Do these actors just play the same role in every film?

Tom Beasley
Do these actors play the same roles in every movie? (Credit: Roy Rochlin/Ian West/Albert L. Ortega/Theo Wargo/PA Images/NBCUniversal/Getty)

The role of an actor is often one of being a chameleon. Many of the most acclaimed actors are those who are capable of disappearing into a selection of different characters, with each of them fitting like an elegant glove. But that’s not true for all actors, with some content to play variations on the same type of character over and over again.

Those actors were the subject of a recent discussion thread on Reddit, which asked users to spotlight the actors who are most guilty of playing similar roles in different movies.

The responses were varied, including actors from the worlds of comedy, action, drama and indeed some of the most successful and beloved performers on the planet.

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen in 'Bad Neighbours'. (Credit: Universal)

Seth Rogen was the most popular answer to this question, with the response accusing him of merely “playing Seth Rogen in every possible movie” earning more than 40,000 upvotes.

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The star’s stoner comedy roles were the main focus of the discussion, including much of his work for producer and director Judd Apatow throughout the noughties in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Pineapple Express. Others pointed out that he managed to channel his shtick while playing a sausage in Sausage Party and a warthog in The Lion King. That’s impressive work.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson in 'Skyscraper'. (Credit: Universal)

Dwayne Johnson is the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and has been in that position for several years. According to one Reddit user, though, he has managed that by perfecting just one role, described as “a buff dude-spy who can fly helicopters and perform CPR who is sometimes funny”.

Read more: Johnson fluffs lines in Jumanji gag reel

Johnson has certainly perfected a brand of characters in action outings like Skyscraper, Carnage and Central Intelligence, as well as his recurring role in the Fast & Furious franchise. But when you’re as charismatic as The Rock, it’s a case of “if it ain’t broke...”

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart in 'Jumanji: The Next Level'. (Credit: Sony)

Johnson’s co-star in the Jumanji films and Central Intelligence, Kevin Hart, was also singled out by a Reddit user in one of the most popular comments in this thread. “Kevin Hart making and receiving jokes about his own diminutive stature is a given,” they wrote, adding: “I think the fact that I can’t remember a single one of his characters’ names speaks for itself.”

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Hart’s on-screen persona is carried over from his stand-up and certainly plays to his fast-talking comedic strengths. He is, however, stretching his acting muscles in interesting ways via the persona shifting of the Jumanji franchise, as well as his more dramatic work in The Upside.

Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez in 'The Fate of the Furious'. (Credit: Universal)

As one of the many stars locked in to a major role within the Fast & Furious franchise, Michelle Rodriguez often plays a very specific part. However, according to a user in this Reddit thread, she also inhabits similar roles as a “tough military chick” outside of the world of vehicular carnage.

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This description certainly encompasses her roles in films like Battle: Los Angeles, S.W.A.T. and, of course, Avatar. But it’s the Fast franchise that has grown to define her career, and she’s always an enjoyable part of those movies.

Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal in 'The Perfect Weapon'. (Credit: Momentum Pictures)

Steven Seagal is often considered something of a punchline in the modern movie industry, most notably because of his eccentric personality and, recently, connection to Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia. He is also the star of a litany of direct-to-DVD action movies that, as several Reddit users pointed out, are all very similar indeed.

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It’s tough to say much in defence of Seagal on this particular point, other than the fact he knows his genre and he’s prepared to stick with it. His most recent three films are entitled Beyond the Law, General Commander and Attrition, which is everything you need to know in a nutshell.

Jason Statham

Jason Statham in 'Hobbs & Shaw'. (Credit: Universal)

Action movie hardmen were popular answers to this question and so it was only natural that Jason Statham would come up in a comment eventually. Statham is one of the most accomplished movie fighters on the planet and has been terrific in a huge variety of films, albeit some that are largely indistinguishable from each other.

Read more: Statham says Guy Ritchie should direct Hobbs & Shaw sequel

Many users pointed out, though, that Statham’s early work in films like Snatch was very different and that he has been willing to send up his own persona with roles like his standout performance in Paul Feig comedy Spy.

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds in 'Free Guy'. (Credit: 20th Century Studios)

Ryan Reynolds and his persona as a “quirky guy who speaks in overly-written quips” was called out by one commenter in the Reddit thread. Although agreeing, many other users replied to say how much they enjoyed Reynolds’ shtick, which comes through most notably in the Deadpool movies and even his voice role in Detective Pikachu.

Read more: Reynolds tells fans not to watch him in Green Lantern

Reynolds is a prime example of the fact that there’s an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” element to a lot of these actors’ work. If someone achieves success in a certain type of role, they’re often cast in more of them in the hope of mimicking the success.

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl in 'Knocked Up'. (Credit: Universal)

A romcom star in the noughties, Katherine Heigl appeared alongside a fellow member of this list when she starred with Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. According to the Reddit user who suggested her, she’s known for playing “an uptight, controlling, workaholic who learns to be a little more easy going by the end”.

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Heigl was a prolific star in the second half of the noughties, supplementing her long-running role on Grey’s Anatomy with a variety of film parts. She had a period of quiet in which she was largely away from screens, but she then returned with a darker role in trashy thriller Unforgettable alongside Rosario Dawson.

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo in 'Begin Again'. (Credit: TWC)

Mark Ruffalo is best known today for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Bruce Banner — aka the big green rage dude — but his other work tends to fit into what one Reddit user called: movies about “a guy going through it”. This would include his work as a dogged journalist in Spotlight and a driven lawyer in this year’s Dark Waters.

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Ruffalo’s trademark frazzled appearance and likeable charm certainly plays into the kind of roles he plays, but the star has found real success in injecting real depth into characters like these.

Rebel Wilson

Rebel Wilson in 'The Hustle'. (Credit: Universal)

Ever since her breakout role as Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect franchise, Rebel Wilson has carved herself a niche as one of the most dependable slapstick performers in Hollywood comedy. As one Reddit user pointed out, though, her comedy talent is often obscured. They wrote: “I wish movies wouldn't revolve around her weight because that is a tired shtick.”

Read more: Rebel Wilson steals BAFTAs with presenting jokes

Wilson has made some strange movies, running the gamut from critically derided comedy fare like Anne Hathaway-starrer The Hustle and Oscar-winning works like Jojo Rabbit to whatever the heck was going on with Cats. Much like Evan Rachel Wood found out, it’s hard to recover from seeing that.