In response to the "How to Start a Hollywood Career Without Having to Go There" entry, Wesley Harris asked: "Since there are no more than 3 kinds of actors, I want to know what are the 3?"
In order to answer this precisely rather than in general terms, I had to check with Kathi Carey who had a copy of the book handy. The three kinds of actors, therefore, are:
1) The lead, whose job is to secure funding for the producer and excite box office results owing to his/her popularity with the public;
2) The antagonist, whose job is to upstage the lead so as to make him/her seem more heroic when he/she wins at the end of the story (remember how well Anthony Hopkins did this for Jodi Foster?);
3) And everyone else, whose job is to be credible without distracting from the interaction between the lead and the antagonist.
This differentiation is meant for strategic purposes to help an actor kick-start a career (bear in mind the title of the book). One can see that, normally, it takes some exposure to be a lead though there are exceptions that become more frequent as the budget gets lower. So, it makes sense to analyze the qualities of an antagonist and incorporate them into one's signature as an actor--or brand, if you will. Making a mark as a good antagonist is also a great way to move into the lead category with the benefits that go along with that status.
Now, imagine how this applies to launching an acting career.