How to eliminate type casting. (For professional actors.)

What creates typecasting?

Typecasting is not created by members of the film industry and it is not a file cabinet labeled: 'Almost a has been'. Actors and actresses are not the only ones who hate it. Producers, directors, managers and agents don't like it because it is insidious. The bottom line is if they could match you to more roles, with more diversity and for a longer period time they would have an easier time of it and make a lot more money besides.

It is simple to understand and easy to eliminate or transform.

The first thing that happens when a person gets sick is they act different than normal. We would not be good friends if we did not get upset when they changed character and acted different than before. The more we like them the more we become concerned and if it continues more than a few minutes into a conversation we will notice it and automatically become upset. We want to find the cause of the change so we can protect our friend. That is a very normal reaction.

If you are an actor and and the audience likes you a lot then they automatically think of you as a friend. Instinctually they automatically become protective of you and they get very upset when you take on a 'different character' and 'act different' whether they consciously actually realize it or not. When they cannot find a reason or a solution they end up distrusting you. So typecasting is just created by your protective friends in the audience who are actually watching out for your well being.

The more rigid you are type cast, the more loyal your fans and the more people love you. So you really can't be too upset about it! Be happy that millions of people are actually concerned about your health and well being. That is what causes type casting. That is about all there is to type casting.

What we can do to eliminate or transform type casting.

There are many easy ways to change or eliminate typecasting. It happens by 'accident' sometimes and when it does nobody even realizes what occurred.

Let's look at what happens that causes this change to occur.

Remember when Jamie Lee Curtis was the epitome of the scream queen and stared in such very briefly popular films in all of one genre when she screamed in ‘Halloween’, when she screamed in ‘Prom Night’, when she screamed in ‘The Fog’ and when she screamed in ‘Terror Train’ and then almost always tried to run away but never was able to make it?

There was not one chance in a blue moon that we were going to ever going to accept her doing anything other than being the absolutely helpless frightened girl. (Except in comedies like 'A Fish Named Wanda' but comedies are only a temporary repreive from type casting for as long as the film lasts.)

I went to see the film ‘Blue Steel’ expecting to see some variation on that theme.

In the opening scene Jamie is a police officer who walks into an apartment and has to rescue a woman. Before I can even get upset over that damn uniform that she should not be wearing because it makes her look like a responsible adult and we know she is not that, a man with a gun threatens to kill us all. We paid $10+ to be able to pretend to be in the film standing next to Jamie Lee Curtis so we don't want her to die for several reasons and it's all happening so fast and right at the beginning of the film.

So we think, 'please Jamie, don't run and scream like you normally do. For once in your life would you ACT SERIOUS? It's not a knife he's got, it's a gun so if you scream and run away he is just going to shoot you in the back. So shoot the man before he kills us all. We don't want you to be the 'scream queen' now so just grow up really fast and 'act' like an adult so you can kill him.'

She's our friend and she listens to us. She doesn’t scream and she doesn't run away, she kills the man and saves both the film and our $10+.

Then we find out it is only part of her training but in the next ten minutes there is a repeat of a similar scene where she actually kills a man holding hostages in a store so we go through those same emotions a second time and that serves to reinforce our desire for her to not be the scream queen ever again.

What a friend Jamie Lee Curtis is. Now she even kills the bad guys for us. Why would we ever want her to be the helpless screamer again? I'm glad she is a strong woman and not that little girl that we used to have to worry about who would have lost my $10+ within five minutes of the start of this film. Now, everybody who has seen this film expects her to act more serious than she has in the past.

The plain truth is the transition of Jamie Lee Curtis from playing the most helpless of roles to those of a serious actress was a huge transition that nobody would have accepted any other way than this and this was done by making the audience want her to transform and then letting her.

This kind of transition also makes her roles more dynamic as the leap was so great that we expect more like it.

Was this specific role needed to create her transition? No, there are 150 ways to change an actors or actresses 'type'. Let's use #105 and make up a plot in five minutes that would have worked for her as good as Blue Steel.

The scream queen is getting dressed for the prom, when the veil of her dress falls from the door it is hanging on looking briefly like a ghost so she screams. When she is walking home at night she sees an unexpected reflection of herself in a store window and runs home in a panic. (Now that we have fully accepted her in the role she used to play we can go wild.) After the prom she marries and then ends up with a divorce and raising her child alone. So she joins the Marines and becomes a Military Police Officer. Boredom causes her to reappraise her life and she works hard for her promotions. She toughens up and she earns our respect saving cats from trees but falls once and is crippled for life and so she has an extra burden but she over comes it too and earns our respect. Shadows are never an issue again for this actress .

She is now seen as a serious actress by anybody who see's this film.

Do you recognize the plot? It digressed to the plot of the film that made Tom Cruise a serious actor.

Before the film 'Born on the Forth of July' Tom Cruise played nothing but spoiled brats and is most noted for brief moments of jiggling around in his underwear to the satisfaction of hoards of young women and then suddenly he was in Viet Nam just like so many young men found themselves over 40 years ago. Then he immediately became a valid serious actor when his spinal cord got severed by a bullet while fighting. Or should I say that Oliver Stone forced us to accept him as that at the barrel of a gun.

Because of that one film Tom Cruise make's at least $25 million a year more than he used to and he was just about to die a twenty something year old teenager when he got that part. Actually he needed several other mature film roles to reinforce it fully simply because not all his fans saw Born on the Forth of July.

Back now to Jamie Lee Curtis. Why stop with our actress not being afraid of shadowns anymore?  Let's have her leave the military in order to set her up for her next film role. She miraculously recovers and goes into the private sector for a job right before the film ends. She sets it up as she wants and becomes a cop or even an astronomer. Then she can start right away in the same adult role in her next film. There is a definitely a large range of roles she can now act in.

It's kind of a difficult job market so let's give her a real boost and before she leaves the military her character goes to the Middle East and gets wounded while saving the lives of ten U.N. relief workers. Then she earns the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Popes blessing. Now Jamie can work in foreign films if she wants to. For filming in France she also saves three French U. N. peacekeepers and the car bomb she stops bare handed saves the life of the French Ambassador, too.

The process of the elimination of type casting is just a simple technique. It happens at times but before now nobody knew why. When it occurred it was just by chance, luck or accident. There are a hundred ways to do it. Maybe a book about un-type casting is needed. Naw. Why bother with a book? I have just given you all of the instructions.

Not only can you change type but you can widen the type, open it up to different types or disolve it completely (an Oscar does the last one very effectively).

The bard never died. I just slept for 400 years.

 

 

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