29 Hilarious Times Stars Overacted... For Their Lives!

Get Started

We can all hear you in the back row.

Actors who work in live theater are taught to project their voices and make exaggerated gestures so that patrons in the back row will experience every emotion. When movies came around over a century ago, it took a long time for actors to realize that a different, dialed-down acting was required for the camera. This is why so many older, Golden Age of Hollywood films feel like stage plays. That was a long time ago, of course, but some actors still fall into the trap of overacting. Maybe they have too little direction or maybe the director lets them go for it, but the results are often hilarious. Consider Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, who thought she was giving a serious performance but was so over-the-top that her "No wire hangers!" rant made the movie a camp classic. Elizabeth Berkley seemed to be in a different movie from everyone else in Showgirls, and her crazed performance became infamous. Jack Nicholson seemed possessed in The Shining, which only helped sell the horror classic. Nicolas Cage ate a live roach on camera in Vampire's Kiss to help convince anyone watching that he really was game for anything. Then there's Jennifer Lawrence ranting and raving like a lunatic in front of a microwave in American Hustle in a scene that was clearly set up to let an actor "get actor-y."

Other actors you'll see shamelessly overacting for their lives in this slideshow include Jim Carrey, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Jeremy Irons, Jon Voight, Michael Sheen, Al Pacino, Eddie Redmayne, Dennis Hopper, Terrence Stamp and many more. Is one of your favorite actors guilty of devouring the scenery? Find out! Get Started