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Movie stars that never were

Started by dead-ced-dead, November 26, 2021, 11:06:34 AM

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dead-ced-dead

I've been re-watching Scrubs and there are several episodes guest starring Freddy Rodriguez. It flashed me back to around 2005-7, after Six Feet Under ended and Hollywood tried to push him into leading man status with several movies that just never took.

It's funny how that can happen: talented actor, handsome, Emmy nominee, coming off a hugely popular TV show and then... nothing.

So it got me thinking about other actors that were primed for stardom and then just didn't happen. Speaking of Scrubs, Zach Braff is another good example: hugely popular sitcom, starred-directed-wrote an indie Sundance smash... nothing.

Can you think of other examples?

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Bryan Cranston seemed poised for great things after Breaking Bad, but nothing he's done since has really seemed to make a mark.

dead-ced-dead

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 26, 2021, 11:16:10 AMBryan Cranston seemed poised for great things after Breaking Bad, but nothing he's done since has really seemed to make a mark.

Yeah, that's a good example. Same for Aaron Paul. All his blockbuster attempts fell flat.

phantom_power

This might explain Rodriguez's lack of progress:

"From 2016 to 2021, Rodriguez starred as attorney and former New York City prosecutor Benny Colón in the CBS courtroom drama Bull. In May 2021, multiple news outlets reported that, following the conclusion of two separate internal workplace investigations by CBS, Rodriguez and Bull showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron would not be returning for the series's sixth season"

As for Cranston, I don't think he was ever going to be a huge star and has had a pretty good post BB career doing character work, which is pretty much what you would expect from him

dead-ced-dead

Also Cranston was already rich from Malcolm in the Middle, so he had the freedom to turn down roles he didn't want, even if it would improve his star power. Allowing him to be more of a character player.

George White

I'm fascinated by the fag end of the British film industry in the late 60s when there was a whole roster of young actors who seemed to have been primed to be big stars.
Simon Ward, Dennis Waterman, Ian McShane, Hywel Bennett, Michael Crawford
A few like Malcolm McDowell, Michael York and SImon Ward managed to cling on to the late 70s, but the majority either went west into US telly or Europe (David Hemmings did both) or stayed and went into telly


There's a few British actors massive in telly who either tried to make it in films or could have but chose not to. Robert Lindsay tried, but the twin disasters of Bert Rigby, You're  A Fool and also having the supposed gall to stand up against Harvey Weinstein in Strike it Ricb ensued his future would be firmly at home.

Magnum Valentino

There's a few I always thought were a bit better than their co-stars who never became as bankably massive as I wished they had - Matthew Lilliard, Annabella Sciorra - and of course Brandon Lee and River Phoenix who definitely had something about them that probably would have led to a couple great performances in the late 90s had they survived.

Sam Worthington was handed a golden ticket with a starring role in Avatar, but was seen in very little else in the decade that followed. At least nothing anywhere near that scale. His generation's Michael Biehn?

George White

Quote from: Magnum Valentino on November 26, 2021, 12:18:22 PMThere's a few I always thought were a bit better than their co-stars who never became as bankably massive as I wished they had - Matthew Lilliard, Annabella Sciorra - and of course Brandon Lee and River Phoenix who definitely had something about them that probably would have led to a couple great performances in the late 90s had they survived.
Sciorra apparently was a victim of Weinstein and co.
Recently watched that odd erotic thriller pseudo-giallo film she did, Whispers in the Dark, assumed it was a mid-low budget programmer on the same level as the Last Seduction, the biggest stars are Alan Alda and Jill Clayburgh past their prime, Turns out it cost $30 million, opposed to TLS' 2.5 million.

Talking of TLS, whatever happened to Linda Fiorentino?

phantom_power

Quote from: Magnum Valentino on November 26, 2021, 12:18:22 PMThere's a few I always thought were a bit better than their co-stars who never became as bankably massive as I wished they had - Matthew Lilliard, Annabella Sciorra - and of course Brandon Lee and River Phoenix who definitely had something about them that probably would have led to a couple great performances in the late 90s had they survived.

You could see River having a similar career to Joaquin has now, with a bit of Brad Pitt

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Quote from: thecuriousorange on November 26, 2021, 12:30:03 PMSam Worthington was handed a golden ticket with a starring role in Avatar, but was seen in very little else in the decade that followed. At least nothing anywhere near that scale. His generation's Michael Biehn?
He also did Clash of the Titans around the same time. It seems to be standard Hollywood procedure to take some generic white bloke and cast him in a rapid succession of would-be blockbusters, only for them to sink at the box office. Taylor Kitsch is a notable example.

The odd thing with Worthington is that his films were actually successful.

I read somewhere that Michael Biehn's career was affected by alcoholism and dyslexia. Apparently he turned down a bunch of good roles because he had a hard time understanding them on the page.

DrGreggles

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 26, 2021, 11:16:10 AMBryan Cranston seemed poised for great things after Breaking Bad, but nothing he's done since has really seemed to make a mark.

He's mostly done theatre stuff since BB.
The successful actor's way of saying "I never have to work again!"

Ham Bap

Josh Hartnett. Seems to be doing indie movies these days.

dissolute ocelot

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 26, 2021, 12:46:49 PMHe also did Clash of the Titans around the same time. It seems to be standard Hollywood procedure to take some generic white bloke and cast him in a rapid succession of would-be blockbusters, only for them to sink at the box office. Taylor Kitsch is a notable example.

The odd thing with Worthington is that his films were actually successful.

I read somewhere that Michael Biehn's career was affected by alcoholism and dyslexia. Apparently he turned down a bunch of good roles because he had a hard time understanding them on the page.
Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 26, 2021, 12:46:49 PMHe also did Clash of the Titans around the same time. It seems to be standard Hollywood procedure to take some generic white bloke and cast him in a rapid succession of would-be blockbusters, only for them to sink at the box office. Taylor Kitsch is a notable example.
Worthington was a rubbish actor. Even in his Aussie breakthrough Somersault all he did was stand around looking moody while Abbie Cornish lusted over him, and then I guess casting directors went "There's this hot new Australian, he's going to be a star, you should cast him."

Ashton Kutcher was a likable dude in That 70s Show and for a while seemed headed for blockbusters, with Dude, Where's My Car?, The Butterfly Effect, What Happened In Vegas, etc, but then went back to TV. Speaking of That 70s Show, Mila Kunis is both gorgeous and funny but despite a couple of romcoms and a supporting role in Black Swan never really made it to movie stardom, sticking with voicing Meg Griffin.

After Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar seems to have made multiple attempts, initially in teen drama and then as a horror queen, but never really got far. I can't really decide if she's a good actor or not. Her co-star Eliza Dushku probably had more of a chance at megastardom, being very attractive and talented, but fell in with a bad crowd (Joss Whedon) and hasn't done a lot in the past 10 years.

Inspector Norse

Despite so many of the cast of Dazed and Confused going on to major success, or at least regular and serious TV and film work, Jason London never really made it despite having the central role and being regarded by many as the most likely breakout star.
The story is that his sister was killed in an accident not long after filming had wrapped, and he missed out on a lot of the auditions and roles that the rest of the cast were getting to push on in their careers. Instead, he's spent 25 years in TV movies and DTV horror sequels, pausing every couple of years or so to get arrested for drunken misbehaviour - most recently getting pulled out of his car while it was in a ditch, on fire.

phantom_power

Whenever someone doesn't make it after being touted, I always think it is probably because they are an arsehole or difficult to work with. I imagine if you are amenable and do what you are told you get a few chances to be in flops and still get work but if you are a dick you have to be bringing in the money or it isn't worth it

dr beat

Zac Efron springs to mind, particularly around the time of Me and Orson Welles, but seemed to have gone downhill from there on.

George White

Quote from: thecuriousorange on November 26, 2021, 12:30:03 PMSam Worthington was handed a golden ticket with a starring role in Avatar, but was seen in very little else in the decade that followed. At least nothing anywhere near that scale. His generation's Michael Biehn?
Yeah, except Worthington doesn't seem to have anywhere near the cult fanbase Biehn has.

The actor I always associate with this type is Craig Wasson, the Bill Maher doppelganger (the fact  both were around in Hollywood at the same time, both even did Murder, She Wrote) who had lead roles in several films - Arthur Penn's Four Friends, all-star (in Ireland, at least) IRA drama The Outsider, De palma's Body Double, a few early Nam pics...



Also re:Me and Orson Welles, Christian MacKay got a lot of early Oscar buzz, then when the film bombed, quietly went back to a solid career as a character actor in UK telly. Reminded of Tom Baker in Nicholas and Alexandra - gets a big potential star-making role, Oscar buzz and a Golden Globe nom but then after a  few films, ends up on a building site.

Bad Ambassador

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/HollywoodHypeMachine/ExamplesThatDidntHoldUp

Some good "whatever happened to"s there, such as Edward Burns, Emile Hirsch, Brandon Routh, Dougray Scott and most of the cast of Friends.

BritishHobo

TV shows are a good well I think, most big big TV shows you think of have stars who at the time seemed like The Big Thing but it just never happened. Look at how big Lost and Heroes were. At the time you'd have thought you'd be seeing loads more of Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, Milo Ventimiglia... but it just never really happens. Game of Thrones is a good illustrative example, where the younger leads like Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Emilia Clarke, get to walk into blockbuster films, but then the films don't do that well, and it dwindles.

I think people are getting cannier now and realising staying in TV is better, both critically and commercially. Look at yer fella who played Nathan in Misfits. He left after series 2, presumably hyped up by his agent to think his character's popularity would translate into easy Hollywood success. Now after a few franchises that never really took off, he's doing The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, and that seems like a more fulfilling success. It must be tricky as an actor. How can you ever know for sure whether your next project is going to be a 'Hunger Games', or whether it's going to be a 'Divergent'?

monkfromhavana

I can't think of anyone who would have been a better Bond that Lewis Collins. Shame he fucked up the audition by being too "aggressive".

George White

Yes, he did find a niche in Italian action films* but like a lot of actors, ended his once glittering career with a guest shot in The Bill.

*(as did Oliver Tobias - who seemed to have been launched as a star several times, initially in 1971's Romance of a Horsethief, then the Stud, before doing mainly stuff on the continent before resurfacing in early 00s UK TV comedy).

A lot of the would-have-been Bonds are actors like this.
People like George Baker and Richard Johnson who had leading roles in films but their brief stardom didn't last, and instead had long, durable careers as character actors in telly and  on stage (though Johnson managed to  juggle being a stalwart of the RSC with doing the likes of Beyond the Door, Zombie Flesh Eaters and Island of the Fishmen, a film which he manages to give a really good performance that saves the damn thing)

SweetPomPom

Jason Lee - there was definitely a time when it felt like he was gonna step up from the Kevin Smith tier to become a name actor and it felt like he had the talent. But he got was a Michael Bay bit part and that was it.

dead-ced-dead

Quote from: phantom_power on November 26, 2021, 01:08:23 PMWhenever someone doesn't make it after being touted, I always think it is probably because they are an arsehole or difficult to work with. I imagine if you are amenable and do what you are told you get a few chances to be in flops and still get work but if you are a dick you have to be bringing in the money or it isn't worth it

I call this The Colin Farrell Effect. After Phone Booth and several supporting roles, his attempt at megastardom halted with flop after flop, but he keeps getting regular work.

Apparently he's the loveliest, sweetest guy to work with. Even at the peak of his stardom when he had a reputation for partying and drinking and drugs, he was never an arsehole about it. He's just someone people want on sets. So he's flop proof.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

They seem to be trying this at the moment with Nicholas Hoult, just throwing him at as many roles as they can and hoping something sticks and turns him into a leading man. Unfortunately Hoult can't act and will always be the rat faced boy from Skins, so it's never going to work.

dead-ced-dead

Quote from: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on November 26, 2021, 02:36:56 PMThey seem to be trying this at the moment with Nicholas Hoult, just throwing him at as many roles as they can and hoping something sticks and turns him into a leading man. Unfortunately Hoult can't act and will always be the rat faced boy from Skins, so it's never going to work.

I wonder if actors are ever aware that they'll only have a 5-10 year window when Hollywood is throwing million dollar paycheques at them. Like, I wonder if Nicholas Hoult is aware that the window is closing and is saving-investing as much of the money he's getting now, so that when the big paycheques dry up he'll have enough money coming in.

Young stardom isn't usually blessed with hindsight, but I do wonder if some young actors know that after being in a flop they need to save their money.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Quote from: dead-ced-dead on November 26, 2021, 02:32:35 PMI call this The Colin Farrell Effect. After Phone Booth and several supporting roles, his attempt at megastardom halted with flop after flop, but he keeps getting regular work.
I remember recommending In Bruges to people, pretty much all of whom would initially turn their noses up at it because of Farrell. Once they actually watched it, they all changed their tune about him. He seems to have found a good niche doing off-beat work like The Lobster these days.

Quote from: SweetPomPom on November 26, 2021, 02:26:23 PMJason Lee - there was definitely a time when it felt like he was gonna step up from the Kevin Smith tier to become a name actor and it felt like he had the talent. But he got was a Michael Bay bit part and that was it.
I think I said in the Senor Spielbergos thread, it seemed like Ryan Reynolds stole his thunder.

Even in these days of Peak TV, I always think that a middlingly successful film actor going into telly work is a tacit confirmation that their movie career is dwindling.

It seems like everything Chris Hemsworth has done besides Thor has been a big flop.

SweetPomPom

Quote from: dead-ced-dead on November 26, 2021, 02:32:35 PMI call this The Colin Farrell Effect. After Phone Booth and several supporting roles, his attempt at megastardom halted with flop after flop, but he keeps getting regular work.

Apparently he's the loveliest, sweetest guy to work with. Even at the peak of his stardom when he had a reputation for partying and drinking and drugs, he was never an arsehole about it. He's just someone people want on sets. So he's flop proof.

I don't know when it happened but something clicked and I'd watch him in anything now. Don't know if it's just him making better choices or coming up with more nuanced performances but he's always good value for money.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 26, 2021, 02:54:41 PMIt seems like everything Chris Hemsworth has done besides Thor has been a big flop.
Sure I saw an ad of him shilling for some kind of Expo in one of the Arab oil states just yesterday, which does make me wonder if he's aware he has a concluding shelf-life (presumably while he can maintain that physique) and is cashing in while he can. I think outside the Marvel stuff, I've only seen him in Rush, which was enjoyable enough.

phantom_power

Quote from: Elderly Sumo Prophecy on November 26, 2021, 02:36:56 PMThey seem to be trying this at the moment with Nicholas Hoult, just throwing him at as many roles as they can and hoping something sticks and turns him into a leading man. Unfortunately Hoult can't act and will always be the rat faced boy from Skins, so it's never going to work.

Really? I think he is a decent actor and has been in loads of things, from X-Men to Warm Bodies and The Great on TV, which he is...er...great...in