For Millennials. By Millennials.
Being typecast is a massive risk for actors who played iconic roles in their careers. It can be great for some actors, like Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson, Jack Black, etc who have a ton of films with their kind of characters. However, a lot of typecast actors with short careers, like Seann William Scott. Similarly, TV actors face the same problem as well. Some actors who play iconic roles in TV become typecast. Here’s what Sopranos stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa thinks about it.
Michael Imperioli doesn’t believe he was typecast
In episode 11 of the Talking Sopranos podcast, a fan asked Imperioli and Schirripa if they felt typecast in their roles as Italian Americans. Moreover, he also asked if The Sopranos had an overall positive or negative effect on their careers. Imperioli said that he never felt typecast, saying:
For me, no I never felt typecast. I always felt that that’s really up to me to make those decisions. Of course, you’re gonna get offered stuff that’s similar, but it’s up to you to branch out.
Furthermore, Imperioli mentioned that he was involved in indie films and off-off-Broadway shows. With that, he has been able to satisfy himself instead of being “roped into” stereotypical mafia roles. Overall, he had no doubt that The Sopranos was a positive force for his career.
Steve Schirripa’s say on typecast
Steve Schirripa was even more generous in his praise to The Sopranos. He said:
Without the Sopranos, I would not be here talking to you. But, when The Sopranos ended I very much wanted to get out of it because casting people want to put you in the box.
Ever since The Sopranos ended, Steve Schirripa says he has played diverse roles in Blue Blood and Secret Life of the American Teenager. This took him away from the typical mob role from The Sopranos.
Michael Imperioli’s advice on how to avoid typecast
And then, Michael Imperioli gave his opinion on how to avoid typecast, and it depends on the kind of roles you pick. He said:
I think another mistake that people make when they’re on something very successful… a lot of times your managers and agents say you gotta wait for something that’s gonna be a hit or that’s gonna pay you more money… and that’s a big mistake.
Furthermore, Imperioli said that it is important that you take your career as it comes. Instead of going for a bigger role than before, go for the next interesting role. This is how actors can avoid typecast. He said:
Instead of just going back to the grindstone, looking for another interesting role, on an interesting show or do a play, or you’re a working actor, do it as it comes. When you start to design your career and make these moves, very often you get into trouble.
With these tips, Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli avoided typecast. Their careers might never reach the same success as The Sopranos, but they still have thriving careers with lots of opportunities. That has huge significance for artists. They might always be remembered as Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccelieri, but never as failed actors.