Many actors strive to have a strong and long lasting acting career. Naturally, actors try to achieve this success by appearing in projects that they think will be critically acclaimed.
However, the key to mainstream acting success is never that simple. In fact, a lot of actors have become famous by consistently starring in bad movies. Though, in general, those who star in consistently great movies still generally manage to do well for themselves.
Their own performances manage to become as popular as the famous movies that they star in. Such actors tend to end up winning several awards, as well as a possible Oscar or two. However, they are not always able to maintain relevancy through these incredible movies.
In some odd cases, these actors wind up disappearing from Hollywood all together after starring in amazing movies. There are various reasons for this strange occurrence.
Sometimes, the actor in question decides to dedicate more time to another project or medium and thus they have little time or interest in working in another movie. Occasionally, there is an outside force that prevents an actor from making more movies. Other times, the actor might just decide to quit acting all together.
With that said, here are the 15 Actors Whose Careers Flopped After Incredible Movies.
15. Rupert Grint
There was once a time when it was predicted that all three main stars of the Harry Potter movies would move on to bigger and better things once the franchise wrapped up.
For the most part, this has been the case. Emma Watson spent last year starring in one of 2017’s highest grossing movies, Beauty and the Beast. Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe has starred in plenty of flicks over the last few years and is currently prepping to star in a show for TBS called Miracle Workers.
However, Rupert Grint hasn’t appeared in much since Harry Potter ended. He’s been in only a few independent movies. When he stopped playing Ron Weasley, he briefly considered quitting acting and therefore distanced himself from Hollywood for a time.
14. Brendan Fraser
There was once a time when Brendan Fraser was one of Hollywood’s most popular and sought after leading men thanks to starring in smash hits like George of the Jungle, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the original Mummy trilogy.
Then, around the mid-2000s, his career suddenly hit a roadblock and he completely disappeared from the big screen. Fraser explained in a recent interview with GQ that one reason for his disappearance was due to a 2003 encounter with then-HFPA president Philip Berk, who allegedly fondled him and blackballed him from Hollywood.
13. Freida Pinto
Slumdog Millionaire was the surprise hit of 2008, going on to rack up nearly $400 million from a $15 million budget, and winning a total of eight Oscars, including Best Picture.
The movie also did strongly enough to jump start Dev Patel’s career as a lead actor and he’s since done extremely well for himself, having been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor for his turn in Lion.
It is therefore a shame that his co-star, Freida Pinto, has not been able to accumulate the same success. Apart from an appearance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes as James Franco’s love interest, Pinto has been largely absent from Hollywood circles.
12. F. Murray Abraham
In 1985, F. Murray Abraham won the Best Actor Oscar for playing frenemy to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri, in Amadeus. What seemed to be a positive career trajectory amounted to nothing for the actor, however, as he appeared to disappear from Hollywood after the win.
In fact, his Oscar win and his quiet post-Oscar career has been referred to as “F. Murray Abraham Syndrome,” an Oscar curse that suggests that winning an Oscar is the high point of an actor’s career, and everything goes downhill afterwards.
The reason for his apparent disappearance seems to be based on how selective he was with his character choices, which caused large gaps in his career. In more recent years, Abraham has dedicated his time to playing Dar Adal on Homeland.
11. Guy Pearce
Following his breakout performance in Memento, it seemed like Guy Pearce had instantly launched himself into Hollywood superstardom and there was no going back from there.
Things took a nasty snag in 2011, however, when he starred in Lockout, a movie that failed to do big business at the box office, pulling in only $32 million from a $20 million budget.
Pearce managed to quickly bounce back within the next couple years, though, thanks to his supporting role in Prometheus and his villainous turn in Iron Man 3. However, his appearance in Alien: Covenant was last time we saw Pearce in a mainstream movie.
10. Viggo Mortensen
In addition to being hailed as one of the best and finest actors of his generation, Viggo Mortensen was once adored by fans as one of the most popular actors.
He starred in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings franchise as Aragorn, which earned him much critical acclaim from audiences. He followed this up with two tremendous performances in A History in Violence and Eastern Promises, the latter of which earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
A third collaboration with David Cronenberg earned Mortensen a Golden Globe nomination. However, he appears to have disappeared from Hollywood since, only being seen in minor indie projects.
9. Roberto Benigni
Roberto Benigni won big at the 1998 Oscars ceremony. His movie Life is Beautiful won him an Oscar for Best Actor and Best Foreign Film. It seemed like Hollywood had its next big international star, but alas, it was not to be.
Benigni’s next big role wouldn’t come until 2002, and when he appeared as the titular character in Pinocchio. However, the movie was both a financial flop and a critical disaster.
After some small roles, Roberto Begini would disappear from the movie business all together for the better part of a decade. He didn’t appear in anything until the 2012 Woody Allen comedy, To Rome With Love. Since then, Benigni has yet to appear in another movie and appears to have retired from the industry.
8. Mercedes Ruehl
In 1992, relatively unknown actress Mercedes Ruehl managed to hold her own next to powerhouses Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, and wound up stealing the show in The Fisher King. Her supporting work in the movie earned her an Oscar the following year.
Oddly enough, the Oscar never elevated her career in Hollywood. The only other major Hollywood project that she appeared in afterwards was Last Action Hero, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ruehl was always a theater actor, and while she seldom appeared in movies after her Oscar win, she has since continued working on stage. To this day, she has a big presence on Broadway. She appeared in Torch Song Trilogy and was highly acclaimed for performing in Woman Before a Glass.
7. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody instantly stole the hearts of millions due to his role in The Pianist, a performance that at one time earned him the accolade of being the youngest actor to win a Best Actor Oscar.
Since then, Brody struggled to capitalize on his success in Hollywood. His next few roles were either in movies that were major box office flops (Splice, The Jacket, Hollywoodland, and Cadillac Records) or critical disappointments (Predators and The Village).
It seems like it has been ages since Brody has even so much as appeared in a major Hollywood production, but he could be preparing for a comeback in light of his recent supporting turn on Peaky Blinders. Although, at this point, a comeback seems unlikely.
After spending the better part of her career as a stand up and television actress, Mo’Nique gave a startling supporting performance in Precious as the title character’s abusive mother.
She blew critics away with her performance and was able to acquire the Best Supporting Actress Oscar due to it. However, her career went nowhere afterwards, as she seemed to disappear from acting all together for five years.
However, according to rumors, Mo’Nique has allegedly been blackballed from Hollywood for being difficult to work with. Mo’Nique publicly cites Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry as prominent figures who kept her out of Hollywood.
5. Suraj Shurma
Suraj Sharma made his acting debut as the star of Life of Pi. The movie itself won an Oscar for Best Director and was nominated for Best Picture. Sharma’s performance garnered much praise and adulation for the young actor, even winning a few awards for his star making turn.
However, despite the fact that Life of Pie was a success among viewers, the exposure did not do much for Sharma’s career going forward. He did appear in the Jon Hamm led Disney film, Million Dollar Arm, in 2014, but the movie was quickly forgotten and discarded as soon as it came out.
4. Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo provided a strong supporting turn in Hotel Rwanda that gained her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Since then, she has fared well on both television and Broadway.
She has been nominated for both Golden Globes and BAFTAs for her roles in Tsunami: The Aftermath, Mrs. Mandela, and Criminal Justice. Her Broadway debut as Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun earned Okonedo a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Meanwhile, she has been largely absent from Hollywood and movies all together since her Oscar nomination, with her last major movie role being in Will Smith’s After Earth.
Perhaps it is her intense dedication to the theater world and the television world would explain her absence from the movie world, though she may be making a comeback, as she is set to appear in 2018’s Hellboy as Lady Hatton.
3. Stephen Dorff
Stephen Dorff first broke into Hollywood via his villainous turn as the unruly vampire known as Frost from the first Blade movie. Dorff did a decent job balancing his appearances between major Hollywood productions and more obscure independent movies afterwards, but somewhere along the line, he disappeared from both mediums of filmmaking.
Dorff seemed to maintain some relevance again after his critically acclaimed performance in Sofia Coppola’s 2010 movie, Somewhere.
The last major movie that he appeared in was The Iceman, a 2013 film that starred Michael Shannon as mobster Richard Kuklinski. The movie itself quickly became a fan favorite, but it’s poor run at the box office prevented Dorff from making a true comeback within the industry.
2. David Thewlis
In 1993, David Thewlis gave a superb starring turn as Johnny in the somber Mike Leigh picture, Naked, which won Thewlis a Best Actor award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Many predicted that he would quickly rise as an actor in Hollywood, but following his first Hollywood outing in the disastrous The Island of Dr. Moreau, he decided to leave Hollywood in order to pursue roles in the UK.
He later returned to Hollywood to play Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series. His stunning performances in the Harry Potter movies seemed to win over American audiences enough to warrant a Hollywood comeback, but that comeback was extremely short lived.
1. Peter Ostrum
When he starred as Charlie in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, it seemed like Peter Ostrum’s career was set for life. Not only was he starring in one of the biggest movies of the 1970s, but his performance received plenty of positive reviews, which is a rarity for child actors.
Ostrum was instantly made into a Hollywood star, but for some reason, he never capitalized on that Hollywood fame and fortune. In fact, Ostrum never wanted it.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was not only his first movie, but it was also his only film to date. When filming ended, Ostrum wasn’t interested in becoming an actor. Instead, he wanted to become vet. In 1984, he earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, and is now a vet. He also married and had two children.
Can you think of any other actors who completely disappeared after amazing movies? Let us know in the comment section!
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