actors play themselves

Is it just me, or do these eight actors only ever play themselves at all times?

Range???? Never heard of it

I feel like there are two types of Hollywood actor – one who will fully start acting like the rent is due in anything they’re in, and one who really just wants to show up, have a good time, pick up their wage and leave.

None of these actors deserve an Academy Award, nor will they be getting one any time soon. But I have real respect for anyone who ends up making millions just from being themselves in front of a camera. It takes a personality to do that.

If you’re still wondering who the hell I’m going on about, these are the eight actors who only ever play themselves on film and TV:

The Rock

the rock

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Because it sure as hell isn’t a BAFTA. Not anytime soon, at least. Dwayne Johnson really just shows up in any given film to do three things: be buff, sweat, and sweat through t-shirts in a buff sort of way. 

But, you know what? That’s totally valid, and props to him for making a career out of having chunky arms that’d make you feel snug and safe when they were wrapped around you at night. 

Zooey Deschanel 

actors only ever play themselves

Photo via NBC

Zooey, Queen of Twee (as she likes to be called) has a one-character range, and she plays it well. From 500 Days Of Summer to New Girl, all she really knows how to do is be qUirKy, wear big glasses and act shy about singing for the first 2 hours before finally unleashing that butter-wouldn’t-melt beautiful jazzy voice. Aw.

Vin Diesel

vin diesel actors only ever play themselves

Photo via NBC

Much like his predecessor The Rock, the most range our Vin has ever displayed had to be in that cartoon about the talking robot. Also, did you know he was the voice of Groot? Even then, though, he only had a limited script. 

I guess if you could make a ridiculous amount of money from pretending to drive fast cars with your mates you wouldn’t pass it up, would you?

Hugh Grant

hugh grant four weddings

Photo via Channel 4/Working Title

Hugh is about forty years older than me and still my absolute dream man, so I won’t listen to any critique about him, however valid. That being said, the man played the same character in everything until around 2017, even I can admit that.

It was the shuffling, bumbling Englishman with a nasty streak and those sea blue eyes which made you feel as if you were swimming. Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, About A Boy, Four Weddings… It’s the same guy in each of them under several fake names, you can’t convince me otherwise. 

Jennifer Coolidge

jennifer coolidge

Photo via Netflix

She’s gorgeous, blonde and an LGBTQ+ ally. I really can’t fault Jennifer Coolidge for just playing herself every time when she’s just so dazzling. If I were Jennifer Coolidge, I wouldn’t want to be anyone *but* Jennifer Coolidge. Case closed. 

Jason Statham

jason statham actors only ever play themselves

Photo via Gravity Pictures

Anyone who willingly features in a film like The Meg deserves to be taken down a peg or two. What I love about Jason Statham, though, is that he’s true to himself. He’s not interested in taking acting lessons, receiving awards or even a single good review. He just wants to show up, be Jason Statham for three hours (feat. some very big machine guns), collect his cheque and be home by tea time. Fair play to the guy. 

Adam Sandler

adam sandler

Photo via Netflix

When you’re in year 11, your school crush seems like the most distinguished, hilarious guy you can think of. Trouble is, you’re now in your mid-twenties and he’s still cracking the same toilet based jokes and thinking casual misogyny is funny. That’s essentially Adam Sandler in a nutshell. 

I’m sure he’s a lovely guy, but there’s a reason you likely can only name two of his films – Jack and Jill and Bedtime Stories. He’s starred in a fair amount of flops during his run, and truly no-one over the age of 14 wants to go and see a fully grown man running around being a dick for an hour and a half. 

Will Ferrell

will ferrell

Photo via NBC

Will Ferrell peaked with Elf. There, I said it. He’s great in small doses, but I find his jokes jarring and can’t help feeling like his characterisation is non-existent. He really just likes to come in and play around on set and pray that people will find it funny. I’ll never forgive him for ruining Michael’s last three episodes as DeAngelo on The Office.

Related stories recommended by this writer: