Actors on the favorite roles they’ve played

June 14, 2015

When considering the various aspects of acting, thespians find many different reasons to explain why they love their favorite roles. Here are a few examples of actors expounding on what made them feel so connected to their favorite performances.

Paul Dano has performed opposite Daniel Day-Lewis as Paul and Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood, and has played the brutal carpenter John Tibeats in Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. But having recently finished playing Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson in the film Love and Mercy, Dano says that preparing for the movie was “the most fun research he’s ever done for an acting role.” He told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s probably nothing more fun to research than the Beach Boys, 1960’s Los Angeles. I’ll probably never find a better acting job. I did a lot, but it’s the music. Listening to the music, listening to the studio sessions. Even more important was learning to play the songs….Brian is his music.”

Alyson Stoner played Channing Tatum’s character’s little sister, Camille Gage, in the Step Up series, and is the voice of Isabella “Whatcha doin’?” Garcia-Shapiro in Phineas and Ferb. After considering the role she liked most, Stoner said, “I think my favorite role was playing Sarah Baker in ‘Cheaper by the Dozen 1.’ It was my first movie, and I worked with amazing professionals who had such strong work ethics that I immediately learned how to work in this industry.”

Scottish actor James McAvoy earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance as Robby Turner in Atonement, was nominated for a Best Kiss MTV Movie Award while playing opposite Angelina Jolie in the action-thriller Wanted, and has played the telepathic superhero Professor X in the X-Men movies. That being said, a role that he loved playing was Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. “I got to play my favorite character in children’s literature, which I loved. You don’t get the chance to do that in other jobs,” he said.

Emma Watson once shared her gratitude for being able to play Hermione Granger by saying, “I could be one hundred years old and in my rocker, but I’ll still be very proud that I was part of the ‘Harry Potter’ films.” When asked which Harry Potter film was her favorite to work on, she answered, “I’ve enjoyed all of them in different ways. I think the first one was incredible, obviously, because everything was new, and everything being a novelty is very exciting. From an acting perspective, this last movie was amazing because I had such big parts, and it was really challenging and demanding. I did a lot of stunts and had a lot of very difficult scenes to do.”

Johnathon Schaech was cast by Tom Hanks as a a self-centered lead singer in the musical comedy drama That Thing You Do!. From that point on, Schaech landed a role as a leading man in Hush with Gweneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange, and has worked continuously since. As far as his favorite role, he once said, “People recognize me on the street for all kinds of different things that I’ve done. ‘That Thing You Do!’ remains to be my favorite film in which I played my favorite character. That role is the one that I’m most recognized for.”

What has been your favorite role to date, and why?

Change Your Hair, Get More Auditions?

September 3, 2012

“I’m not offended by all the dumb-blonde jokes because I know that I’m not dumb.  I also know I’m not blonde.” –Dolly Parton

Emma Stone

Starting out in the industry as a teen, a blonde Emma Stone became fed up by a lack of auditions for serious, worthwhile female characters. Apparently, her agent had typecast her for ditzy roles like cheerleaders, and other vacuous stereotypes. But Emma was no dumb bunny; she strategically dyed her hair dark brown in hopes of landing choice movie roles with heart, soul, and intelligence. Indeed, within one week she landed her first serious acting gig!

“I don’t know if anyone necessarily underestimated me as a blonde–I think I just had a crappy agent…People are closed-minded, man! Like a different hair colour changes everything!” Stone asserted.


Emma Watson

Emma Watson was up against some stiff competition for the role of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, including Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page, Natalie Portman, and Kristen Stewart. Because Lisbeth represents an intriguing complex female character, and the actress chosen to portray her would be signed to star in 3 films, it was one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood. Watson chopped off her long locks in exchange for a pixie cut and auditioned for the cyber heroine. Immediately, the media began reporting she’d cut her hair to more closely resemble the Goth-style, misfit character with spiky hair. Although Watson’s representatives denied she’d lanced her locks for the role, many sites didn’t necessarily buy it. Of course, Rooney Mara landed the part of Lisbeth after all. But in the wake of cutting her hair, Watson did say she planned to grow it back stating, “If I want to keep acting, then it’s more flexible for me to have it longer for different roles.”

Let’s face it, hair is a big deal in our culture. When Jessica Alba recently debuted a new blonde hairdo for her Sin City 2 stripper role, how many people felt compelled to click on the link to see her new look? My guess is…plenty! And of course, Miley Cyrus’ short, blond crop is making more headlines than the presidential race. Whatever hairstyle you decide to go with in your career ventures, just know casting directors, like the rest of us, are looking closely to see your new looks as well. If you have a Casting Frontier profile, casting directors are staying on top of your new skills, new roles, new reel–and, yes, your new do. Knowing your headshot is your first impression, hair style carries a lot of influence in regards to the types you’re hoping to portray. Will changing your hair get you more auditions?  It might. Give it some thought.