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Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

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Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Old 09-22-17, 07:41 AM
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Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Which performers do you think have made the most impressive transition from being a comedic actor to a dramatic actor?

My top three would have to be:

Bill Murray
From Stripes/Ghostbusters/Groundhog Day etc. to Rushmore/Lost in Translation/Broken Flowers, etc.

Steve Carrell
Never thought he would have the dramatic chops to pull off stuff like Foxcatcher and The Big Short but he has proven to be surprisingly good in dramatic roles.

Michael Keaton
Went from Night Shift/Beetlejuice/Mr. Mom etc. to Clean and Sober/Batman/Game 6 and then career revival with Birdman/Spotlight/The Founder.

And then there's also Jim Carrey, who was great in Man on the Moon but seemed to lose interest in dramatic roles after flopping in The Number 23.
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Old 09-22-17, 07:52 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Robin Williams
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Old 09-22-17, 07:59 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Kristen Wiig
Jerry Lewis
Whoopie Goldberg
Peter Sellers
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Old 09-22-17, 08:07 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Tom Hanks
Woody Allen
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Old 09-22-17, 08:31 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Jack Lemmon
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Old 09-22-17, 09:26 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Dean Martin
Jackie Gleason
Bing Crosby
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Old 09-22-17, 10:09 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Jamie Foxx
Woody Harrelson
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Old 09-22-17, 10:51 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

For me both Robin Williams and Bill Murray are FAR more entertaining when they do low key/dry humor roles and dramatic roles.
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Old 09-22-17, 11:16 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

What serious drama roles did Bill Murray ever do?

Likewise Peter Sellers and Woody Allen. Woody has made some serious dramas but I don't think he acted in them.
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Old 09-22-17, 11:27 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
What serious drama roles did Bill Murray ever do?
Maybe Lost in Translation? Even when he was in Hamlet he was playing the comic relief.
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Old 09-22-17, 11:42 AM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Lost in Translation is melancholy, but it is definitely a comedy. He did do one drama that I just thought of: The Razors Edge. It was some kind of personal passion project for him. I wouldn't call it a successful transition.
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Old 09-22-17, 12:16 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Broken Flowers
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Old 09-22-17, 12:25 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Broken Flowers
YES.
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Old 09-22-17, 12:39 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers was a revelation. Amazing performance. IMO, his best.
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Old 09-22-17, 12:59 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Broken Flowers
I would still call Broken Flowers a comedy.
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Old 09-22-17, 02:00 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Bob Hope starred as Jimmy Walker, Mayor of New York in the late '20s, in the biopic, BEAU JAMES (1957):



George Burns in GOING IN STYLE:



Red Buttons won an Oscar for his dramatic role in SAYONARA (1957):



Danny Kaye in the TV movie, "Skokie":



Ed Wynn, after three decades in vaudeville, film, radio and TV comedy, did dramatic roles in three 1950s movies: THE GREAT MAN, MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.


Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 09-22-17 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 09-22-17, 02:47 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
I would still call Broken Flowers a comedy.
Dude, but it's still not ghostbuster/Groundhog Day type comedy. Stop being difficult. You know what we mean.
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Old 09-22-17, 02:55 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by McHawkson View Post
Robin Williams
I think he had the hardest transition to drama but pulled it off. This guy was Mork from Ork and his whole schtick on talk shows was to just go crazy like he was on speed. Then he goes and does Dead Poet's Society, Awakenings and Good Will Hunting as a mild mannered man and is totally believable.
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Old 09-22-17, 03:02 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers was a revelation. Amazing performance. IMO, his best.
He was also great in Rampart & The People Versus Larry Flynt.
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Old 09-22-17, 03:46 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by mcnabb View Post
I think he had the hardest transition to drama but pulled it off. This guy was Mork from Ork and his whole schtick on talk shows was to just go crazy like he was on speed. Then he goes and does Dead Poet's Society, Awakenings and Good Will Hunting as a mild mannered man and is totally believable.
To totally evil in Insomnia and One Hour Photo. I would include The Fisher King, but his madness skirts the edge.
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Old 09-22-17, 06:13 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Giantrobo View Post
Dude, but it's still not ghostbuster/Groundhog Day type comedy. Stop being difficult. You know what we mean.
IMDb:
Broken Flowers---Comedy As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former
Wikipedia:
Broken Flowers is a 2005 French-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch
I'm not being difficult. People are being wrong.
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Old 09-22-17, 06:42 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
George Burns in GOING IN STYLE:


That's a comedy.
Hell, the tagline is "A comedy to steal your heart".

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Old 09-22-17, 07:36 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
That's a comedy.
Hell, the tagline is "A comedy to steal your heart".


I don't remember it being funny at all. I distinctly remember it as a drama.
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Old 09-22-17, 08:01 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Originally Posted by mcnabb View Post
I think he had the hardest transition to drama but pulled it off. This guy was Mork from Ork and his whole schtick on talk shows was to just go crazy like he was on speed. Then he goes and does Dead Poet's Society, Awakenings and Good Will Hunting as a mild mannered man and is totally believable.
I thought he pulled off a great straight dramatic turn in his second film, The World According to Garp. I know a lot of people who were fans of the book had issues with the re-imagining of the Garp character, but I think its still a great performance and film.

In fact, if you got through his filmography, he was constantly doing strong dramatic work, including Moscow on the Hudson, Seize the Day, etc. Even Good Morning Vietnam is ultimately a drama with comedic moments.
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Old 09-22-17, 08:40 PM
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Re: Actors who successfully transitioned from comedy to drama roles?

Greg Kinnear
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