Pretty Boy Actors: A Curse?

Being an actor and being attractive at the same time and in some cases being labelled a “pretty boy” can place a lot of extra pressure on the actor. After so long if they are not already showing brilliant acting roles they hit a point when their good looks no longer cut it in the world of film. This could be related to that if they are a young actor their “fan girls” grow up and they are still trying to do the same type of roles, this loses some of their fan base and its either show you can act or the work will dry up and you will slowly be forgotten about. But if they can act and show they can act what a career they will have!

Leonardo DiCaprio felt the full force of the iceberg the Titanic hit when it was the highest grossing film of all time (now replaced by Avatar) and becoming a teenager heart-throb (yes I was pretty much one of them being 11 at the time). He disappeared off the radar for a while. Which looking back is such a shame as his roles before Titanic showed the boy could act. But he done what was best for his career and begun picking roles he wanted to do rather than cash in on his heart-throb, pretty boy image. Now he is seen as one of the biggest actors and gets a lot of critical acclaim. Martin Scorsese helped change the direction of his career and show off his acting abilities which has lead to a couple of Oscar nominations. I really do believe he will get one eventually!

Getting the pretty boy image away from them can be extremely difficult and can take a quite ugly role to do so. Which is make or break as if their acting isn’t up to scratch then they will be found out. Shall we feel sorry for these very attractive men for having the added pressure of having to show time and time again that they can actually act? Well I get too distracted at times when a man is too pretty. Yes I am a red-blooded female, sorry I really cannot help myself at times. But I am sure other girls know that you have to just give into your shallow nature of watching a pretty face at times. What if they put in an Oscar worthy performance? Well that is just an added bonus most of the time!


Yes I was very much on the Orlando Bloom bandwagon as well after seeing “Fellowship of the Ring” in the LOTR series after finding out he did not actually have long blonde hair and pointy ears but he still did look good like that. But the dark hair, eyes and amazing smile . . . I was gone and very much became an Orlando fangirl. Waiting for his next film to come out and just thinking he was fantastic. Buying all his films and rushing to see them. But can he actually act? I felt that he had something which had not yet been shown. But after LOTR and POTC series, being in Troy and Kingdom of Heaven all very similar in terms of epic and action packed (typecast much?!?!). He attempted a couple of comedies, Elizabethtown and British “The Calcium Kid” but I still think his most stand out performance (thus far, yes I am still hoping he will come good) has to be in Ned Kelly supporting Heath Ledger. Will Orlando be able to come back fighting in the next few years and show he can get rid of his pretty boy image and become a well respected actor? The up and coming projects he has his name attached to aren’t really helping to answer that question but I still hold hope for him.

In current times quite a few actors have acquired the pretty boy tag, can they get rid of it or will they be stuck with it and just be known as a pretty boy or a very good actor? I am sure only time will tell.

James Franco is probably most well known for being in the Spider-man franchise and has often been talked about for his good looks. He does not seem scared to pick some meaty roles and really attempt to establish himself as a well respected actor.


Channing Tatum is a more recent pretty boy to hit our screens. Appearing in Dear John most recently (due for UK release in a couple of weeks) would also be heading him in the direction of pretty boy even more than some of the films he has previously done.


Ben Barnes has been Prince Caspin and Dorian Gray in recent times. Dorian Gray was all about his good looks and how he kept them for decades, surely that was type casting him as a pretty/good looking man.


Robert Pattinson after being seen in the Harry Potter film was a very unlikely actor to become a pretty boy/heart-throb. But cast him as Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga and he is transformed into the number one heart-throb for teens and tweens all across the world. He really is going to struggle to ever break away from the Twilight Saga and Edward Cullen. So time is really going to tell what route Robert is going to end on.

Zac Efron was really launched into the lime light in the High School Musical films with his audience being teens, tweens and even younger. Yes I do have a slight thing for him as he is a very pretty boy who is actually the same age as me. He is another who may struggle to move away from the pretty boy tag, but if he continues with films like “Me and Orson Welles” he might just be able to prove he is actually a good actor? We can hope he will be the next DiCaprio . . . well that might be a bit of a long shot but you know what I mean. I have hope for Efron.

Brad Pitt is a prime example of a very very good looking man who can actually act pretty much anyone under the table. He does not tend to play on his good looks as he has the acting talent to totally back himself up. With amazing performances put in across his career.

Johnny Depp is another actor who has had a lot of attention with his good looks, but has often hidden them eg. Edward Scissorhands . . . but he really is one of the best actors around today and keeps pulling out incredible performances. So he is definitely not just a pretty boy.

Jude Law is another who in more recent times has been gathering attention for his good looks. He takes on different roles which require him to push himself in the acting world. Taking the role of Alfie in the remake was always a risky step as that was all about his good looks.

Paul Newman was probably one of the first with a label of pretty boy, but had such amazing acting ability in order to have the best of both worlds. He really does have the best eyes EVER in my opinion I am sure a lot of people will totally back me up with that.

Robert Redford is who Brad Pitt reminds me of, with him being extremely good looking and often playing characters with a lot of charm it is hard not to totally love him in which ever role he finds himself in. He had the tag of pretty boy but also the acting to back it all up.

So what is your take on pretty boys? and if they can actually act . . . any more suggestions?

9 thoughts on “Pretty Boy Actors: A Curse?

  1. Good blog. Not sure who you missed yet. A lot of people would disagree with you on Brad or Leo, that they always play the same types of characters and aren’t great actors, but I think that’s total crap and agree with you. They’ve done an excellent job in handling their careers. (Minus Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you get one).


    • I am glad that you agree that both Brad and Leo are great actors. They really are under appreciated when it comes to the performances they keep putting in and have done over a lot of years now. Even Leo as a child/teenage actor put in unreal performances. I am sure we will see a lot more from both of them.


  2. There is the same thing going for actresses. Sometimes, it is warranted as many actors and actresses don’t have much to offer but grace the screen with “their presence” but every now and then, a young actor comes out of nowhere and gives a notable performance. Also, there is always a few that go from heartthrob to solid actor like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Great list!


    • That is an interesting point about actresses, maybe I should come up with a list on actresses as well. Based on their looks hmmmm . . .


  3. This a great post and list, and I couldn’t agree more about DiCaprio — he’s always been a fantastic actor and nobody wanted to look past his pretty face to see that. Pity. Now he’s starting to come into his own, though.

    I noticed that Ryan Gosling isn’t on here, but perhaps that’s because consistently chooses parts that are off the beaten path, challenging or dark. Heath Ledger probably deserves a mention as well.


    • Ryan Gosling is a very good shout out to be on the list! I totally overlooked him, but I will put that down to not watching him in anything recently. He has gone down a very good path acting wise, especially after The Notebook which really put him up in the heart-throb states.

      Also Heath Ledger also did have to battle throughout his career with a pretty boy imagine. Stepping away from that so many times after 10 Things and A Knights Tale.


  4. I saw Brokeback Mountain on TV last night for the second time. The first time was in the theater. Today, I believe that it was the greatest love story every written in my time. Not only were Jake and Heath handsome, but were great actors. If I could find that DVD in a local store, I would buy it.


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