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Thoughts On Actor Talents: Should More Actor Talents Feature On TV?

The actors on our television screens are very good at what they do, but many also have other talents that viewers never see as the characters they play often don't have a lot in common with them as people.

In the shows I watch or have watched in the past, numerous examples come to mind where a talent a cast member has off camera is used with great effect to enhance a character. Perhaps my favorite is Hugh Laurie's Gregory House from House M.D., in which House is occasionally seen playing the piano. Laurie is an accomplished pianist who now tours the world with his Copper Bottom Band, but on the face of it, you wouldn't think Gregory House would be the musical type, but the character really grew in my eyes when House played the piano for the first time.

On Castle, Tamala Jones displayed her beautiful voice in a season 4 episode titled The Blue Butterfly. This example is different because Jones wasn't playing her day-to-day character, rather a singer from the period themed episode. Nathan Fillion has an innate ability to shift the position of the hair on his head - something he's displayed in character, in addition to his remarkable similarity, when in costume, to the late Elvis Presley.

Musical talents are common among many cast members, and it's not too long ago that every big name show had a go at a musical episode. Grey's Anatomy, Buffy, Scrubs, Community and How I Met Your Mother come to mind, while The Simpsons and South Park have apparently been there as well. It's worth remembering Glee is a full time musical, with most of the cast gravitating in that direction talent-wise.

Of course, talent isn't limited to music and dance. Criminal Minds' Matthew Gray Gubler, while no van Gogh, is rather more skilled with an easel than me. Many cast members are fluent in another language, though Castle's Stana Katic pretty much wins out, with a reported fluency in about six languages. The Blacklist's James Spader is an excellent orator, which is evident in public events such as Comic Con, and in his role as Red Reddington, and former role as Alan Shore on Boston Legal. Kevin Spacey is a master of the Bill Clinton accent, something he recently exploited in this video among others. I hear Australian-born The Mentalist star Simon Baker is handy on the surf board too.

At the end of the day, it goes without saying that not every character suits a talent that an actor has, but I for one am always entertained when an actor brings a bit of themselves into the role. It adds another layer to their character, and gives the viewer something to appreciate. I tend to find those moments to be rather memorable too.

Of course, I've missed hundreds, maybe thousands of examples that I'm sure are out there somewhere, so please share your memorable actor talent moments in the comments below. I'm also keen to hear your thoughts on whether more of these talents should make their way onto the small screen. There's a poll for that directly below.


Thanks for reading and commenting!
Jimmy

About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, The Blacklist, The 100, and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, www.seriesmonitor.com or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.
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