Pop Culture

Zombie dads and samurai? Big Hollywood stars opt for oddball roles

We're used to seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action hero, but can you picture him as the devoted father ... of a zombie? The Governator will take on the role of daddy to an undead daughter in the upcoming horror movie "Maggie," which features "Little Miss Sunshine" star Abigail Breslin as the zombie girl in question. (And if you're having flashbacks to "The Walking Dead's" own Governor brushing his undead daughter Penny's hair, you're not alone.)

Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut, Arnold Schwarzenegger a zombie's dad, and Keanu Reeves a samurai warrior in upcoming films.

Arnold has mingled with movie kids before. ("It's not a toomah!" he famously told one in 1990's "Kindergarten Cop.") But it'll be an interesting adventure to see him as the dedicated dad of an infected child.

His role inspired us to look at some other big-name stars who are taking on roles that are at odds with their cinematic image.

Keanu Reeves, samurai, '47 Ronin'
Dude, I am totally a samurai warrior! If you still think of Keanu Reeves as a surfer dude, have you forgotten his action-hero stints in "The Matrix" series and "Speed"? In the upcoming "47 Ronin," he plays a half-Japanese, half-British character named Kai, an outcast who joins up with a famed Japanese samurai band. The "47 Ronin" are a real group in Japanese history, though Reeves' character was created for the film.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, astronauts, 'Gravity'
In one of the most chilling trailers of any upcoming film, hunky George Clooney and girl-next-door Sandra Bullock play astronauts. Clooney's the vet, Bullock is the space newbie, and they end up spinning alone through space in a horrible NASA nightmare scenario.

Mila Kunis, janitor, 'Jupiter Ascending'
Mila Kunis played a smart-mouthed beauty in "That 70s Show" and has carried that persona into many of her movie roles, including as a ballet dancer in "Black Swan." But can you picture her scrubbing toilets? In the future? In "Jupiter Ascending," Kunis plays a custodian who learns her DNA means she may lead the universe. (In other weird casting news, Channing Tatum stars with Kunis, and he plays an albino with wolf and human DNA.

James Franco, murdering father, 'True Story'
Anyone who heard about the Christian Longo case back in 2001 is unlikely to have forgotten it. Desperate for money, the Oregon man murdered his wife and three children, then hid out using a journalist's identity. Franco plays the disturbing role of Longo, with Jonah Hill as the journalist whose identity is stolen.

Angelina Jolie, evil queen, 'Maleficent'
In her real life, she's mom to six, a tireless activist, and has spoken out about her decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she was at high risk for breast cancer. But in her next movie, all the good works go on the shelf as Jolie portrays the evil queen from "Sleeping Beauty" fame in "Maleficent."

Kristen Stewart, soldier, 'Camp X-Ray'
She'll forever be Bella from "Twilight" to many, but this part, as a young American soldier stationed at Guantanamo Bay, takes the actress pretty far from Forks.

Daniel Radcliffe, poet Allen Ginsberg, 'Kill Your Darlings'
He's not Harry Potter anymore. The young British heartthrob will play the famed American Beat Generation poet in this stylish drama that was praised at Sundance. It receives a theatrical release this fall.