10 Famous Actors Who Can't Escape Their Most Iconic Role


When a movie is perfectly cast, it’s supposed to be a good thing. Casting agents and directors search to the ends of the earth to find the right actor. One that will fulfill a specific vision, and maybe, if they’re lucky, become the icon of a franchise. But all good things must come to an end. And sometimes the actors become so synonymous with their roles, that it can be hard to see them as anything else. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Famous Actors Who Can’t Escape Their Most Iconic Roles.

Mark Hamill

Star Wars did amazing things for Mark Hamill’s career. His portrayal of Luke Skywalker is beloved by legions of people all over the world. But after 1983, the actor was getting bored. Being offered similar roles was frustrating for the Jedi, but he soon found his footing behind the camera. Hamill has done a ton of voice acting since. Most notably as Batman’s Joker, both on television and in video games. Working offscreen was a smart move, because as soon as viewers see his face, he becomes Luke Skywalker again. He can’t have hated the character too much, though. Since he came back to the franchise for 2015’s The Force Awakens.

Thomas F. Wilson

You might not recognize his name, but you’ll definitely recognize his face. Thomas F. Wilson played mega-bully Biff Tannen in Back to the Future. The actor believes his face is so recognizable, that he’s at the point where he carries around flyers with answers to popular questions he gets asked. So when excited Biff fans approach, they leave with a handout instead of a conversation. After playing the same character four different ways, it’s easy to see why the actor is sick of the attention. He probably wants to spend some time in his own head for a change. Which is hard to do with a pocket full of flyers.

Hayley Joel Osment

If you’re a filmmaker looking to take your horror film to the next level, put a child at the center of the plot. Chances are, it will become exponentially more terrifying. M. Night Shyamalan knows this, and with The Sixth Sense, he proved it. When scary things happen to innocent kids, it makes the audience’s experience all the more gut-wrenching. As Cole Sears, a young Haley Joel Osment became the poster-child for one of the most over-quoted lines of movie dialogue in existence. (“i see dead people”) But after the film’s success, fans had difficulty separating the actor from his breakout role. And his career lost momentum.

Elijah Wood

The Lord of the Rings series has been captivating minds since the first book was released in 1954. So it’s had quite some time to build a fanbase. When adapting a book for the big screen, there’s a high probability that most of the existing fans will still prefer the book. It’s an uphill battle from the get-go, but when director Peter Jackson released his take on the story in the early 2000’s, the response was definitely positive. Audiences were wowed by the stunning visuals of the trilogy, but it’s real strength lies is in the casting. As a matter of fact, Elijah Wood was so perfect for the role of Frodo Baggins that he took every far-flung role that came after it. He figured that if he performed in all genres, then he couldn't be trapped by one.

Daniel Radcliffe

JK Rowling has said it herself; Daniel Radcliffe was the perfect Harry Potter. Thats high praise coming from the person who created the character. The boy who lived had some pretty big shoes to fill. Holding your own in an ensemble cast made of Dame Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, and Ralph Fiennes, is not something just any old muggle could do. Unfortunately for Radcliffe, he did a little too well, and has had difficulty shedding the label. To try and avoid being typecast, the actor turned to plays, and landed a role that required full-frontal nudity. Which shocked a lot of people, since he was only 17 at the time. All of this could have been avoided if polyjuice potion was real.