The movie industry is a fickle, chaotic scene. The ways in which certain actors rise to superstardom while others plummet into obscurity is never a sure thing. The big stars of this year might be completely off the radar by 2018 and the next big celebrity might even be someone that’s yet to be discovered.
In the same sense, there’s a certain satisfaction when other actors scrape and struggle to reach the top. It’s oddly empowering to see someone that’s put in their dues for years suddenly experience a big hit.
Awards, paparazzi, gossip, and raw talent all play factors in who stays relevant and who disappears. The only thing that’s a certainty is that fame doesn’t last forever.
Sometimes actors at the top of their game commit huge mistakes that destroy their reputation, while other times actors don’t do anything wrong at all and the winds of change replace them with their “newer model.”
In an age of superheroes, connected universes, and huge franchises, celebrity and star power has never been more important. One successful role can change an actor’s career forever.
With so much talent entering and leaving the limelight, here are the 15 Shocking Actors Hollywood Won’t Cast Anymore.
15. Amanda Bynes
Amanda Bynes grew out of a sparkling TV career that positioned her to be a star. Bynes headlined a number of television projects and eventually reached the point where it only made sense to extend her talents into the cinema.
Bynes’ movie roles weren’t as memorable as her television work, but she still found a number of modest, albeit popular, teen films to keep her relevant.
However, the string of lackluster movies, which were met with erratic behavior, started to turn the public’s opinion on Bynes. She might have had a bright future at one point, but now her most recent movie is still Emma Stone’s breakout vehicle, Easy A, and Hairspray, which was over a decade ago.
14. Catherine Zeta-Jones
The absence of Cartherine Zeta-Jones in cinema is a true shame since, at one point, she was one of the strongest stars in the industry. Entrapment, Traffic, and even her work in the Zorro movies screams talent.
It doesn’t seem fair that she would just fade away. However, the worst thing about Zeta-Jones’ decline from prominence is that she didn’t even do anything wrong, but just gradually became less and less relevant.
Zeta-Jones’ most recent notable work was on TV, where she played classic movie legend Olivia de Havilland. Zeta-Jones was added to projects like Rock of Ages and Red 2 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, but she failed to make the splash that was intended with her casting.
13. Tobey Maguire
Some stars are able to lead a franchise as an iconic character and still succeed in joining another franchise down the road. It might have seemed impossible for Michael Keaton, a former Batman, to pop up as a Spider-Man villain, but he nailed it.
Similarly, Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds have managed such transitions with aplomb. Unfortunately, less successful is Tobey Maguire, who had a fruitful run as Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s trilogy before the franchise collapsed on itself.
Maguire was at the height of celebrity during his tenure as Spider-Man, but the series’ reboot also meant the end of his career in many ways. Maguire has popped up on television and was one of the leads in Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby, but that was back in 2013 and he hasn’t had many leading opportunities since then.
12. Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz was pure fire in the early 2000s, but she’s the definition of an actress who’s steadily made poor decisions that have audiences burnt out over her.
There was a time where Cameron Diaz was the ingredient for success, as she helped anchor franchises like Shrek and Charlie’s Angels. However, a solid string of poor movies and regrettable romantic comedies began to turn Diaz into box office poison.
Misses such as Bad Teacher, The Green Hornet, The Other Woman, and Sex Tape only further hammered the nail in Diaz’ coffin. Her final turn was in the maligned 2014 Annie remake, a role that didn’t win her any praise.
Cameron Diaz is also the first of the actors on here who suffer from the “Shrek Curse.” All of the A-list talent associated with the quirky animated movie series seem to have fallen on harsh times as of late.
11. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser is another actor who doesn’t get as much attention anymore. Fraser saw a solid stretch during the early 2000s as a leading man, but his shtick soon started to wear thin.
Fraser took in universal acclaim as the lead of the popular Mummy trilogy, but he found himself in an awkward phase where neither his comedy nor his action skills were strong enough to carry him. There’s a reason why his character didn’t make some cute tongue-in-cheek appearance in this year’s Mummy reboot (not that that would have saved it).
In recent years, Frasier turned to television when his film roles began to dry up. His last real notable movie role included voice work in 2014’s The Nut Job (but notably, he did not return for this year’s sequel).
10. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. saw a popular rise to stardom during the late ‘90s and early 2000s thanks to romantic comedy vehicles like She’s All That.
Some rather fortuitous casting would also place Prinze Jr. as Fred in the Scooby-Doo films and garner the actor even more success. Unfortunately, after this point Prinze, Jr. began to struggle and was unable to find his niche in the industry.
Scooby-Doo failed to develop into more of a franchise and Freddie wasn’t sticking anywhere else. When Hollywood would no longer cast him, he turned to television where he saw moderate success and even rounded out the cast of one of the later seasons of 24.
9. Mike Myers
Sometimes somebody just makes so many unsuccessful movies that it’s time to stop giving them more chances. There’s no denying that Mike Myers was a bona fide comedy star for decades.
His rise began on Saturday Night Live. From there he appeared in comedies such as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, which are a testament to Myers’ character work.
However, Myers then began to go too far with his routine. He turned the Austin Powers franchise into a parody of itself and other efforts like The Cat in the Hat and The Love Guru horrified more people than they made laugh.
Add to all of this an allegedly belligerent attitude, and it’s easy to see why Myers has disappeared from movie screens. Even his recent stint on television’s new Gong Show sees him disguised as a character and hiding his identity.
8. Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner experienced that sort of lightning in a bottle rise to stardom that can be intoxicating, but also incredibly brief. The Twilight series was a global phenomenon and it turned all of its cast members into instant superstars– including Lautner, who played Jacob in the movies.
Twilight did its job to keep Lautner a part of the conversation, but he didn’t have the star power and versatility needed to stay in the spotlight. Lautner was given some opportunities to show off his talents as a convincing lead, like in Abduction, but no one seemed to be interested in the actor outside of Twilight.
7. Macaulay Culkin
It’s not easy to make the transition from child actor to adult star, especially when your child self is painfully cute. Macaulay Culkin became a household name courtesy of Home Alone and its sequel.
Culkin continued to earn more goodwill with smart projects, such as his starring role in Richie Rich. Culkin, however, found himself in an unusual situation when he entered adulthood and was no longer suitable for his former roles. The actor struggled to find his place and began to slip out of Hollywood’s graces.
Culkin never completely stopped working, but it’s pretty disheartening that his latest cinematic hits were 2003 and 2004’s Party Monster and Saved! Culkin also shifted his efforts towards TV roles, but somehow playing himself on The Jim Gaffigan Show doesn’t seem as glamorous.
6. John Travolta
John Travolta used to be one of Hollywood’s elite, but it’s now clear that the actor’s Pulp Fiction days are long behind him. Travolta’s filmography is full of hits like Saturday Night Fever, but the past few decades have seen his career get muffled by mindless, forgettable, straight-to-video fare and embarrassing comedies.
Travolta’s last real notable “hit” is 2012’s Savages by Oliver Stone, which is one of the worst movies from Stone’s career. It’s been a long time since Travolta had a genuine blockbuster and has seen acclaim (possibly all the way back in his gender-bending role in 2007’s Hairspray).
However, it’s worth noting that, while Travolta saw recent success for his role on American Crime Story, he’s still not appearing on the big screen. His upcoming movie Gotti was just dropped just ten days before its release.
5. Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank’s résumé from the early 2000s is stacked with a number of enviable movies. Swank is an actress who always gives her all, which makes her disappearance from the current landscape of film rather disappointing, especially since her career started with such force.
Not only did Swank win a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Boys Don’t Cry, but she also went on to win her second statue for her incredible performance in Million Dollar Baby.
In spite of two Oscars under her belt, Swank’s projects began to lose visibility. There were still vehicles like The Black Dahlia and her starring role in the Amelia Earhart biopic, Amelia, but Swank’s presence slowly faded.
4. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf’s story feels a little tragic since there appears to be a good actor hiding away somewhere in this complicated individual. LaBeouf just seems to be at a point where his antics and lifestyle supersede his ability, which means that his career has begun to suffer as a result.
LaBeouf has been a part of an incredible selection of movies and was even personally championed by Steven Spielberg himself. LaBeouf headlined franchises like Transformers and worked with visionaries like Lars Von Trier.
In spite of the fortunate roles that the actor has played, his ego is beginning to get the better of him. LaBeouf’s roles are disappearing, as franchises have begun to replace his previously popular roles.
In addition, his offscreen behavior has become too much of a liability. It’s a shame, though, because there are various talented people who seem to genuinely want to help LaBeouf, but he might not be able to see that.
3. Eddie Murphy
The fact that it’s been decades since Eddie Murphy has had a good role is a serious bummer. This is especially disappointing because Murphy had a solid run of edgy and hilarious comedies throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, it’s easy to forget this with the current projects that he turns out.
Murphy has practically become a parody of himself as he continues to mine his multiple character shtick and deliver abysmal comedies like The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Meet Dave, and Norbit.
Murphy briefly tried to do a string of serious indie dramas after he found some success in 2006’s Dreamgirls. As a result, he turned into an actor without passion– it feels like the comedy that he wants to do isn’t enjoyed by anyone, and the drama that he pushes himself into is too soft or just washes over audiences.
2. Katherine Heigl
Is it really possible to ruin your reputation for being too disagreeable? Katherine Heigl seems to be the proof of this, since in spite of seemingly making all of the right choices, her reputation has gone up in flames.
Then, at one point she began doing half-baked wedding comedies, almost as if she wanted to claim it as her own personal genre. With roles in 27 Dresses, The Big Wedding, and Jenny’s Wedding, she was certainly making her way in across the screen.
However, Heigl has found herself back in television after an ungrateful exodus from cinema. Heigl might have had the qualities necessary to be a leading lady, but after so many misfires, it’s clear that the public just aren’t buying it anymore.
1. Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan is another actor who didn’t do anything wrong, but rather the world just moved on and she got lost in the shuffle. There’s no question that Meg Ryan is a strong leading lady and a powerful love interest.
Movies such as When Harry Met Sally…, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle still get brought up in conversations as some of the finest romantic comedies of all time.
That being said, it’s difficult to maintain that momentum, and thus Ryan slowly lost touch with her demographic. It’s a shame, though, because even some of Ryan’s most “recent” hits like In the Cut and Kate & Leopold are from over 15 years ago.
It looks like Ryan’s time has passed, but maybe she’ll still be able to surprise everyone.
Did we miss any of Hollywood’s former finest? Sound off in the comments!
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