Pretend you're a casting agent. Which actor or actress would most challenge you with respect to typecasting? That is, which role is so clearly tied to a specific acting performance in your mind that you have trouble seeing the actor playing anything else?
This inconsequential dilemma began when my wife and I happened to see Henry Winkler interviewed in a recent documentary about Robin Williams. Our subsequent conversation about typecasting - can anyone see Henry Winkler as anything but the Fonz? - sent me into a chicken/egg loop, movie geek version. As I briefly pondered Winkler's post-Fonz fate, I reflected. Did that iconic role forever typecast Winkler? Or, were his skills as an actor not able to transcend the role? Which comes first? And, not insignificantly, how much do the people handling the careers of actors have to do with this trap that can ensnare otherwise talented people? Like say, Anthony Perkins?
When I hit the final question in this particular chicken/egg deal, the reflection was no longer inconsequential; now it was personal. My daughter is an actress.