Monday, October 12, 2009

Typecasting According to Genre

Jamie Lee Curtis was the quintessential horror actress of the early 80s, dubbed the "Scream Queen". In her early career, she was typecast in countless horror films including Halloween 1 , 2, and 3, Prom Night, The Fog, and Terror Train, often playing the 'Final Girl' who always managed to survive. She promoted Sarah Trencansky's idea that "if the surviving female can be aggressive and be really a woman [and not merely a masculine projection], then she subverts this binary notion of gender that buttresses male dominance." (Trencanksy, 68) Due to Trencansky's hint of female dominance in these horror films, I found that it is very rare to find a recurring male actor in the horror genre.

"Terror Train"

However, if you think the complete opposite genre from horror, such as the romantic comedy, it is quite easy to think of a recurring male actor, and in this case, Matthew McConaughey serves as the perfect example. He is synonymous with romantic comedies, playing the handsome charmer who falls in love for the wrong reasons, usually takes off his shirt at some point, has a falling out with his lover once she finds out his true agenda, but then sweeps her off her feet with a grand romantic gesture and a very happy ending. His imdb page is filled with movies such as The Wedding Planner, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool's Gold, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. 

"How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days"
"Failure To Launch"

What I found ironic is that in horror movies, which can be argued to be aimed towards the male audience due to their gore and violence (although statistics show that women watch more horror moves than men) , the same female actresses are constantly being recast, while in romantic comedies, which are aimed towards female audiences, men are typically typecast. 


  1. Maybe a bit off topic, but I feel the same way about Jennifer Anniston. She is ALWAYS a different shade of gray of the same character in movies (the lonely, looking for love, broken hearted one). Maybe this is because we (as a culture) have become more and more interested in celebrities' personal lives that we physically can't see them any other way. If Matthew McCaughey suddenly gets fat and less attractive, will he be offered different roles? If Jennifer Anniston FINALLY finds happiness, will she receive scripts to play happier characters? Who knows.

  2. Could her success have been partly thanks to her androgyny?