9 TV Actors Who Could Go From Small Screen Players To Big Screen Stars In 2013
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9 TV Actors Who Could Go From Small Screen Players To Big Screen Stars In 2013

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | February 13, 2013 | Comments ()


TV actor to film actor. That's a tricky leap to make. Just because a telegenic, reasonably talented actor has success on television, it doesn't mean That Thing will translate to feature film. Hollywood Blvd. is littered with the corpses of TV actor careers that almost were. Your Sarah Michelle Gellars, Jenna Elfmans, David Carusos, Adam Brodys, David Duchovnys, etc. There are some actors who will always reek of TV. Evangeline Lilly and Cobie Smolders? I'm sorry, I can't take you seriously in those big budget films. Then again, there are The Others. The Ones That Got Out. Your George Clooneys, Olivia Wildes, Mila Kunises and Jon Hamms. Here are nine TV actors who are on the edge of making that switch and the 2013 films that might just push them over the edge. Fingers crossed they turn into Hamms, not Fillions.

Jake Johnson-Drinking Buddies: In case you missed "New Girl" actor Jake Johnson in last year's Safety Not Guaranteed, let me assure you, he's got much more than Angry Turtle Nick in him. He's got two movies this year, an off-beat indie comedy with Zoe Kazan called The Pretty One and a more mainstream looking rom-com with Olivia Wilde called Drinking Buddies. Either way, it looks like he'll be smooching some ladies and I think we can all agree that's something to look forward to.

Jane Levy-Evil Dead: Levy, who is such a sharp little beauty on "Suburgatory," snagged the lead in the rather unnecessary but no less intriguing Evil Dead remake. Horror ingenue is not necessarily a star-making role, but this particular film is higher-profile than most. After reading a little more about the remake, in fact (No CGI? NO CGI!!!), I'm fully on board.

Charlie Hunnam-Pacific Rim: One of the most anticipated movies of the year, this enormously ambitious project could quite possibly land with a thud. Or, fingers crossed, this is the batsh*t robots vs. monsters movie we never knew we always wanted. If so, Charlie Hunnam may very well be able to leave SAMCRO behind.

Benedict Cumberbatch-Star Trek Into Darkness: Already a movie star? Not quite. He's still more associated with "Sherlock" than he is with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or War Horse. But somewhere between The Hobbit, Star Trek, August Osage County and Twelve Years A Slave, I have no doubt Cumberbatch will fully cross over in 2013. The dude bros in your life will be mispronouncing his name in no time.

Henry Cavill-Man Of Steel: Cavill is best-known for his role in that historical fleshfest "The Tudors." Of course, he'll be donning the blue and red for Zack Snyder in 2013 and, should he avoid the Superman curse, this could mean huge things for him. Perhaps even Justice League-level things. Then again, as Brandon Routh's career trajectory has shown, Superman and fame don't always go hand in hand.

Katee Sackhoff-Riddick: Sci-fi's beloved Starbuck has not quite found the right project in the four years since "Battlestar Galactica" went off the air. However, if you've seen her in action, you know she's got bucket loads of charisma. I don't quite know what to expect from this Riddick film, but her uniform has got my attention.

Michael B. Jordan-Fruitvale: Yes, yes, I talk about this kid a lot. You would too. All the early buzz from Sundance indicates that Fruitvale and Jordan's performance in particular are complete showstoppers. It might be the Park City altitude talking, but I've never heard so much early Academy Award talk before. No one could be more deserving than this insanely talented kid.

Jai Courtney-A Good Day To Die Hard: This "Spartacus" actor already made quite the splash in Jack Reacher, but is sure to garner much more attention as John McClane's son in the latest Die Hard movie.

Aaron Paul-Long Way Down: Of course. I mean. Of course. Aaron Paul has landed the young male lead in this adaptation of one of Nick Hornby's better novels. And, ignoring the American Fever Pitch, you have to admit that Nick Hornby novels make excellent films. Paul's supporting turn in 2012's Smashed and his role in Decoding Annie Parker could mean that this is the year he leaves Pinkman behind. With "Breaking Bad" winding down this summer, the timing couldn't be better. Let's hope Paul goes for quality rather than quantity. I haven't been overjoyed with all the choices Cranston has made these past two years. For my money, Paul's the one to watch, yo.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jim Slemaker

    You know who would have been on this list as "can't miss" last year? Taylor Kitsch. So much goes into becoming an actual "movie star" that is beyond talent, looks, and splashy film vehicles. If even one of these actors crosses that mysterious threshold, I'll be very surprised.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Aaron Paul has an Oscar in him, and not one of the pity ones either; one of the entirely deserved ones, like DeNiro for Raging Bull or Meryl Streep for Sophie's Choice. Oooh, SRL of greatest acting performances of all time. I'll start:

    Katharine Hepburn - The Lion in Winter
    Robert DeNiro - Raging Bull
    Meryl Streep - Sophie's Choice
    Charlize Theron - Monster
    Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia
    Al Pacino - Godfather I or II

    Oooh, ooh, an SRL of under-appreciated great performances.John Hawkes can be the starting point.

    I know I'm a day late and a dollar short, but I didn't get to comment yesterday and I have a surfeit of Pajiba to get out of my system.

  • Archie Leach

    You should try looking up a little film called "The Passion of Joan of Arc" and watch the actress playing the role of Joan of Arc. It's been called by a LOT of film scholars and critics the greatest performance probably ever put on the screeen. And what you'll find even more amazing is that the highly lauded performance is in a silent film.

  • Michelle

    I want all of the things for Michael B Jordan because he is just so talented. He was great on FNL (obv), but he killed it on Parenthood and was so damn charismatic in Chronicle.

  • duckandcover

    Benedict Cumberdale was also the guy obsessed with chocolate and child molestation in Atonement.

    Also, I thought Jai Courtney was Sam Worthington when I saw that commercial for the first 100 times. Then I wondered where Worthington was and if his career jumped off the ledge his character didn't in that one movie.

  • e jerry powell

    I worry about Michael B. Jordan, though. Fruitvale feels like the right combination of great project and great actor, but I fear that, like so many times before, Hollywood really won't know what to do with yet another well-beyond-competent black actor unless he develops/shepherds his own projects (e.g., Samuel L. Jackson becoming the means by which Kasi Lemmons gets to make movies).

  • winged chorus

    I saw Charlie Hunnam in the execrable Green Street Hooligans where he was embarrassing (playing a cockney football goon with seriously the weirdest accent and delivery ever), then in the not-too-bad Undeclared where he made a passable but unlikeable college ladies' man, and then in SoA, again with the weird accent and such where he's never quite believable, no matter how he cultivates his little chin garden. Having said that, I'll be interested in how he is in The Pacific Rim. Maybe he'll find his niche.

    Katee Sackhoff I hope will enjoy a long and successful career as a soldier/police officer/LEO/hard lady and I will enjoy every moment of her screen time in anything she's in. I have no problem with one-noters at all, as long as its a good note, and who knows, she may find other roles to branch out into eventually.

    And I want to see more of any actor from The Wire in anything.

  • dyl

    walton goggins. that is all.

  • dizzylucy

    Great choice, and this was a good year for him with Lincoln and Django. I will watch him in anything, so I hope he keeps getting great roles.

  • Shy

    Benedict Cumberbatch does’n not belong on this list. He is movie star already.

    Henry Cavill will never be star. He has empty eyes and zero personality. If they will do sequel to Man of Steel then Henry will just reappear every 3 years during promotion for those sequels. But he will never be cast in big movie as Lead. Because that movie will bomb. He will be just like Chris Evans and Chris Pine. Who tried to build career on shoulders and fame of their big movies, but basically failed because no one cares about them in other movies.

    I hope that Katee Sackhoff will break into movies. Showbiz needs more action female heroes. She can replace Michelle Rodriguez who just shows up in big movies as female action kick-ass.

    Charlie Hunnam... I don’t know. He lucks charisma. I saw Pacific Rim trailers and he was just invisible in them,

    Jai Courtney will appear in Die Hard and then we will never hear about him again.

    I hope Aaron Paul will make it. Because he put so mush charisma to Jesse Pinkman. He really can act and be star.

  • Rocabarra

    Katee Sackhoff is pretty awesome in Longmire. I don't know if other Pajibans watch that show, but I find it to my liking and am, in fact, looking forward to its return. It's a bit of a watered down Justified, but even the wateriest of Justifieds is still better than 95% of the other crap on TV.

  • mc-rox

    I watch it too and I agree with all of you about Katee though Lou Diamond Philips is equally as awesome. The show has sparky player dynamics and some decent mystery story.

  • Shy

    I watch it too! Thank you.

    Katee Sackhoff was the only reason why I began watching it. And it turned out to be very good show. But I really can’t stand Walt Longmire sometimes. So full of himself. They try to portray Branch as some loser and rival for Walt. But I like Branch more. And I wish that Katee was having more screen time. Because she is awesome in every scene,

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Yeah, Longmire is a pretty awful person. I guess they were going for flawed hero but he's more of a raging asshole most of the time. Love the show though and Katee is excellent on it.

  • Bedewcrock

    CHARLIE HUNNAM = young Christoph Waltz.
    It'll be at least 30 years, Charlie, before you make the big time. Be patient.

  • Slash

    You know, this whole exercise (as entertaining as it is) just perpetuates the notion that people on TV are small and people in the movies are big. That TV is an also-ran. And it isn't. I mean, is there a movie ever made that is considered equal to (much less better than) "The Wire"? I think TV has been superior to movies in terms of quality (writing, direction, acting) for decades now, overall, and I doubt I'm the only one. Esp. roles for women. In the movies, as a female character, you usually get to be the girlfriend. If you're lucky, you don't have to be a stripper. On TV, you can be a district attorney or the vice president of the United States. Or a fighter pilot.

    For every "Beasts of the Southern Wild," there are at least 5 "That's My Boy" shitpiles.

    And yeah, I know, there's plenty of terrible shit on TV.

    But this snobby, "they could one day be stars instead of wasting away on TV" attitude (yeah, Aaron Paul is really laboring in obscurity as a star on one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows in recent memory) is lameass oldthink.

    Some of the people we talk about the most here and admire for their skill are "just" TV actors. Walton Goggins, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deschanel, etc. So what's with this "Hopefully, one day these worthy actors will rise up out of the TV ghetto" bullshit? It's just fucking lazy.

  • Archie Leach

    Yes, we are hardpressed to find the big screen equivalent of the Boardwalk Empires or the Breaking Bads nowadays but the reality is that stereotype that television is the inferior stepbrother to cinema persists. It comes down to the spread of television to the masses back in the 50s when older "washed up" movie actors moved onto television when their film careers had come to an end. Anyone remember the television show "What's My Line"? That show was well remembered for having guest appearances by "has been" film actors. And that's the way it was for television right thru until the 1990s or so when cable channels began to up the production budgets on television shows and the networks had to follow suit. But the old stereotype of television being inferior to film remains......funny thing is that an actor can make far-and-away more money working in television.

  • in_heaben

    Just because the quality of tv productions is higher than movies (and I agree completely, I think tv has been overall much higher in quality than movies over the last couple decades) doesn't mean tv actors aren't treated differently. For better or worse (mostly worse), film actors get more publicity, more money and more attention from the public and from their peers. I do think this should change, but the article is completely right in saying that it is very hard to make the transition from tv to movies, and while there has been a slow shift in the perception of tv roles, tv is still considered to be second tier to movies. It's wrong, it's stupid and it doesn't make sense, but it is reality. Just because we talk about how great these actors are, doesn't mean everyone in Hollywood wants to hire them for any role they want. We don't want them to necessarily stop making tv, but it's really cool to see actors you love reach the so-called big leagues

    So, this list is necessary to remind us that these people are great actors that we love and they deserve to have the attention and renown that movie actors enjoy.

  • Slash

    No, it actually isn't "reality." Reality is what we decide it is, in this context. I think many, many people no longer consider TV "second-tier." Honestly, if I had to list great actors who are mostly TV stars and great actors who are movie stars, the TV list is longer. TV and movies are just different mediums, there's really no need to put them in a hierarchy. It's like pulled pork and a sirloin. They're both fucking awesome. No need to pick one over the other.

    Maybe it would be easier for people to think of TV actors as "first-tier" if third-tier writers would stop using words like "small screen" to describe them. How about just "actors"?

    I'm perfectly happy to continue seeing all these people (the ones I know about, anyway) on TV rather than movies. I'm sure the actors themselves are cool with being in movies, because as I understand it, work is work and they probably like being asked to be in movies. It's probably a nice thing to have on your resume as an actor. TV shows go away and there's no doubt a lot of pressure to keep working so that people don't forget you. But I bet that being in a "second-tier" TV show like "Breaking Bad" has done more for Aaron Paul's career than the movie "K-PAX." Hell, his resume is mostly TV. If he waited around for movie people to put him to work, he'd still be unknown.

  • in_heaben

    I'm not really arguing with you; you're absolutely right, the vocabulary sucks and too many writers continue to use it. I'm just saying that the shift in overall perception isn't happening as fast as either one of us would like.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    August: Osage County is being filmified? Well, that's interesting. I should probably pay better attention to which stage to screen crossovers are coming up. They're generally blink and you miss it type things (like Rabbit Hole).

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    I was under the impression that cable original programming killed the silver screen star.

  • Elsa

    I predict only one of these people will actually break out.
    Jake Johnson - probably him, cause he's awesome

    Jane Levy - too many people will confuse her with Emma Stone
    Charlie Hunnam - Pacific Rim will bomb
    Benedict Cumberbatch - I just hope he crawls back into the cave from whence he came
    Henry Cavill - people will realize moving your cheekbones doesn't equal acting
    Katee Sackhoff - who?
    Michael B. Jordan - Once Fruitvale comes out people will realize it's a manipulative tearjerker and nothing more
    Jai Courtney - Die Hard is getting panned
    Aaron Paul - maybe, but......eh

  • duckandcover

    This reply was just as lazy as your reading comprehension.

  • dizzylucy

    I hope Michael B. Jordan can do it - I only know him from FNL and Parenthood, but I loved him on both shows. Talented guy.

    Melissa McCarthy might be another good example.

    It's funny, so much of the good work seems to be on TV these days and film actors are coming over to it, but then there are still TV actors are trying to break out.

  • hindulovegod

    I hope Michael B. Jordan happens this year, if only to soften the blow of Wallace's story on The Wire. Not even Friday Night Lights made that better.

  • Skyler Durden is not logged in

    I had no idea Cavill was on TV. I just assumed he was grown in the same lab that gave us Sam Worthington.

    Also, never forget the King Of The Others, Tom Hanks.

  • Allijo

    Dear Joanna,
    Thank you for including Benedict Cumberbatch.
    Now, where's the Justified recap?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!

  • JoannaRobinson

    Tomorrow morning, pet. Swearsies.

  • prairiegirl

    Henry Cavill - yummy wrapped in a blue cape. I hope he does well and we see much more of him.

    Also, yes to the Michael B. Jordan love. He's fantastic in everything I've ever seen him in to date.

    I will also happily watch Jake Johnson snogging with most any lady. I think I watched that New Girl kissing scene at least 15 times. It makes me all tingly and happy in special places.

    Katee Sackhoff I'd be very curious to see but I don't know if she'll be able to break out of the Starbuck image she created. Not sure if she has the chops or not. I hope she proves me wrong.

  • Grendel

    Supes wears a red cape.

    I'll see myself out...

  • prairiegirl

    I stand corrected. I was too smitten by his good looks to mind the color of the cape. ;)

  • lowercase_ryan

    How I missed a new Riddick movie coming out pisses me off.

    Long Way Down was good and Paul is an excellent choice.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Crumblesnatch will become a far more recognizable face than Martin Freeman, mark my words. And it will be well-deserved.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I think Cumberbatch is trying to make sure he has a nice long career as a character actor. He's here to stay.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    Riddick? What do you mean Riddick? As in Vin Diesel Riddick? Didn't we do this already? Wtf? But alright, anything to see Starbuck again. Based on that picture, I'm assuming she'll be playing Starbuck in a corset. I'll take it.

  • Kballs

    Or out of a corset. Either way.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Right? Me too.

  • fracas

    Fillion is good at movies! Slither, Serenity, Waitress, but especially Slither. Slither!

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I'm embarrassed to admit I even liked White Noise 2 which had Katee Sackoff in it as well. Win/win!

  • anon

    Katee Sackhoff is such a one-note actor, I believe Battlestar Galactica will always be the peak of her career.

  • e jerry powell

    At least she amuses me as Bitch Pudding, and that's enough in my mind.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    what's her one note? Angry tough chick? I'm pretty sure that's a note you can build a career on.

    Other One-Noters of Note: John Wayne, Jack Nickolson, Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant, Jason Bateman

  • toblerone

    F$%#ING HOT Angry tough chick is probably a better description and I couldn't care. I love Katee and have even resorted to watching B.B.T. just for her appearances.

    Speaking of One-Noters: Michael Cera?

  • Kballs

    Will Ferrell, Tommy Lee Jones, Clint Eastwood . . .

  • $27019454

    Jennifer Aniston. Wait. That's not the point. Is it?

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