Five actors who climbed ladders of success for reasons other than acting skills

There are normally two sets of actors: the chameleons that fit snugly into every single role they play, and the others who make sure they look (and act) the same in no matter how many roles they play! And while it won’t be surprising if a fine actor occasionally slips and delivers a bad performance, it would sure be hard to believe an otherwise ‘written off’ star give a performance praiseworthy enough to get a standing ovation.

Here are some of those stars who climbed the steps of fame for reasons other than their acting skills, and then gave out a stellar performance which made us think that maybe, just maybe, we had judged them wrong!

Jeacn Claude Van Damme in ‘Muscles from Brussels’

JCVD is known more for his martial arts skills rather than his acting skills, something that is evident in almost all the movies that the actor has appeared in. Which is why we were quite surprised when he came out with this really convincing performance in ‘Muscles from Brussels’.

With all the ingredients to form a comic caper of sorts, the film portrayed Van Damme as a victim caught in the middle of a bank heist. The part we are talking about is a six minute monologue that focuses only on Van Damme as he speaks honestly (and quite seriously) about his own star image, substance abuse issues and failed relationships. Those 6 minutes alone would be enough to convince anyone that the actor could successfully portray more serious characters than the ones he is usually given.

Dwayne Johnson in ‘Southland Tales’

Most people know him as ‘The Rock’ from WWE. And Dwayne Johnson didn’t exactly live up to expectations when he entered Hollywood. A couple of flicks later and he was almost written off by the critics as an actor who is ‘all muscle and no expression’.

And then the actor went ahead and played the part of an amnesiac action film star called Boxer Santaros who thinks he is actually Jericho Cane, the character he is portraying. The film showed a completely different Dwayne Johnson albeit the towering persona and cocky attitude. And we were really surprised to note that inside all of that muscle was a persona that could actually portray a meek, bewildered and powerless character with utmost conviction. Definitely got us with that one Dwayne!


Kristen Stewart in ‘Welcome to The Rileys’

We always assert that Kristen Stewart belongs to a category of stars who are highly underrated, thanks mainly to the roles that they play. So for all of you out there who think that the ‘Bella’ of the ‘Twilight Series’ can do no more than act as a wooden love handle for her vampire boyfriend, we urge you to go watch ‘Welcome to The Rileys’ and then judge the star’s true acting potential.

The movie showcased Stewart as a 16 year old runaway who works as a stripper to support a family that had just lost its only daughter. Stewart’s role was highly appreciated by critics worldwide and the actress managed to stand her ground despite being surrounded by several industry bigwigs.

Sylvester Stallone in ‘Copland’

Another star who is known more for his muscles rather than his acting skills, Sylvester Stallone actually surprised everyone (some were horrified to say the least) when he earned a ‘Best Actor Oscar’ nomination for his role in Rocky.

Although Stallone was written off for his expressionless roles that made him prove his mettle as a fighter instead, there was one role that justified his acting potential; the 1997 drama called ‘Copland’.

Stallone played the role of Freddy Heflin, a washed up sheriff who looks after a small town. The actor actually put on 40 pounds to essay the role of the paunchy sheriff. If that was not convincing, then it was the successful portrayal of the role that elevated Stallone’s status as a bankable star who could carry an entire film on his shoulders.


Keanu Reeves in ‘The Gift’

We are so used to seeing Keanu Reeves in sophisticated getups and pretty complicated roles that we found it hard to believe that the actor had actually transformed himself (physically and mentally) into a rugged, intimidating redneck who manages to scare the living hell out of everyone who opposes him in the movie.

Keanu is a far cry from his usually expressionless self in the movie. His performance was downright scary to say the least and has to be seen to be believed!

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