There is no doubt that Hollywood is a very fickle place; stars fall just as quickly as they rise. One moment actors find themselves sought after by directors with more movie offers than they can handle, and the next they’re down on their luck struggling to get a role in anything semi-decent. Some of these stars dwindle into obscurity without the masses even noticing, while others find themselves caught up in highly publicized scandals that can either dent or end their careers
Many actors on this list are simply victims of bad choices; it doesn’t matter how successful you have been in the past, it’s the numbers that do the talking in Hollywood. So, a couple of bad choices in a row and successful actors often find themselves cast aside and flung from Hollywood’s good graces. Some of these stars bring about their own downfall; they either say the wrong thing or make a silly mistake, and just like that, they’re lost and trying to re-capture the success of their glory days. It shows how Hollywood really is a small place and that word spreads quickly; it will become clear how the stars on this list are really struggling these days to get themselves a good role, one that may save their reputation.
12. Catherine Zeta Jones
During the early 2000s Catherine‘s career was at an all-time high; the actress was starring in movies such as Ocean’s Twelve, High Fidelity and The Legend of Zorro, all of which were great successes. Jones even went on to secure herself a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Velma Kelly, in the musical hit Chicago. With such great success in the past, it may seem strange that Jones’ career has dwindled in recent years. Perhaps a number of personal struggles, such as the star’s bipolar disorder and marital problems are a factor. Not only this, but Hollywood may not be so keen to cast the star due to the many indie-orientated roles the actress has chosen to take on in the last number of years. It is more common for actresses to begin with these roles and then move on to bigger movies; Jones, in spite of this, appears to be doing the opposite. This is most likely not by choice, though, as the actress recently spoke out about the lack of roles for older women in Hollywood, stating: “It’s not that there aren’t great stories to be told about women in their 40s, it’s just that the big bosses in Hollywood feel that the demographic of moviegoers are less interested.”
11. Mel Gibson
Perhaps one of the more obvious on the list, Mel Gibson’s breakdown in 2010 which featured numerous racist rants has basically blacklisted the actor’s name in Hollywood. The star’s violent and offensive outbursts have not served the actor’s career well in the least. Gibson, who had huge movie successes in the past such as Braveheart and The Lethal Weapon franchise, has not since been given the opportunity to star in such a hit. There is no argument from anyone that Gibson is not a terrific actor, however, movie producers veer away from him in fears they’ll be caught up in some racial dispute. Along with this, many have concerns over working with the star in case he goes off the rails, once again. Gibson, who has been focusing on directing in recent years, has also spoken out saying that it’s time his past outbursts be forgiven. So, perhaps if the actor is given another chance with a big role, he will prove himself a Hollywood force once again.
10. Macaulay Culkin
The 90s child-star from movies such as Home Alone, Uncle Buck and Richie Rich is almost unrecognizable today. Culkin, who was once beloved by everyone (literally everyone) has not appeared on our movie screens for many years now (at least in anything we’ve heard of.) In fact, Culkin would be completely out of the spotlight were it not for the drug-related scandals that appear to follow him. The actor has struggled with drug abuse for many years now, losing the complete run of himself in true former child-star fashion. With such pressure and scrutiny from as young of an age as Culkin was when he began his acting career, this is somewhat understandable. So, with all this is mind, it is hardly a surprise Hollywood isn’t knocking down the actor’s door with offers.
9. Freddie Prinze Jr.
In the early 2000s, Freddie Prinze Jr’s career was flourishing with movies such as She’s All That, I Know What You did Last Summer and Scooby Doo, all being successes (at least at the time). However, although no one knew it at the time, this was about as successful as the actor’s career ever would be. Prinze seemed to be everywhere we looked and then, suddenly, he just fell off the face of the earth. But what exactly happened? The star’s main mistake was starring in a number of flops including the animated movie Delgo, which actually broke records for the fact it had the lowest box office earnings in history for a computer-animated film; the movie earned only $600,000 despite the fact it had a budget of $40 million. Along with this, Prinze never attempted to span out to other types of movie roles and mainly stuck to the same stereotypical archetype, as seen in his early movies. This worked for a while but as Prinze got older he could no longer rely on such roles and Hollywood was no longer sure of where to place the actor. Prinze currently voices Karan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels.
8. Cameron Diaz
There’s no doubt Diaz’s career isn’t what it used to be. In the late 90s and early 2000s the actress could be found starring in hits such as There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich and Shrek. In fact, Diaz’s career remained relatively successful until the last few years when she took on roles in R-rated comedies such as Bad Teacher, that at one stage in her career would have been below the actress. The star also went on to star in the questionable Sex Tape and an Annie re-make, neither of which were met with good reviews. At the same time, the actress is still loved by many and with the right Hollywood role, perhaps Diaz will be able to strengthen her career, and return to her former glory.
7. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel had early success in her career due to roles in movie like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Blade: Trinity, Stealth and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. In spite of this, it’s been a few years since Biel last took on a role in a movie. After a few disappointing role losses in recent years, it’s hard to imagine how this hasn’t dented the actress’ confidence. Biel not only lost out on the role as Catwoman to Anne Hathaway, but the actress is said to have also auditioned to play the part of Fantine in Les Miserables, a role that secured Hathaway a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Another reason for Biel’s lack of roles lately may be the fact that the actress has never really been given a stand-out role; if you think about it, many of the Biel’s roles have been as a love interest to a male character and not parts that have aided Biel in defining herself as an actress. Along with all this, the actress just gave birth to her son Silas, in 2015, so perhaps Biel will take a little more time off before returning to movie screens.
6. Brendan Fraser
At the height of his career, Fraser could be found starring in numerous movie hits such as 1999’s The Mummy. However, over the years Fraser’s career began to dwindle due to his acceptance of a large number of questionable roles; Fraser (in a way) had always taken on some odd role choices, however he got away with it, due to starring in movies that were huge hits at the same time. Fraser’s career took another hit by the third and final instalment in The Mummy series, which was not released till 2008, and by this stage the story had lost much of its hype. However, the same year Fraser had a surprising success with Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Nevertheless, with the star’s demands to hold off filming for the sequel, he was replaced by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. This really couldn’t have come at a worse time in Fraser’s career, as it was around the same time the movies Extraordinary Measures and Furry Vengeance were released, both of which were flops, costing more money than they ever made.
5. Hilary Swank
After Hilary Swank’s Oscar winning performances in Boys Don’t Cry (2000) and Million Dollar Baby (2005), we envisioned a reality in which the star would deliver many more spectacular performances, such as these; however, this never really happened. Although the star does have a couple of other notable performances under her belt, Swank’s career is still a far cry from her Oscar-winning days. In fact, 2007’s P.S I Love You was arguably the last prominent role from the actress. In recent years, despite the fact that Swank has been working on projects, it does not appear to be anything that is demanding much attention; despite the actress’ prestige, Hollywood does not appear to be offering Swank the same opportunities to exhibit her tremendous talent, as it once did. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Swank is a very talented and capable actress, so perhaps in the future the star will secure herself a part fit to live up to her glory days.
4. Eddie Murphy
Murphy, who had a hugely successful career in the 80s and 90s, struggles these days to reach the highs of his previous movies. With past hits such as Dr. Doolittle and The Nutty Professor, it’s a surprise to many that Murphy’s career has become so quiet in recent years. The decline of the actor’s career is most likely due to a string of bad role choices such as Norbit, which was not met with good reviews. Although Murphy had a few flops, even in his prime, this was okay due to the fact that his accomplishments were so big; just take The Nutty Professor for example, Murphy played an entire family. Nevertheless, the star helped his career somewhat with the release of Tower Heist and with the potential of a Beverly Hills Cop 4. Perhaps it is not too late for Murphy to return to the success of his glory days.
3. Taylor Lautner
During his Twilight days, Lautner‘s career looked set to take off, unfortunately however, this never really happened for the actor. This is due to a couple of reasons, mainly his inability to separate himself from his Twilight role. The actor’s breakout lead in 2011’s Abduction did not perform nearly as well as anticipated. In addition, it’s been claimed that the actor has demanded ridiculous amounts of money to star in recent movies. However, directors just don’t view Lautner as being up to this standard, and for this reason the star’s career has certainly been dwindling. One report claimed that Lautner demanded $7 million to star in Stretch Armstrong and a staggering $10 million to star in biblical story David and Goliath; needless to say, the actor got neither role. Despite all this, Lautner is still young and with a reality check, he may still be able to revamp his career.
2. Toby Maguire
This one may be surprising, but when thought about, it’s been a while since Maguire made any noise in the movie industry. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the actor was starring in the Spider-Man franchise or securing himself an Oscar nomination, but Maguire struggles these days to reach his former glory. Where did it all go wrong for the star? Many claim the third Spider-Man movie, which was hated by critics, was the beginning of Maguire’s decline. Along with this, now that he’s hit 40, it’s hard for Maguire to still depend on those boyish looks that served him so well in his early days. Many actors in similar situations, consciously chose to take on grittier roles in order to separate from their boyish image, Maguire, however, did not think to do this. Perhaps if the actor decides to take on more mature roles he will be able to re-invent himself and re-capture some of his success.
1. Katherine Heigl
In 2008, Heigl’s career looked nothing but promising; the actress was adored by fans and had all the movie offers she could handle. However, one terrible mistake changed all this for the star. After winning an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy in 2007, for her role as Izzy Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl’s name was announced for the following year. This time, however, the actress withdrew her name stating that she didn’t believe her work for that season warranted a nomination. This move was not met well by anyone. Not only was the actress written out of the show, but her movie roles have been very limited since the incident. Heigl has since spoken out saying she regrets her actions. However, this was not the only case of Heigl making enemies within the industry; speaking about her movie Knocked Up, the star stated: “it’s a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it”. It appears Heigl may have bitten the hand that feeds her one too many times. Only time will tell if the actress can turn her career around.