3 Actors that CAN’T Shake Off their Career-Defining Roles

The hit movie, the big break, the one you will be remembered for. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Jesse Eisenberg turns 31 today – still a spring chicken – but it seems as if his face will always be remembered as Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network. The very movie that cemented his career in Hollywood may also prevent its progression, as he is forever seen as the twitchy, fast-talking, awkward nerd. Or maybe that’s just him playing himself.

There have been terrible cases of the killer defining role spanning entire careers, lifetimes. There have also been admirable occasions where an actor is able to entirely redefine themselves. Jesse still has a chance to escape. Here are a select few who have missed that chance…

Jennifer Aniston (and everyone from Friends)

Out of the six main cast members of the hit 90s sitcom Friends Jennifer Aniston initially showed the most promise to break away from her long-served role of Rachel Green. A passable turn in Bruce Almighty and a daring veer off-piste in The Good Girl set her on her way to not just being that Central Perk waitress. Since then however things have stagnated, as they have for the rest of the cast. Maybe they have too much money to care? Maybe they are sick of battling their famous alter-egos for room? Jennifer Aniston seems forever doomed to be Rachel Green.

Sean Connery

The name’s Bond…James Bond. Wait – I mean…the name’s Connery…James Bond. No, wait – that’s not right! The names Connery…Sean Connery. There we go, finally! Yes, it’s true – being the first incarnation of the most famous action character of all time rocketed Sean Connery and his slushy Scottish accent to stardom, but it also hung from his ankle throughout the rest of his career like a ball and chain. Not once did he tackle a role that rivalled his outings as 007, leaving his resume a bit flat post-1970s. Sean is definitely doomed to forever be our first James Bond.

Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis… (insert more 80s action stars here)

The 80s was the hay-day for these guys; flexing their pecs, getting the girls and shooting a lot of guns. Sylvester with Rambo, Arnold with The Terminator and Bruce with John McClane of Die Hard, these guys built a niche for themselves that they have been relying on since. The problem is, they’re all old and wrinkly now, so their only taste of the good times now come soaking in irony (see The Expendables, Die Hard 4.0 and Escape Plan for ‘I’m too old for this!’ gags in abundance.)

And two who need to act fast…

Oh, look – Neo has grown his hair!

Just a quick note to give a strong warning to Keanu Reeves and Elijah Wood, who are running a high risk of being ‘that Matrix guy’ and Frodo forever if they don’t get their act together, sharpish!

Can you think of anyone else, or don’t agree? Share your thoughts @MovieMasticator!

Come back soon to read about the actors who escaped their past!