As fans, we sometimes have trouble separating actors from the characters they play. We can be a little disappointed, or downright devastated, to learn that they’re just actors playing a role and making a living. Further, some actors often try to distance themselves from their characters for various reasons, usually as a result of feeling typecasted and limited in their acting opportunities. For example, Leonard Nimoy raised an uproar in the 1970s with his book “I Am Not Spock” which offended Trekkies worldwide. Classic movie actor Basil Rathbone felt he was constrained by successfully playing Sherlock Holmes and came to hate the character. Actors, even when made famous by a beloved and iconic role are still just actors pretending to be someone else temporarily.
There are times, though, when an actor will portray a character on their own time just to do some good, cheer up a sick child, or pay back a kindness. I spotted a story on IO9.com about Peter Capaldi, the current (Twelfth) Doctor Who, making a short video as The Doctor to cheer up a 9 year old boy with autism whose nanny he loved had just passed away. The video is short but it is sweet that Mr. Capaldi took the time out to make it and send it to a boy he did not know. I started thinking about other recent instances of celebrity actors reprising their roles, sometimes in full costume and makeup, just do bring a little cheer into some fans’ lives.
Johnny Depp Visits Kids As Captain Jack Sparrow
Apparently never aging heart throb Johnny Depp totally gets how fortunate he is and likes to give back to kids. According to an article on Koopstarz, Mr. Depp travels with one of his Captain Jack Sparrow costumes, wig, makeup, etc. and is known to visit children’s hospitals and schools in character. In one instance, he also made a surprise visit to a school near where On Stranger Tides was filming. A female student had written him a letter asking him to visit and he showed up with the letter in hand and gave the little girl a hug in front of her classmates. See, bloody pirates ain’t so bad.
Johnny Depp visits school as Captain Jack via the Daily Mail
Robert Downey Jr. Spreads the Stark/Iron Man Charm
There’s no denying the Robert Downey Jr. and the character Iron Man have made each other more famous worldwide than they ever were before the two hooked up. Downey’s performances in three Iron Man movies and the Avengers have been a huge part of those movies earning billions of dollars for Marvel. RJD has had his ups and downs in his personal life and career and, it is rumored, he can be a bit of a prima donna. But, there is no denying that he is willing to give back, especially to kids. Some examples:
- Via eonline: Downey made a surprise appearance at a special Manhattan screening of Iron Man 3 arranged to honor kids who had done clean up work after Hurricane Sandy. He wasn’t in costume, but he wowed the kids, thanked them for there service, and took photos with the starstruck teens.
- I found this video on YouTube (where else?) of RJD at the Iron Man 3 premiere meeting a young fan with special needs. He talks with the boy and his family, picks him up, and sets him in Tony Stark’s car for a bit to give him a tour.
- This one was not planned, but it is still cool. During filming of The Judge, a mother brought her young son to the location shoot near their town to meet RJD. She had told him they were going to meet Iron Man. The boy was only a year and a half old so probably did not get the distinction between actor and role. When the boy saw the plain clothed, no armor RJD, he burst into tears! RJD sat with him and, in the photo from the eonline article, appeared genuinely concerned for the upset tyke. Happily, after a few minutes talking to RJD, the boy perked up and was all smiles.
Jaime Alexander Visits Sick Kids As Lady Sif
Marvel posted an article about and photos from a November, 2013 visit by Thor movies actress Jamie Alexander to the Childrens Hospital off L.A.
Jamie Alexander visits the Childrens Hospital of L.A. as Lady Sif (via Marvel)
She did not just visit the sick and hand out posters and DVDs. She did it in full Lady Sif of Asgard costume complete with shield and sword.
Chris Pratt Visits Childrens’ Hospital As Starlord
Apparently, the Childrens Hospital of L.A. is the one to get treatment from, if you want to also meet Marvel superheroes. In August, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt attended a special screening of the movie at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles in his costume as Starlord. According to an August 22, 2014 article on Blastr, Pratt had stated previously that he had literally stolen some of his costume pieces after the movie wrapped so he could do this sort of thing in the event that the movie became a blockbuster. Sure enough, it became the biggest movie of 2014, almost everyone knows who the Guardians are, and Pratt kept his word. He delighted the kids at the screening and even visited some kids separately who were too ill to go to the group screening. One of those kids happens to be a huge Lego fan. It just so happens, of course, that Pratt ALSO starred in The Lego Movie so he spent some time with this fan, too, doing his character, Emmett, from the movie! He gets double credit for doing not one, but two characters in the same day to cheer up some sick kids!
Chris Pratt visits chidlrens hospital as StarLord
These are just a few examples of actors using their fame to give back. Know any others? Post them in the comments below.