So despite all the success in the world, some actors do become pariahs of sorts. Directors hate them and producers shy away from hiring them and the reasons are all over the place. It could be a one-time mistake that leads to a very public fall from grace. It could be exorbitant demands that do not really justify the quality of work some actors have to offer. Or it could even be repeated diva behavior that makes that particular star’s staff, entourage and even co-stars hate their guts pretty intensely. We all know and have seen this from time to time – think about very obvious examples like Amanda Bynes. After being a hit teen star and then transitioning into a film actress rather successfully – chaos broke loose in her life. Many mistakes, bizarre selfies, and public breakdowns later, Amanda announced her retirement. Just as well, because no one dared to work with her anyways.
Another case would be of Robert Downey Jr. – his multiple jail stints and rehab sessions meant he wasn’t an “insurable” star at all, which means Hollywood dumped him. Even after he tried to turn his life around, there were no takers. It was only after he was helped out by Mel Gibson to pay an exorbitant insurance premium, that he got the roles coming his way. Luckily, he was able to turn his life around. But not everyone is all that lucky, as is obvious with the list below.
16 Has-Been: Nicolas Cage
He may have dropped his rather famous surname from his name (he is Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew), but acting seemed to be in his genes, or rather, in his early heyday genes, at least. In the last decade or so, he turned from being a young, rather intense hit-delivering actor into an aging star that basically now churns out flops by the dozen. And he does it all with a vaguely confused expression that has become his trademark. He never was a director’s favorite to begin with, as his interpretations of the characters he played were often at loggerheads with that of the directors, which somehow should have looked contrived, but looked surreal on Nicolas Cage. His three marriages and his wild penchant for overspending on residences which were more like castles left him with a mountain of debts. Technically, Hollywood is still hiring him, but the movies are low budget and unlikely to win any accolades. Cage, however, remains as goofily confused as ever.
15 Going Downhill: Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner, much like Kristen Stewart, sparked to life in the Twilight franchise. Once the brouhaha over vampires and werewolves went down, well, so did Lautner’s career. After the franchise, Lautner was cast in the movie Abduction with Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, and Sigourney Weaver. But critics blasted the movie – and called Lautner just a bunch of pretty abs with no acting talent whatsoever. Frankly, the plot line was weak as well – and Lautner’s career deadpanned. No other movies have come his way till date, and neither have his dating stunt with Taylor Swift managed to revive his fading star. Right now, he is starring in the Ryan Murphy comedy horror series Scream Queens, where he plays Dr. Cassidy Cascade! So basically being good looking and having amazing abs doesn’t amount to all that much in Hollywood. You have to act to be seen as a real actor.
14 Has-Been: Katherine Heigl
Suffice to say, Katherine Heigl got paid in the millions for movie roles, enough to put her head in the clouds. She thundered down from the heavens and unleashed a hailstorm when she refused to put up her name for an Emmy nomination for her role in Grey’s Anatomy – citing poor writing and production of the series as an excuse. Now, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, right? Well, Heigl did and boy, did she regret it. Now if there truly is one thing that can ruin even the biggest of showbiz careers, it’s a bad rep. Known for being terribly demanding on set (a thing Heigl adamantly refutes) – her staff members have often called her one scary diva. Then, her penchant for publicly criticizing movies and shows that she has acted in have given most directors pause – no one wants to hire an actress who is then likely to take your money and backtalk about you and your project to the media. Once her Grey’s Anatomy exit took place, Heigl became a pariah no one wants to touch with a barge pole. Plus everything she now touches seems to bomb, anyway.
13 Going Downhill: Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel never had much when it comes to big hits or memorable roles. She did well in the drama 7th Heaven but when she tried her hand at more adult fare in movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Elizabethtown – no one got up and took notice of her as an actress. She starred in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and that got her a pair of Razzie nominations! Then Anne Hathaway took away two roles from her! She did persevere and was cast in Total Recall and The A-Team but while everyone noticed how good-looking she was, her talents weren’t placed in the same category at all. While awaiting job offers, she leads a blissful family life with husband Justin Timberlake, who is now writing songs about her and the love they share.
12 Has-Been: Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson, despite his unprecedented success with movies like Lethal Weapon, Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto, was blacklisted from Hollywood for nearly a decade. Why? For long, he was an addicted and was often arrested for driving under the influence. His life became even more unstable when Robyn, his wife of some 26 years, left him and Mel Gibson was then even embroiled in a violent marriage with Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva. This marriage dissolved after a court case and several controversies. Somewhere in between of all this, there came than anti-Semitic rant when he was arrested and the officer refused to let him drive back home. Hollywood, for all its faults, does not forgive offensive rants and slurs and so Gibson was dropped like a hot potato from almost all projects. For ten years, his long and fast friends like Robert Downey Jr., Jodie Foster, and Whoopi Goldberg tried to make things go his way and finally, with Hacksaw Ridge receiving Academy Awards, there seems to be a thaw in the wind.
11 Going Downhill: Shia LaBeouf
What happened to the fresh-faced Sam Witwicky from Transformers? Well, he went as bad as the Decepticons, so to speak. His first mistake was that he didn’t realize that loose lips sink ships when he turned into a dicey actor who slandered the movie, the director, and writer too. Well, the director (and we are talking about the Transformer franchise bigwig) didn’t take too kindly to this. Then for some reason only Shia LaBeouf would know, he decided to star in a fairly shocking film, and if rumors are to be believed, then his performance in the movie was all too real. Then came plagiarism charges, and then his art project titled “I Am Sorry,” where he wore a paper bag over his head stating, “I am not famous anymore.” Apparently, he was assaulted by a woman in this silent art project, as well. Obscenity charges, DUIs and offensive rants followed, and now Hollywood just wants to be done with LaBeouf and his antics once and for all.
10 Has-Been: Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan never had Hollywood dreams but when Rich and Famous made her rich and famous, she took it into stride and kept accepting the roles that made her into America’s most loved star for a long while. The marriage to Dennis Quaid and then motherhood put a spring in her step – but it all came crashing down when news of her illicit relationship with Russell Crowe broke her marriage and then that image of perfection. Suddenly, she was a fallen woman, reviled by her audiences and cold-shouldered by Hollywood. Years passed and her “bubbly persona” and girl-next-door looks aged as well, and suddenly Meg Ryan was no longer a bankable star anymore. No one knew what roles she could fit into, and soon the roles dried up. But Ryan never bothered – she moved from acting to direction and is so much of a non-celebrity, that she never clarified that relationship and the subsequent divorce ever. Now she’s a director and a doting mom, especially since son Jack Quaid is making waves in Hollywood.
9 Going Downhill: Josh Hartnett
Take the case of Josh Hartnett – this guy was someone Hollywood thought could go a long way, which is why he starred in movies like Pearl Harbour, Black Hawk Down, Lucky Number Slevin and even Black Dahlia. But when he was offered the role of Superman, Hartnett turned it down, not wanting to commit to a role that would tie him down for years to come. Instead, he wound down his Hollywood work and preferred to work less than more. Regarding fame, Hartnett has said, "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." So Hartnett decided that a break from acting was in order, saying, "I spent a bit of time really thinking about whether this was the right thing for me." Hollywood now doesn’t send too many roles his way so the decision is out of his hands, in any case.
8 Has-Been: Johnny Depp
Apparently that drink-loving, skirt-chasing persona that Jack Sparrow has in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is also what Depp is in real life if the movie crew is to be believed. Fond of partying, Depp seems to be out of it even more and is often spotted looking wild and unkempt in his recent public appearances. Other than the pirate franchise, none of his other recent releases have been making any money at the box office, which means Depp is fast moving from being a Hollywood biggie into a Hollywood recluse. One of the biggest skeletons in his cupboard was his brief marriage to Amber Heard, which also involved mistreatment from his side if Heard is to be believed. A hefty settlement and some hunky-dory statements on either side were an effort made to put things right for him, but there are still those who believe in his culpability. That means that popularity is quickly leaving him behind.
7 Going Downhill: Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart's start as a child actor and then transition into the teen-hit Twilight Saga seemed picture perfect. But then she became Snow White and erred with her much-married director, while being involved in a relationship with huge heartthrob Robert Pattison. Several public apologies later, and after a failed reconciliation with Pattison, Kristen “came out” and declared herself to be bi. She then carried on having relationships with women and by that time, there was too much drama for Hollywood. Then a few movies flopped as well and soon Stewart moved on from mainstream into the indie movie circuit. And when she talks, no one can really make heads or tails about what exactly she is trying to convey anymore. But she’s found herself a niche in the indie film circuit and even won a César Award. Mainstream Hollywood is still bit scared.
6 Has-Been: Catherine Zeta-Jones
She was perhaps at her most memorable in the Mask of Zorro franchise where she played the feisty, beautiful and a rather alluring Elena, which was followed by her role as the jazz singer in Chicago. Catherine Zeta-Jones' second claim to fame has to be her long-standing marriage to Michael Douglas. Her third has to be her bipolar disorder. Despite it all, she has been one of America’s most beautiful actresses for long (though she is actually Welsh). But now, while she is getting small roles here and there in TV series, her frequent hiatuses from work as well as her list of box office duds has turned her into not that bankable a star anymore. She calls herself socially shy and has also made it clear that she will now work for projects only if they offer her something she hasn’t done before – else she prefers to spend her precious time with her family. 2018 will see her playing Griselda Blanco in a new movie, and it’s a waiting game to see if this will propel her back to her previous stardom.
5 Going Downhill: Eva Mendes
The woman is stunning for sure, which means that movies like Training Day, Hitch, and 2 Fast 2 Furious cast her as a love interest, which isn’t all that difficult to play in any case. She managed to act more than Cage in Ghost Rider and was described as quietly heartbreaking in The Place Beyond The Pines. She managed to do justice to a complicated character in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans too. But somehow, Eva Mendes never really got that role of a lifetime to prove her talents and has mostly appeared in mediocre films, doing mediocre roles. Her last appearance was in Lost River, an experimental drama, written and directed by hubby Ryan Gosling, which bombed badly. With no meaty roles coming her way, Mendes is now busy playing mom and wife while she waits for Hollywood to wake up and take notice.
4 Has-Been: Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke was a boxer before he became an actor. But Hollywood spotted him and turned him from a rough roundhouse roadie into a hot bad boy of the 80s and the world (and the women) lapped him up like cats lap up cream, except that this bad boy thing went to his head and despite all the hits he was churning out, Rourke headed down the deep dark road to partying hard and addictions. The directors who once couldn’t get enough of him threw up their hands and exclaimed that they had had enough of him to Rourke went back to his first love: boxing. But when his aged boxing bout left him with neuropathic damage, Hollywood gave him a second chance. His movie The Wrestler wrestled out enough pathos from him to win him accolades and awards, but since then, roles have been declining again. Could it be because he has fallen back to his Hollywood habits? Time will tell. Until then, no one is in a hurry to hire him, especially now that he doesn't look like himself anymore.
3 Going Downhill: Angelina Jolie
There was once an Angelina before Brangelina – but she was young, single, beautiful, and crazy enough for Hollywood to truly love her, as did the audience. Then Brangelina happened and both Brad Pitt and Angelina became a power couple like no other, leaving poor Jennifer Aniston to fend for herself. But Jennifer was young then and she managed a comeback, especially since she refrained from badmouthing Pitt despite his terrible behavior. Angelina, however, left no rock unturned during her divorce from Brad Pitt and while his popularity had gone don a few notches, hers had taken a nosedive. Suddenly, the newly single Angelina is no longer as young and beautiful as she once was pre-Brad Pitt, or even while she was with him. Her exorbitant fees, less than stellar diva demands and all the messy baggage she now lugs around means the world seems to have had enough of her. Not nearly as many movie moguls are lining up at her door anymore.
2 Has-Been: Steven Seagal
Many people never really understood how Steven Seagal became a bankable star. His black belt was shady, his claims about organized crime were fake and he even broke Sean Connery’s wrist while “training” Connery for a Bond flick. Plus, he looked like the wrong end of a jackfruit and could not act to save his own life. In other words, he was Hollywood’s biggest jerk at the time. All four of his assistants quit and were paid off to stave off harassment charges. He would kick stuntmen in the most painful areas just to “check if they were wearing cups. Then he turned into a Buddhist and refused to make action movies. When the offers dried up, he began to appear in self-directed excuses-for-movies action flicks. He lied, bullied and harassed his way through Hollywood so much, no one would give him a glass of water even if he was dying of thirst. That’s what you get for being an A-grade jerk…
1 Going Downhill: Taylor Kitsch
Who is Taylor Kitsch again? Well, remember that really bad movie, John Carter? Yup, that was him. Unfortunately, he chose to play a character in a movie that should never have been made, and the box office bomb was a big fail. Loyal to the end, Kitsch further dug his grave when he stated, “I’m very proud of John Carter. Box office doesn't validate me as a person, or as an actor.” Then he went ahead and starred in Battleship, another huge box office dud. What had made him famous, though, was his role as Gambit in Wolverine, and then in Friday Night Lights. But when you give two hits and then a string of flops, Hollywood soon wants to forget all about you. And when Hollywood puts you out in the cold, HBO tends to adopt you and that’s what happened with Kitsch. He is gaining more and more work with HBO and hopefully will be back in mainstream media in no time.