At some point, it seems that every actor who makes a name for themselves in comedy needs to find a way to branch out into other kinds of work. Many times when we see a "comedian" do a piece of dramatic work we're blown away by the result. It is, it has to be said, a little strange when we can see the likes of Adam Sandler doing his trademark comedy work for Netflix while getting talked about in Oscar conversations the same year following Uncut Gems. It's certainly a unique place to be as an actor, and it's a place that Chris Rock would apparently like to be.
Chris Rock will star in the newest season of the TV series Fargo, which might seem like a big departure for him, but Rock argues that the show has regularly taken comedic actors in new directions, so the decision to cast Rock isn't all that outside the box for the show. And beyond that, the actor just wants to get good roles and would love to be given the opportunity to do more dramatic work. As Chris Rock tells the New York Times...
My casting isn’t as weird as it seems if you really watch Fargo. Key and Peele are in the first season and Brad Garrett’s amazing in Season 2. Hey, it’s my turn, OK? I want to work on good stuff. Everything I’ve done hasn’t been great, but I was always striving for greatness. I loved Marriage Story. I’d kill for something like that. [Laughs.] You see what [Adam] Sandler did with Uncut Gems. But you’ve got to get the call and be ready when your number’s called.
Adam Sandler has certainly done his share of more dramatic roles over the years and he tends to be praised when he does. And the fact that he did well with a movie like Punch Drunk Love at least opened the door to more roles like that in the future. There's something about being known for comedy that makes the versatility of doing more serious performances seem that much more impressive. Actors known for dramatic work tend to not see equal praise when they pull off comedy.
Certainly, Marriage Story is something very much outside what we would expect from Chris Rock, but there's no reason to believe he wouldn't have been great in it. And perhaps a role like that of Fargo, which will be debuting next weekend, will be the thing that opens the door to roles like that. In the end, there always has to be that first role that causes Hollywood to see comedians as something else, and perhaps this will be it for him.
Then Chris Rock can perhaps make the transition from hosting the Oscars to being considered for them.