It's tough being a movie star. When actors find success or make it big they tend to stick to the same projects and stories that have made them a houshold name. Yes, I'm shooting you the stink-eye, Eddie Murphy, with all your Nutty Professors, Doctor Doolittles, and Daddy Day Cares. But then an actor will go and do something out of nowhere. Murphy in Harlem Nights and Dreamgirls showed his dramatic range even if the movies were not complete successes. So here are a few suggestions on meatier roles certain actors should consider before diving into that next dashing lead or crusading hero part.

Mel Gibson - SS Nazi Officer

He's played the tiresome one-man crusader too many times. In fact his last film, Edge of Darkness, should have been called Edge of I'm Gettin' Too Old For This Sh*t. Audiences would love to see Mel as a villain on-screen for once. Give him a juicy role as a SS Nazi Officer in the next World War 2 epic a la Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds.  Remember, Harrison Ford played the villain in What Lies Beneath and got a lot of credit for being an actor and not just another billion-dollar-making face. Also please notice I didn't mention that Gibson already has some familiarity with not being the biggest fan of Jews. …Oops.


Will Ferrell - Blue Collar Wife Beater

We saw a glimmer of dramatic brilliance in him with Stranger Than Fiction, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to tap into that again. With The Other Guys coming out this summer it looks like the same old schtick. We need to see Will's ranting and raving be put to better and more original use. It's time for him to display his acting chops as a blue collar wife beating husband. Think Five Easy Pieces meets A Streetcar Name Desire with him yelling out a good “Stella!" sans the usual man-child arm flailing that usually accompanies his verbal tirades.


Tom Cruise - Serial Killer

With another Mission Impossible movie on the way, Cruise needs to be looking for roles where he can be as crazy and violent as he wants to be. He can be very intense and sadistic at times like Tropic Thunder's Les Grossman, Magnolia's Frank T.J Mackey, and Collateral's Vincent. With his never-aging good looks he should embody the role of a charming Ted Bundy-like serial killer. Giving him the villain part in the next Seven or Silence of the Lambs of psychological horror movies could make back the money he has lost with the United Artists deal.


Zac Efron - Skinhead

As he is trying to be taken more seriously with dramatic fare (Me and Orson Welles, Charlie St. Cloud over Footloose remake), Zac should consider the all important, Oscar catnip disturbing role. Skinhead characters of the past have worked for good looking young actors like Edward Norton and Ryan Gosling to grab the audience by the throat and send a chill down its spine. Time for Zac to trade in his dancing shoes for a pair of weathered steel toe boots. As long as he's reformed by the end of the film, the girls and creepy middle-aged mothers, who have no business swooning over a kid their son's age, won't like him any less.


Kate Winslet - Sociopathic Ax Murderer

She can play just about any part, and since she's earned her Oscar (for playing a Nazi. Wink, wink, Efron) she can pretty much do anything she wants. Most actors who win their Academy Awards go main stream with their next big performance, but it would be great to see Kate in a period piece horror film like "The Lizzy Borden Story." She could give that kind of movie 40 good bloody whacks.


Russell Crowe - Pimp

He has played many crusaders and commanders lately, but he started out in his career as a villain in Romper Stomper and Virtuosity. Let's get him back on the gritty streets like in L.A. Confidential, but this time as a crack addicted pimp with little patience for trifflin' hoes. He'd smack Harvey Keitel in Taxi Driver upside the head with the jeweled handle of his cain. Crowe is always up for a challenge even if it fails - just look at his try at comedy in A Good Year. If Frank Lucas was played by him instead of Denzel Washington in American Gangster, that could have been a revelation. He'd don a purple fur hat. Your argument that the real Frank Lucas is black is invalid.