Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

When performers are "known" for a particular performance or type of character, it's easy to brush them off as someone whose work you don't like. So you just don't watch most of the rest of their stuff, going about your life not even thinking about them.

Sometimes, that same actor turns out a performance that shakes up everything you thought you thought about them - and honestly it's one of my favorite things to happen. Having a performance show you someone in a totally different light opens up whole new worlds for you!

Reddit user HollynMagruder asked:

What role caused you to sit up and realize you underestimated an actor? And why?

So let's talk about those performances - the ones that shake up preconceptions, shake off old reputations, and flat out change people's minds.

Not Edward

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"Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse. Going toe to toe with Willem Defoe is no small feat. Especially with no other supporting cast." - Justice-Gorsch

"Robert Pattinson is a treasure of an actor. Ignore the Twilight sh*t (or not if that's your thing) but what really turned me over to his work was Lost City of Z. I know it wasn't a huge part but it was that moment that I saw him and said 'That's the dude from Twilight?' " - NyetRifleIsFine47

"Came to say Robert as well, for me it was "Remember Me". I never saw Twilight but thought the role reflected his skill so wrote him off. I'm really excited for the new Batman." - Bolteus

"Aw, yeh...totally. Check out "The Devil All the Time". He was postively Earth shattering in that." - planetstarbux

"Just" Sketch Show Comedians

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"Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk both blew me away in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, I previously thought of them as "just" sitcom/sketch show comedians but they did an amazing job there" - cunacademy

"I think it's a lot easier to go from comedy to drama than vice versa. A good comedian is usually trying to make light of some great pains." - tmmzc85

"I saw Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul and then I saw him in the Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job. I was both in belief and disbelief. Just an astounding actor." - spicedshrub

Scared Of Her

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"Mo'Nique in Precious. I always loved her comedy and was curious to see her to a serious role. After watching it, I was actually afraid of her, not just the character." - xandrenia

Well Alright

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"Matthew McConaughey in True Detective. He was always in such lame romcoms, I didn't think he had it in him." - parodyofsincerity

"I thought his performance in Interstellar was absolutely amazing and heartbreaking." - jokiccheeseburgerclub

"Dallas Buyer's Club was even more of a revelation. Such a complex and conflicted character." - Robmox

"Do yourself a favor and watch his closing argument in A Time to Kill. He's incredible there." - AnnieAbattoir

"That Guy Can Really Act"

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"Bill Hader in Barry (the TV series). I was just used to seeing him as a funny man on SNL but damn that guy can really act." - greentofu402

"This was my answer too! Also, if you haven't seen Skeleton Twins, he's great in that as well. And Kirsten Wiig is amazing in it."

"I feel like comedians usually get underestimated, but honestly I think being genuinely funny and good at comedy (especially sketch comedy) is really difficult and it's probably easier for an actor who can do that well to also do drama well, whereas I feel like dramatic actors might have a harder time nailing comedy." - knm20

"The thing is that I didn't even think he was funny before! Barry was a real surprise." - SeniorBeing


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"Steve Carrel in Fox Catcher and the Big Short, never knew he could make anything other than comedy (which he did pretty well)" - MuchCommittee_9355

"The Way Way Back made me really fall in love with Steve as an actor, because of how much I despised him in that movie."

"He plays that role with perfection. It's a movie that stays with you a long time after watching it." - thenutcracker_78

"I didn't even realize it was Steve Carrel in Fox Catcher until like halfway through the movie, because he walked, talked, and just overall acted different than other roles."

"I just thought 'huh, I wonder who that actor is, he looks so much like Steve Carrel! Wait... Man the resemblance is uncanny... Oh sh*t hold up thats him!' " - sSommy

Heath's Joker

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"Heath Ledger as the Joker. I really didn't enjoy his previous rom coms and I didn't find anything particularly amazing about his performances in them."

"So I was completely blown away by him in the dark knight (?). Like glued to the screen, utterly mesmerized by how compelling he made that character." - AnnieAbattoir

"Came to post this. He was a b-class pretty boy, although I did enjoy A Knights Tale."

"But specifically because of his casting as the joker, I had super low expectations for the Dark Knight and then HOLY F*CK IT WAS THE BEST BATMAN MOVIE EVER MADE and a huge part of that was Heath Ledger absolutely stunting the role in a way we'd never seen on the screen before" - Method8888


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"James McAvoy, Split. I liked him but didn't know how brilliant he was until Split." - charlie_wonka

"My wife and I have always enjoyed movies with him, but when we saw Split, we were both just slack jawed the entire time. He should have won an Oscar for that role." - Frankensteins_Friend

A Strawberry In A Bald Cap

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"Elizabeth Olson in Marvel movies because she really had to look tenderly and cry over a man who, behind the scenes, was dressed like a strawberry in a bald cap without laughing." - Loaf-Memes

"Oh yes, she totally knocked out out of the park in Wandavision. Not only in the early episodes, playing the perfect 50s/onwards housewife, but then all the later episodes as the reality and reasons for it all become clear." - Suisanahta


Awkward Bill Burr GIF by Disney+ Giphy

"Bill Burr in his second appearance as Mayfeld on the Mandalorian. Motherf*cker can act."

"Mayfeld's initial nonchalance and flippancy towards his situation, the Empire, everything, shown to be nothing more than his shield against the trauma he endured, the PTSD he still suffers from, thanks to Operation Cinder."

"And that moment where the facade cracks in the face of the stark reality that it could happen again, confronted by a man who is the personification of everything Mayfeld thought he was too jaded to hate. And all conveyed with tone of voice and mannerisms. F*cking blew me away." - Peregrine2976

Tombstone Should Have Been Called Doc Holiday

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"While Val Kilmer was a 'good' actor, when I went to watch Tombstone and saw he was playing Doc Holiday, I almost turned it off."

"I told myself 'he can't play Doc!' I thought for sure he didn't have the chops. By the time the movie was over I was screaming that they should have called it Doc Holiday!" - ecdolphins

Generic White Actress

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"Emma Stone in Cruella. I've disliked her for so many years (always thought she was just kind of a generic white actress) but she was absolutely incredible in Cruella" - EssenceOfEspresso

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