16 unexpected dramatic performances by comedic actors


“I’m not offered stuff that’s just about relationships, family and love. It’s like, ‘It’s about a family.’ ‘Okay, and are any animals talking in there?'”

It feels like some actors fall straight into one of two buckets: those who are great at comedy and those whose acting skills are better suited to drama.

But sometimes, an actor usually known for making us laugh can effortlessly transition into a tearful, incredibly intense role that pretty much shocks audiences everywhere.

Here are 16 hilarious actors who have transitioned to more dramatic roles, from Will Ferrell to Jennifer Aniston:


While Steve Carell will always be Michael Scott in my mind, he has proven himself as a dramatic actor in foxcatcher, where he portrayed John du Pont, the heir to a vast fortune and wrestling enthusiast who recruited two US Olympians to be wrestling coaches only to kill one of them years later. “I don’t really see comedy and drama as separate genres,” Carell said Little white lies. “Ultimately, I prepare for them the same way – it’s about trying to make it as truthful as possible. A character in a comedy doesn’t know they’re in a comedy, and the same is true in a drama. You don’t play drama like you’re in drama – it’s just life, it’s just what happens.


Melissa McCarthy might have earned an Oscar nomination for her hilarious role bridesmaidsbut also proved her dramatic talent in can you ever forgive me when she played a struggling writer who forged letters from famous authors to pay the bills. McCarthy said she doesn’t find much of a difference between comedic and dramatic roles. “I’m a character actress. I connect with the character, and when you do that, you can only serve the character,” she said meeting. “It determines everything; how they look, how they laugh, who they love. You begin to only think in these terms from the character onwards. You lose yourself so much in the character. And you do that for a comedy or a drama. It doesn’t change.”


While Unpolished gems wasn’t Adam Sandler’s first foray into drama, the 2019 film was definitely responsible for propelling him into drama serious actor Stratosphere. Sandler said his wife, Jackie, convinced him to take on such a dramatic role. “I loved the movie, but I was scared of it,” he said during one Appearance at Ellen. “Then I asked Jackie to read it. We do this together, me and Jackie, we discuss what I’m going to do and she gives me strength and courage to get into this stuff. So she read it and said, ‘You have to do it.’ I jumped in and had to do so many scenes where bad things happen and I have to be naked and stuff – it’s awful for everyone – but it was a great time.”


Jennifer Aniston has admitted she’s often considered a “rom-com person,” but surprised audiences with her dramatic turn Cake, where she played a woman living with chronic pain after a car accident. Aniston initially worried that audiences would not like to see her in a role that deviated so much from their usual roles. “It was a scary, risky thing,” she said The Hollywood Reporter. “But I just said, ‘You have to try. Who cares at this point? If you fall flat on your face, well, you fall flat on your face.’ That’s probably what people expect anyway, because everyone loves to sit there with their little swords and get ready, ‘Aha see? You suck!'”


Will Smith is now an acclaimed dramatic actor who even won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Movie King Richard. Before he started making serious films, he was known for both his rap career and his role in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. His role in Six Degrees of Separation is often credited as his dramatic breakout performance. Smith actually turned to method acting to prepare for this role, but later said it took a toll on him. “When that psychological bottom falls, it’s appalling,” he said E!


After taking on characters like Borat and Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen said it was difficult to imagine yourself starring in a drama. “For me, the transition from comedy to drama was something I was reluctant to do,” he said The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve tried it Hugo and Les Miserables and a little inside Sweeney Toddbut actually taking on a lead role where the character was essentially relatable was something I wasn’t used to…I was used to playing the larger than life, quirky, offbeat, intriguing characters.” Cohen went on to play the lead to take over The Trial of Chicago 7 and The spy, Rolls, both of which were far more serious than his previous fare.


When Mo’Nique, who is usually known for her stand-up and sitcom work, took on the role of Mary Jones, an abusive mother, in 2009 Precious, She said she was thrilled with the challenge that such a dramatic role would bring. “It was challenging because I love to laugh, baby, I love to laugh,” she said The Associated Press. “But it was appreciated because I don’t know of any other director who would have given two fat black women the opportunity to do what we did. The world needs to see it, ’cause you know what, Mary Jones exists, baby precious.”


In the 1970s, Steve Martin rose to fame for his comedy, from his stand-up to his cameos Saturday night live. By 1981 he had taken the lead pennies from heaven, his first dramatic role. Martin tells NPR that he found it difficult to get the public to understand his new image. “It took a long time,” he said. “But I knew that – that one day it will be forgotten. And so I just did what I wanted to do. And there was this hangover effect of wild and crazy guy, wild and crazy guy. And now it’s just a faint memory.”


Eddie Murphy, known for his tenure Saturday night live and his roles in comedies like Come to America and the mad professor, decided to take a break from acting, only to return in 2016 with a dramatic performance Lord Church. “What was exciting about it for me Lord Church They have this whole performance where everything is the opposite of what I usually do,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not offered stuff that’s just about relationships, family and love. It’s like, ‘It’s about a family.’ ‘Okay, and are any animals talking in there?'”


In 2014, Kristen Wiig took a sharp turn away from her Saturday night live Past starring in dramas The Skeleton Twins and welcome to me Wisely told ell that while she understands why Hollywood categorizes actors as comedic or dramatic, she was grateful to break out of that mold and have the opportunity to try dramatic roles. “Comedy is my passion, but there’s also something really satisfying about being able to step back with a small crew, become a character, and get to know them for a few months at a time.”


After leaving the sitcom circuit after the end of Mork & MindyRobin Williams starred in dramas like goodwill hunt and Society of Dead Poets. He said public perception influenced his transition from comedy to drama. “Sometimes people can do both, and sometimes people have such an image of people as one thing that they don’t accept that they’re making drama,” he said ABC7. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck. It started a little with me Good morning Viet Nam and dead poets, just to be lucky enough to star in such a powerful film. It had a power to make people say ‘oh’ and change their perception.”


Whoopie Goldberg built her comedy career through her one-woman show when she first read Alice Walkers The colour purple and knew she wanted to be a part of it. “I’m going to play the dirt on the floor,” Goldberg told Walker. Luckily, Walker had seen Goldberg’s comedy and thought she could take on the more serious role of Celie, who is abused by her husband and father. Stephen Spielberg, who directed the film, immediately offered Goldberg the role after watching her ET parody. Goldberg was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her role.


After acting as a comedian, he went up against murderous gangsters True storysaid Kevin Hart diversity that he was confident in his abilities as a dramatic actor. “I know the world of drama is there for me if I want to embrace it,” he said. “If I want to go and do it, I know I can do it well and I think the small steps I’ve taken On the top [and] fatherhood, it was about slowly getting my audience to be like, ‘Oh my god, how Kevin can act. It’s not just funny. We know in the world of comedy and action and comedy and adventure that he can act. He does that very well. But oh my god, he can do it too.”


Bill Murray is one of many Saturday night live Alumni who have proven they have what it takes to take on a dramatic role and starred in hilarious films such as Caddyshack and Groundhog Day to more serious films like Lost in translation. While garnering nominations and recognition for his dramatic work, Murray said he actually prefers comedy to drama. “‘Look, your life is very melancholic right now and you’re making melancholic films. So what do you think will happen? It’s only going to get worse.’ What just happened,” he said vanity fair. “For years I thought, ‘Gosh, I’d really like to be funny again.’ You know? ‘I’d really like to be funny again.'”


After being a comedy staple in the 1990s, Jim Carey turned to more dramatic roles in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Immaculate Mind, The Truman Show, and Man in the Moon. Carrey calls each of his dramatic roles his “children,” saying each of them is unique to him. “Eternal Sunshine is a concept and a very rare moment in which a writer-director captures a primal human thing, which is the idea of ​​being wiped out,” he said. “I love all comedy. Sometimes I choose the really quirky and darker stuff.”


And finally Will Ferrell told that Washington Post that he loves having the opportunity to try more serious roles. “I really loved that experience of playing a more direct role, that more dramatic kind of twist Stranger than fiction. He added that after realizing some of his favorite comedians were finding success in drama, he was inspired to try his hand at more dramatic roles. “I was a fan of stuff Jack Lemmon did, and even Tom Hanks, who we’ve all forgotten today, started out entirely in comedy. Even Bill Murray, one of my comedic heroes, has done such solid work in dramas now.”

Can you think of any other hilarious actors who have turned to drama? Share them in the comments!


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