Hang in Hollywood long enough, and you're bound to be typecast every now and then.
But for some actors, playing to type isn't just laziness or the final tremors of a fading career. Keeping their characters close to home is just what they do best, or at least what keeps the money flowing. And anyway, would you really want to see Jason Statham falling head-over-heels for Katherine Heigl in some lame romantic comedy? Neither would we.
Indeed, for some actors, staying in their comfort zone is really for the best. Here are nine of them.
1. Jason Statham
The perpetually stone-faced Statham got his start starring in twinsie Guy Ritchie gangster movies "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch" and eventually elevated to full-on action stardom with the "Transporter" and "Crank" series. In every one of these movies he spends at least three quarters of his screen time holding a gun, furrowing his brow and laying the smack down on a bad guy that's just a bit more ruthless than he is (and, occasionally, doing whatever's going on in the picture above). We're looking forward to his courageous turn as a wronged criminal out for revenge in "Redemption."
2. Adam Sandler
Sandler made the tough jump from SNL standout to ridiculously profitable movie star playing well-intentioned arrested development cases in "Billy Madison," "Happy Gilmore" and "The Wedding Singer." Since those early days, he's branched out with some meatier roles, but even when he got artsy (relatively) in Paul Thomas Anderon's "Punch-Drunk Love," there was still a general lack of maturity and a whole lot of loud noises. He also played a lady in "Jack and Jill", but an Oscar-worthy gender-bending performance that was not, containing a lot more poop humor than, say, "Albert Nobbs" and "I'm Not There."
3. Morgan Freeman
We love Morgan Freeman. We want Morgan Freeman to narrate our life story. And we enjoy hearing him lecture us on alternate dimensions and quantum physics on "Through the Wormhole." And when it comes to acting choices, the man who's been God (twice!) tends to stick with what he knows best — playing people we really wish were our uncle. In "Lucky Number Slevin," Freeman switched gears and took on a role as an evil mob boss, but we still kind of wanted to give him a hug and ask him for some sage advice.
4. Woody Allen
Not only does Woody play a therapist's dream (or nightmare, perhaps) in the form of a nervous, sex-obsessed bookish type in every acting role, but even when he decides to stay behind the camera, someone else almost always fills in as a Woody surrogate. Everyone from Owen Wilson to Larry David has taken their shot at playing the Woody character, with varying degrees of success. ("Whatever Works" was a chore to sit through, but we'll forgive you if you get on that new season of "Curb," LD.)
5. Kate Hudson
If Kate Hudson is the leading lady in a movie, you can pretty much count on two things: 1) she'll be completely adorable 2) she won't quite have her s**t together. From her iconic role as a tossed-around groupie in "Almost Famous" to her more standard rom-com fare where she was involved in a series of escalating, mildly amusing wedding-themed hijinks and discovered a delightful Ginnifer Goodwin was sleeping with her fiance, Hudson, it seems, is perpetually awful at love. Hey, we're terrible at bocci ball. It's cool. Some things just aren't your forte.
6. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston was the only actor to escape from "Friends" with an A-list film career, but she's never gotten too far from the vain, lovelorn shackles of her Rachel Green character. To be fair, Hollywood writers seem to be lacking in originality when it comes to mainstream romantic comedies (Will these two desperate, mismatched souls ever fall for one another? Only 90 minutes of you-almost-saw-me-naked jokes will tell!), and Aniston did branch out quite successfully with "Horrible Bosses," but she'd be well-served by avoiding scripts with titles that drip cheese before the opening credits even run. ("Rumor Has It," "Love Happens," "Just Go With It").
7. Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughn established his Vince Vaughn-ness early on, playing an exaggerated version of himself alongside buddy John Favreau in "Swingers." Following roles in Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and Gus Van Sant's extraordinarily unnecessary shot-by-shot remake of "Psycho," Vaughn seemed poised for superstardom. But it wasn't until he resurrected his lovable broseph persona in "Old School" and continued doing his best Vince Vaughn impressions in "Wedding Crashers," "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" and "The Break-Up" that he took on leading man status.
8. John Wayne
John Wayne didn't act. John Wayne was John Wayne, and that was almost always enough. From "Stagecoach" to "True Grit," film history is littered with the Duke playing quintessential take-no-nonsense red, white and blue badasses. Even in the extraordinarily ill-fated, Howard Hughes-produced historical epic "The Conquerer," which had Wayne starring as Genghis Khan, the Duke still seemed to have no interest in being anyone other than himself, making the bold choice to not even attempt an accent.
You don't have to look too far past Katherine Heigl's film posters to realize the common thread here. "27 Dresses"? That's too many dresses! "The Big Wedding"? That's too big of a wedding! "Killers"? That's too many good-looking people holding guns! "New Year's Eve"? That's too many talented actors wasting their time! Oh, Katherine Heigl, will you ever learn from your zany romantic adventures? Considering your next role is playing the domineering, mentally ill wife of a deliciously handsome Patrick Wilson, I guess the answer is ... maybe?