Opinion

Comedic actors are better suited to drama than you’d expect

Today’s entertainment world seems to be overflowing with comedic performers.

Despite this, drama remains one of the highest-grossing film and TV genres to date.

As a result, recent movies and shows have featured predominantly comedic actors in rather serious roles.

Although some audience members may be opposed, is their trust misplaced? Do comedic actors actually belong in serious films?

The short answer is yes. What, you may ask, is the long answer?

That, of course, requires added stipulations.

There have been many recent examples of why comedic actors do, in fact, have a place in dramatic films.

The 2018 film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is a principle example.

A dramatic biopic, the film depicts the true story of writer Lee Israel.

Following many failures in her work, Israel began defrauding individuals and businesses as a literary forger.

During beginning production, the role of Lee was originally set to be played by actress Julianne Moore.

However, due to creative differences, Moore dropped out.

In 2016, the dramatic film saw a surprising addition to its cast, primarily comedic actress, Melissa McCarthy, who was now set to fill the lead position.

Though this may have seemed like an odd choice, the film received critical acclaim.

McCarthy’s performance was praised, and she went on to receive an Oscar nomination for her role as Lee Israel.

Another example can be found in another “Saturday Night Live” alum who has made the leap from comedy to drama, not only in film, but on the small screen as well.

Bill Hader has recently become a fan-favorite, not for his role as a past SNL cast member, but for his more serious contributions in shows like HBO’s “Barry,” and more recently, as the adult incarnation of Richie Tozier in the highly-anticipated “IT: Chapter 2.”

Audiences were stunned by Hader’s ability to seamlessly meld his comedic talents into gripping dramatic characters.

“Barry,” in which Hader plays the titular character, shows the actor as a trained assassin who is grappling with the serious issues involved in balancing his personal and professional lives.

In 2018, the actor was nominated for and ultimately won an Emmy for his role.

Though it delves into the horror genre, “IT” also shows off Hader’s versatility as an actor.

The sequel, based on Stephen King’s popular novel of the same name, allows the actor to create a complex reiteration of beloved prankster, Richie Tozier.

This was something not previously seen by audiences, and resulted in Hader effectively stealing the show every time he was on-screen.

Now, does this mean that those gifted in comedy should rush to make the transition to dramatic roles?

No, but if the aforementioned examples show anything, it is that versatility as an actor is important.

People love to see the outlandish roles synonymous with McCarthy and Hader.

Despite this, their ability to embody serious subject matter has allowed them to reach and be praised by an even wider array of audiences.

Categories: Opinion

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