Cranston and Co go serious: A view of comedic actors in dramatic roles

Bryan Cranston pic photo credit: Steve Terrell (flickr)
Bryan Cranston pic photo credit: Steve Terrell (flickr)

Anthony Hopkins described Bryan Cranston’s performance  as Walter White was the best acting he had seen – ever. With 3 Emmys and a Golden Globe, for the role of the chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin has been Cranston’s meal ticket to success and appearances in blockbusters like Argo, Drive and Godzilla. However, Cranston still likes to do fun roles whether it’s voice over work for Family Guy or live action roles like 30 Rock as Kenneth’s stepfather Ron. Below is more on Cranston and five other comedic actors that took on a serious role that critics liked.

Bryan Cranston-Walter White in Breaking Bad

Before the days of Heisenberg, there was Hal in Malcolm in Middle. Cranston’s most famous role before Breaking Bad, he would make people laugh with some interesting one liners and constant screaming everytime he ran into trouble. However, Cranston showed his range in Breaking Bad which contains the most evolutionary character in TV history.  Below is an alternative ending to Breaking Bad that shows Cranston hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Albert Brooks- Bernie Rose in Drive

Albert Brooks is a funny man. He impoverished many of his characters in the Simpsons from Jacques  to zany villain Hank Scorpio and played a loving father as Marlin in Finding Nemo. However he steals the show in Drive as Bernie Rose a serious Jewish mobster who has a hatred for the main character after he stole his money. Below is an interview where Brooks describe the best way to look at an antagonist in this writer’s eyes.

Marlon Wayans-Tyrone C Love in Requiem for a Dream

That’s right. Shorty from Scary Movie has done a serious role in the form of Tyrone C Love a heroin addict who enters the drug trade to try and get the more potent material. The movie was well praised but rather than pursue dramatic roles, Wayans stuck to what he knows and made more comedies with occasional appearances in sci fi and role playing films. Below is the trailer for Requiem for a Dream.

Jim Carrey- Truman Burbank in The Truman Show

Having been the king of comedy in the early 90s for Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask, Carrey’s career needed a serious role that he’d be praised for. Enter the Truamn show, the story of a man who doesn’t realise that his entire life is one TV show. Carrey was praised for this role and he went on to do other film roles such as Man on the Moon and  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Below is the trailer for the Truman Show.

Steve Carell- Frank Ginsberg in Little Miss Sunshine

As a co star with Carrey in Bruce Almighty and known for his roles in the 40 year old Virgin and the Office, Steve Carell knows how to make people laugh in different forms. However, he decided to take on a serious role as Frank in Little Miss Sunshine. Frank is a depressed family who tried to kill. Look below to find out why.

Don Rickles-Billy Sherbert in Casino

Martin Scorsese has added comedians to his pieces from Sasha Baron Cohen in Hugo to Peter Boyle in Taxi Driver.  However this was this was one of the memorable ones as Rickles in familiar territory in Las Vegas. Only instead of performing stand up, he is performing as a casino manager who helps fixer Sam “Ace” Rothstein (played by Robert deNiro) to pad his wallet.  Here is a clip from Casino featuring the Vegas showman. *contains strong language*

There are so many more examples. Which ones would you like to see? Answer below at the comments.


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