It's been a few days, and I still haven't been able to get my head around the notion that Tristan Wilds from The Wire is joining the cast of the 90210 spinoff. I'm so used to seeing him as this hardened, tough little boy on the streets of Baltimore that it's going to be a challenge to see him among the glitz of posh Beverly Hills — and, to some extent, he's just always going to be Michael.
I can think of a lot of other actors who, like Wilds, so embodied their characters for me that I have a hard time changing the way I think of them. Will and Grace has been off the air for a couple of years now, and I still can't see Megan Mullally as anything but Karen Walker. When Gio pops up on Ugly Betty, it takes me a minute to remember why Freddy Rodriguez isn't in a funeral home a la his Six Feet Under character. And we all know that Jared Padalecki will always be Dean to me.
Felicity Huffman just talked to the Hollywood Reporter about this issue, saying that when you're on a weekly series, "You go into acting jail for a number of years afterwards because people are so tired of your face," and when you get offers, they're all similar to the roles you just played. This is probably the biggest problem on TV, where we can check in with characters weekly, but it can also happen with particularly memorable movie roles (just think of how many people immediately thought of "the lotion girl" from Silence of the Lambs when Brooke Smith joined Grey's Anatomy ). So tell me: Which actors will always just be a certain character to you?