Actors have to make a decision. They get handed scripts all the time and need to decide if the role is right for them. While many have made some great decisions, like Tom Hanks agreeing to play the title role in Forrest Gump, some have ended up ruining their careers with bad choices.
A bad movie role can ruin a career. This is the case for fresh, up-and-coming actors as well as seasoned professionals with Oscars and Golden Globes to their name.
Read on for our list of 12 terrible movie roles that ruined the careers of famous actors. If you’ve been wondering why these actors have been forgotten about in recent years, now you’ll know why.
12. Chris O’Donnell in Batman & Robin
Chris O’Donnell had a very promising acting career in the early 1990s. He was starring in classics like School Ties and Circle of Friends. Unfortunately, one movie role seemed to stall his career. While he had a bit of success playing the classic superhero sidekick Robin in Batman Forever, it was the terminal flop Batman & Robin that soured the viewing audience on Chris’s acting abilities. He even said in an interview: “When I made Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. When I made Batman & Robin, I felt like I was making a toy commercial.” Although he’s had a handful of small roles since then, it seems like his career hasn’t yet recovered.
11. Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode II and Star Wars: Episode III
Hayden Christensen must have been mighty excited to get the lead role as Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequel movies. After all, this was a huge franchise. Unfortunately, his moody performance as the classic character was largely panned by critics and audiences. He even earned two Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Supporting Actor: one of each movie. He’s made other movies since, but none of them have been very successful.
10. Geena Davis in Cutthroat Island
Before 1995’s Cutthroat Island, Geena Davis was a force to be reckoned with in the acting world. She impressed everyone with her performances in Beetlejuice (1988), Thelma & Louise (1991) and A League of Their Own (1992). It’s a shame that her choice to star in a pirate movie flop would so negatively affect her career. The Guinness Book of World Records named Cutthroat Island the biggest box office flop of all time. While she’s had a few roles since, including in the children’s Stuart Little series, her career has never been the same.
9. Mike Myers in The Love Guru
Mike Myers was one of many amazing comedians to come out of Canada. He gave us such gems as Wayne’s World, Austin Powers and Shrek. Unfortunately, he made a bad choice when it came to his 2008 “comedy,” The Love Guru. It earned him three Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture. His career hasn’t been the same since. Hopefully he’ll see renewed success with the Austin Powers sequel he’s rumored to be working on.
8. Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls
The ending of Elizabeth Berkley‘s acting career may be blamed on this actress attempting to break away from her sweetheart stereotype. She first became a household name as the good girl Jessie Spano on the popular early-’90s TV show Saved by the Bell. In 1995, she decided to star as a stripper in Showgirls, shedding her good girl image. The movie was largely panned and has a 17% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Berkley said of the aftermath of the movie, “Ever since those reviews for Showgirls, it’s like I was that woman in “The Scarlet Letter”. Except that instead of having to wear the letter ‘A’ for adulteress, I was condemned to wear an “S” for ‘showgirl’.”
7. Cuba Gooding Jr.in Snow Dogs, Boat Trip
Cuba Gooding Jr. impressed everyone in 1996 with his Oscar-winning performance as a spirited football player in Jerry Maguire. While he had some roles before that hit, Jerry Maguire is the film that made everyone take notice. You’d think that he’d go on making great movies after that, but that’s not the case. Instead, Cuba seemed to make some terrible choice when it came to roles. With bombs like Snow Dogs and Boat Trip, Cuba Gooding Jr. has largely been forgotten.
6. Neve Campbell in Wild Things
Before Scream, Neve Campbell was largely unknown. While she was a part of the main cast for the TV show Party of Five, she hadn’t made a name for herself in the film world. But, with the Scream series, she started to see a bit of popularity. That all changed when she took on a role in 1998’s Wild Things. Audiences weren’t convinced by her character, especially when it came to her sex scenes with fellow co-star Denise Richards. While the movie did get some favorable reviews, it seems that Campbell’s film career stagnated after that role.
5. Val Kilmer in Red Planet
It can be difficult to pinpoint why exactly Val Kilmer‘s career went from amazing to stagnant, though 2000’s Red Planet seems to have something to do with it. Up until then, he was starring in some major hits, like The Doors (1991), Tombstone (1993) and The Saint (1997). Then Red Planet came along, a tremendous box office bomb with a 14% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Perhaps that’s why Kilmer has mostly only been seen in direct-to-video films since then.
4. Eddie Murphy in The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit
In the past, Eddie Murphy was synonymous with some seriously funny comedy. With Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places and Coming to America, he was taking the comedy world by storm. Unfortunately, the prestigious awards he was winning back in the day, including a 1988 Kid’s Choice Award for Best Actor, has turned into a slew of Razzies, all starting with the The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2003). Ever since, he’s made bad choice after bad choice, including Norbit and Meet Dave. Where’s the old Eddie Murphy when you need him?
3. John Tavolta in Battlefield Earth
You’d think that when an actor gets a second chance in the movie business, he’d be extra careful with choosing roles after his career is rejuvenated. Unfortunately, John Travolta didn’t get that memo. While he was a famous actor in the 1970s, he saw renewed success with the classic 1994 flick Pulp Fiction. His career had a much-needed boost. That is, until he decided to star in the universally-hated sci-fi film Battlefield Earth (2000). His career has been struggling ever since. The odds of another Pulp Fiction-style career-booster coming along are slim to none.
2. Kevin Costner in Waterworld and The Postman
During the early 1990s, Kevin Costner made a serious name for himself not only as an actor but as a director as well. He won two 1991 Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for Dances With Wolves. Kevin also earned critical acclaim for The Bodyguard (1993). Unfortunately, during the late ’90s, he made two bad decisions: Waterworld (1996) and The Postman (1998), earning him a host of Razzie nominations and wins. While he’s made a few good movies since then, it’s been an uphill battle for Kevin ever since those two flops.
1. Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Sometimes, an actor knows they made a mistake, and that’s the case with Sean Connery. He’s the first to admit that starring in the comic book movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) was a bad idea. He said of the movie, “It was a nightmare. The director should never have been given $185 million.” In fact, he hated the role so much that he decided to take a big break from acting, essentially retiring from show business. He’s only done a few voice acting roles since then, and the movie-going public is sad for the loss.