“Whatever happened to so-and-so, I haven’t seen them since they starred in that thing?”
That’s a question that’s been pondered since the beginning of cinema, as people all over the world have sat around the dinner table and at the bar questioning where their favorite actors have gone. Recently, with the advent of smartphones and IMDB, we can figure out exactly whatever happened to so-and-so. “Oh, he was in an episode of that show. The one with the guy who does that thing.”
The only thing the Internet can’t always tell us why an actor has faded into oblivion. Sure, we can pinpoint when it happened, but Hollywood is such a fickle town that no one can really tell you why you haven’t seen a particular actor lately.
So keeping that in mind, we’re here to make you think, question, and reminisce about 10 Actors Hollywood Forgot About.
10 Michael Cera
Hollywood didn’t so much forget about Michael Cera as Michael Cera forgot about Hollywood; voluntarily. Seemingly stepping out of the limelight at the peak of his romantic comedy leading-man roles, Cera shifted his attention to other things; notably being featured in imgur memes and growing a mustache. And he hasn’t turned back since.
Although Cera has popped up in bit parts and lent his face to a scene or two in his friends’ films and TV shows, the awkward Canadian sensation has no plans to get back to big roles anytime soon. Always quick to point out how uncomfortable fame made him following his post-Arrested Development, post-Superbad life, it’s quite amazing that Cera was in as many great things as he was following that period. Between Scott Pilgrim, Youth in Revolt, Juno, and season 4 of Arrested Development, Michael Cera has built himself quite the resume, and should he wish to return to the world of the living at any point, we’d welcome him back and promise that no one will say he only plays the same characters anymore.
9 Brendan Fraser
For someone who starred in a trilogy that made over $1.2 billion at the box office (The Mummy), Brendan Fraser sure isn’t looked at as a huge draw for audiences. Maybe it’s his lack of other certifiable hits, maybe it’s bad luck, maybe people just aren’t sure how to spell his last name. The only thing we know for sure is that Brendan Fraser hasn’t had a noticeable on-screen role since the last entry of The Mummy trilogy back in 2008.
While Fraser has been in supporting roles here and there in the past few years, including a role amongst the past (and also, largely forgotten) cast of History channel’s mini-series Texas Rising, we miss the days of his liter fare. Spectacular roles in Scrubs, Looney Tunes: Back in Action (don’t laugh, it was a delightful film), and Blast from the Past show that Fraser should be given more chances to do comedy, and perhaps less to fight Mummies again and again and again.
8 Jessica Biel
From TV (7th Heaven) to Hollywood (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve) to nowhere, Jessica Biel came into our lives as quickly as she left them. Due to a string of underwhelming roles in moderately performing but ultimately forgettable films, Biel broke out of television and unfortunately broke right into mediocrity.
Without a critically acclaimed role under her belt or a film that set the world on fire, Biel is currently left with a hole in her resume that doesn’t look to be filled any time soon. Although Biel always brought an approachable charisma to her characters, as this list shows, once you’ve been off Hollywood’s radar for an extended period of time it’s almost impossible to find a way back on it.
7 Mike Myers
If Michael Cera and Mike Myers are any indication then there’s definitely something about Canadians that just can’t take fame once they reach the peak of it. Or maybe it’s just people named Michael. Either way, Mike Myers seemed poised to take over the comedy world after the incredible success of his Austin Powers and Shrek films, until… That never happened. Then The Love Guru came. And it was pretty much game over for the once promising Saturday Night Live breakout.
While Myers still enjoyed a long and successful career – longer and more successful than most on this list – we can’t help but wonder what went wrong. While it’s pretty clear why Hollywood chose to forget about Myers, we still are hoping for a comeback in the form of Austin Powers 4 – currently the only production he’s been linked to since his cameo in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds.
6 Josh Hartnett
Sometimes there’s a silver lining to everyone in Hollywood forgetting you exist, and for one-time breakout star of the world Josh Hartnett, that silver lining is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. One of the best shows on TV, Josh Hartnett delivers an astoundingly complex and magnetic performance week after week on the chilling series. And it makes us happy that Hartnett never landed on his feet in the world of movies.
After big action thrillers like Black Hawk Down, Sin City, and Lucky Number Slevin, Hartnett was being heralded as the next Leonardo DiCaprio, or anyone really; the possibilities were endless. He could’ve been in romantic comedies, he could’ve been in superhero movies, he could’ve been in indie dramas. Instead he was in… nothing you’ve heard of. But the good news is that Penny Dreadful is entering its third season and it seems to have revived Hartnett’s career; he’s got five films in the pipeline over the next two years.
5 Jessica Alba
Another Jessica that started out with great promise and a peaked with a role in Valentine’s Day, Jessica Alba first found large-scale box-office success with Sin City in what looked to be a promising career. After being plastered across the walls of teenagers’ bedrooms throughout the world, Alba appeared in the first two Fantastic Four films and provided a largely forgettable take on Sue Storm.
From there it was a steep fall into the Hollywood abyss as Alba appeared in the aforementioned The Love Guru, which did the exact same thing to her career as it did for Mike Myers. Aside from Spy Kids 4 and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Alba’s had a tough time sticking around the mainstream in a way that anyone’s noticed.
4 Meg Ryan
The one-time queen of rom-coms, Meg Ryan was America’s sweetheart until America found a new sweetheart in Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan faded away into the rearview mirror. Between When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s credentials are the real deal. With a few dramatic turns and critically acclaimed hits between three of the most important romantic comedies in modern cinema, Ryan looked poised to enter the latter half of her career with the ability to take on any role she wanted.
But when was the last time you saw Meg Ryan? Though she’s appeared in bit parts since starring in 2003’s In The Cut, she hasn’t had her name atop a mainstream success in well-over a decade. So if time were a Meg Ryan romantic comedy, the last decade would be the time after the break-up where the characters realize how they miss each other, and that thankfully means we’re due for the reunion and happy ending any time now.
3 Frankie Muniz
If you Google Frankie Muniz, one of the first suggestions is “Frankie Muniz dead.” And while he’s not dead, you’d be forgiven for thinking that, since he hasn’t been actively involved in film or TV since his time on Malcolm in the Middle ended back in 2006.
At the height of his popularity, Muniz was a teen icon, starring in My Dog Skip, Big Fat Liar, and two Agent Cody Banks films. But with the residuals checks rolling in after Malcolm wrapped up, Muniz took his money, bought houses and cars, and literally became a race car driver. So it’s not exactly true that Hollywood forgot about Frankie Muniz, it’s just that Frankie Muniz realized he could do better things with his time.
2 Wesley Snipes
Going to prison for three years certainly isn’t good if you’re trying to stay fresh in moviegoers minds, and Wesley Snipes was no exception to this rule. Despite being one of the first on-screen superheroes in three Blade films and having quietly iconic roles in Demolition Man and Major League, if you asked anyone born after 1990 who Wesley Snipes is they’d have a hard time telling you.
Though Snipes is now out of prison and back to making films – he was in The Expendables 3 and Chi-Raq – it doesn’t look like he’s set to gain any new ground in Hollywood anytime soon. Though we’d love to see a career resurgence that puts Snipes in the category of age 50+ action stars, he’d better start booking gigs soon if he wants to get back to the level of star-power that he once had.
1 Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd is an anomaly. It seems as if you haven’t seen him in years, but when you look at his list of credits you realize you have; just not in the ways you’d think. He voiced Yogi Bear in the film of the same name in 2010, played a small role in 2012’s comedy The Campaign, had a part in Behind the Candelabra, Tammy, and Get on Up, and just this summer he was in Adam Sandler’s Pixels. It certainly sounds like he’s been busy, so why did Hollywood forget about him?
The reason seems to be that Aykroyd was a huge deal in the 80s’ – one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – and between Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, and Trading Places, it looked like he was unstoppable. But then he did stop, and after a few self-indulgent bombs Aykroyd faded away and only recently came back to dip his toes into the acting waters. With a cameo in this summer’s Ghostbusters reboot, Aykroyd’s time in the spotlight may come again as everyone remembers the potential and excitement that he once brought to comedy.
Which actor do you wish would come back into your life? Is there anyone on this list you totally forgot about? Let us know in the comments!