Ever catch yourself thinking “whatever happened to…” whilst watching a movie, and the lead actor hasn’t been cast in a role since the late 90s? You try to convince yourself you just watched him last week, but alas, it was just another rerun. It’s as if he disappeared off the face of the earth.
Sometimes all it takes is one bad role and you’ll be disgraced in the eyes of Hollywood, never to be cast again. Add to that a box office flop, and your spot on the A-list becomes a little more than a distant memory. There really is no place like Hollywood — one moment you’re a bonafide star, and the next, you’re yesterday’s news. They say it’s a fickle place, and we can’t help but agree. Here, celebrity actors fall just as quickly as they rise.
We take a look at some of the people Hollywood stopped casting a long time ago, featuring a list of stars who’ve vanished off the big screen. Perhaps you can put it down to a few too many bad choices or struggles in their personal life, or perhaps it’s a case of buckling under the pressure. Hollywood has high standards, and if you fail to meet them, you can show yourself out. This list of 15 stars stands as a testament to this cruel truth.
Curious to see what became of some of your favorite actors? Check out the compilation below:
15. Josh Hartnett
There was once a time when Josh Hartnett was all set to be the next leading man. He was riding high on the waves of success from Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor. But then, fear of failure and anxiety set in, ultimately leading Josh to take a break from Hollywood. He retreated back home to Minnesota for a little Hollywood hiatus. Since then, he’s been noticeably absent and hasn’t had a hit role since the early 2000s.
He later revealed, “I know what it’s like to be in that whole world. I was up there for a couple of years and it was uncomfortable. I think trying to stay at the top is a shortcut to unhappiness. I spent a bit of time really thinking about whether this was the right thing for me. I took some time out of the business.”
14. Amanda Bynes
From Hollywood sweetheart to just a hot mess, Amanda Bynes certainly captured the world’s attention with her public fall from grace. But how did it all come about, and where did Amanda go wrong?
As a young child actor, she was incredibly successful. The former Nickelodeon star first found fame with The Amanda Show when she was just 13 years of age. Then at age 16, opposite Frankie Muniz, she found great success with her role in Big Fat Liar. The child star then abruptly retired from acting at age 24, and a downward spiral of tabloid gossip, public meltdowns, and a hit-and-run car crash followed suit.
Amanda was never to be seen on the small screen again, and her choice in big-screen movie roles dried up. She quit Hollywood or Hollywood quit her, and she’s since moved to the Big Apple to focus her attention on her own fashion line.
13. Brendan Fraser
Where in the world is Brendan Fraser today? Back in the 90s, he could be found gracing the big screen in the box office hit The Mummy, alongside Dwayne The Rock Johnson. These days, he’s awfully close to being a Hollywood has-been after his career seems to have fizzled out.
Then along came the movie release of Extraordinary Measures and Furry Vengeance, which were complete and utter flops. Not only did the movies fail to impress audiences but they subsequently cost more money than they ever made. Soon, the success of The Mummy franchise dried out and, along with it, Brendan’s career.
His only chance at a comeback, it seems, was his starring role in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Alas, that, too, was cut short when in the sequel, he was replaced by none other than The Rock. Talk about life coming full circle.
12. Mike Myers
Austin Powers star Mike Myers had everything going for him — he was successful, wealthy, and one of the most in-demand comedy actors of our time. With unforgettable roles such as Dr. Evil, Fat Bastard, and Austin Powers, as well as the first two Shrek films, Mike Myers had officially made it in Hollywood. The question is: where is he now, and what has he been up to?
The actor’s career couldn’t have possibly gotten any hotter, but soon after the second Shrek film, things went mighty quiet on the Mike Myers front. Since 2004, he hasn’t been in anything worth a mention. After some serious digging, we came to realize that he’d taken a step back to refocus his life. He now places most of his attention on his hobbies, which include Dungeons and Dragons and playing in a floor hockey league twice a week.
Oh, and he also got divorced from his wife of twelve years, so that was pretty time-consuming. We can’t help but think Mike, unfortunately, now joins a series of other actors whom Hollywood stopped casting a long time ago.
11. Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Next to make the Top 15 is former Home Improvement star Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The child star rocked it in the 90s and starred alongside Tim Allen in the popular family sitcom. But what happened to him, and where has he been hiding all these years?
Turns out, unlike many child stars who led a dangerous path ultimately ending in self-destruction, Jonathan opted to go a different route. He quit acting and focused all his attention on his studies. His hard work and dedication paid off as he went on to graduate prep school with honors before setting his sights on Harvard. Soon, Jonathan Taylor Thomas decided to go study abroad in Scotland, of all places, and later graduated from Columbia in 2010. These days, you won’t find him acting much other than in a handful of cameo roles here and there.
10. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Remember the time Catherine Zeta-Jones was a high-profile leading lady? It was the mid-1990s, and her career was at an all-time high. She graced our screens in Ocean’s Twelve, lent her smile to High Fidelity and made her name in Hollywood in the iconic Legend of Zorro. Hell, she even went on to nab herself an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Velma Kelly in the hit musical Chicago.
These days, the only time we see the actress’s name make the headlines is when local publications highlight her personal failures rather than successes. The star was diagnosed as being bipolar and has been struggling with marital issues with her husband, Michael Douglas, on and off for years. Add to the fact that she’s in her late 40s and her career is dwindling, it was just a matter of time before Catherine joined the growing list of people Hollywood stopped casting a long time ago.
9. Mel Gibson
Ah, our dear Mel… Where to even begin? Perhaps it’s safe to say your big fall from grace can be attributed to your infamous breakdown back in 2010. Hollywood doesn’t take lightly to racial rants, and anything you say or do will be held against you. It’s safe to say that after a string of successful roles, the actor’s success has come to an abrupt end.
He calls them “artsy” projects; we call them embarrassments. Apart from Machete Kills, which is so bad that it turns great again, he starred in a series of fails, including The Expendables 3, Get the Gringo, and The Beaver — and then nothing.
8. Mischa Barton
Former OC actress Mischa Barton is next to make it into the Top 15 and has joined the ever-growing list of people Hollywood stopped casting a long time ago. We were first introduced to the gorgeous blonde beauty when she starred in the OC from 2003 to 2006. Since then, the actress has laid low and hasn’t had a hit TV or movie role in the past decade.
Insiders reveal that perhaps, the star’s unraveling came about from her partying ways, which also earned her a DUI charge in 2007. This was then followed by a nervous breakdown where she was held in psychiatric care under her parents’ instruction. In 2009, her house went into foreclosure after she failed to pay her mortgage. If that wasn’t bad enough, she was later sued by producers of the movie Promoted, who claimed they paid her an advance, but she never turned up for work.
Her legal troubles are believed to have left her homeless and broke. Things didn’t get better for Mischa as her attempt to get back into Hollywood’s good graces ended in failure with her short-lived appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
7. John Travolta
Iconic actor John Travolta is no stranger to Hollywood. Some might say he pulled off two great rises in his career with the immeasurable success of Saturday Night Fever and then again with his role in Pulp Fiction. He’s a legendary actor, no doubt, but also one that Hollywood stopped casting a long time ago.
The acting legend is now doomed to be in nothing but cameos and made-for films. And with roles in movies such as Wild Hogs, Old Dogs, and The Forger, it’s no wonder he’s no longer a contender for the Oscar-worthy scripts. Sadly, his list of movie fails far outweigh the good, and it may just be a while longer until we see John grace the big screen once more.
You would think that once you’ve walked away with an Oscar nomination, let alone a win, you’d be hot property in the movie industry. Alas, this was simply not the case for Mo’Nique, who was once at the top of her game, only to be left on the Hollywood shelf, so to speak.
It’s been almost seven years since she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Since then, it’s as though she’s disappeared altogether.
“I’m gonna play this game the way I want to,” Mo’Nique has said. “It might be serious, it might be a comedy, it might be a dramedy, it might be variety, it might be a talk show, whatever. There’s no box.”
5. Jesse Metcalfe
Another star to have Hollywood stop casting him is none other than Desperate Housewives heartthrob Jesse Metcalfe. Word has it that apparently, he was so hard to work with that he eventually found it difficult to lock down any decent roles. His incessant partying and drinking may have had something to do with it.
He played Eva Longoria‘s love interest in Desperate Housewives, and, in no time, went on to win the hearts of every American woman and even those abroad. However, he was soon blacklisted and labeled as “difficult to work with,” causing him to struggle to book jobs.
Fast forward a few years and a stint in rehab and Jesse has cleaned up his image and even secured a role in TNT’s remake of Dallas. It looks like Jesse Metcalfe is ready to make his big comeback into Hollywood. The question that remains now is: when?
4. Tim Allen
When it comes to TV dads of the 90s, there’s usually one person that springs to mind: Tim the Toolman Taylor. He was the TV Dad of our time thanks to his leading role in Home Improvement, and with Tim Allen came a string of hits, including The Santa Clause, Jungle 2 Jungle, and, of course, Toy Story. But where in the world is he now?
It seems the only time our dear Tim surfaced was for a little sitcom called Last Man Standing — a far cry from the massive success of Home Improvement, which walked away being a smash hit for its entire 8-season run. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole 15 years since the show’s debut, but what has Tim Allen been up to in the past decade? Along with a long list of actors, it seems Tim has become one of the people Hollywood simply stopped casting.
3. Val Kilmer
There was a time when Hollywood’s golden boy, Val Kilmer, was unstoppable. During the early 80s and 90s, he was a major star and starred in films, including True Romance, The Doors, and Top Gun.
Let’s just say that these days things are a little quiet on the movie front, and his phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook with script offers.
“Well, I never had a business plan. I did, actually. I’m lying,” Kilmer said. “My business plan was to get lucky, and I did; that was great. And then my second business plan was to get lucky again, and there, I faltered.” Kilmer later admitted, “I wasn’t very practical in thinking about Hollywood and our business. It’s a very social business, and I never tried to be involved in the community of it. Pretty foolish about that, just casual comments that aren’t very insightful.”
2. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Freddie Prinze Jr. first charmed his way up the audience ratings when he was cast in movies like She’s All That, Scooby Doo, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. He was undoubtedly a teen heartthrob star, and when he married Sarah Michelle Gellar, they became an iconic 90s couple. So what is Freddie up to these days? He hasn’t been cast in a leading role in a while, and we think we know why…
His wife, former Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar revealed all on social media with her surprising announcement that he’s releasing a cookbook.
“I have been cooking longer than I’ve been acting — in fact, if I hadn’t made it as an actor, I’d probably be a chef today,” he said to E! News. The book is co-written with food journalist Rachel Wharton and was released last year, proving that anything is possible in Hollywood.
1. Macaulay Culkin
Who could ever forget child star Macaulay Culkin? If you were a kid in the 90s, then you undoubtedly had Home Alone or Richie Rich on VHS cassette, and he bagged the leading role in both child classics. If you have no idea who we’re referring to, then you’d be forgiven as this actor hasn’t been cast in a major role since 1994!
It seems the only time he makes the spotlight is for drug-related scandals. The former Home Alone star has struggled with drugs for most of his life, which inevitably led to a downward spiral. In true fashion, the young star never made the transition from child star to a successful adult actor, and these days, he’s almost entirely unrecognizable.