Breakthrough role

Term used in the film industry / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A breakthrough role, also known as a breakout role,[1] is a term in the film industry to describe the performance of an actor or actress which contributed significantly to the development of their career and beginning of critical recognition. A breakthrough role is often a significant increase in importance in the actor's part in the film, such as moving up from a minor character to one of the main cast or a "high impact" role in a film which has mainstream success and results in the actor's widespread recognition and popularity.[2] A breakthrough performance has also been defined as one which "attracts the attention of film critics, or receives rave reviews and is subsequently nominated for many major film awards".[3]

Lord Rohan in The Man in Grey has been cited as James Mason's breakthrough performance.[4] The television film adaptation of Gideon's Trumpet has been referenced as Lane Smith's breakthrough role, despite lacking a theatrical release.[5] Similarly, the BBC series Pennies from Heaven has been highlighted as the breakthrough of Bob Hoskins.[6] Brandon Lee's starring role in The Crow has been cited as his breakout, though it was also his final film as he died when a prop gun malfunctioned on the set of the film.[7][8]