5 Roles That Could Salvage the Careers of These Struggling Actors
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5 Roles That Could Salvage the Careers of These Struggling Actors

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | September 4, 2012 | Comments ()


Taylor Kitsch, Lone Survivor -- After the disastrous showings of John Carter and Battleship and the not so remarkable Savages, the man once poised to be the next great action star is now poised to be the next great Alex Pettyfer. What could save him? Peter Berg's passion project, Lone Survivor, a movie that he scripted and wanted so badly to make that he agreed to do Battleship in exchange for the opportunity to do Lone Survivor. The film centers on Marcus Lutrell (Mark Wahlberg) and how he and his Navy SEAL team members fought to stay alive after being ambushed in Afghanistan in 2005 by Taliban forces during a covert mission in the Hindu Kush mountain region, where the team went to kill a terrorist leader. Only Lutrell survived. It may also salvage the career of Peter Berg, who was once considered a great director.


Jim Carrey, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall -- Carrey hasn't really made anything worthwhile since 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, alternating mostly family films with box-office clunkers like Yes Man and The Number 23. Kick-Ass is not exactly a high-flying franchise, but it would give Carrey the opportunity to play a a superhero and perhaps ingratiate him to the geekier audiences. The fact that he must be taking a huge pay cut to play Colonel Stars may also gain him some respect. It is kind of ballsy for Carrey to play a supporting role in a movie that features Christopher Mintz-Plasse as a villain named Motherfucker has to gain him some credibility points with somebody.


John Cusack, The Butler -- It may be too late for Cusack, who is headed down the Redbox aisle. He has a lot of projects in the works, but few are with revered directors and none appear to be with his frequent partner Steve Pink (Grosse Point Blank, High Fidelity, Hot Tub Time Machine), who is responsible for much of Cusack's mid-career success. Cusack's best prospect for a career reclamation role may be The Butler from Lee Daniels (Precious). The Butler will follow one White House butler serving eight presidents. If anything, it's a cool cast, which includes Cusack as Nixon, Robin Williams (who could also use a career-saving role) as Eisenhower, James Marsden as Kennedy, Minka Kelly as Jackie Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as LBJ, and Alan Rickman as President Reagan.


Robert DeNiro, Malavita -- It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Robert DeNiro's career began to fall apart, but it seemed to start with Analyze This and Meet the Parents, two huge hits that precipitated a lot of bad choices on DeNiro's part. Is it too late for DeNiro? He's got a supporting role in David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, but if anything is going to give him the respect he once so deserved, it may be Luc Besson's Malatavia, which would see him as a retired gangster living in Normandy in the witness protection program. The film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, and could revive Besson's career as a director, as well.


Kevin Costner, Jack Ryan -- Save for some solid supporting turns in the little seen The Upside of Anger and The Company Men, as well as a well-received turn in another box-office blip, Mr. Brooks, Kevin Costner hasn't been a factor in feature films in well over a decade. Hollywood has decided to reboot him, however, giving him plum roles in Man of Steel and Clark Kent's father and, more substantially, as a mentor to Chris Pine's Jack Ryan in the Jack Ryan reboot. He'll also return to his athlete roots in McFarland, about a track coach "who transforms a team of athletes into champions."

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • SorayaS

    Did you just tell us that Taylor Kitsch is going to die in that movie? uhh SPOILER ALERT!!!

  • SorayaS

    Oh wait, I don't care

  • I've thought of Robert Deniro as washed up and irritating for years--and i've never even seen a focker movie. it's like he phones in all his roles in a deliberate self parody.

    then I saw Being Flynn(2012) and suddenly remember why he has had such accolades in the past. It's been nearly 20 years since he commanded the screen and the audience's attention like in that film.

    if only anyone had watched it, it was a career saving film

  • PDamian

    Being Flynn was remarkably good -- and I was one of about four people in the theatre when I saw it. I don't think that had anything to do with DeNiro, and everything to do with the fact that it was a character-driven movie with no superheroes or explosions. And there doesn't appear to be much of a market for those anymore. Dammit.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Jim Carry was in "I Love you, Philip Morris" a couple of years ago.

    I can't be the only one who enjoyed that movie.

    Or maybe I can.

    As you were.

  • e jerry powell

    Since it never saw worthwhile US distribution...

  • AcornArmy

    Some of these actors-- they're not hitting a slump in their careers, they're basically retiring. I think Robert DeNiro just doesn't give a damn anymore, as one example. I'd bet the same is true for Jim Carrey. Even Kevin Costner's getting on in years. These guys have so much money that they don't need to worry about having a career anymore, so they can just sign onto whatever they hell they want.

  • yeah, DeNiro is 69. that's getting up there

  • I hope De Niro writes a memoir that reveals why and when exactly he gave up and started cashing payhecks. Which I know is kinda stupid because we all have to pay our mortgages, and De Niro is no different. And probably has a bigger mortgage. I'd guess he gave up when he realized he was straitjacketed into arthouse gangster movies. 'Analyze This' was him sticking his finger up the butt of our expectations of what movies he should do. That the movie did bigger box office than most of his previous 'criticly successful' efforts probably sealed the deal for him.

    And look, what movie are we touting as his possible comeback? One where he plays 'a retired gangster'. Poor bastard.

  • ingres

    I think a big reason for his change in career was the Tribeca Film Festival. He still had a solid career in the late 90s - though Rocky and Bullwinkle are kind of hard to forgive. Older actors (even male actors) sometimes have to take the job, instead of just holding out for the best work.

    But with the film Festival in 2002, you all of a sudden start seeing fewer Wag the Dog, Ronin, and The Score (promising work that didn't fully meet expectations) and more Analyze This, Godsend, and Hide and Seek (I had to look those three up. I never saw them, and forgot they existed).

  • e jerry powell

    Two words: Jack Nicholson.

  • dahlia6

    Dear Kevin Costner: either dye your hair blond or go all gray. This half and half thing ain't working for you.

  • Rocabarra

    The fact that Taylor Kitsch was chosen to play the beloved Gambit doomed him on the Big Screen. Everyone knows that Michael Raymond-James was the only and best option. Case in point:


  • space_oddity

    One of these guys is not like the others....

    Stop trying to make Taylor Hitch happen. All these other guys, they've had huge success and now not so much, and always were less than consistent.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    HaHaHa!! For a half second I read that as "trailer hitch" and I really loved you for it. I think I still do.

  • linnyloo

    I just look at Costner's little lower lip brush and think... why? He made a deliberate effort to leave that cluster of carefully groomed hairs right there. It took time to trim them, and get the shape just right. But for the love of Godtopus, WHY?

  • e jerry powell

    Reminds me of Garth Brooks during that one scary year...

  • Maguita NYC

    Luc Besson needs a comeback badly. Enough with writing shit for the likes of Statham, and please bring back his quirkiness as a director pronto. I also miss so much his sensitive eye on all things dolphins and Mediterranean.

    Don't know about Carrey and Kitsch being able to have a comeback. Kitsch never had a proper movie-career start in the first place for any kind of comeback, and he is better off in my humble opinion on the small screen: Much hotter looking and better acting than on the big screen.

    And Carrey, it would be no surprise that the movie turns out great, but I would be much surprised if it would actually make money. He is just not that much of a draw anymore.

  • Completely agree re: Luc Besson!

    As for Taylor, I loved him so as Tim Riggins on FNL... I really want him to have a successful career, but I have to wonder who is advising him regarding his choice of project. I know it was Peter Berg directing, but on what planet did Battleship sound like a good idea?

  • BendinIntheWind

    I'm excited to see Besson back in the director's chair as well, but I will NOT stand idly by as someone besmirches the good name of Jason Statham! And considering the fact that Besson gave us the screenplay for "Lockout" (AKA "Space Prison!"), he has a free pass in my book.

  • Maguita NYC

    "I will NOT stand idly by as someone besmirches the good name of Jason Statham!"

    I'm guessing you are part of Dustin Rowles' "FUCK-YEAH let's mindlessly blow things up and kill Asians" school of thought?

    It's okay, I kind of like Statham (ESPECIALLY in the first Crank and Transporter movies, where he was one sexy maman-effer), but I find it a waste when Besson writes movies for that kind of crap. For such a loooong period of time too.

    Let him hop on the Director's chair already and blow our minds with magnificent scenery or futuristic plots, because honestly, I miss his particular brand of movies.

  • BendinIntheWind

    He's definitely slumming it on the writing gigs, but I can't help loving some of the more batshit action output. Sometimes you just need to shut your mind off and not catalogue all the reasons a prison in space is the worst idea ever. I would kill for another Fifth Element, but if it means I have to watch Liam Neeson destroy a bunch of sex traffickers in the meantime, so be it.

    And I unabashedly love Statham. I think he's charming and fun to watch, and he's a badass to boot.

  • Maximum Leader

    Robin Williams as Ike? Can't be. Williams must grow a beard for serious roles.

  • Groundloop

    Fact: Robin Williams has never grown a beard. He just combs it up from his chest.

  • John W

    I wonder after looking at this list, especially at Robert DeNiro, if actors, like athletes, just reach a point in their careers where they say, "Eh I don't have to prove anything to anybody" and just take the paycheck and say screw it.

    Or do they care that there might be someone out there who has never seen one of their performances before and whatever movie they're seeing now is the first time they're being exposed to this actor.

    I remember when Marlon Brando died there was an article that lamented the fact that there was an entire generation of people who only knew Brando as the fat actor who was in terrible movies as opposed to the actor who defined method acting and was considered the greatest actor of his generation.

    I hate to think that people will only remember DeNiro for those stupid Meet the Parents movies.

  • Bandit

    I think a number of actors do reach a point where they just go for money roles. Although, I suppose a career of heavy, dark and demanding roles requires a little light after a while.

    Christ, some of the kids I teach think De Niro is just some random old guy from those awful 'Parents' movies. Even though I shouldn't, as they're all under 18, I tell them to go watch stuff like 'Taxi Driver'. This widespread lack of cinematic appreciation is rather disturbing, to say the least.

  • didn't everyone watch taxi driver before the age of 18?

  • e jerry powell

    I know I did.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Who the hell is Alex Pettyfer?!?! Oh wait, I see what you did there. Or did you? Shit, is he really a thing?

  • CMooreVerdad

    He does a decent sullen dumbass with abs in Magic Mike, that said every shot of him could have stopped panning up at the shoulders and I don't think the plot would have suffered.

  • Groundloop

    AKA Alex Prettyfur.

    Yeah. I have no GD idea who he is either.

  • Vi

    "and Alan Rickman as President Reagan"... *stares*...

    I must be hallucinating. *reads again and checks IMDB*. Nope, no one is pulling my leg. It's still there.

    What the hell kind of shenanigans is this movie?

  • TheOriginalMRod

    That is exactly what I was thinking!

  • Groundloop

    That is messed up, but Cusack as Nixon really has me confused. I can't see anything good coming of that. At least with Rickman as Reagan I can imagine all of The Gippers catchphrases in the voices of Hans Gruber, The Sheriff of Nottingham, or Metatron.

  • Sassafrass Green

    That whole movie is full of WTF casting. Minka Kelly as Jackie O? Come the fuck on.

  • loo shag brolley

    Seriously. Who will play Lady Bird Johnson, Courtney Love? (I'm old. I can't think of anyone Kelly's age that is an equally absurd pick.)

  • almond

    That's the oddest casting choice in a long time. I can't even envision it.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    That made me stop short as well.

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