When I say the name Samuel L. Jackson, I’m sure Pulp Fiction comes to mind. Or, when I mention Johnny Depp, I bet that most of you start picturing the rustic English pirate with dreadlocks, Captain Jack Sparrow. What about Sarah Jessica Parker or, should I just say Carrie Bradshaw?
These are just a few actors of many that have played an iconic role, one for which they will always be remembered. But, due to the success of these actors, they’ve gone on to play other roles…just, maybe, ones that aren’t quite as iconic.
I’d like to name a few actors who’ve played iconic roles but have yet to break away from them.
Let’s begin with an obvious candidate: Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen.
Robert Pattinson was first known for his role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). His role as the sweet and heroic Hogwarts student in the Hufflepuff house was cut pretty short since his character was set to have a doomed fate from the start.
However, it turns out that Cedric Diggory didn’t really die. He just returns as the pale, brooding, 108-year-old vampire Edward Cullen, the male lead in the Twilight trilogy written by Stephanie Meyer.
Pattinson wasn’t too crazy about the book series from the beginning or even about the first movie. Little did he know just how much of an impact those four movies would have on his stardom. It was teen/preteen madness once the first film came to theaters. The character of Edward Cullen, the seemingly perfect and glittery vampire, quickly became the focus of every young teen’s dream. Maybe the word ‘obsession’ would be more appropriate? For some reason, a story about a boy who is technically over a century older than his love interest, who likes to climb in windows and watch a girl sleep and who has pasty, icy skin was all the appeal the audiences needed to create ridiculous amounts of chaos and fandom for the memories of Twilight and its unique “qualities” to last forever. Pattinson, or as fans call him R-Patz, has starred in other films since the series ended but, his associations with the character have yet to be forgotten.
Moving on, The Hobbit film series have been quite popular recently but, why is that? Well, it’s because of how amazing the previous The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was! (Sorry, my inner-nerd just came out there a bit…) On the subject of The Lord of the Rings, I’m reminded of our second actor who can’t seem to break away from his iconic role. This would be Elijah Wood as the character Frodo Baggins.
Frodo Baggins, the good-hearted hobbit, is the one selected to be the ring-bearer who goes on a three-film journey to dump the ‘One Ring’ into the fires of Mount Doom whilst accompanied by a wizard, two men, an elf, a dwarf and three other hobbits. I mean, it’s pretty memorable to begin with. These movies serve as such a worldwide, long-term cinematic success. People are still crazy about the films to this day (present company included). So, it’s no wonder that people always associate Wood with the lead character of the trilogy. No one can forget his sad sobs and his stress from the ring or even his multiple stabbings in just the first film alone. It doesn’t help that Wood hasn’t been seen too often in the film industry ever since the series ended but, in my opinion, I’d say that Frodo Baggins is a pretty great role to be forever attached to.
Continuing on the fantasy-fiction track, there’s an actress also got her fame from a film series that has lasted over a decade. I’m sure you can all guess that the actress I speak of is none other than Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series.
Watson has recently been in quite a few other film productions, like The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012) and The Bling Ring (2013). However, the put-on American accent wasn’t fooling anyone. Seeing her on screen was basically like seeing the character of Hermione pretending to be a party animal or a high-school misfit. Now, we can’t blame Watson for her inability to break free from the bookworm witch. She started playing the role from the young age of 11 and didn’t stop until she was past her twenties. She grew up with herself as Hermione Granger and so did we. Watson is Hermione and this is just a fact that we all refuse to let go of.
The last actor I’d like to mention is someone who is known for the one iconic role…or rather just “The One.” I’m talking about Keanu Reeves in his role of Neo in The Matrix trilogy. This franchise found its claim to fame due to the new advancements made in special effects around the time it was made in addition to the awesome storyline. The trilogy focuses on Neo who is thought to be the chosen one, the one to end the war between man and machine; between reality and “the Matrix”. In other words, Neo is a pretty important guy.
Reeves hasn’t starred in many other films since and the ones that he has starred in, have been more of a letdown. In comparison, those other movies didn’t quite stand out in terms of epic-ness and so the memories of those other roles just never stuck. Since Neo was known as “The One”, I suppose this meant that the role would also be “The One” for Reeves.
These four actors have each been cast in iconic roles that they won’t ever live down, or so it seems. There’s always hope for these stars but, I guess the real question is if their iconic role should be one to break away from? Or was the role so iconic that they shouldn’t ever want to part with it? You decide.