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10 Actors Who Landed Juicy Roles Early in their Careers and Then Essentially Vanished

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | April 15, 2013 | Comments ()


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The best news at the weekend at the box office was the failure of Scary Movie 5, which opened with $15 million, which sounds OK until you remember that Scary Movie 4 opened with $40 million. Unfortunately, on only a $20 million budget, and given how well the franchise typically plays overseas, we cannot yet rule out a Scary Movie 6.

The number one film at the box office, however, was the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, which racked up $27 million, thanks to a story that hit all the right emotional beats (it scored a rare "A+" with Cinemascore). American ate it up, but without looking it up, how many of you can name the guy who played Jackie Robinson?

Not many, I would guess. His name is Chadwick Boseman, and he was actually good in what was mostly a generic role (those around Boseman were asked to do most of the heavy lifting). It is not, however, the kind of role -- despite the box office performance -- that's likely to lead to many future roles for Boseman.

It happens every once in a while: Casting directors find people well suited to a particular role, but not really any other roles. Boseman was good at being Jackie Robinson, but I can't see him being particularly good in other roles. My guess is that, come 2016, no more people will know his name then as they do know.

Boseman got me thinking of other actors that fit that description: People who landed lead roles, often in hit films, that nevertheless disappeared from Hollywood afterwards, more or less. Here's ten people that fit that general description.

Quinton Aaron, The Blind Side -- He played Michael Oher, the kid that was adopted. Where have we seen him lately? An episode of "One Tree Hill."

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Micah Sloat, Paranormal Activity -- The male half of the obnoxious Panormal Activity couple has all but disappeared.

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Michael Stahl-David, Cloverfield -- Quite a few of the cast members came out of Cloverfield as stars (Lizzy Caplan, Odette Annable), but not the lead.

cloverfield_2.jpg

Rupert Evans, Hellboy -- He played John Thaddeus Myers in Hellboy. He's British, so you can still find him on British television, but in America. we only know about the people Guillermo del Toro passed over in order to hire Evans, Jeremy Renner and Jason Schwartzman.

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Skander Keynes and Georgie Henley, The Chronicles of Narnia -- I hope they were paid well for their roles in the Chronicles of Narnia franchise, because it's all they've ever done.

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Ioan Gruffudd, Fantastic Four -- For the guy who played Mr. Fantastic in Fantastic Four, his movie career certainly hasn't been fantastic since.

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Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are -- He did have a role in the little seen Sitter, and he may yet have a career in front of him, but he hasn't really done much since his break-out role.

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Sarah Roemer, Disturbia -- The love interest in Disturbia and Fired Up! has been reduced to television guest roles.

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Joseph Cross,Running with Scissors -- He landed the plum role in the movie based on Augesten Burrough's memoir, which was also Ryan Murphy's feature film directorial debut, and then Cross all but vanished.

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Rob Brown, The Express -- He played Ernie Davis in a biopic about Ernie Davis, and hasn't really been heard from since. Interesetingly, Chadwick Boseman had a bit role in this movie.

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Ed Speleers, Eragon -- To be fair, Speleers did reappear in the most previous season of "Downton Abbey."

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Bonus -- Joel Courtney, one of the lead kids in Super 8, is still acting, just not in anything anyone has seen. It could still turn around for him, though.

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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • Mike Fallow

    Really ? No Brandon Routh ?

  • Gustavo

    What about Patrick Fugit? Lead in Almost Famous, and then?

  • Alice Mary H

    This is crazy, just cause u haven't seen it doesn't mean these actors haven't been in anything. Terrible article!

  • Tib

    Ioan Gruffudd's career seems to have gone like this: Horatio Hornblower -> King Arthur -> Fantastic Four -> random guest appearance on Castle last week

  • JusticeBringer

    Max Records was in The Sitter. Joseph Cross and Rob Brown have been in a ton of films with Rob Brown's last film being The Dark Knight Rises. He played Crispus Allen who later becomes The Spectre in the comics.

  • BatNapalm

    The disappearance of Micah Sloat from movies has been a godsend.

  • ZodLovesMaude

    The list should be for people NOT working, instead of working in little seen stuff. Maybe they are doing the broadway/theater thing?

  • jess

    Agree. What about Gale Hansen who played Charlie Dalton aka Nuwanda in Dead Poets Society? He has hardly done anything since then.(I think he retired from acting because he's very active on Facebook and Twitter.)

  • ZodLovesMaude

    Costas Mandalore- where the hell is he?

  • Cha

    Sorry, he hasn't disappeared....we've been loving the HELL out of Rob Brown on "TREME" you just been watching the WRONG channel.

  • Southern_Dandy

    Rob Brown has been one of the leads on Treme for the psat 3-4 years. And its been two years, but Sarah Roemer starred in The Event.

  • jess

    This list could be so much better. Accurate is more like it.
    We should probably add Taran Noah Smith,Omri Katz,Barret Oliver,Danny Lloyd,Kerri Green,and Gale Hansen.

  • DeanWINCHESTER

    Dustin, pathetic. He is being courted for the Black Panther, by Marvel Studios. Do a little research, next time.

  • Glenn Folkvord

    Ioan Gruffudd does not belong on this list. He has been in many high-profile movies since. One does not need to be in summer tentpole movies to have a great international career though.

  • CatskillSurvivor

    Ioan Gruffudd was just in an episode of Castle. Was quite good.

  • averagehero

    This list in stupid. Rob Brown is a central character in Treme on HBO, Max Records is 15 and most likely focusing on school, plus he was in the sitter in 2011/12... Ioan G has done 20 things since FF:SS, all these actors are still getting work, be it TV or Film, maybe smaller. Not every actor is in big box office films over and over again, not every actor wants to be.

  • Well, I guess if you're not on *American* television or in *American* movies, you vanish.

  • Mike B.

    I think that what this list is mistaken about is that many of the English Actors already have great careers in the UK, On stage and in TV. There are several here I have seen on other shows, TV etc.. Many young actors go back to school..

  • JT

    Ioan Gruffudd has worked every single year - be it in movie or television, since 1995. I'll let you do the math on that. What is he doing here?

  • Silvia

    Rob Brown has a leading role in HBO's Treme

  • ioan gruffudd is on tv..last i saw this past season he was on a show with ving rhames

  • Megan

    Nikki Blonsky! I only thought of it because I'm watching Hairspray right now but since her debut in that movie the only thing I've seen her on is ABC Family's Huge which got cancelled after a season.

  • $16808654

    i think she went sort of mad and had a fight at an airport? might be her own fault, but you don't know, she could very well be the next ricki lake

  • I guess I watch too much British TV, because as soon as I saw Rupert Evans I was like, "No way! He's everywhere!" Frank Churchill in that new Romola Garai version of Emma, Frederick Hale in North and South... Dude is awesome.

  • AshBookworm

    What's-his-name from Downton Abbey was Eragon?! It was driving me mental trying to figure out where i'd seen him before!

  • You know there's gonna be a Scary Movie 6 no matter what, because even if 5 doesn't make enough at the box office the marketing guys will put up the fucking money themselves just so they can do the inevitable 'Scary MoVIe' - HAHAHA ROMAN NUMERALS - poster and then have it plastered on every single bloody bus in this goddamn, ad-cancered town. God help me when they start appearing I WILL kamikaze strike one of those posters with my bike to wipe out at least one of the atrocities. Divine wind indeed.

  • strand0410

    Don't worry, Downton Abbey is a clearing house for handsome British stars who had leading film roles and could have been contenders. Speleers (Eragon) and Charlie Cox (Stardust) are just waiting on Alex "Fuckface" Pettyfer to piss off enough people in Hollywood to wind up up here.

  • DMSO

    Charlie Cox was great on BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

  • e jerry powell

    The thing about 42, though, is that most of the go-to black actors that would have guaranteed box office are all too old to be playing Jackie Robinson in that particular era. I don't know how many guys read for the part, but having to dig far enough away from the "known" talent pool to cast a role doesn't seem like a good thing. Again, though, the established actors around him were doing "all the heavy lifting," though that may also be another disappointing sign.

    I did look things up last week, and the only "name" I saw who'd played Robinson before is Andre Braugher, playing Robinson during his Army years for TNT, and I don't think very many people saw it.

  • Doesn't help that they're all--collectively--the Association of Blandest People Ever.

  • Janey

    What about the Scottie from Eurotrip?

  • John G.

    Sarah Roemer reminds me of every rich dad's daughter

  • kirbyjay

    Totally unrelated to this post, but I was driving for the Boston Marathon today and was sitting in my bus 2 blocks from where the bombs went off. Explosions were huge. I knew right away it was a gas explosion or bomb. 3 people died, one an 8 year old boy. It was surreal and I just felt like sharing. Very sad for victims and families, very angry that this great tradition has been marred.

  • Kobie

    Sarah Roemer was on the one season of NBC's "The Event." I tried watching that show. I really tried. And after about 12 episodes, absolutely nothing had happened since the first one. So I gave up. But she's pretty.

  • Jeremy Wessel

    It was one of those 'pretty girl, annoying character' situations.

  • DeltaJuliet

    Thank you....for the life of me I could not remember the name of that damn show.

  • John G.

    "The Event" may be dull and generic, but the original title We've got to tap into the Lost and 24 demo STAT was a little too on the nose.

  • Vits/Vicente Torres

    I disagree with Joel Courteney. I mean, Hailee Steinfeld didn't do anything right after TRUE GRIT, and now she has like 5 movies coming out. I'm just saying that it's too soon.

    The other 2 kids (the older ones) from NARNIA hadn't been doing much. And considering how the saga is basically on hiatus...

    Unlike most of the people here, Sarah Roemer (a.k.a. Blake Lively 2.0) is a bad actress, and that's why she hasn't been having many roles. I think we can all agree that she was the worst part of THE EVENT (and that's saying a lot).

  • maureenc

    Fun fact: Skander Keynes is the great-great-nephew of John Maynard Keynes, the great-grandson of another Nobelist, and the great-great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin. So I think he's probably okay.

  • PDamian

    I've always had a soft spot for Max Pirkis, who was Lord Blakeney in Master and Commander and Gaius Octavius in Rome, and subsequently disappeared. After reading this post, I took a look at IMDb to see if he was still in the acting biz. Looks like he took time off to study theology at Cambridge, and he now has a couple of movies in post-production. How impressive is that?

  • Ben

    Needs the kid from The Shining.

  • e jerry powell

    I always get confused. Every time I see "Ioan Gruffudd," my brain parses "Eion Bailey."

    There are only a few Celts in my family tree, though.

  • Fredo

    Micah Sloat, Paranormal Activity — The male half of the obnoxious Panormal Activity couple has all but disappeared.

    I'd blame Katie for throwing him through the camera.

  • BlackRabbit

    Also because he looks like five other people. Not even five other talented people. He's a Dead Career Voltron.

  • Luke Anthony Matthews

    Michael Stahl-David is lovely. That is all.

  • AudioSuede

    Michael Stahl-David also suffered from the cancellation of Kings, in which he was a small but pleasant recurring character.

  • dizzylucy

    With the kids, I'd like to think they either are in school and will go back to acting once they're done, or decided it's not for them.

  • Erin S

    Watching Law and Order SVU marathons during my 6-month period of post-college unemployment really altered my view of things. Case in point: "Oh, I know him! He was the boy whose mother was crazy controlling and manipulated him into killing his little brother!" In fact, while he's the only one I recognize on this list, I feel like SVU is a sort of dumping ground for actors who fit this description.

  • If you watch enough procedurals, I feel like the same actors make the rounds as the murderers/victims on those shows. And then you question why you watch so much TV.

  • phase10

    Never.Question.TV.

  • lowercase_ryan

    wait, Joseph Cross isn't in Glee?

  • JusticeBringer

    Nope.

  • BWeaves

    Ioan Gruffudd does not belong on this list. He's done a ton of stuff.

    HORNBLOWER, which is not a euphemism. LOTS of HORNBLOWER.

    The Forsyte Saga.

    Black Hawk Down.

    Amazing Grace.

    Titanic.

    POLDARK.

    He only did that crappy Fantastic Four thing to pay off his mortgage.

  • Slim

    And he was wonderful on Castle this week!

  • Jeremy Wessel

    I actually was thinking about how I hadn't seen Ioan on anything for a while and then the next day he showed up on Castle.

  • delle

    I agree that he did not belong on this list.

    I think the only movie I will ever associate Ioan Gruffudd with is 'King Arthur'...a movie that I am ashamed to say I love. And when I say love, I mean I love to put in the DVD and stare at all the glorious manbeasts and skip any scene that has Keira Knightley in it because listening to her talk makes my ears have seizures.
    But ohhh, the manbeasts....

  • Jenifer Steven

    Maya. I just agree... Florence`s report is astonishing, last week I got a top of the range Lotus Elise from having earned $5844 this-last/4 weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. with-out any question its the best job Ive had. I actually started eight months/ago and straight away started bringin home over $83... p/h. I use this web-site, Lux14.com

  • Jenifer Steven

    Maya. I just agree... Florence`s report is astonishing, last week I got a top of the range Lotus Elise from having earned $5844 this-last/4 weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. with-out any question its the best job Ive had. I actually started eight months/ago and straight away started bringin home over $83... p/h. I use this web-site, Lux14.com

  • Jenifer Steven

    Maya. I just agree... Florence`s report is astonishing, last week I got a top of the range Lotus Elise from having earned $5844 this-last/4 weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. with-out any question its the best job Ive had. I actually started eight months/ago and straight away started bringin home over $83... p/h. I use this web-site, Lux14.com

  • Jenifer Steven

    Maya. I just agree... Florence`s report is astonishing, last week I got a top of the range Lotus Elise from having earned $5844 this-last/4 weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. with-out any question its the best job Ive had. I actually started eight months/ago and straight away started bringin home over $83... p/h. I use this web-site, Lux14.com

  • Jenifer Steven

    Maya. I just agree... Florence`s report is astonishing, last week I got a top of the range Lotus Elise from having earned $5844 this-last/4 weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. with-out any question its the best job Ive had. I actually started eight months/ago and straight away started bringin home over $83... p/h. I use this web-site, Lux14.com

  • rotar666

    yeah but my Rx7 is faster.

  • Jenifer is a crazy bitch.

    totally, I just agree.

  • princessdi81

    I have to say, I disagree about Chadwick Boseman. I think we'll be seeing more of him. Also, Rob Brown had done quite a bit since his break out role in FINDING FORRESTER. He was a regular on Treme and has done other movies. You are right he isn't a mainstream face but I quite enjoy him when he shows up. I hope to see more of Chadwick and Rob in the future.

  • Nunchucko

    Finding Forrester is awesome. I rate it ahead of He Got Game and even with Love & Basketball on the b-ball movie pyramid. (White Men Can't Jump and Hoosiers are 1A and 1B. Blue Chips made me sad. Juwana Mann makes me angry. And The Air Up There is my sentimental favorite due to its delicious Bacon seasoning.)

  • Yamajasti

    LOL

  • kyrailbird

    Hate to nitpick here, but I think I'm going to have to disagree with you on Rob Brown. "The Express" wasn't his first major role-"Finding Forrester" was. And he's been around....on the superb HBO drama, "Treme".

  • Joe Grunenwald

    You're the man now, dog!

  • Bdog

    It's actually Joseph Cross, he was great in Milk and was just in Lincoln.

  • I feel like "Part 2: Electric Boogaloo" should be attached to the end of this article's title.

  • toblerone

    11. Robert Sheehan - WHY DID YOU LEAVE MISFITS AGAIN?

  • foolsage

    Sigh. Nathan was hilarious.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Try to find "Love/Hate" for your Sheehan fix.

  • toblerone

    I'm slogging my way through the first series now. I've been told it gets better in the second and third series.

  • azalea

    try Red Riding Trilogy all three are great and Sheehan is excellent though slightly minor, hes going to be in the mortal instruments movies too!

  • toblerone

    I tried but Jean-Ralphio killed it fo me.

  • Whatever4

    I think that's Joseph Cross (not Jason - Jason apparently is a well-known wrestler). That aside, Joseph Cross and Sarah Roemer starred together in Falling Up, which I think was a straight-to-cable/dvd flick. I'm only mildly embarrassed about having watched the movie because it was actually mildly watchable with mildly charming performances by Cross and Roemer.

  • azalea

    Joseph Cross was in "Milk" too!

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Sorry, Jason Cross. We already have a Dominic Monaghan.

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