With comedic classics like Ghostbusters, Scrooged and, best of all, Groundhog Day, already on his resume, Murray had already demonstrated a talent for finding the drama, or even the tragic, in comedy. So a move into straight acting was only a matter of time and it came with Sofia Coppola’s deliciously bittersweet Lost In Translation. His characteristic sardonic style wasn’t meant to make us laugh this time round, even if it did: it was designed to break our hearts and it shattered them. Since then, his on-going collaboration with Wes Anderson has been perfect for his particular style of tragi-comedy and there’s been a few other straight roles. But now we have Zombieland 2 on the way…
A breakout role in Mean Girls meant McAdams looked destined to stay in comedy but, Wedding Crashers aside, it didn’t quite work out that way. Weepies The Notebook and The Time Traveller’s Wife took her into more romantic territory, and then she went full on dramatic for an acclaimed turn in Oscar winner Spotlight as an investigative journalist with a personal connection to the story. She’s never been one for typecasting, and it was back to comedy last year in Game Night, a timely reminder of her gift for laughter. More recently, she was part of the triangle at the centre of emotional turmoil in Disobedience. Do we want to see her in another comedy? Of course. But she’s a class act in dramatic roles as well. Perhaps we’ll get the best of both worlds if, as rumoured, she’s in Sherlock Holmes 3.
The one-time SNL regular made her cinematic mark in Bridesmaids, alongside Melissa McCarthy, and went on to appear in a series of comedies, including Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Zoolander 2 and, more recently, the Ghostbusters re-boot. But, in the middle of all that, she took a serious turn to star in The Skeleton Twins. She and Bill Hader played a brother and sister who re-connect with each other through a number of personal crises and it revealed just how easy it was for her to turn her talents to the dramatic. More recent offerings, like Mother! and Downsizing, have veered closer to the dramatic but there’s no sign of another full-on serious role on the horizon.
The former stand-up with an outrageous vocal talent, Robin Williams made several attempts at moving from the TV success of Mork and Mindy to the movies – and made it with Good Morning Vietnam, a tailor-made role if ever there was one. Two years later, he played it straight in Dead Poets Society, but then he concentrated on comedy until his Oscar winning turn in Good Will Hunting. Playing another inspirational teacher, he infused the character with both melancholy and anger, both of which we’d already seen in some of his more humorous turns. After that, he moved between comedy, including the glorious Mrs Doubtfire, drama and a handful of roles that allowed him to explore a darker, more sinister side – One Hour Photo and Insomnia. Where such a wide-ranging talent could have taken him next can only be imagined.
Can You Ever Forgive Me is released in cinemas on February 1st.