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8 Actors Who Aren't As Famous As They Should Be. I Can't Imagine Why.

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | January 24, 2013 | Comments ()


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Garsh, why on earth have these actors not had the breakaway success of, say, an Alex Pettyfer, Sam Worthington or Kirsten Stewart? Not a single name on the list below lacks anything in the charm, talent or looks department. They're oozing with it. Then why haven't they had similar star-making vehicles thrown at their heads? Hollywood's a fickle place, for sure. And talented, good-looking folks languish in obscurity there every day. It's also entirely possible that the following people have achieved exactly the level of fame they desire. Not everyone wants to be a franchise star or top a Forbes list. So let's hope these immensely talented folks are stuck below deserved level of fame out of choice. The alternative is too infuriating.

Gael García Bernal: I honestly don't know why García Bernal doesn't have a Gosling-esque "Prince Of Hollywood" career. Are his looks slightly more off-beat? Maybe. But his charisma and his dramatic chops are a lethal combination. He broke onto the scene over a decade ago with Y Tu Mamá También and has, since, turned in the kind of incendiary tragi-comic performances (e.g. Motorcycle Diaries, La Mala Educación or Science Of Sleep) that should have long ago earned him his Tinsel Town crown. He's got an upcoming starring role opposite Robert DeNiro in the boxing flick Hands Of Stone and, stranger yet, will be a futuristic swashbuckler in Zorro Reborn. Who knows, that Masked Mad Max role may be the thing that finally makes him a genuine star.
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Sandra Oh: I have two words for anyone who asks me why I still bother with that sh*tshow Grey's Anatomy. Sandra Oh. That lady has been holding it down on the medical soap opera, consistently and impressively rising above the material. Why Heigl was the one to break out of that show and not Oh is a complete and utter mystery.
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Michael B. Jordan It's hard not to compare this "Friday Night Alum" to his brooding castmate Taylor Kitsch. And you know I love me some Tim Riggins. But Hollywood went too hard and fast with old Rigg who proved, indisputably, that he's not up to the task. They should have put their money on Michael B. Jordan. And they still might. The kid was phenomenal last year in Chronicle and has been generating buzz with his role in Fruitvale, the true story of shooting victim Oscar Grant. Why he isn't already a huge star is beyond me, but there's still plenty of time. Sorry, Rigg.
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Rosario Dawson Dawson has been around a long time playing girlfriends and, uh, girlfriends. She's got great comedic timing (the criminally under-loved The Rundown) and solid dramatic depth (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) but why a woman of her skill and jaw-dropping looks isn't anchoring her own action franchise is beyond me. Jolie can't have them all.
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Tony Leung Chiu Wai Leung has been likened to too many classic Old Hollywood actors for me to count. Cable and Grant come immediately to mind. His pas de deux with Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love is widely recognized as cinematic magic and his brutal, seductive turn in Lust, Caution was both expected (for its quality) and shocking (for its subject matter). English isn't a problem here, the man speaks it fluently and he's said, in his perfect, fluent English, that he'd like to work with Scorcese. Go ahead Scorcese, Leo wants a break anyway.
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Archie Panjabi: Panjabi has been drowning in acting nominations nearly every year since she started on CBS's "The Good Wife." With good reason: she's sex on legs and a fiercely impressive actress. Though she's put in some great work on a BBC mini-series or two while the "Good Wife" is on hiatus, she's only landed one film role: 2010's The Infidel. As I said before, maybe that's what she wants. But it's less than she deserves.
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Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey): Whatever he wants to call himself, the man has a serious on-screen presence. As enjoyable as he was in The Italian Job or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he more than proved himself as a heavyweight in The Woodsman. He's got an upcoming Elmore Leonard project and that seems like a perfect fit for his wry, smooth delivery. He's been around so long and I'm not sure why he hasn't had more opportunity to shine.
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Chiwetal Ejiofor: This guy, right here, is the beginning and end of my list. This man can do no wrong. Never has. He even looks good in patent leather heels. As much as I love the cast of "Firefly," it was Ejiofor's effortlessly iconic villain that gave Serenity much of its cinematic credibility. He can do Mamet (Redbelt) as effortlessly as he does Woody (Melinda and Melinda) and nobody who has seen Dirty Pretty Things will argue that this Ejiofor isn't an acting genius. He's got three film projects coming up and, hey, only plays a slave in two of them! That's progress.
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • James

    About Gael.

    Maybe because "The science..."is pretentious and lacks of substance or maybe because of this:

    http://collider.com/wp-content...

  • Daniel Valentin

    I TOTALLY agree with this list, but most of all with Rosario Dawson. She should be THE Hollywood diva. She has talent to spare and is BEAUTIFUL. Not hot, BEAUTIFUL. The kind of beauty that you would just be satisfied standing next to, sex be damned. I there might be a teeny tiny bit of racism involved, which is the same reason Gael Garcia Bernal isn't bigger either.

  • Pepper

    Gotta pick a bone about Tony Leung not being as famous as he should be - there is NO ONE in Asia who has access to Chinese or Hong Kong media that does not know who Tony Leung is. He is revered as the God of Acting, and his charisma is at a mind-blowing level of awesome.
    Unless you meant "He is not as famous as he should be IN THE STATES", and that's probably due to some dislike of subtitles, because Tony is beyond captivating in any role he acts. Even the dumb, 'I-just-need-to-pay-some-bills' shows that he's been in. He kills the screen (in a very good way) as both a dramatic actor and a comedic actor - do watch "Ashes of Time" by Wong Kar-Fai for a cast of the best HK actors ever.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Unless you meant "He is not as famous as he should be IN THE STATES"

    This is what I meant!!

  • SFR

    Clifton Collins jr. also comes to mind. He's always great in all his roles.

  • deehunny

    It's pretty ridiculous that Common isn't on there considering his performance on Hell on Wheels...

  • RichMahogany

    Chiwetel Ejiofor is AMAZING in Kinky Boots. Check it out!
    And Sandra Oh would be good as Rocky Dennis in a remake of Mask.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Wow, that was vile.

  • D

    ShouldTony Leung be on this list? Yeah, he's not that famous here but isn't he pretty f-ing famous in China?

  • Devin E.

    My first experience with Firefly was the movie and I thought that Chiwetal Ejiofor
    just absolutely killed it; from his first moment on-screen he displayed such great screen presence and charisma. I'll definitely check out anything he does, even if it is underwhelming in the end (i.e. Redbelt - damnit Mamet, we expect better than that! Don't take one of my favorite actors and my favorite sports [MMA/BJJ] and put out something that mediocre!)

  • kazoshay

    Mos Def is terrible! You can barely understand him. I thought he was playing a retard in Be Kind Rewind.

  • Chris Ellis.

  • Idrathernotsay

    I'm pretty sure Tony Leung is more famous than Ryan Gosling, and I'm pretty sure that he is more famous than 90% of the people you think are more famous than him. There are 1.3 billion people in China - and that doesn't even count the ladies in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere who salivate over him daily. He is a golden god, I don't think he's particularly interested in American fame. He already can't get any privacy in Asia.

  • D

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Calling him "not famous" is sort of strange.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    I have to say that character actors are much better off, they have much more longevity. All these folks are awesome and they will have very long careers of not being followed by paparazzi.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Guys, I'm sure that they think they're hiring more minorities than the requisite 'two black guys' but it's just that people who aren't white, well, we all look the same. That's not THEIR fault.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I have trouble explaining to some of my less be-melanin-ed contemporaries why it's not enough to be the token appeasement best friend who is nothing and adds nothing and just sattelites around the 'well, like, duh, yeah' more important white people. Watch a television, you'll see what I mean. So, last episode of New Girl, the (they're not even going to pretend to give a shit) black guy, Winston was literally a walking penis joke for the requisite three minutes he's in any episode.

    Fuck you to Hell.

    And then this is the kicker, 'Well, they're minorities, why would be around? Shouldn't you be happy they're even on. You know what's racist? Channels like BET, they're specifically targeting only black people, that's racist.'

    Ugh. Not that I'm endorsing that trash, but there's no law stopping you from watching it, muther. Right, you understand 'the streets' and that's why only white people get to be huge stars, because white people don't know 'street' so it wouldn't be 'authentic'. I'm not even going to start, but if you can find one, hire a black person to write. Now, I know that we don't know our letters or nuffin' but your pity and guidance could make us whole.

    I sure watch a lot of stuff that isn't targeted towards me because if you're a minority and you have any mainstream connection to the world, that's just going to be the way it is. Now I should feel bad that some hipster piece of trash is offended by the fact that I'm not one hundred per cent ignored as opposed to the 99 per cent that I enjoy today? You wouldn't BELIEVE how often I hear this, especially in Canada, which thinks it's a lot less racist than it is.

  • LibraryChick

    I will never understand how Fox went from having a number of successful shows with black writers and producers (Martin, Living Single, In Living Color) to mostly Anglo-centric vehicles like The New Girl. I will acknowledge Martin perpetuated certain stereotypes. However, In Living Color had better writing and scripts than Saturday Night Live over the same time period, and I always prefer re-runs of Living Single over Friends.

    The most successful show I can think of right now is Dora the Explorer. My little cousins in the Philippines love that show just as much as the little Anglo girls I see in the U.S. I mean, it's a show with a little girl who carries binoculars and a map so she can go to places like Grandma's house, but she just happens to be brown like them. What's not to love?

    It's unfortunate the big money folks in Hollywood can't take a note from the kids' market and figure out Anglos will spend money on non-Anglo vehicles if they worry less about an actor's pigment and more about writing decent material.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I suppose Hollywood believes that either:

    A) 'The children are our *future* today belongs to me!' (Thanks to Lindsay Naegle)

    B) What isn't of notice of children is a signature of 'open-mindedness' in adults and such circumstances, adults have to be cautiously introduced to minorities in as small, palatable and non-'challenging' ways as possible. The presence of anything beyond the requisite satellite is seemingly presumed to be too inauthentic to modern friendship or work relationships, too esoteric, too 'try hard' or too 'urban' it would seem to those in charge. They don't seem to think much of white viewers if they can't they can't handle something that 'out of the box', so to speak, because configurations they're not seeing on screen simply don't and can't exist, right? So, they can continue with their bull party line that effectively confines minorities and non-minorities to interacting and acting only within the confines prescribed by them and using the pathetic excuse of 'respect for not speaking on behalf of various communities' to not speak to various communities. Pretty patrician to say that they know us so well that know well enough that they don't know us well enough so how could they presume to know us? See how well they know everyone?

    Not that one show should have to shoulder all of the burden, but one of the, um, interesting things about The Mindy Kaling Project is that, save its main character, it's a VERY homogenized show, but that's another conversation, entirely. That show was such a huge disappointment, how can a person who wrote for a show called The Office have so little deftness at now integrating the workplace into a comedy? And how come it's not funny? Anyway, I've gone way off-topic so I'm going to try to circle back to sense.

    Yes, Living Single does hold up better than Friends, but that partially has to do with being hit over the head with the Friends 'This IS the '90s' aesthetic and phenomenon and its utter ubiquity in overarching cultural presence from its inception... plus it's frequently lame. Martin has its blind spots, but I think some of that comes from the giddiness of not having to prove something to 'white folks' since Fresh Prince was doing so well, so it could do edgier FOX-style comedy more suited to Lawrence's wheelhouse and do something more in the style of 'while the cat's away...' low-brow humour or ethnic humour. Though to my dying day, Hustle Man playing 'Pick Up The Pieces' and that damned 'Whitty Hutton' T-shirt photo will be giggle standouts. I guess Living Single had the burden of being an all-black, all-female main cast that forced it to not play to the cheap seats quite in the same way so for better or for worse, you don't have episodes with Pam Grier being saved from sexual assault by a character with chronic tooth decay by a trio of historical pimps at a latter-day Playa's Ball. And no, I do not support the re-claiming of 'pimp culture' that's been so popular.

    So, to put it lengthily, we agree.

  • rebecca

    I have had Chiwetel Ejiofor dreamcasted in Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys for years. Someone please make that happen?

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Hells yeah.

  • AvaLehra

    So much beauty in this list. Rosario Dawson - the most beautiful woman in the world)! Tony Leung - how could you not fall for him in In the Mood for Love? Chiwetal Ejiofor - sheer perfection! I would take any of these talented lovelies in a movie over a Bradley Cooper or Kristen Stewart ANY DAY.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Cooper?! You're not into Emu Week?

  • Slash

    Yeah, it is quite a mystery. Plus, most of them don't look 19, which is why they're not getting cast in crappy sparkly vampire movies.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    True. Are those (I haven't seem them, my gut says 'crappy') films the only types of starting vehicles available to new hopefuls? These people didn't start out not looking 19, and seeing as how there is the 'lack of crackage' working in their favour, it seems as though at least some of them have been at their game and been missing out on their due recognition for quite a while. I don't imagine anyone who isn't named 'Tobias' decides at the age of 42, 'I'm going to become an ac-tor, instant fame is mine', so if that's where some of them are sitting, it's been a rough slog to Middlingtown.

  • Darek

    Chiwetel Ejiofor is a beautiful man. I'm not gay, so I won't be hitting that, but I would very much like to rip his face off and wear it over my own.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I see...

  • Mei-Lu McGonigle

    I'd like to nominate David Oyelowo for this list. I've been a fan since Spooks. I'm excited he's working, but I feel he needs to work more.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    He is another one who does a lot of theater.

  • A. Smith

    There's this movie I've been trying to see for years called "Who Do You Love" which had a bit of press as the "other Chess Records movie." Anyway the first time Oyelowo got on my radar was in this trailer where he just totally kills this Muddy Waters song (since he did play as the musician). Other than Red Tails, where he did a good job in that, I haven't seen him in much.

  • Mei-Lu McGonigle

    Wow. I didn't even know he had musical talent! Now I love him more!!

  • Tinkerville

    If we're talking about the beauty of Y Tu Mama Tambien, I'd like to add Diego Luna to the list. Amazing actor and he can moisten a whole den of lions to boot.

  • Adrien

    Seriously, the guy is the Hispanic James McAvoy. Maybe "The Terminal" killed his Hollywood chances.

  • BendinIntheWind

    I misread that as a "den of loins" and snorted my coffee. Then I spent a good 2 minutes debating whether or not you DID mean to type "loins" and now I've decided I am going to use this phrase as MUCH as possible.

  • Mrs. Julien

    "Moisten my lions" comes from Quorren and the BEST TYPO EVER! Seriously, Rowles, y'all need to update the Pajiba Dictionary!

  • AngelenoEwok

    I have a coworker who ran into one of these folks at a BBQ once, and they chit-chatted for over an hour. At one point, my friend (not recognizing who she was talking to) asked, "so what do you do?" The response, "Oh, I'm just trying to do a little acting right now."

    The next day, the host of the party texted her saying something like, "GURL DON'T YOU REALIZE THAT WAS CHIWETAL EJIOFOR?"

  • Steph

    Luck i guess? None of these guys have had a breakout role. Also, probably racism.

  • Hoof Hearted

    Totally agree on Chiwetal Ejiofor. I never watched Firefly, but I have seen Serenity, and he (and his character) were amazing.

    Another addition to this list should be Ben Foster. He was amazing in 3:10 to Yuma.

  • Boothy K

    I often think that some people get work because they're pleasant to work with not always because they're great actors...Maybe some of these people either aren't very nice or they have terrilble agents.

  • Tinkerville

    I highly doubt that's the issue here since a hell of a lot of stars are complete assholes. They get the roles because they have billing power, not pleasantness.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    How are we all forgetting that Chiwetal Ejiofor was also in Love Actually? He was Keira Knightley's husband and incredibly adorable in that movie to boot.

  • John W

    Dirty Pretty Things was an awesome movie.

  • Naveen Andrews, dammit. He is one of the most freakishly gorgeous men alive, but he's been really nowhere after Lost

  • SarahJay55

    So so beautiful. Kama Sutra is one of my favourite films, and everyone in it should be mega stars.

  • BendinIntheWind

    In a similar vein of "vaguely Middle-Eastern-looking guy who's pretty much only known for one thing but should be in more things because he's sexy as hell", I'd also throw some love to Oded Fehr. I know he's done some TV stuff lately, and an IMDB check has given me the crushing realization that he's chopped his hair, but that man is gorgeous and needs to be utilized.

  • Donut Plains

    OMG YES. I am pretty sure seeing him in The Mummy made me go through puberty.

  • Annie Lockyer

    Preach! Fehr is also the only reason I sat through a bunch of those terrible resident evil movies.

  • Another beautiful, talented man! Too bad the only roles that seem available to them are 'terrorist' and 'terrorist-ish'. Dammit, Hollywood.

  • John W

    If you want to see how great Tony Leung Chiu Wai is, watch Infernal Affairs, which is the basis for Scorsese's The Departed. He plays the part that Dicaprio plays.

  • carrie

    Tony Leung is the most famous asian actor who never acted in a no-asian movie :it's the asian Alain Delon

  • Drake

    I'm convinced that Alex Pettyfer either has compromising photos or will whip his ankles behind his ears whenever required, or more likely both. That's the only explanation.

  • e jerry powell

    Hmm. Gael Garcia Bernal being considered as the reboot of Antonio Banderas. Not surprising, actually. Both are Almodovar repertory players, separated by a generation.

  • e jerry powell

    Call me crazy, but I thought all these people were pretty damn famous already. At least they're all in my DVD collection.

  • gogotiff

    The fact that you even have to mention "speaks fluent English" under Tony's attributes might be a clue.

  • ERM

    Why?

  • gogotiff

    The first thing I noticed about this list is that they're all minorities. And minorities generally aren't cast as your everyday American protagonist in blockbuster rom-coms or summer action flicks, thus Katherine Heigl and Charming Potato. Joanna even assumes when you look at Tony, you may wonder if he has a heavy accent or if he even speaks English, so she points out that indeed he does! Minority actors have to jump that hurdle before even being considered for casting. :(

  • Aunt Ada Doom

    Not a nitpick but a further endorsement of Archie Panjabi's all-around excellence: she did have at least one other film role, an excellent comedic turn as Parminder Nagra's sister Pinky in Bend It Like Beckham.

    Come to think of it, I'd like to see Parminder Nagra get some better roles, too. She's another drop-dead gorgeous actress "I can't imagine why" hasn't had more success.

  • I LOVE Parminder Nagra! She was the one reason I kept watching E.R. in its latter years.

  • Sara Habein

    AH! Yes, me too.

  • Samantha Klein

    She is also entertaining in A Good Year, aka Ew, Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe Made a Rom-Com, Who Would Want to See That?

    It's a very charming movie.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That is the best movie name ever. I would've actually gone to see that movie. (with a flask. also, I would've snuck in after another movie, not paid)

  • Guest

    The fact that you even have to mention "speaks fluent English" under Tony's name might be a clue.

  • gogotiff

    Sorry, having trouble deleting this. Darn Disqus was not refreshing on my phone. :(

  • sean

    Why is Rosario Dawson not at the top of this list? And many many more pictures? Or just a gif of her from Clerks 2, dancing on the roof.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    Because Chiwetel. That's why.

  • sean

    I get it, a sexual preference type of thing. We can call them #1 and #1a. Hmmm...let's hope for a movie with both of them.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    Chiwetal Ejiofor is amazeballs and he's my 3rd boyfriend after Idris Elba and my real boyfriend. Also, you guys, if you haven't seen Shadowline, go see it now. It's an awesome show, in the vein of Luther.

  • Kala

    While I think Idris may be the world's most perfect man, Chiwetal is a close second.

    How the heck can an American see Shadowline? I've been dying to see that show, but have had no luck, even among my tech friends.

  • Bedewcrock

    Ha. Wait, does it go Idris Elba (1) and then your real boyfriend (2)?
    Poor Chiwetal. Always the imaginary bridesmaid, never the imaginary bride.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    LOL :-) Idris is my husband, BF is my BF and Chiwetal is my side-piece.

  • AudioSuede

    Totally, the point of this article is noble and conceptually excellent.

    But Michael B. Jordan is, what, 22? He's been on three television shows for a total of less than four total seasons between them.

    Mos Def is an awesomely fun actor and an amazing rapper, but the musician-to-actor transition works for very few people, especially those that don't make the transition full-time. I think he only acts when he wants to, which is great because it means he cares about his projects, but it reduces his output and his Hollywood fame.

    Rosario Dawson's been as close to a big star as anyone on this list. But she hasn't made very many big-budget blockbuster flicks, because she's better in indie flicks and smaller comedies.

    Gael Garcia Bernal has a bit of an accent problem, which isn't a problem for you and me, but is hard for the majority of Americans to get over. Though with the success of Javier Bardem, it is surprising he isn't bigger outside of the Gillette commercial world.

    But yeah, Chiwetal Ejiofor is too great to be so little-known. Like everyone else on this list.

  • JJ

    Michael B. Jordan is 26 and was, as mentioned, one of the leads in Chronicle. He's about as charismatic as they come.

    With regards to the "accent problem" which "is hard for the majority of Americans to get over"?
    Sofia Vergara, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Salma Hayek, Jean Dujardin, Antonio Banderas, Marion Cotillard, and Penelope Cruz. Even Desi Arnaz or Ricardo Montalbán. All those off the top of my head. Accent problem?

  • AudioSuede

    Fair points both. My point about Jordan was more that he still has time to be a big star, he shouldn't be lamenting his lack of attention yet.

    As for the others: Sofia Vergara and Desi Arnaz are pretty much famous for making jokes out of their accents, Schwarzenegger is famous for his muscles, Antonio Banderas spent years working to minimize his accent before he finally broke out, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard are big Oscar favorites because they're amazing but they're hardly big box office draws, and Salma Hayek's accent is comparatively minimal while her physical assets are the opposite. Jean Dujardin hasn't done anything in America since The Artist, where he spoke literally two words. He's just as likely to end up as Roberto Benigni: An Oscar-winning actor noted for physical comedy who never quite makes it in the U.S.

    I'm not saying Gael Garcia Bernal doesn't deserve to be a bigger name, because he's extraordinarily talented, but it's not just the fact that he's not white that makes it harder for him to be a box office draw with the duller sides of the American audience.

  • JJ

    Right. If only Jordan were in an industry that is constantly on the lookout for new, dynamic and young talent. He has more time to become one yet (if he can sustain a career). Hollywood is not necessarily about putting in your time to earn a spot.

    All the actors and actresses that you listed other things they may or may not be famous for? Still did those all things with accents that the "duller sides of the American audience" didn't seem to mind. Why do you keep bashing as if they won't be able to understand someone who talks slightly differently? The King's Speech was about someone with both an accent AND a speech impediment! How on Earth could the majority of Americans have possibly gotten over all those craaaaaaaaazy vowel sounds!?

  • AudioSuede

    Most Americans are used to English accents at this point (also, it's not like The King's Speech was an Avatar smash; it did well with the period-drama awards-season crowd), moreso than Spanish, French, or Austrian accents.

    I'm not saying it's right; I wish more people could get over their fear of a little accent in someone's voice and just enjoy the performance of the actors in question. I also wish they'd watch more foreign films and not be so scared of subtitles. But obviously the average American viewer is less inclined to watch someone who doesn't speak native English, because they feel like it's harder for them to understand, and while that's completely silly, it's still been an obstacle in the careers of many actors from all over the world trying to make it big in the world's largest film market.

  • JJ

    No, The King's Speech wasn't quite as big a success as the movie with the largest box office take of all time. I also had no idea that doing "well with the period-drama awards-season crowd" means a $137,000,000 domestic box office take.

    They who? What fear? You use the word "obviously" and make statements as if they were fact (and then call the behavior, which you're basing on a presumption-as-truth, "completely silly").

    I just disagree with the base assertion that Americans are averse to listening to people with Spanish/Hispanic/foreign accents considering, you know, one in five households speaks a language other than English and the mentioned people are STILL speaking English and not another language. Because don't get the duller side started on the usage of subtitles, amirite?

  • AudioSuede

    Good points all around. I'm not saying that all Americans are disinclined to be drawn to films starring actors for whom English is not their native language, but if we're talking about truly big Hollywood stars, which speaks to the premise of this article questioning why certain actors aren't more famous despite their talents, there are so few that are not native English speakers, including the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Javier Bardem, that it's clear to me that there is still a portion of the viewing public that is turned off by actors who have thicker accents.

    And I think that behavior is silly, because people like Gael Garcia Bernal who are so great in movies like The Science of Sleep and The Motorcycle Diaries and even, to a lesser extent, a comedy like Casa De Mi Padre deserve greater recognition and should be the kind of lead actor that makes people more likely to see his films than less. But he hasn't had a hit film in the U.S., and I think he's been marginalized less because of his race and more because of his accent, which I think is equally unfair but a slightly more accurate assessment of the difficulties he's faced in rising to prominence.

    I think that you think that I think all Americans are dumb, or that I'm asserting such, and that's simply not true. But I think the portion of the viewing audience that avoids foreign films, subtitled films, or films starring foreign actors in the lead roles is large enough that I believe it's holding back actors like Bernal, who I agree with this article should be much more famous.

  • JJ

    No, not "truly big Hollywood stars," we're talking "the breakaway success of, say, an Alex Pettyfer, Sam Worthington or Kirsten Stewart." I get that there are people who have trouble with accents, but I think that's far more studio (and your) perceptions than reality. And I don't think that you think that I think that you think all Americans are dumb. According to you, it's "hard for the majority of Americans to get over."

    I think it's more his affinity for more esoteric roles in things like The Loneliest Planet, Babel, Mammoth, and The King than anything to do with his accent.

  • JoannaRobinson

    But Michael B. Jordan is, what, 22? He's been on three television shows for a total of less than four total seasons between them.

    And Taylor Kitsch is....

  • AudioSuede

    For true, but Taylor Kitsch was a major character on Friday Night Lights for all five seasons, while Michael B. Jordan was only a major character in the last two, after most people had stopped watching, and he's a minor (totally underused) character in both Parenthood and The Wire. I'm not saying Taylor Kitsch is any great shakes by comparison (I definitely like Jordan better as an actor), but Taylor Kitsch is 31 and has looked 30 from the beginning, while Michael B. Jordan still kinda looks like a teenager.

    I'm just saying, he still has time. He's barely even started.

  • KatSings

    I adore Chiwetel Ejiofor. Kinky Boots, y'all. The husband and I were watching the opening to Serenity the other day, about a day after seeing Django (for the record, my husband loathes Jamie Foxx). He watched that first scene with The Operative and yelled from the kitchen "WHY COULDN'T THEY HAVE CAST HIM AS DJANGO, DAMMIT!"

  • Lindsey Gregory

    Maybe he didn't want it because he's doing another slave movie? Anyway, I think he'd be an interesting choice for QT's next installment of historical revisionist revenge porn.

  • Samantha Klein

    Was just thinking the same thing about Ejiofor today. Was Wikipedia-ing Tom Hiddleston (as one does) and learned that he'd been Cassio to Ejiofor's Othello at some point. WOW. Is anyone else stoked for Twelve Years a Slave??

  • Resa Anderson

    Oh, we should be Facebook friends. I posted the whole audio link for the recording of that play. Ewan McGregor was Iago. It's like aural porn.

  • Kala

    I must find this play or my existence will be for naught.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    You should post that link here too. :)

    I had also read a bad review of it - I think the Times/Tribune, but that wouldn't have stopped me from seeing it if I'd had the opportunity. Like Stewart's MacB - even if the production isn't great overall, there would sure be a moment or two of brilliance to make it worthwhile.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    He was in a BBC Radio 7 (when it existed) production of Dionysus and he just slaughtered that role (pun partly intended). Yes, he has talent.

  • Samantha Klein

    I read a really negative review, and it made me sad. Worthwhile, though?

  • Resa Anderson

    You're reading the wrong things then. It is well worth it.

  • Samantha Klein

    I would also like to point out that on the IMDb page for said film, at the heading it lists as its stars Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Michael Fassbender, EVEN THOUGH EJIOFOR IS PLAYING WHAT AMOUNTS TO THE TITLE ROLE. So, yeah.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I know Cumberbatch is talented, but he's positively amphibian. Even in an industry that's so superficial, I swear, if you're white, you just have to show up. Unless someone's trying to suggest that white people are inherently more attractive--no, not *MY* Hollywood!

    And good day.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It's not always about attractive. It's sometimes about weirdly compelling, like the ugly-pretty models Tyra goes on about. Geoffrey Rush is not good-looking. I think of Cumberbatch in that way. (I do not swoon over him, not in the slightest)

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I also had to stop listening to Tyra as a rule. I don't have a heart condition, but she could give me one.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I had to stop watching ANTM a few cycles ago. Wasn't sure if I was getting older, or the girls getting cattier...we'll have to see if Nigel Barker's new show is worth watching.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Oh, I totally understand what you're saying and I believe it, too. Obviously, I was being a bit contrary for kicks, but I think my larger point still holds.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Damn excellent list. I guess that we know who they are at all is some sort of achievement. Hell, I can remember as a young girl not really even having a brunette role model (it was the 80's so it was required that if you had boobs you had to be a blond) much less a non-white one. Sesame Street was the end all be all of TV diversity. Here's to hoping we see a lot more of the people on this list in the coming years.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Hey now. There were amazing feathered brunettes in the 80s. Daisy Duke was my idol, and I loved to play as Sabrina from Charlie's Angels and Wonder Woman after viewing them in syndication.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    It truly was a wasteland.

  • logan

    Oh and no human can spell or pronounce Chiwetal Ejiofor name. So Sam Worthington gets the part. Hey that's the best explanation I can give for Worthington even having a career.

  • sean

    I just say that guy from Serenity and Kinky Boots! Easier on the tongue.

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