The film industry is extremely volatile when it comes to its actors since public opinion is intrinsically connected to success at the box office. If a film does well, it will instantly increase the notoriety of its actors which will ultimately lead to increased opportunities for future films. Yet, there is no real guideline an actor can use to gauge how successful a film will be or whether or not their role will be worthy of the public’s esteem. Hollywood is filled with stories of A-list actors turning down roles, only to find out later that the films went on to become a huge success. It’s really just a roll of the dice for actors trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood and even after achieving mainstream fame, it can all be swept away within a few short years. The public has a very short attention span and there is the ever-present craze over the next big thing or the newest “It” girl.
When the public’s tastes seem to move on, so do the opportunities in Hollywood. These same A-list actors will no longer receive the coveted roles they’re used to and will have to settle for low level scripts in the hopes that their performance will be good enough to lift up the film. In most cases, it doesn’t work out well and these actors can find it extremely difficult to get back on top. Yet, these aren’t the only reasons why a celebrity might diminish in popularity since there are a number of different factors that go into success on the big screen. Check out our list of the 15 celebrities that lost their mojo on the big screen and see how quickly things can turn negative for a once-beloved actor.
15 Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow started off her career as a film star back in the early ‘90s and made a name for herself in period dramas like Emma and Shakespeare In Love. In fact, the latter earned her an Academy Award for her portrayal as Viola De Lesseps. However, she never could duplicate her success with her future films. There were a few films that left a lasting impression, like Shallow Hal and Country Strong, and she managed to align herself with the Iron Man franchise for the part of Pepper Potts. However, it’s been quite some time since she’s been thought of as a true leading lady on the big screen. Her latest endeavor was in the 2015 film, Mortdecai, but it went pretty much unnoticed compared to the drama surrounding her personal life. Nowadays, she’s known more for her Goop website that paints a picture that she’s out of touch with reality and fixated more on materialism than her acting skills.
14 Mena Suvari
Mena Suvari first made a name for herself on the big screen in the late ‘90s and became an actress to keep an eye out for in films like American Pie and American Beauty. It seemed like she was on her way to becoming one of Hollywood’s newest leading ladies and many believed she would have a long career ahead of her. She did everything right on paper since she wasn’t too old to appear in younger roles and already had a few memorable roles under her belt. However, things began looking bleak when she made a series of mistakes in role choices in the early 2000s. With back-to-back forgettable movies and a series of D-flick films, she quickly became just another ‘90s actress that got left behind.
13 Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt is another film star that came from the hit television series, Party of Five, and she quickly became thought of as the next starlet to be considered America’s Sweetheart. Yet, being put into the category as such greats as Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz is a bit harder than it looks. While she did have a number of successful films in the ‘90s, she quickly became the go-to actress for fluff B-films like the Garfield series and animated films. Her biggest comeback moment was in 2010 when she appeared in The Client List but even that wasn’t enough to catapult her back as a leading lady on the big screen. Nowadays, it seems like her time is past and she can no longer pull off that same fresh-faced persona that she was once known for having.
12 Catherine Zeta-Jones
Although Catherine Zeta-Jones had acted in a number of roles prior to her memorable role in The Mask of Zorro, this was the film that truly was her breakout moment. She further solidified her status as a super sultry actress in Hollywood in the 1999 film, Entrapment, with audiences drooling over her catsuit performance in navigating the laser beam alarm system. She proved she was more than just a pretty face in the musical, Chicago, and even starred in The Legend of Zorro in 2005. However, the struggles in her personal life took precedence over her professional career and the world began to know her more for her difficulties with Bipolar Disorder and helping Michael Douglas overcome his battle with cancer. Now that Douglas officially has a clean bill of health, it might be too late for Jones to get back into the swing of things on the big screen.
11 Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder is one of those rare actresses that has somehow managed to hold onto her good looks despite having a career that spans back to the 1980s. While other actresses are struggling to maintain their fresh-faced look, Ryder has aged gracefully and still has the same porcelain skin that she is known for back in films like Beetlejuice and Heathers. She has starred in a number of hugely successful films throughout her career, including Edward Scissorhands, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Reality Bites. Yet, things started to go downhill after her 1999 appearance in Girl, Interrupted. She chose a number of film roles that didn’t do well with audiences and it wasn’t until her minuscule role in Black Swan that people even remembered that she could act at all. Currently, Ryder has found success through the Netflix series, Stranger Things, which may lead to future roles for the actress on the big screen.
10 Angelina Jolie
Although Angelina Jolie appeared in a number of roles in her younger years, it wasn’t until the 1995 film, Hackers, that people sat up and took notice of her as an actress. She proved how far she was willing to go for her craft through her depiction in the 1998 film, Gia, and went on to appear in a series of hugely successful films. While she was often in roles that highlighted her sex appeal, she also appeared in films like Changeling that had a deep storyline to move audiences. However, after her leading role in the 2014 film, Maleficent, Jolie began taking more of a behind-the-scenes stance in the film industry. Perhaps this is because she was already getting so much attention due to her troublesome personal life but whatever the case, Jolie is no longer able to hold the lead in a major motion picture the way she did during her heyday.
9 Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman started her career as an actress at quite a young age and began acting on the big screen during the 1980s. Early on in her career, she was featured in a number of memorable films such as Dangerous Liaisons and Pulp Fiction. While she consistently got roles on the big screen, there were a number of film flops until she teamed back up with Quentin Tarantino in the Kill Bill series. In 2012, she was featured in four different films released in that year but none of them helped to solidify herself as a leading lady in Hollywood. To make things even worse, Thurman was seen on the red carpet in recent years having done a few lunchtime procedures that distorted her facial expressions. Nowadays, audiences think of her as an actress that has ruined her face through plastic surgery, which will make it increasingly difficult for her to find work. While there is talk that Kill Bill: Vol. 3 would rejuvenate her career, it might be thought of as her last hoorah.
8 Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito isn’t thought of as one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men by anyone’s standards but there was a time when he had a flourishing career in the film industry. Ever since he first transitioned onto the big screen, it never seemed like he was having difficulty getting offered roles. In fact, he was in such ultra-memorable films like Twins and Jack the Bear. Who could forget DeVito’s portrayal as The Penguin in the 1992 film, Batman Returns? However, his film career fell off a bit and he returned to television in the series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. While he has appeared in a number of films in recent years, none of them have reached a huge amount of success and the majority of his roles have been forgettable. Yet, there is some hope for DeVito to make a comeback in the world of film with talks of him pairing up with Tim Burton in the live action adaptation of Dumbo to come onto the big screen. Only time will tell if this will be the film to rejuvenate his career.
7 Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci is one of those rare actors that can boast having decades of a successful film career, with a number of his roles becoming iconic in the eyes of moviegoers. Pesci solidified his status as a movie star early on in his career when he appeared in the 1980 film, Raging Bull. He went on to appear in a number of films throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s but the majority of his most famous roles were in mob-related depictions. From Goodfellas to his minuscule role in A Bronx Tale to his infamous character portrayal in Casino, Pesci has been a favorite to play a gangster on the big screen. Yet, he has also had a number of flop roles that have made people wonder whether or not he can play anything other than a member of the mob. Pesci has only been in six films in the past 20 years and it seems like he is in a state of retirement. There is talk that he might be in the next Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman, but this might be just another gangster film that will prove that he truly is just a one-trick-pony.
6 John Cusack
John Cusack first started his career as a film star in the 1980s and was fortunate enough to be in some of the most memorable films of that time. His most famous role was in the 1989 iconic film, Say Anything, and it really set the bar high for all of his future films. While he tried to show his diversity as an actor, it seemed like audiences truly preferred him in romantic films like Serendipity and Must love Dogs. Whether it was an effort to try and show that he could be seen as a full-on movie star or just a way for him to try his hand at action films, Cusack went on a streak of roles that were quite different from anything from his early career. Yet, none of them reached the success from his 1980s films. Although he’s continued to get work on the big screen, many of his roles in acclaimed films have been forgettable and his leading roles in recent films were nothing to write home about.
5 Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx had been in a number of TV and film roles in the ‘90s but it wasn’t until 2004 that he truly solidified himself as a movie star. From his iconic portrayal of Ray Charles to starring alongside Tom Cruise, Foxx was able to put his Booty Call days in the past and move forward as a legitimate figure in Hollywood. Yet, not everyone can sustain a successful film career, especially since so much is reliant on film choices. While Foxx was hailed for his role in Django Unchained, some of his other film choices fell flat. Although it broke some barriers for him to play a villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he was criticized for taking a role that wasn’t originally meant for an African American actor. He did the same thing for his 2014 film, Annie, which many felt was beneath him as an Academy Award-winning actor.
4 Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage is another actor that got his start on the big screen in the early 1980s but he had the good fortune of appearing in a number of memorable films that allowed him to maintain the status of a Hollywood leading man. From Peggy Sue Got Married to Honeymoon in Vegas to Con Air, he managed to have a consistency in his professional career that gave him longevity on the big screen. He continued his success throughout the 2000s but there were far more film flops than successes. Things seemed to get increasingly worse with flops like Seeking Justice, Left Behind, and the 2016 film, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. Now that he’s reached a particular age, he might need to rethink the film roles he chooses since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see him as an action star.
3 John Travolta
There was once a time when John Travolta was considered one of the biggest film stars in Hollywood. He became an instant heartthrob after hit films like Saturday Night Fever and Grease and then he experienced a career rejuvenation in his iconic role as Vincent Vega in the 1994 film, Pulp Fiction. However, he continually took on film roles that did poorly at the box office and roles that were highly criticized. Although there were a few good films thrown into the mix, there weren’t enough to erase the memory of Travolta as an alien in Battlefield Earth or an overweight woman in Hairspray. It seems that his personal life has overshadowed his professional life in recent years, which may be a good thing since so many of his recent films have flopped.
2 Neve Campbell
There aren’t too many actresses that can boast achieving a successful film career after starting out in television but Neve Campbell did just that after her memorable role on Party of Five. She became a huge favorite on the big screen in the late 1990s, with memorable films like The Craft and Wild Things. When she became the lead in the thriller franchise, Scream, it seemed like she had officially found her calling as a leading lady in Hollywood. However, she made a series of poor choices in films, with back-to-back flops that never even garnered any attention at all. Even though she continued acting on the big screen, many of her roles were left unseen and people began to wonder what ever happened to the former hottie, Sidney Prescott.
1 Robert Pattinson
One of Robert Pattinson’s earliest roles on the big screen was in the film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and even then, he was depicted as a heartthrob at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While he was in a number of other films after his appearance in the Harry Potter film franchise, it wasn’t until his leading role in the first Twilight film that he became a worldwide phenomenon. He became a huge movie star through his role as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga and it helped him land other roles on the big screen, even starring alongside Reese Witherspoon in the 2011 film, Water for Elephants. However, his film success came to an end along with the conclusion of the final Twilight film. It’s hard to say whether fans didn’t want to see him in other roles or he just didn’t choose his film roles well. Whatever the case, Pattinson will find it difficult to regain the same amount of success from his Twilight years.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, People