When you're at the top, you've got further to fall, as the saying goes. And show business is no exception. If anything, the fall is even longer and the end is even more painful. It makes sense, as Hollywood and the celebrity world in general are all about perception. If you're perceived to be successful, you probably will be. However, when you're not, the consequences are dire. It's not like people get to number one and then slip to number two. Once you smell of failure and once it's clear that you're not successful and it's no longer possible to pretend that you are, you start slipping all the way down. It can take a matter of months for Hollywood careers to go down the drain.
The last couple of years have been as tumultuous in show business as they have been anywhere else. There have been surprise successes, predictable failures, and old tricks that have completely stopped working. 2018 will be no different, and many once powerful and successful celebrities will start to see a different side of Hollywood. It is a cutthroat business, and the current is starting to change. After all the scandals, controversies, and rumors, Hollywood is cracking down on whoever isn't making the cut. Someone's gotta pay. Below are 15 people whose phones are going to be ringing a lot less in the future.
15 Joss Whedon
The fact that Joss Whedon is a giant creep shouldn’t have been surprising. It was though and caught a lot of people off guard. He was the poster boy for feminist sci-fi for a couple of decades, which is something that sounds like an achievement, but isn’t. The bar is very low, he just happened to clear it. It’s only when you pay attention that you realise all of his strong female leads are humiliated constantly. It’s either the only trick he knows, or there’s something creepier under the surface
It may just be incompetence. After all, Whedon was behind the disastrous, Justice League, which eschewed the darker, heavier aesthetic of the other DC movies, chased those Marvel dollars, and instead, pleased nobody. Whedon’s effort was always going to be troubled, since he was brought in to reshoot and stitch the movie into a new form, but the film is full of shots that would be embarrassing in a student film. Between Whedon’s shattered image and the fact that he may actually be incompetent, it’s hard to imagine much demand for him.
14 Colin Trevorrow
I may be too late on this one, he may have already lost it. When Trevorrow, with one small budget film under his belt (2012’s, Safety Not Guaranteed) was handed Jurassic World, and turned it into a monster hit, it seemed like a fairy story for the director. Sure, the film didn’t live up to the original, but it worked for the audience, who flocked to see it in big enough crowds that it beat out Fast and the Furious, The Avengers, and The Hunger Games at the box office. The only film that did better business was Star Wars, and Trevorrow got the much sought after gig of Star Wars Episode 9.
In the meantime, though, he decided to do a small, personal film. Nobody minded because he’d just made a bajillion dollars. The result was the profoundly insane and terrible, Book of Henry, about a genius child who plans to kill a sheriff. It’s even weirder than it sounds. The reaction to it was so violent and strong that they booted Trevorrow from Star Wars, with only two years until the release, a short time for a movie that big. Time will tell, but this may end up being the shortest amount of time a director spends on the A-list.
13 Dane Dehaan
2017 was supposed to be the year of Dane Dehaan. After slowly building up a very solid resume, alternating between big blockbusters like Amazing Spiderman 2 and serious films with Auteur directors (Terrence Malick’s, Knight of Cups) in 2017, it all seemed to be coming together, with three movies headlined by the odd-looking but very talented Dehaan.
All three flopped really badly. Valerian was doomed to failure before it started, being strange, mega-budget movie based on a French comic. A Cure for Wellness seemed to have a chance, but was watched by basically no one. The saddest one was Tulip Fever. It was a small budget movie, seemingly built to win Oscars, with Dehaan starring as a lecherous painter, a perfect fit. Nonetheless, it grossed barely a third of its moderate budget. Critics didn’t even like it, and they are specifically who the film is for.
12 Cara Delevingne
You may have wondered who Carla Delevingne is and why she was suddenly everywhere in 2017, and why people were making movies starring a sentient set of eyebrows. She is one of the biggest Instagram stars, with 41 million followers. She’s done extensive modelling work around the world and is making inroads into philanthropy.
However, just proving once again, that fame isn’t transferrable, none of her 41 million followers bothered watching her movies in 2017. She was part of the ensemble in 2016’s confused, Suicide Squad, but 2017 saw her star alongside the aforementioned Dane Dehaan in the doomed Valerian film. Just to add insult to injury, she also had a small role in Dehaan’s Tulip Fever, which also completely flopped. I mean, it’s not like her modelling career is in any danger, but it’s going to be a while before the movie role phone rings again.
11 Tom Cruise
The last movie star’s astounding career might be headed for its end. Tom Cruise has cannily managed his career from very early on, having a keen sense for which scripts to do, balancing legitimacy and stardom. It’s a short list of people who have worked with both Stanley Kubrick and John Woo.
Yeah, sure, he’s been an odd guy for much of that time, but that’s something that Hollywood can forgive. What they can’t forgive is losing money. And The Mummy, an ill-fated attempt to kick off a new cinematic universe (aren’t you sick of hearing that term?) lost a lot of it.
It’s not the end of his career, but it’s probably the beginning of the end for Cruise’s current arrangement, where his team builds the film around him and tailors it to Cruise. As it’s been shown now that a film tailored around Cruise doesn’t draw what it used to.
10 Michael Fassbender
Fassbender is stupidly talented, really handsome, and has been a regular for a couple of really, really well-regarded directors. So what on earth was he doing in Assassin’s Creed? The guy has two Oscar nominations yet, actively campaigned to be in the awful adaptation of a game series that has long since passed its zenith. Taking some time off from doing tough acting roles is okay, but his films aren’t even making money. He managed three flops in 2017, including The Snowman, which will go down in history as one of the worst films of the last decade.
So, he’s not receiving any acclaim, and he’s not making any money. He’s never going to struggle for work, but Hollywood has realised that he’s not able to carry a movie on his own. It’s probably for the best. With Fassbender’s current run of picking scripts, he’ll probably end up fighting tooth and nail to play Sonic the Hedgehog. Here’s to hoping that he remembers what he’s good at.
9 Matthew McConaughey
There has never been a point in Matthew McConaughey’s long career that you couldn’t say "why is he doing this?" about one of his projects. Despite talent and a seemingly perpetually reserved spot on the A-list, he seems so eager to do terrible projects. He seems to occasionally remember "oh yeah, I’m Matthew McConaughey" and do something good, but…
There were all those terrible romantic comedies he did back in the early 2000's, there’s his current run, including utter nonsense like the Dark Tower… and, occasionally, he’s in something good enough to win an Oscar. They have to be getting sick of this. Starring in Norbit so soon after being nominated re-sunk Eddie Murphy. And Matthew’s done it over and over. It’s starting to cheapen the idea of an Oscar
8 Scarlett Johansson
It’s hard not to talk about Scarlett Johansson. After all, she’s everywhere. Despite starting out as a promising indie actress many years ago, she’s now someone who seems to be famous primarily for being famous. She’s sure as hell not famous for her movies. And 2017 proved to be an uncomfortable reminder of that.
Ghost in the Shell was probably doomed from the start. It was an anime adaptation, which have an appalling record, the whitewashing controversy was all anyone talked about since it was announced, an inexperienced director, and somehow looked cheap despite costing a fortune. Its failure was proof that Scarlett Johansson cannot carry a blockbuster.
Rough Night seemed like a surer thing, though. It was a wild female lead comedy, the sort of good earner that Bad Moms is building a franchise around. Surrounded by great comediennes, it seemed like a safe bet for Scarlett. However, it got utterly routed at the box office by Girls Trip, which was an almost identical movie that cost much less to make. It seems like Johansson doesn’t have much going on outside Black Widow.
7 Tyrese Gibson
Some of the people on this list are ‘we spoke too soon’ kind of stars, people where it seemed like it was going to happen, but the predictions were wrong. Tyrese has been around for a long time, and we’re getting the slow motion version of that effect.
Rewind back to 2003, Tyrese was a young, up and coming, charismatic dude. He’s good looking, charming, and, while not a great actor, throws himself into roles with enthusiasm. I mean, it takes a lot of energy to yell "bro" as many times as he does, as sincerely as he does, in 2 Fast 2 Furious. To top it off, acclaimed director, John Singleton, has taken the young actor under his wing. He seems to be in good hands.
Nowadays, he’s still the same guy, but that’s getting weirder and weirder as he gets older. He’s still in the Fast and the Furious movies, but that’s sort of all he’s got going on these days. He’s more famous now for his disastrous Twitter account. With a single tweet, he nearly sunk a deal between Dr. Dre and Apple, who were buying his Beats headphones brand. Last year, he got in a Twitter fight with the Rock over the Rock’s spinoff from Fast and Furious with Jason Statham. We’d say he’s about to lose his job, but he already seems semi-employed at best.
6 Will Ferrell
It’s no secret that Hollywood doesn’t know how to use Will Ferrell. It’s also possible that Will Ferrell doesn’t know. He’s never been good at telling traditional jokes. His strength is being given a good script and vanishing into the character to an extent that would outdo a young Robert De Niro. For some reason, this has never happened since he left sketch comedy and started doing movies.
Instead of writing a script, they’d come up with a loose premise and just let him improvise for two hours, with extremely mixed results. It was like mad libs. The films were a shadow of the good work Ferrell can do, but they were successful and made money. Not any more. He had two high-profile flops last year. It seems audiences are finally sick of him. Might be time to change tactics
5 Jeremy Piven
This is another case where we might be calling it after the fact. No one’s known quite what to do with Piven ever since Entourage ended. He was, even if you’re someone who hates Jeremy Piven, really good on that show. He played Ari Gold, the driven, unstoppable Hollywood agent, based on a real driven, unstoppable Hollywood agent. He’s scummy, but also admirable in the sheer force of his personality.
There may have been a bit of overlap between the character and his real life persona. Piven has been involved in a scandal for the last year. Even people who are reliable earners are vulnerable to this now, but Piven, who’s done nothing except a now cancelled procedural, is even more so. After all, he was really only good at one thing and that thing is gone now.
4 Amy Schumer
This was inevitable. As soon as Schumer started getting any traction, there was a large, angry, loud contingent of people out for her blood. A lot of it was reactive. After all, there was a woman who people considered funny, and that couldn’t be allowed to stand. At first, this made her fans even louder in their support of her, pushing back against that reflexive criticism. As time has gone on, however, it’s become harder to defend Schumer, and it’s feeling like her critics, whatever their reasons for starting, might have a point.
Her habit of falling back on racist humor, the increasing evidence of her stealing jokes from much less famous comedians, and her very thin skin when it comes to criticism were all bad. Add in her completely failing to distance herself from her very scandal-laden writer a year ago, and the fact that her second movie, Snatched, failed to make any money (which is something Hollywood will never forgive) and she’s pretty clearly on her way out.
3 Gerard Butler
There’s a great script in Gerard Butler’s career, it’s the one of why a talented, charismatic guy keeps starring in film’s that make the worst possible use of his talents, and in films that make us retroactively regret the invention of the medium.
Geostorm, Gods of Egypt, London Has Fallen, Den of Thieves, all of these feel like movies that he lost a bet to be in. Or that he owes a lot of money to scary people. He was also in the infamous, Movie 43, one of the worst movies of the last decade. Unlike most of the people who were leveraged into being in that movie, though, it doesn’t stand out on his resume. For Common, or Dennis Quaid, that movie sticks out like a sore thumb, but for Butler, it fits right in.
It’s not that he’s short of work, but he seems to be willing himself towards straight-to-DVD work (or whatever the equivalent is now), despite having shown that he can do a lot better. It’s not going to be too long before people stop offering him a movie role unless they know that it’s in a garbage movie, since he seems unlikely to accept otherwise
2 James Corden
This may just be optimism, but it feels like people are finally noticing that James Corden is, frankly, completely unlikable. It was a strange decision to replace the excellent Craig Ferguson with him, after all, Corden wasn’t even especially liked in his native England. He was a charmless oaf who couldn’t tell a joke and whose laugh, under the right circumstances, was used as a burglar’s tool to shatter glass. Then again, maybe if you gave him his own show, he’d find his feet and his voice, in much of the same way we keep expecting Jimmy Fallon to.
He has not. The most successful part of his show is the carpool karaoke, which is, coincidentally, the segment that involves Corden speaking the least. And when I say the most successful, I really mean the successful. Of all the times you’ve gotten linked to something involving James Corden, was it ever not carpool karaoke? It’s only a matter of time before the suits start wondering "why are we producing a whole hour of this show when people only ever five minutes of it?" We can hope, anyway.
1 Ben Affleck
In a broken clock kind of way, the endless stories about the DCEU being in trouble have been right more recently. The aforementioned disastrous Justice League was the first genuine flop in the series, and their Batman is in a bit of trouble too.
Affleck has been around for a long time. He’s been a big star for nearly twenty years now, and it seems to all be catching up with him at once. Despite landing the dream role of Batman, his image is on shakier ground than it’s ever been. There’s been harassment scandals, a dissolving marriage (brought about by his infidelity) and, worst of all, he doesn’t look like a leading man any more.
Affleck is a party animal and possibly even has issues with substance abuse, and his famous good looks are getting ravaged by that. It’s affecting his work. While he got in terrific shape to play Batman initially, by the time reshoots popped up, he looked a lot…saggier, in a way that even a skilled costumer or director of photography couldn’t hide. With tangible and intangible "image" problems, he probably won’t be the caped crusader much longer.