Hollywood Actors and Their Types

I’ve seen a lot of movies and television shows. All of them have actors in them (this is a sad but necessary fact of life, if you ask a writer) and are probably most easily remembered as “that movie with that actor in it” because the actor is the one who gets to have a face to go with the name. This makes actors the easiest path to follow if you’re looking for more movies. Like that movie? Watch another from the actor’s filmography. In my many years of movie surfing using this method, I’ve noticed that actors (Hollywood actors, that is) almost always fall into one of five categories based on their role choices.


Definition: Bouncers are actors who crop up all over the place in different supporting roles, especially in one-episode stints on television shows that all play on the same network. This is the category that almost all beginning actors fall under. Some move on to another category and others stay forever.

Michaela McManus (One Tree Hill, CSI:NY, Law & Order: SVU, Castle, etc.)
Omid Abtahi (Over There, CSI, Ghost Whisperer, NCIS, etc)

Michaela McManus as Linday on One Tree Hill


Definition: A ranger is an actor who purposefully chooses widely different roles, either because they are driven to explore the full range of human emotion or because they don’t want to get bored. These are the so-called “career” actors and (fairly or not) they’re more likely to be British, Australian, or Canadian than American.

Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars Episodes I, II, II, Black Hawk Down, Down With Love, etc.)
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Lord of the Rings, The Aviator, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, etc.)

Ewan McGregor as Renton in Trainspotting


Definition: Clones are actors who tend to chose roles where they play the same type of person over and over again (usually themselves, but with different names and outfits), creating the impression that in the parallel movieverse there are dozens of copies of the same person walking around claiming to be different people.

Anna Faris (Scary Movie, Just Friends, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, House Bunny, etc.)
Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious, Joy Ride, Running Scared, Into the Blue, etc.)

Anna Faris as Cindy in Scary Movie


Definition: Nespots are actors who are into nepotism. They seem to work with the same director over and over and over again. This usually leads to some similarity in the projects if the director isn’t a ranger. More often than not this happens with men, perhaps because most directors are men.

Johnny Depp with Tim Burton ( Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride etc.)
Leonardo DiCaprio with Martin Scorsese (The Departed, The Aviator, Shutter Island, etc.)

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands


Definition: Cardboard cutouts are actors who tend to take roles where they have to display all the emotional range of a block of wood and instead carry the role by virtue of a their enormous biceps, giant boobs, attractive faces, or popularity in other mediums. Some move up out of this category through surprising displays of talent. Most never do.

Paris Hilton – popular from being rich and making a homemade porno (House of Wax, Pledge This, The Hottie and the Nottie, etc.)
Arnold Schwarzenegger – giant biceps from being “Mr. Universe” (Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, Red Sonja, etc.)

Paris Hilton as Cristabel in The Hottie and the Nottie

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