joplin, an intelligence analyst in the Miami-Dade Police Department.
In sharp contrast, she traded her suits for an altogether different outfit in Pirates of The Caribbean, where she played Calypso. While in Moonlight, Harris played Paula, the mother of the lead character. Many regard this as her career-defining role which saw her portray an emotional journey of character development despite many difficulties and setbacks in her life.
Tom Hanks is a universally-loved actor that doesn’t seem to be capable of making a bad movie. Over the years, Hanks has played a very broad range of characters, including Scott in Turner & Hooch, Forrest Gump, Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, Woody in Toy Story, Chuck in Cast Away, Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies, and Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
Hanks has 93 acting credits to his name with four currently in production. Across this library of movies and TV shows, he’s appeared in nearly every genre and played a broad spectrum of different characters.
Despite this, some have questioned whether he can adapt his approach to playing a villain. So, in early 2020, Hanks announced that he would be starring as Colonel Tom Parker in a currently untitled movie that’s due out in mid-2022. He told Variety that taking the role would “silence all (the) stupid questions” about why he’s not played a bad guy.