By: Brennan Carley, Taylor Cavallo, and Dan Siering
Actors are a fickle breed. They thrive off their annual awards shows, heaping praise on one another like it’s the last time they’ll ever be in a room together.
If history has taught audiences anything, it’s that actors and actresses love to leave their comfort zones—after all, how else does someone get a critic to describe his or her work as edgy?
For as long as movies have existed, actors who’ve carved themselves a groove—whether it be the funniest woman in the business or the guy who can shed a tear like no other—relish the opportunity to leave that genre. Take Eddie Murphy, for example: after years of gross-out comedies—all the Shrek films included—he delivered a bomb of a heartbreaking performance in Dreamgirls, and oh, how the critics crooned. Morgan Freeman took a journey opposite of Murphy’s, segueing his years of experience in dramas like The Green Mile and Driving Miss Daisy into family-friendly fare like Bruce Almighty and The Bucket List.
When we sat down to pick the five actors we wanted to highlight, it was close to impossible to narrow it down. Inside, we present the five most shining examples of actors who have both soared and failed in leaving their comfort zones.