For Wil Wheaton, new acting success came when he figured out just what type of character he should be playing.
It turns out that the best character for Wheaton to play is not someone like Wesley Crusher.
After his initial success when young, Wheaton found that he wasn’t getting the roles when he auditioned, and was determined to do something about that. “This all started years ago,” he said. “I kept having auditions to play roles that were very similar to the roles I played when in was a kid. When I was a kid I played very sweet, sympathetic, heroic characters. And when I was going out for those roles as an adult, I never booked them. So I took a marketing class and I learned a while lot about marketing myself as an actor… The very short version is everybody has a type that they play—once you know what your type is, you can focus on roles of that type.”
Next time it was time to audition, Wheaton sought out the role of a jerk. “So my friend Kim Evey—who is a producer on The Guild and Learning Town—was doing a really funny [web] show called The Gorgeous Tiny Machine Show,” explained Wheaton. “And she asked me if I would come be on it and I said, “Yeah, will you have me play a super douchebag?” And she said, “Why?!” And I said, “I just have this feeling that playing a douchebag is what I’m supposed to do. I just feel like playing a nice guy doesn’t work anymore.” And she wrote me the part of this really douchey agent. And it was phenomenally popular. Then when Felicia [Day] asked me to do The Guild, I said, “Will you make me a douchebag?” She said, “Yeah, will you be a douchebag in a kilt?” “Absolutely!”…. Suddenly, playing characters who are very unlike me, I started getting hired all over the place. Getting cast in them all the time.”
Those roles included ones on The Big Bang Theory, Eureka and Leverage. “And I’ve found my type: my type is to play that guy you love to hate,” said Wheaton.