I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I saw Max Wright in an episode of Friends recently and it pulled me right out of the story. Max Wright is Willie Tanner (from the television show ALF). He can never player another role. Much like Bob Denver was, and always will be, Gilligan to me—even though he appeared in dozens of other roles in various television programs and movies. According to this Vanity Fair article, Ryan Gosling will always be Noah from The Notebook, no matter how hard he tries to break out of that role.

Sometimes life feels that way, doesn’t it? We grew up being shy, or in trouble, or smart, or fat, or ugly, or a drama queen, or one of dozens of other roles that follow us around—way up into adulthood, and we can’t seem to shake them. Humans love stereotypes. He fits here, she fits there, and that’s the way it will always be…or so it seems.

But surely that’s not always that case. Actors like Will Smith aren’t defined by any one role. He started out as a teenager rapper, then he became a television star, and then he went on save the earth from aliens, and now he’s making us cry in The Pursuit of Happyness. And Tom Hanks has played the loved interest of a mermaid in one movie, a gangster in another, and a castaway in another. We seem to accept him in any role he chooses.

Maybe we accept the roles that Smith and Hanks play simply because they wouldn’t have it any other way. They did such a good job of playing so many different roles that we can’t pigeonhole them. I have no idea whether this translates to real life, but it seems to me that everybody has a chance to shake our roles (whether assigned or pursued) by simply choosing new roles with the same vigor we invested in our “original” role—to do it so well that we can’t be categorized so easily. What do you think?


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