Actors are people, just like us. That is to say, they’re guilty of the same things that we all are: some of them bite their nails, some can’t help using foul language, and some of them have really weird fixations on specific things.
These things bleed through into their movies from time to time (or all the time, in some cases). Whether it’s a very particular sort of typecasting, a physical habit, a vocal tic or even just one weird act that they can’t leave alone, there’s a wealth of weird things that actors do far too often.
8. Michelle Rodriguez – Being a Tough, Dead Chick
Michelle Rodriguez’s place on this list comes by merit of extensive typecasting. You might know her as one of any number of her biggest roles in recent years, and to be perfectly honest, they’re all pretty much interchangeable.
She’s always that one tough chick that hangs with the guys, usually blasting away bad guys (or good guys, depending on the movie), and she almost always dies (even if she has been resurrected by a certain franchise).
As nice as it would be to see Rodriguez given a chance in a different role, her decades of on-screen experience as a tough girl would make seeing her as anything else too strange for audiences.
7. Jean-Claude Van Damme – Splits
This one is pretty simple. The Muscles from Brussels might not be the most prolific action star out there, but he does have a pretty weird trademark: he can’t stop doing the splits.
At every opportunity, this hard-fighting, hard-kicking actor has his legs spread wide – whether it’s flat to the ground or up in the air, whether it’s mid-fight or while dancing with the ladies, JCVD is always ready to risk horrendous groin strain in order to live up to this weird (yet impressive) trademark.
He also bust it out again a few years back in an advertisement for Volvo, performing the splits between two moving trucks, which is both truly incredible and absolutely unnecessary.
6. Jeff Goldblum – Um, Uh
Jeff Goldblum’s inability to, um, get through a sentence without, uh, adding in one of his, um, trademarks is legendary, and it’s something that’s been incorporated into every character he’s ever played.
This vocal stumbling is actually known as speech disfluency, and there’s a lot of theories as to the exact reason behind its use. While these utterances might have long been synonymous with Goldblum’s acting style, they certainly haven’t hurt his career at all, which is exactly the way it should be.
5. Tom Cruise – Running
One of the most well-documented and bizarre actor trademarks, Tom Cruise is renowned for his propensity to sprint on-screen, and he even pokes fun at it himself in his Twitter bio, which proudly reads “Running in movies since 1981.”
Considering Cruise has made a name for himself as something of an action star, running admittedly comes with the territory. But outside of action, the running becomes more conspicuous, and therefore, funny.
There’s the sprinting in Minority Report, the hallway run in Jerry Maguire, and a run across the stage in Rock of Ages, but by far the best has to be in Vanilla Sky, where Cruise sprints through a deserted Times Square with no context whatsoever.
There’s also whispers that Cruise bans his co-stars from running alongside him, and it’s been suggested that this is out of fear that they might show him up. While that might not be true, it’s pretty funny – almost as funny as all the weird, unexplained, directionless running.
4. George Clooney – Head Wobble
George Clooney is widely considered to be one of (if not the) most attractive men on Earth. As someone who has (admittedly, very briefly) met the man, I can confirm: he’s every bit as handsome – and charming – as you’d expect him to be.
This said, Clooney’s perfectly formed features aren’t entirely sound, structurally speaking: his head wobbles with alarming frequency.
Go back and watch any of Clooney’s films, and you’ll notice that when he talks (and even sometimes when he doesn’t), his head wobbles.
It’s one of those things that you might never have noticed before, but now, you’ll be forever watching for it. You’re welcome.
3. Harrison Ford – Angry Pointing/Searching For His Wife and/or Family
Again, this one is pretty well-known, but its both weirdly specific and truly hilarious.
Harrison Ford, star of several massively successful franchises, has not one, but two things that he just can’t stop doing.
The first is the rude and abrasive pointing and wagging of his index finger as a means of punctuation. Whenever Ford is angry, grumpy, or otherwise upset, he begins pointing and wagging his finger at his co-stars as though he’s telling off an unruly puppy.
The other was pointed out years ago in an episode of Family Guy, but it’s strangely accurate: he loses his wife and/or family so frequently that it’s actually quite concerning.
If you happen to catch an action, crime or thriller movie starring Ford, odds are his missing wife or children are a major plot point, and you can bet that he’s planning to get them back by giving the bad guys a good fingering. (Yes, it’s a childish joke, but I can’t bring myself to remove it.)
2. Melissa McCarthy – Being Overly Sexual
Melissa McCarthy spent years quietly building a name for herself on shows like Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? Before being catapulted to comedy stardom with her roles in Bridesmaids and Mike and Molly.
Unfortunately, since then, she’s been stuck bringing the same character trait to life: she’s always inappropriately sexual.
Think about McCarthy’s biggest roles in the past decade: Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, Tammy, The Heat, Spy, Ghostbusters – all of them feature, in some form or another, hilarious and inappropriate sexual comedy. Whether McCarthy is making comments to make someone else seem like a pervert, or acting like one herself, it’s a strange and unnecessarily frequently used crutch for a truly brilliant comedic mind.
1. John Cusack – Just Buy An Umbrella
This is by far the most nonsensical entry on this list. It’s actually fairly easy to explain where it started, but its continued existence is both baffling and deeply, deeply hilarious.
Cast your mind back to some of Cusack’s most iconic roles: The Sure Thing, Say Anything, High Fidelity – and you might notice that Cusack is braving the elements in all of them.
Cusack made his name by making girls everywhere swoon with his forlorn looks and his ability to romantically ignore torrential precipitation, and it seems that he simply wasn’t ready to give up on that image, so he did what any of us would do: he made a point of standing around in the rain in practically every movie since.
Perhaps the best and strangest part of this trademark is that there is more than one occasion where Cusack has made a call from a phone booth from OUTSIDE the booth, just to get some of that sweet, sweet skywater.
And that’s our picks. Stay tuned, though, as we’ve already compiled another list with even more examples of actors’ weird behaviour! Make sure to follow and subscribe to Corner of Film everywhere, and you won’t miss it!