What is a Character Actor?

March 19, 2024
David Sunnyside

What is a character actor?

A character actor is a performer who can take on a variety of roles with ease. These actors are known for their ability to add depth and personality to a scene or movie. Character actors can be found in a range of genres including drama, comedy, or horror. These actors are not typically considered lead characters but rather support the main cast. They can be thought of as chameleons because their acting style can change depending on the character they are playing.

Historically, the term “character actor” was the step before an actor would get a leading role. Actors such as Laurence Olivier, Uta Hagen, and Stella Adler spent years playing smaller parts before becoming stars in film and on Broadway. This process was essential for the development of acting skills, as they learned to fully embody their roles.

Even in modern movies and TV shows character actors are needed to bring a movie or show to life. Without these actors, a story may seem flat or uninteresting. Character actors can play supporting roles such as the love interest, sidekick, or villain. They can also play recurring characters such as the police officer, school teacher, or doctor.

Many people think of character actors as a typecast and have difficulty seeing them outside of the roles they play. However, many actors are willing to accept the label and thrive on being a character actor. Some of them, such as Margot Martindale from Bojack Horseman, have careers that span decades.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram