Funny men who show their serious side

Ben Stiller is to play a serious role in his next film. He's not the only comedian to prove he can play it serious.

With the comedy actor Ben Stiller playing a jobless, middle-aged misanthrope in the upcoming movie Greenberg, here are five other examples of comedians proving they can play it serious. Take five ... Will Ferrell After years of frat-boy fare, the Anchorman star appeared in the existential comedy Stranger than Fiction as an uptight auditor who begins hearing Emma Thompson's voice narrating his life.

Take four ... Robin Williams Williams won an Oscar for his roll as Matt Damon's grizzled mentor in Good Will Hunting. The comic also took on serious rolls in What Dreams May Come and Insomnia. Take three... Jim Carrey The rubber-faced Canadian will always be best remembered as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but he gave the performance of his career opposite Kate Winslet in the memory-loss drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Take two... Billy Connolly The Scottish comedian is better known for his colourful stand-up routines than screen acting, but that didn't stop him from giving a spirited performance opposite Dame Judi Dench in the period drama Mrs Brown, which earned him a host of award nominations. Take one ... Bill Murray Everyone's favourite Ghostbuster, Murray scored an Oscar nomination playing a rich, lonely actor who bonds with a beautiful young Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation.

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