Comedy actors who turned serious

They’ve made us laugh ‘til we cry, but it takes major talent to turn your hand to a dramatic role.
Here are just a few funny guys and gals who’ve done it well.

Will Ferrell
We’re used to Will in funny roles like Anchorman (2004) and Blades of Glory (2007), but the star has some serious acting chops, too. He proves it with an understated performance in Everything Must Go (2010) as an alcoholic who decides to sell all his stuff after his life implodes.
Will Ferrell
Source: [Birdsong Pictures]

Emma Thompson
The British star has made us giggle in everything from The Young Ones (1984) to the more recent Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), but she’s perhaps more of a favourite for her dramatic roles. Our favourite: Thompson playing a wife forced to deal with her husband’s affair in Love Actually (2003).  
Emma Thompson
Source: [Universal Pictures]

Ben Stiller
Mention Ben Stiller and people automatically think of Meet the Parents (2000), There’s Something About Mary (1998) or Dodgeball (2004). But the star does drama, too. In Greenberg, for example, he plays a thoroughly unlikeable dude – but you can’t help respect his dedication to the role.
Ben Stiller
Source: [Scott Rudin Productions]

Maya Rudolph
There’s no doubt about it: this former SNL cast member and Bridesmaids star is known for getting her funny on. But drama? Check her out in Away We Go (2009), about an increasingly frazzled pregnant woman crossing the country with her spouse to figure out where to raise their kid.

Maya Rudolph
Source: [Focus Features]

Jim Carrey
Liar Liar, The Cable Guy, Dumb and Dumber… Carrey’s list of crack-up movie roles is long. But if you haven’t seen his more serious work, do yourself a favour – both Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show prove the fondly dubbed ‘rubber face guy’ has way more depth than we knew.

Jim Carrey
Source: [Paramount Pictures]

Bill Murray
You can’t go past What About Bob (1991) or Groundhog Day (1993) for the hilarious Murray treatment, but the actor pops up in dramatic roles equally as often. Think Lost in Translation (2003), which earned him an Oscar nod and the Globe and Bafta for Best Actor. He wowed us two years later with a sad and understated performance in dramedy Broken Flowers (2005). 

Bill Murray
Source: [Focus Features]

Mo’Nique
Did you know the former stand-up comedienne won an Oscar for Precious, and her role in it as the brutal, terrifying mother of an abused, illiterate, pregnant teenager? She is scary in the role, and it’s worth a spot on your must-watch list.
Mo Nique
Source: [Lionsgate]

Steve Carell
Whether he’s being inappropriate in The Office or trying to get laid in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, we know Steve can crack a joke or ten. But did you know he got an Oscar nod for Foxcatcher (2015)? And he pretty much steals the show as the suicidal Uncle Frank in Little Miss Sunshine, too
Steve Carrell
Source: [Fox Searchlight Pictures]


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