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Movie stars that never were

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

Previous topic - Next topic

bgmnts

I'm going to go and say Sam Neill purely on the basis he was rocketed to the moon by being given the lead in probably one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, being outshone in that film by Goldblum and then not doing much of note after, to my recollection (Event Horizon is great).

But Goldblum went on to star in one of the othee biggest blockbusters of all time a few years later and become embedded in our cultural consciousness.

Noodle Lizard

It's almost never really the actor's fault, though, at least not until they reach Tom Cruise-style "megastar" status and can properly research and choose their roles with no real obligation either way. Even successful actors are almost entirely controlled by agents and business managers and any commitments they might have to the studios themselves. I'd imagine Bryan Cranston, for instance, was just set on the path that any agent/manager/producer would naturally jump to put him on given his notoriety from Breaking Bad, whether or not it really made much sense (the actors alone didn't make Breaking Bad what it was). Tell any actor they could get an Oscar for something and they'll do it, even if it's clearly and blatantly totally shit.

There's an increasing tendency to believe that these high-profile actors are smart and principled people, but a lot of them really aren't - almost by necessity. Some of them get that way once they've seen it for what it is (Marlon Brando, Orson Welles etc.), but then you see what happens to their careers after they start "acting up".

It doesn't really hurt anyone other than the actor in the longterm when these things fail. Then they move onto the next stage: hoping they'll be brought back from the depths by a Tarantino or a Birdman.

Bad Ambassador

Quote from: bgmnts on November 26, 2021, 10:44:23 PMI'm going to go and say Sam Neill purely on the basis he was rocketed to the moon by being given the lead in probably one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, being outshone in that film by Goldblum and then not doing much of note after, to my recollection (Event Horizon is great).

But Goldblum went on to star in one of the othee biggest blockbusters of all time a few years later and become embedded in our cultural consciousness.

Neill's been in a huge amount of stuff since then, just nothing even remotely on the same level. He's done 14 films in the last five years, including Peter Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, Peter Rabbit 2 and Liam Neeson thumpathon The Commuter, as well as the excellent Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He's also done a bunch of television.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: bgmnts on November 26, 2021, 10:44:23 PMI'm going to go and say Sam Neill purely on the basis he was rocketed to the moon by being given the lead in probably one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, being outshone in that film by Goldblum and then not doing much of note after, to my recollection (Event Horizon is great).

But Goldblum went on to star in one of the othee biggest blockbusters of all time a few years later and become embedded in our cultural consciousness.

Nah.

Firstly, both Neill and Goldblum were already well established actors. Secondly, Neill is an incredibly prolific actor who has been in a lot of very good stuff - admittedly, not huge commercial hits and something like Event Horizon was a flop - and Dean Spanley is absolutely wonderful. Dead Calm and The Dish were blockbusters, but brilliantly received and stand up today.

Had he wanted to live in Hollywood, I suspect his career would have gone in a different direction but that's not what he wanted. TV stuff like The Tudors and Peaky Blinders did well and excellent notices.

Not that I would particularly recommend them but he was in both the recent Peter Rabbit films

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Bad Ambassador on November 26, 2021, 11:08:24 PMNeill's been in a huge amount of stuff since then, just nothing even remotely on the same level. He's done 14 films in the last five years, including Peter Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, Peter Rabbit 2 and Liam Neeson thumpathon The Commuter, as well as the excellent Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He's also done a bunch of television.

That's a really good shout - great film and one that commercially punched above its weight.

Avril Lavigne

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?

It's not surprising that Sam Worthington's career hasn't blossomed since Avatar, he's a total charisma void with a face and name I'd forget if he was the one who induced my trauma.

dead-ced-dead

Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 26, 2021, 11:09:53 PMNah.

Firstly, both Neill and Goldblum were already well established actors. Secondly, Neill is an incredibly prolific actor who has been in a lot of very good stuff - admittedly, not huge commercial hits and something like Event Horizon was a flop - and Dean Spanley is absolutely wonderful. Dead Calm and The Dish were blockbusters, but brilliantly received and stand up today.

Had he wanted to live in Hollywood, I suspect his career would have gone in a different direction but that's not what he wanted. TV stuff like The Tudors and Peaky Blinders did well and excellent notices.

Not that I would particularly recommend them but he was in both the recent Peter Rabbit films

I agree with all of this, and to add, Spielberg specifically cast Neill (over Harrison Ford) because he was a character actor rather than a movie star, and as an audience member you'd worry that he might get eaten by a dinosaur. You wouldn't worry if Harrison Ford lives to the end, because OF COURSE he'll survive, but Sam Neill might very well die, cos character actors die in movies like this. In any other big action movie, if Sam Neill was in it, he'd die - definitely. That's part of Jurassic Park's genius.

So despite the film's success, Neill's casting was never meant to propel him into doing more blockbusters, he was (partly) stunt cast because of audience's familiarity as a third banana character player.

Mister Six

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.

To be fair, he's mostly just done fairly low-budget character-heavy autobiog pieces and the occasional phoned-in ensemble blockbuster, hasn't he? I don't get the impression he's gunning to be the next Robert Downey Jr.

Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 26, 2021, 04:18:17 PMWith regards to picking films roles, these things aren't an exact science, actors are sometimes badly advised or for that matter, their representatives will simply not present them with offers. Additionally, circumstances change - Super Mario Bros. is a classic example; the principal cast all signed on due to the script by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais but then found out a completely different one was going to be used, which they were stuck with. There are many actors that I wished had been in better films, but there are so many factors at play.

Oh wow, you weren't kidding either. I always thought their role in the production was limited to script-doctoring an existing draft, but they actually did an entire script!

https://www.scribd.com/document/322549770/Dick-Clement-Ian-la-Frenais-Super-Mario-Bros-Transitional-Die-Hard-inspired-pdf


Ham Bap

I always wished that Patrick McGoohan was in more films. He's great in everything he's in.
I know he turned down James Bond, did a few good films but apart from The Prisoner probably more well known for Columbo than any movie role he had, maybe apart from Braveheart.

Anyway, my nomination for this thread would be Brad Davis. You probably wouldn't even recognise the name now, even though he began his movie career winning a Golden Globe for his part in Midnight Express and was almost cast as the lead in Rambo at one point. He had the looks and intensity of a young Brando, but despite roles in a few high profile films, he spectacularly fucked-up his career with booze and drugs, and although he cleaned up and made something of a comeback, he had tragically contracted HIV during his wild years and died in 1991 aged only 41.

His posthumously-published memoir bluntly laid into Hollywood's hypocritical attitude to actors with AIDS, particularly how the studios would publicly claim to support AIDS and HIV actors, while effectively blacklisting them from working. I've often wondered if the fact that he turned on the industry was what led to him being effectively erased from film history, from Hollywood's point of view it's like he never existed.

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/16/garden/for-the-widow-of-brad-davis-time-cannot-heal-all-the-wounds.html

Quote from: Ham Bap on November 27, 2021, 12:22:59 AMI always wished that Patrick McGoohan was in more films. He's great in everything he's in.
I know he turned down James Bond, did a few good films but apart from The Prisoner probably more well known for Columbo than any movie role he had, maybe apart from Braveheart.

I think maybe McGoohan's staunchly Catholic beliefs may've limited the roles he'd accept - he flatly refused parts with love scenes which would definitely have ruled out Bond. Plus he was pretty much hounded from the UK by angry mobs of disgruntled viewers(possibly an exaggeration) after the finale of The Prisoner, which led him to mostly doing character actor parts in US TV shows like many other ex-pat Brit actors.

mothman

Sam Neill had been slowly up & coming since the 70s. By the early 80s he was being given the lead in Omen 3, and then screen-tested for Bond but lost to Dalton (apparently this still rankles so don't bring it up if you ever meet him). By the end of the 80s the best he could do was playing Sean Connery's Friend Who Dies in The Hunt For Red October. So getting cast in Jurassic Park was more of a career renaissance than his big break.

Seems to be a nice bloke, his social media is a hoot and his early 90s documentary about NZ films, Cinema Of Unease, is a must-watch. Just don't mention Bond!

https://youtu.be/5V15wNflslc

George White

Quote from: bgmnts on November 26, 2021, 10:44:23 PMI'm going to go and say Sam Neill purely on the basis he was rocketed to the moon by being given the lead in probably one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, being outshone in that film by Goldblum and then not doing much of note after, to my recollection (Event Horizon is great).

But Goldblum went on to star in one of the othee biggest blockbusters of all time a few years later and become embedded in our cultural consciousness.
I get the impression that Neill never really wanted to be a STAR.  He's not a very Hollywood guy anyway, what with his farm and his wine.

George White

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on November 27, 2021, 01:12:09 AMAnyway, my nomination for this thread would be Brad Davis. You probably wouldn't even recognise the name now, even though he began his movie career winning a Golden Globe for his part in Midnight Express and was almost cast as the lead in Rambo at one point. He had the looks and intensity of a young Brando, but despite roles in a few high profile films, he spectacularly fucked-up his career with booze and drugs, and although he cleaned up and made something of a comeback, he had tragically contracted HIV during his wild years and died in 1991 aged only 41.

His posthumously-published memoir bluntly laid into Hollywood's hypocritical attitude to actors with AIDS, particularly how the studios would publicly claim to support AIDS and HIV actors, while effectively blacklisting them from working. I've often wondered if the fact that he turned on the industry was what led to him being effectively erased from film history, from Hollywood's point of view it's like he never existed.

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/16/garden/for-the-widow-of-brad-davis-time-cannot-heal-all-the-wounds.html
Was just watching him in Blood Ties, one of those 80s Italian miniseries that were often full, like so many Italian productions of "Never-weres" who had come to Italy to cash in on the promise they once had.

It's the sort of thing that House of GUcci desperately reminded me of.  He also did IIRC a low-rent actioner called QUiet Cool starring Adam Ant and Sharon Stone.

dead-ced-dead

Quote from: George White on November 27, 2021, 09:35:48 AMI get the impression that Neill never really wanted to be a STAR.  He's not a very Hollywood guy anyway, what with his farm and his wine.

Same, and as stated upthread, his casting in Jurassic Park was meant to be somewhat ironic. There was a trend in some 90s films to cast actors against type in action films to subvert expectations (think Keanu Reeves - prior to Speed and The Matrix - in Point Break or Nicolas Cage - prior to Face/Off and Con Air - in The Rock).

Inspector Norse

Neill was also 46 when Jurassic Park came out - too late for a real bid for stardom.

And Goldblum was hardly an unknown: he'd had hits in the '80s and was only recently divorced from an Oscar-winning box office star.

Brundle-Fly

Lenny Henry had a stab at Hollywood with True Identity in 1991. He was back home the same year and making the far superior Bernard And The Genie. Sometimes it's better to be a big fish in the pond (or back then, virtually the only fish in the pond, Rudolph Walker non withstanding).

George White

Same year Rik Mayall and Mel Smith attempted Hollywood (the latter as part of a nouveau Marx Bros with John Turturro and BOb nelson in Brain DOnors)

Famous Mortimer

The B-movie world is littered with people like this, who spent their time with one director or one genre and never really broke out, despite having talent in spades. There were a couple of David A Prior's stock company who could have / should have been working for bigger budgets in bigger / better movies - William Zipp and Fritz Matthews stick out.

And, of course, there are legions of women who probably had miserable experiences on movie sets with sleazy men and decided to get out of the business, or were blackballed for refusing to play the game.

My proper nomination for this thread, though, is Steve James.



He's best known for being the sidekick in the first three American Ninja movies, but he was also in the two C.A.T. Squad movies, and a lot of other things. His IMDB profile even says "Steve James was often cast in action movies as the hero's sidekick, despite usually being a better actor and fighter than the star." Cannon Films had an explicit policy of not having black leads in their movies, and they probably weren't the only ones, and it's a terrible shame that James was denied work, died young, and his one starring role was kind of bad.

mothman

At one point - it was certainly true in the nineties - there was always that one actress who was absolutely, definitely going to be the next big thing, take her place in those lofty heights with Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan etc.

Julia Ormond. Then Claire Forlani. Then Gretchen Mol. Then Miranda Otto. Alicia Silverstone was in there somewhere. Liv Tyler too. And Linda Fiorentino.

SweetPomPom

Last few things I've seen Liv Tyler in she's barely been a cameo with hardly any lines. That's got to be choices rather than all she's being offered.

Bad Ambassador

Quote from: SweetPomPom on November 27, 2021, 06:52:07 PMLast few things I've seen Liv Tyler in she's barely been a cameo with hardly any lines. That's got to be choices rather than all she's being offered.

She's moved into TV in the last few years, starring in The Leftovers, Gunpowder, Harlots and procedural 911: Lone Star.

Brundle-Fly

Often female actors stymie their careers for having the temerity to bear children. It's always interesting to look at the telling gaps on IMBD. 

Felicity Central

Z Cars - A Fair Cop. WPC Wallflower. 1962

hiatus

Doctor Who - The Vengeance of Radox. Spleena 1973


Bad Ambassador

Linda Fiorentino acquired a reputation for being "difficult", coincidentally around the time she starred in the Weinstein-produced Dogma. Since then she made three films in 2000, one in 2002 and one in 2009.

McChesney Duntz

Speaking of difficult actresses, whither Kim Greist? A handful of high-visibility roles (Throw Mama From The Train, Manhunter, Brazil), and no one involved with any of them seems to have a single good word to say about her, with the inevitable results...

Quote from: Bad Ambassador on November 27, 2021, 10:45:25 PMLinda Fiorentino acquired a reputation for being "difficult", coincidentally around the time she starred in the Weinstein-produced Dogma. Since then she made three films in 2000, one in 2002 and one in 2009.

Similarly, Uma Thurman's career got very quiet after the Weinstein-produced Kill Bill. Worth reading about.

Also, wasn't Sean Young's career scuppered after she turned down sleazeball Charlie Sheen?

SweetPomPom

Quote from: clingfilm portent on November 27, 2021, 11:35:15 PMAlso, wasn't Sean Young's career scuppered after she turned down sleazeball Charlie Sheen?

I thought blowing the Vicki Vale role in Batman and falling out with Burton followed by the Catwoman stunt was her career-killer?

phantom_power

Quote from: Bad Ambassador on November 27, 2021, 10:45:25 PMLinda Fiorentino acquired a reputation for being "difficult", coincidentally around the time she starred in the Weinstein-produced Dogma. Since then she made three films in 2000, one in 2002 and one in 2009.

She fell out with Kevin Smith big time during the making of that film, but that doesn't preclude the Weinstein effect also happening

mothman

I don't know what's more striking, how many actresses somehow get this reputation for being "difficult" - often after appearing in (or being considered for) a Miramax production; or that said "reputation" only becomes common knowledge years after the fact, post #MeToo. Though some of the more egregious examples (Ms. Young) were it seems mostly self-inflicted.