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 Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere 
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Post Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
I've recently been thinking about the time I really got into movies and seeing movies at theatres and realized that some stars that seemed to be everywhere back then, just kind of disappeared. Sure, they still appear in small films and sometimes on TV, but they never got the big break despite having had a very successful phase.

So what cases can you think of? Of course, those who have retired from acting (like Bridget Fonda) don't count.

The most prominent case is probably Linsday Lohan. She had a great streak 2003-2005 with Freaky Friday ($110 million), Mean Girls ($86 million) and Herbie: Fully Loaded ($66 million). She seemed like the next big thing, especially thanks to Mean Girls. But then she dyed her hair and went all crazy...and now she stars in stuff like The Canyons or InAPPropriate Comedy or has bit parts in Machete and Scary Movie 5, both just poking fun at her image more or less.

Then I thought of Josh Hartnett. Hollywod really tried hard to make him a star. He started with Halloween H20 and The Faculty and then landed a leading role in Pearl Harbor, which was supposed to be his big break. Leading roles in 40 Days and 40 Nights, Black Hawk Down and Hollywood Homicide followed. Seemingly he has been quite popular in the first half of the last decade. But then he just slowly disappeared into oblivion. I mean I just realized that 30 days and 30 Nights was his last film to open in more than one (!) theatre - and that was six years ago! It's not like he's hitting it big on TV either...

Also a heartthrob that didn't go anywhere - Freddie Prinze Jr. I Know What You Did Last Summer, She's All That, Down to You, Head over Heels, Boys & Girls, Summer Catch...he has been playing the same role in half a dozen of films in 1997-2001. Scooby Doo 2 (2004) was his last wide theatrical live-action release. He had a somewhat successful stint on "24" in the 8th season, but that's pretty much it lately.

Haley Joel Osment - Okay, child star curse, but still weird that after The Sixth Sense and A.I. he just disappeared mroe or less.

Michael Cera (Price is gonna like this one) - He had a terrific streak with Superbad, Juno and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, but for some reason he just didn't really remain a solid part of the Apatow crew. Scott Pilgrim disappointed and Year One bombed.

Clive Owen - I agree, this is a controversial pick. Let me say this: I think Clive Owen is great and I would have loved to see him break out big time. And God know Hollywood tried and tried and tried. They gave the guy a leading role in King Arthur, which was heavily marketed as Bruckheimer's follow-up to Pirates of the Caribbean. King Arthur bombed. Same year Owen got an Oscar nom for Closer, which was a decent success. He did well with Sin City. Derailed was an okay-ish success and Inside Man a big hit. Children of Men flopped at the box-office, but at least was heavily acclaimed and is a certain cult classic.

but after that...

Hollywood tried to give him his "own" Crank with Shoot 'em Up, but audiences shrugged it off. Elizabeth: The Golden Age bombed big time. The International bombed. He was paired with Julia Roberts in Duplicity and even that didn't do well. He has been in only one wide release since Duplicity in 2009 - Killer Elite. Deapite also having Jason Statham and Robert De Niro, the film made $25 million - a generic gross for Statham, meaning that Owen didn't really add anything.

I guess you might add Eric Bana, but he's somewhat more lukcy, as he gets to star in successful films every once in a while (Troy, Star Trek, The Time Traveler's Wife, Hanna).

Any more examples?

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Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:37 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Hartnett is the most interesting disappearing case I'd say. He was kind of the tail end of a larger phenom. Freddy Prince Jr., Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neve Campbell, and Skeet Ulrich kind of fell into that well, with various success. Jennifer Love Hewitt has stuck around a bit better, just not on the big screen. The genre was so loaded there for awhile, and gave a lot of those actors no where to go when the teen bubble burst.

I miss seeing Rachael Leigh Cook on the big screen, another victim of that bubble. She started doing only Staight to DVD stuff quickly. I was kind of obsessed with her.

Sam Worthington would probably face this fate if not for more Avatar.

Cuba Gooding Jr. falls squarely into the mold.

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Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:59 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Didn't Haley Joel Osment go off to college or something? I think he is an example of a child actor who just doesn't want to act anymore.


Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:14 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Oh yes, Cuba Gooding Jr. definitely belongs here. He also starred in Pearl Harbor, hehe. He had quite a successful streak 1996-2003 with Jerry Maguire, As Good as It Gets, Pearl Harbor, Men of Honor, Snow Dogs, Radio and Rat Race. Sure, Boat Trip and Chill Factor didn't do well, but mostly he had a good career then...

Ryan Phillippe somewhat lucked out by being cast in awards contenders such as Gosford Park, Crash and Flags of our Fathers. he stuck around, recently having starred in The Lincoln Lawyer and the last season of "Damages". Certainly a bigger success than Freddy Prinze Jr.

Speaking of that bubble - also Freddie prinze Jr.'s best buddy Matthew Lillard. Starred with him in Scooby Doo/Scooby Doo 2, Summer Catch, She's All hat and Wing Commander. Had some success with Thirteen Ghosts, Without a Paddle and, of course, Scream.

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Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:17 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Helen hunt? renee zellweger?

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Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Zellweger is an interesting example, yes. Helen Hunt, I believe, has just been quite picky about her roles.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
I think Sean William Scott is a contender here. Others might include Denise Richards, Jude Law, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Eddie Murphy, Chris O'Donnell, Jennifer Lopez, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Liz Hurley and David Schwimmer.

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Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:15 pm
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Did Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Denise Richards ever have a successful leading-role movie career?

Jude Law, maybe...though he hasn't really disappeared, kinda hangs in there. Chris O'Donnell is a good one, same for Jennifer Lopez.

I don't count someone like Eddie Murphy because he has actaully had a very long and very successful streak. I mean those that fizzled rather quickly.Murphy's best days are behind him, but unlike others here, he has actually been on the very top.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Val Kilmer is probably the most high profile I can think of outside of Cuba. Tombstone/ Batman/ Heat/ The Saint/ Ghost and the Darkness/ Prince of Egypt/ Top Gun. He never even attempts mainstream stuff anymore. Sure occasionally he has a couple of good roles like Spartan and Felon, Kiss Kiss, etc. But I find it shocking how little he tries anymore. But he does still make about 20 million a year. His asking price is still like 3 million a film no matter what.

Obviously Tom Sizemore, but that was mostly drug related. Anyone ever hear his interview with Howard Stern, it's pretty great stuff on his downard spiral.

Even though they came back, we also cannot overlook John Travolta from 81-88 and 90-93.

Finally, I'd like to just throw out there Mike Myers. I mean fuck. Would it kill him to make another live action film. Outside of the Love Guru he was down right fantastic.

Looking through this now, I'm pretty sure you meant mostly younger actors that were forced on us and never made it. But I think some of them still apply.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:06 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Brandon Lee. Bruce Lee. John Candy. Their careers just died for some reason.

Joking apart, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray's careers nosedived years ago. The same for Michael J. Fox.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:10 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
There need to be categories, definitely. Clive Owen, for example. It is true he has failed to become a draw with general audiences, but I believe he is still on Hollywood's mind. He will continue to score interesting roles, perhaps many of them of the supporting variety, in American studio pictures and British independent films. This is also true of Jude Law (who is Watson to Downey Jr.'s enormously popular Holmes) and Eric Bana. And in a way, perhaps it is best for them. They get to do interesting films and bring home relatively handsome paydays without the enormous pressure and scrutiny of Brad Pitt type star power.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Algren wrote:
Joking apart, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray's careers nosedived years ago. The same for Michael J. Fox.

Michael J. Fox might have problem headlining major motion pictures as his body lurches and twitches from the ravages of Parkinson's, so let's give him a pass, Algren. ;)

I also have to disagree with Bill Murray. He has simply transformed and is now an icon of independent film (see: Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers, the oeuvre of Wes Anderson). I don't believe we should undervalue the quality of this transformation, particularly considering a career nadir such as Osmosis Jones. He turned it around when he could have truly faded or imploded and remains cool, iconic.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:25 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Thegun wrote:
Finally, I'd like to just throw out there Mike Myers. I mean fuck. Would it kill him to make another live action film. Outside of the Love Guru he was down right fantastic.


Insider word is that he's incredibly difficult to work with, which probably explains his lack of output.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Agreed, Murray could have gone the route of Chase, Akyroyd, or Murphy (Stuck in family film hell) but he chose to actually put his ego and money issues away for some truly great roles, while still stealing the limelight occasionally like in Zombieland.

If not for Community Chase would have easily topped this list.

I think the biggest problem with Akyroyd is that he was someone that never really had a core audience or a major draw. It worked really well when he was younger because he aligned himself with great directors and co stars, and his showed the most early dramatic talent, but most producers for a nice role often went for someone with not such a comedy background or could pull audiences on their own.

I always found it odd though that by the early 90s, Chase, Akyroyd, Murray(after Groundhog Day) all flopped so badly afterwards. I mean some of the films had some good premises and starpower. But so many flops, and bombs, not even minor successes.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Webslinger wrote:
Thegun wrote:
Finally, I'd like to just throw out there Mike Myers. I mean fuck. Would it kill him to make another live action film. Outside of the Love Guru he was down right fantastic.


Insider word is that he's incredibly difficult to work with, which probably explains his lack of output.


I've heard that too, but more in the sense that he's a perfectionist. When he hosted the MTV movie awards in 08, or does other things though, he really is one of more gifted entertainers out there. Anyone ever see his tribute to Sean Connery. I think it's awesome.


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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Renee Zellwegger, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michelle Pfiefer, Reese Witherspoon, Cuba Gooding Jr, Edward Norton, Ewan McGregor, Rene Russo, Bill paxton (had a huge run from 1994-1997), Vin Diesel vanished for a while there, Sean William Scott, Tea Leoni...

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Jude Law


??? He did not become the megastar everyone thought he would be in the late 90s but he still very famous and has been part of many hits...

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:41 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Yeah Jude Law definitely went somewhere. He's someone like Colin Farrell that was just forced on us with so many starring roles, and none that great (also like FPJ and Josh Hartnett)

I'd also like to add Ryan Phillipe and Guy Pearce. Obviously Pearce has so many great roles, but he just never developed the mainstream appeal. I missed when he was rumored as Nolan's Batman or as Harvey Dent. He just missed out really.

Speaking of which, Aaron Eckhart is definitely on his way to nothing fast.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:48 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Excel wrote:
Reese Witherspoon


The fuck?

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Hayden Christensen. Mark Hamill.

Despite being in the biggest franchise ever made, they have no career.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:06 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Dr. Lecter wrote:
Excel wrote:
Reese Witherspoon


The fuck?


http://boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/? ... rspoon.htm

Also think CZJ might be the best one. From oscar winning bombshell star to...nobody in like, 2 years.

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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Right now I can think of Shia LaBeouf and Katie Holmes, their careers are also dying

Can somebody explain me what the fuck happened with the kids from Jurassic Park?? Their careers became unknown like most of the kids from Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Six Sense, The Phantom Manace...... And the kid from Chucky(Child's Play) (Andy),,,,,,, why the trending?

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:06 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
I don't believe Shia LaBeouf's career is "dying." If anything, he is showing promise. He is aware of how he is perceived because of trashy films such as Eagle Eye and Transformers and is trying to redefine himself. He is the star of the next Lars von Trier film.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:10 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
Brian wrote:
Right now I can think of Shia LaBeouf and Katie Holmes, their careers are also dying

Can somebody explain me what the fuck happened with the kids from Jurassic Park?? Their careers became unknown like most of the kids from Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Six Sense, The Phantom Manace...... And the kid from Chucky(Child's Play) (Andy),,,,,,, why the trending?

Kiddie actors are destined to be unsuccessful. When you go through the teenage years, you rebel against what is expected of you, and so the natural tendency is to stop acting. Only a rare few carrying it on.

As for Shia LeBeouf, he's still very popular. He was in the one of the biggest films ever made just 2 years ago, and he was in Lawless just last year. He's still around and very much making movies. He's been in movies for 10 straight years. He does not belong in this thread.

As for Katie Holmes, you may be onto something, although I think she took time off to have kids and be Tom Cruise's wife. I don't think Hollywood simply "forgot" about her.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:12 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
David Duchovny was given a few shots to be a proper film star (Kalifornia, Playing God, Return to Me, Evolution) and could never connect, though I s'pose he still has his Showtime series.

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:14 am
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Post Re: Once popular actors/actresses whose careers went nowhere
True but most TV actors fail. Duchovny is doing beyond average, and still stars in a well liked TV series.

Jennifer Garner now? Once seen as the powerful member of the Affleck marriage has certainly disappeared.

Kate Hudson also seems to have really gone quiet since her Fool's Gold role, and that was like 5 years ago.

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