Actors take breaks. It’s only natural. Making a film is harder than it seems, especially when your duties don’t only involve the making of the film, but also the film’s promotion. As a result, it’s only natural for some of the world’s most successful actors and actresses to take breaks, where they can spend time with family and rest. In 2017, there were a number of actors who, for one reason or another, seemed to disappear from the spotlight almost completely.
These actors are some of the best working in Hollywood today, and it can be hard to notice their absence when there’s such an abundance of talent in the industry. Even so, these stars were a part of some of the biggest films of the last decade, and have been unforgettable in one role or in several. 2017, however, just wasn’t their year. For the most part, the actors on this list are folks we’ve missed over the past year.
It’s a year that’s seen plenty of amazing performances, but one that could have had a few more, if only these actors had graced our screens. With that in mind, here are 15 Actors Who Completely Disappeared In 2017.
15 Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper is an actor who has really dominated the first half of the 2010s on screen. He’s an actor of tremendous range and skill, and he’s been nominated for Oscars for playing a man struggling with his mental health, an FBI agent, and the world’s deadliest sniper. In 2017, though, Cooper has been largely absent from the world of cinema. Sure, he voiced Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but other than that, he has not been seen on screen this year.
This year, Cooper has been busy working behind the camera on his remake of A Star is Born, which he’ll also star in alongside Lady Gaga. Cooper made it to the A-list later in his career than many actors, but he’s made the most of his time in Hollywood since that big break.
14 Felicity Jones
It might sound strange to say, but Felicity Jones was in the highest grossing movie of 2016. Although Rogue One has quickly faded from many people’s minds, it was still an enormous success at the box office. Interestingly, Jones wasn’t really the draw for that movie, though her natural charm surely didn't hurt. Jones, who was nominated alongside Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, didn’t show up on screens much this year, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a potent force in the acting world.
After all, Jones was cast in Rogue One largely because of her skill as a performer, and Jones has several projects slated for potential release in 2018, including a Ruth Bader Ginsburg called On the Basis of Sex.
13 Joseph Gordon-Levitt
It wasn’t so long ago that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was Hollywood’s latest rising star. Even as his star has faded slightly, he’s still managed to put out at least one movie a year over the last few years, at least until this year. Just a few years ago, he was a favorite of Christopher Nolan, and starred in both Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.
Even in recent years, Gordon-Levitt took on the role of Edward Snowden, one of the most pivotal American figures of the past decade. Gordon-Levitt’s career has taken plenty of odd paths, but his presence on screen has always been unique. He’s charismatic, but not in a leading man kind of way. Instead, he’s something slightly stranger, but he’s always been captivating, and will hopefully continue to be in the future.
12 Jonah Hill
You have heard Jonah Hill’s voice in 2017, but you haven’t seen his face. The comedian has only done voice work this year, and has been notably absent in front of the camera. Hill has earned himself a lot of credibility in recent years for his ability to shift between dramatic and comedic work, and he’s even earned himself a pair of Oscar nominations in the process.
Hill’s upcoming schedule is also relatively sparse, although it seems to include a mix of live-action and voice work. Hill’s career has peaked in recent years, so it makes sense that a certain level of exhaustion would set in. Hill has proven that he can do a wide variety of different things, and his comedic chops are second-to-none. Next on his docket is a Netflix series, the Cary Fukunaga directed Maniac, co-starring Emma Stone.
11 Emily Blunt
For the last few years, Emily Blunt has turned in stellar performance after stellar performance. In 2015, she was magnetic in Sicario, and in 2016, she played a remarkable mess in The Girl on the Train. In 2017, though, Blunt was largely absent from the worlds of both film and television.
Blunt has a busy year ahead of her next year, including a horror movie directed by her husband, John Krasinski, and she’ll be playing Mary Poppins, taking over for the legendary Julie Andrews. Blunt is sure to have big shoes to fill in 2018, so it makes sense that 2017 would be a down year, one in which the actress was busy filming various projects that could make 2018 a year to remember for her.
10 Eddie Redmayne
For the past three years, it’s been kind of hard to avoid the feeling that Eddie Redmayne is everywhere. In that time, he won his first Oscar, and was nominated again in the same category. After that, he made his first foray into the world of blockbusters, starring in the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
That film was not an enormous hit, but it did well enough to justify a sequel, which Redmayne is set to star in next year. The English actor also has several other projects in the works, but he seems to have slowed down quite a bit since winning his Oscar. Of course, that’s probably the kind of luxury that Oscar winners can afford to take.
9 George Clooney
George Clooney is an actor and a director, so when he isn’t appearing on screen, there are good odds that it’s because he’s been working behind the scenes. That was the case this year, when Clooney took a break from acting to direct Suburbicon, which was mostly a failure both critically and commercially. Clooney is the kind of movie star that’s always magnetic, even when the movie around him falls apart.
His directorial work has been scattershot, but there’s always something compelling about the things that he commits to film. Even so, Clooney is still a more interesting presence in front of the camera than he is behind it. It’s a shame, then, that Clooney didn’t star in any films this year, and even worse, he doesn’t seem to have much more coming up.
8 Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock has proven that she’s capable of turning in singular, Oscar-winning work. She’s the kind of actor that’s always capable of revealing new facets of herself. She’s always surprising. In 2017, though, audiences weren’t treated to any Bullock performances at all. In fact, Bullock’s last movie was 2015’s Our Brand is Crisis.
Bullock does have projects coming up, including 2018’s Ocean’s Eight, the all-female reboot of Ocean’s Eleven. Bullock’s career is far from over, and she’s had enough success over the past 20 years that she’s justified in taking a break if she wants one.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that Bullock’s return in 2018 will be triumphant. It should serve as a reminder that she’s always been one of the best, and will show the world exactly what they’ve been missing these past few years.
7 Emily VanCamp
Emily VanCamp has been on a screen of some size consistently for many years now. First, she was on Everwood, and then she starred in ABC’s Revenge. VanCamp has also planted herself in the Marvel universe as the modern day love interest of Captain America, which is not a bad role to take on.
In 2017, though, VanCamp didn’t make a huge splash on TV or at movie theaters. She’s the kind of actress who’s been working steadily for quite a long period of time, so perhaps she decided that in 2017 it was time to take a break. VanCamp has proven to be a captivating presence, so this lull won't last for long: she's starring in The Resident, which premieres on FOX in January 2018.
6 Sienna Miller
The only movie Sienna Miller made in 2017 probably won’t see the light of day anytime soon. The director on that project was James Toback, the now infamous director who has been accused of harassment and assault by a truly astounding number of women. Although she’s usually not at the fore, Miller often finds herself in a number of awards season contenders like American Sniper or Foxcatcher.
This year, however, it seems that Miller has largely taken a break from this year-end push. She did star in The Lost City of Z, which was released in 2016 but played in theaters through 2017. That movie gave us a new side of the “abandoned wife” character that Miller so often finds herself playing, and she ate up every minute of her limited screen time.
5 Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham has been a consistent presence on TV screens for more than a decade. Gilmore Girls was the actor’s big break, and she followed that up almost immediately with Parenthood, another successful series that lasted for five, tear-jerking seasons. Graham has proven herself to be an incredible talent, and her ability to create characters through complex dialogue is second to none.
In 2017, though, Graham was absent from TV screens for an extended period. She did have a brief stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm, but Graham wasn’t as ubiquitous as she usually is. Last year saw the return of Gilmore Girls, which, though it wasn’t perfect, was a huge deal because of the show’s famously unsatisfying ending. In 2017, Graham simply couldn’t find anything that could top that.
4 Mia Wasikowska
Mia Wasikowska may not be showing up on American movie screens very often, but it’s not exactly for lack of trying. She was in two movies that were supposed to come out this year, but neither of them actually made it to American theaters. The actress, perhaps best known for her work in the Alice in Wonderland films, has three upcoming projects that she has already wrapped filming on, and a fourth that she has been attached to.
Although Alice is Wasikowska’s most famous work, she’s also outstanding in much smaller films, where she’s really made a name for herself as an actress worth watching. Although the Australia-born Wasikowska didn’t have a film in 2017, it’s a good bet that she’ll show up in plenty of future films, both big and small.
3 Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen is the kind of actor who likes to take breaks. It’s a luxury that not all actors are afforded, but it’s one that that Mortensen uses to avoid projects that he doesn’t find interesting. That’s one of the benefits of starring in a hugely successful trilogy like Lord of the Rings.
It would be a mistake to hone in solely on Mortensen’s franchise, history, though. He’s an actor who always makes interesting choices, and he has a couple of upcoming projects that continue that trend, including one focused on the Unabomber. Mortensen is also famous for his commitment to the projects that he takes on, often remaining in character on set - that paid off last year, when he received his second Academy Award nomination for his work in Captain Fantastic.
2 Bill Murray
Bill Murray can feel like such a ubiquitous presence in a our culture that when you discover that he didn’t actually act in a movie in 2017, it may come as something of a shock. After all, Murray may be our most beloved comedian, an actor who has proven his own versatility over a career that spans decades.
Of course, Murray’s status as a Hollywood legend has meant that he could work essentially whenever he wanted to, and choose only the projects that he found most interesting. He hasn’t appeared on screen in a couple of years, but he did voice Baloo in 2016’s The Jungle Book, and will provide a voice for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs in 2018. Bill Murray isn’t in need of another role. He has the luxury of deciding when he works.
1 Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and his commitment to the projects that he chooses is legendary. It’s what finally earned him that Oscar for The Revenant. Although the movie got him the gold, it was also the last movie DiCaprio appeared in. Since then, he’s been a little bit more focused on the climate than on his film career, and probably for good reasons.
DiCaprio does have some projects in the works for 2018, including another collaboration with Martin Scorsese - Killers of the Flower Moon. Some may remember him from his days as a heartthrob in the '90s, but in the years since, DiCaprio has morphed into a serious actor who is well-worth consideration.
What other actors disappeared in 2017? Share your observations in the comments.