What movie, TV, or stage role have you seen an established actor or actress take on that you felt was contrary to their "normal" persona?
It's possible the range of some actors precludes this happening that often. As much as I think I'd like to see Owen Wilson play a serial killer, I don't know if he has the acting chops to make it convincing. Or does he? Maybe his agent or manager talks him out of roles that are against type. Maybe the choice of what role to take is largely a function of the timing in an acting career. Maybe Owen hasn't been offered a good serial killer script. I've been getting a slow but steady education about all this via my adult daughter - it's her chosen field. She often points out things I'd have otherwise missed and nuances about acting as a craft.
But even with added education, I still long to be surprised. Several years ago I was blown away when Cameron Diaz convincingly played the frumpy (!!!) wife of John Cusack in "Being John Malkovitch". And though the movie itself was uneven, Tom Cruise was profane, un-heroic, bald (!!!) and fantastic in the recent "Tropic Thunder". So, when I watched the predictable "Knight and Day" a few nights ago with Diaz & Cruise playing Diaz & Cruise, I was diverted but un-moved and un-surprised.