Consider Leonard Nimoy for a moment, if you will. Most of you know him as “Spock.” Some of you know him as “that Unsolved Mysteries” guy. Most of you don’t know him as a cowboy, an artist, or a singer (count your blessings on that last one… if you don’t believe me, click here for a movie clip).
Typecasting, they call it. When you see Leonard Nimoy, you can’t help but think of Spock, even if you’re not a Star Trek fan. So seeing him as a homicidal maniac or a doctor or a police officer just doesn’t sit right. When you think of him, you think of something in particular.
It’s like that with a lot of actors. I hate seeing Chris O’Donnell in anything because I hated that they added the character of Robin to the last two Batman movies (which were bad enough without a Robin…). I’m sure there are actors you have certain feelings associated with as well.
I’m noticing that I’m having the same kind of thing with people I know. Because of an instance or a situation, when I see that person or think of them, I have a certain set of emotions or thoughts associated with them. I like to talk about what I think a person’s “default” settings are (it’s the computer tech in me) – how I assume they’ll act in a certain situation. I’m not always right. People do unexpected things under the right pressure. But when I’m right, it reinforces those thoughts and emotions.
I think everybody does that. That’s why it’s so difficult to change your opinion of other people, I think. They may be a completely different person now, but you’re still carrying all the other stuff that you’ve associated with them. That can be a negative, a positive, or a positive-negative. Negative: I expect that she’ll always default to being late to meeting me. Positive: I expect he’ll always be someone I can depend on. Positive-Negative: Well, I can’t come up with a good example on this one, but it involves expecting good from a person who always used to be good.
Anyway, I meant for it to mostly apply to actors, so don’t read too deep into me here. However, Shakespeare did say “All the world’s a stage and the people merely players.” :)