It is, admittedly, tough to accurately gauge an actor's reputation, but we're going to do it anyway. Actors are human, so it's normal for them to go through rough patches. Yeah, there are terrible actors who make terrible movies year after year, but we're not interested in those people or those roles. We're looking at big actors doing awful things. We're interested in the one-offs. Every once in awhile, there comes a role which really goes against everything we know about an actor. This role shakes our belief in the star. We begin to doubt their abilities. Have they always been this bad? Were we too blind to see it before? Can they regroup?
We're also not interested in the other end of the spectrum. We don't want to discuss roles that ended an actor's career because we like happy endings. We're taking a glance at those actors who had their reputations damaged by terrible roles and films, damaged, just not irreparably damaged. For whatever reason, the roles in question changed our opinion of the actors who performed them. Maybe the curtain was lifted and we saw them for who they really were, a side of them we would become used to, or maybe it was just a momentary lapse of quality for the actor. Who knows? What we do know is that these were bad roles and things changed after we saw them, if only briefly. Let's countdown 15 movie roles that severely damaged an actor's reputation.
15 Mark Wahlberg – The Happening
14 Faye Dunaway – Mommie Dearest
13 Brandon Routh – Superman Returns
12 Natalie Portman – Star Wars
11 Bruce Willis – Cop Out
10 Colin Farrell – Alexander
9 David Hasselhoff – Homemade Wendy's Commercial
8 Joaquin Phoenix – I'm Still Here
7 Ben Affleck – Daredevil
6 Will Smith - After Earth
5 George Clooney – Batman
4 Matthew McConaughey - Fool's Gold
3 Johnny Depp – Pirates Franchise
2 Nicolas Cage – Ghost Rider
1 John Travolta – Battlefield Earth
John Travolta will always be around in some fashion, but his reputation has been damaged over the years. After Pulp Fiction, Travolta was the king again. Tarantino made him cool for a new generation and the world was his oyster. Then tragedy struck. Travolta got sucked into a cult and made one of the worst professional decisions of his career. He decided to both star and fund Battlefield Earth, easily the worst movie that's ever been made. People not only questioned his ability to act with any flavor after seeing this travesty of a film, but they also questioned his sanity. Things haven't really gotten any better for the guy, but he is John Travolta and he's been in too many good movies to allow his name to be dragged around in the mud for too long.
Sources: Metacritic; IMDB
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