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Let's Give These 11 Washed-Up Feature Film Actors Their Own Television Series

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | February 6, 2013 | Comments ()


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This week, it was announced that Robin Williams -- the 7th highest grossing feature film actor of all time -- would be returning to his television roots to star in "Crazy Ones," a David E. Kelley comedy for CBS about a father and daughter who work together in an advertising agency. It probably shouldn't come as that big of a surprise: Robin Williams hasn't had a hit movie over a decade, and he's been guest starring in television shows like "Louie," and "Wilfred." The bigger surprise is that he chose CBS over a network like FX, but given his age and CBS's demographic, maybe it makes better business sense.

It's not just Williams, of course, who has made the jump from major film star to television: Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are in House of Cards, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson have a detective series coming out together on FX, Kevin Bacon is on the miserable "The Following," Eddie Murphy is returning -- at least in some capacity -- to television with a TV version of "Beverly Hills Cop," and even John Goodman is going back again, starring in a series for Amazon. A lot of feature film actors whose best years were behind them have managed to resurrect their careers on the small screen, and thanks to the increasing narrative complexity of much of television, their doing the best work of their lives. If Robin Williams and the second highest grossing feature film actor of all time, Eddie Murphy, are returning to television, then anyone can.

Here are 11 more washed-up Hollywood actors who should consider making the transition.

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Arnold Schwarzennegar/Sylvester Stallone -- As January has demonstrated, these two guys are completely incapable of opening a film on their own (see Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand) and even The Expendables franchise has lost its novelty. These guys are pretty much done as feature-film actors, notwithstanding a series of films each currently have in production (I'm betting that many will go in turnaround). So why not join forces on television? They'd be great on TNT, where all their films are in constant rotation, and they could star in a lightweight drama about two over-the-hill rival stuntmen who decide to go into business together as private detectives. They'll solve crimes, beat the crap out of people, and say "I'm too old for this sh*t" at least twice an episode.

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Tom Hanks -- He's the highest-grossing actor of all time, and he's also the second most likable actor in Hollywood now (behind Michael J. Fox, who is also returning to his own series this fall), but Hanks hasn't had a solid hit in four years, and even that was a disappointing Da Vinci Code sequel. What most of us miss about Hanks is his comedy, which he really doesn't do except on talk shows (where's he's always brilliant). He has a great working relationship with HBO (thanks to the WWII mini-series) and I think plenty of people would turn out to see Hanks on television again, perhaps reviving his That Thing You Do! character in a dramedy series focussed on the music industry in the 1960s.

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Julia Roberts -- The second-highest grossing female actress of all time (behind Cameron Diaz) has kind of hobbled through the last decade of her career. There was at one point, an Erin Brockovich television series in development, and with Steven Soderbergh retiring from making movies (saying that movies are "irrelevant"), it'd be fitting if he decided to try his hand at a dramatic series, probably for a network like FX. I'd watch a serial legal drama that starring Roberts that might take on one giant case each season, and the two of them could probably pull the biggest cameos on the small screen.

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Orlando Bloom -- What happened to this guy? He's been fairly useless outside of the Pirates of Caribbean and Lord of the Rings series, and those won't be around forever (or will they?) He's a not good, very bad actor, and honestly, he doesn't deserve better than a network show that'll probably be cancelled within a month. He might survive in a strong ensemble (after all, that's how he's managed so far), and since ABC is trying to build out their success with Once Upon a Time with other, similarly-themed shows, maybe Bloom could land on one of them. In fact, they're doing a Once Upon a Time-like drama with characters from the Van Helsing universe, and I'm sure that Bloom could pull off the wooden lead who passively watches the action occur around him.

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Mike Myers -- Myers kind of screwed his own career, selling out too hard with a series of overly broad comedies and sequels He's a gifted comedic actor, but also kind of limited. He could be good in the right role, but given his age and his limitations, I'm not sure that role exists on network television: At best, I could see is a scene-stealing, crazy drunken uncle on a irreverent family sitcom.

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Keanu Reeves -- Keanu!? Where are you? He's has a few little-seen indies in recent years, but Keanu hasn't had a major hit since the last Matrix movie in 2003. But you know what he was good in? Street Kings. He's good cop material, and he'd probably excel in a serialized cop drama with procedural elements on a network like TNT. They could even go Breaking Bad with it: Reeves could play a sympathetic anti-hero crooked cop trying to stay ahead of Internal Affairs to support a lavish bachelor lifestyle.

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Liv Tyler -- Tyler's last minor hit was The Strangers, and that's kind of been it outside since The Lord of the Rings. I could definitely see her taking in a quirky mom role in a Showtime dramedy, another housewife with a secret life kind of show. While the kids are at school, and Dad is at work, she operates as a high-end escort, not for the money, but to bring some excitement back into her dreary suburban life.

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Rene Russo -- Thor is the only thing she's done in 8 years, and honestly, I barely remember her from that. But she's a decent actress, though perhaps she's been aged out of Hollywood. No matter. Television would love her. In fact, she'd be perfect in a period drama. I'm sure that future seasons of Game of Thrones would have a need for a wicked matriarchal role, and I think she'd be brilliant in that.

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Val Kilmer -- I don't like reality television, and neither does the FX Network, but what would be better than an FX reality show called "Fat Kilmer"? What's it about? It follows Kilmer as he dines -- always alone -- at the best restaurants in the country, and the strange and bizarre conversations he has with the waitstaff and other patrons along the way. I hope someone is listening to me, because this show would be gold.

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Jodie Foster -- Although she recently came out (kind of), it's unlikely to change Jodie Foster's box-office fortunes. Last modest hit? 2006's Inside Man. Yes, she has Elysium out this summer with Matt Damon, but who would not love to her and, say, Portia de Rossi in an irreverent sitcom about a high-powered lesbian couple who work as political consultants for opposing parties (Foster would be the Republican, obviously). Basically, it's a lesbian James Carville and Mary Matalin, only there's a twist: They each have to come home each night and be loving mothers to their quirky brood of children.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • smek2

    Tom Hanks is "washed up"? Are you crazy?

  • $21513853

    Ugh. Thanks for making me feel old. You know you're in Generation X when some 20-something writer unilaterally decides that if you haven't had a blockbuster movie in a few years you're suddenly washed up.

  • Rubble44

    Cameron Diaz is the highest grossing actress of ALL TIME?!?!?!? WTF, was she in the background in Avatar? Was she an Ent in the Lord of the Rings trilogy? (not that she would have needed much makeup for that)

    Oh yeah, those Shrek movies? I forgot that "counts". Because I know everyone lined up to see those movies because of her great comedic timing and riffing...no wait, that was Eddie Murphy. Besides the Mask (which was good because of Jim Carrey) and There's Something About Mary (which was just plain good, give her credit for that, she was funny and endearing) her other movies have been steaming piles of cowflop. Let's just say there won't be a film festival with Very Bad Things, The Sweetest Thing, the Charlie's Angels movies, What Happens in Vegas, The Green Hornet, What to Expect When You're Expecting or Bad Teacher...unless Hell has one, which I'm sure they do. I can name 50 actresses more deserving, (I would say 1,000, but I'm sure one of you would call me on it and I don't have the energy).

    That being said, it tickles me that Julia Roberts is in second place. Cause it probably reaaallllllllyyyy pisses her off that the girl who was a co star in one of her movies has surpassed her. That solipsistic bitch thinks society started when she was born and we are living in the year 45 JR.

    Once again, no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. Hell, Ben Stiller is 15th.

  • Nadine

    Kilmer needs to turn Kiss Kiss Bang Bang into a TV show and just play Gay Perry for the rest of his life. Gay Perry was fucking amazing.

    I actually agree with prrrrrrrrrretty much this entire list, I must say. Well not Julia Roberts. The less Julia Roberts where I can see her, the better.

    I would love for Robin Williams to turn up on Justified. MAYBE HE COULD PLAY DREW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • apsutter

    Uproxx had a good article about Robin Williams and his new show. I can see why film stars want to move to television because there is so much better quality tv right now than movies.

  • kirbyjay

    Keanu does make a fine cop. Speed, Point Break and Street Kings were 3 of his better movies and he got to play stoic ( I think you all call it wooden) in them.

    Seriuosly, for those who diss him, I recommend The Gift. He was one supurb wife beating, redneck in that movie. Probably his best role.

  • jack

    none of these actors are 'washed up' except maybe fat kilmer

  • marigi

    Oh my goodness!!! Foster was great in Carnage. I can't believe you left her at 2006. Or is it the Polansky factor?

  • Fiona

    Here in the UK, John Goodman is currently starring in a BBC Stephen Poliakoff drama - Dancing on the Edge. Set in the 1930s, its about the rise to fame of a black jazz band - helped by the patronage of the Prince of Wales and his brother (shades of Wills and Harry with their love of nightclubs and P Diddy....). Goodman plays a sinister US millionaire and his co-stars include Jenna-Louise Coleman, Angel Coulby (Merlin), Jacqueline Bisset (looking like Julie Christie), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Janet Montgomery and Anthony Head. Definitely worth a look.

  • Molly

    Haven't read all the comments, but did anyone catch the grammar in the second paragraph of the opening? "...THEIR doing the best work of their lives." Thought that would be something you might want to fix. Great article though!

  • Lee

    Who needs Borelando Bloom when we have a version who can act (Rupert Friend).

  • I'm gonna nitpick here, but the McConaughey/Harrelson show is actually going to be on HBO, not FX.

    Also, I think you'd have to choose for Tom Hanks to go back to comedy or for him to play his straight man role in That Thing You Do. Not sure that both of those work together.

  • e jerry powell

    Well, we all know that HBO means plenty of nekkid. This could be a plus.

  • Also, Orlando Bloom's gonna have a big part in the next Hobbit movie, I think. Maybe it'll lead to a comeback?

  • Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson

    HOLY SHIT! Really? That sounds amazing! It'll be like the Awesome Accent Power Hour! Duuuude!

    And, I'd love for Eric Bana to get a shot at television. Hell, a shot at anything. I miss him!

  • Calamity

    Poida!

  • Lee

    Mmmmmm...Eric Bana!!!

  • toblerone

    Tom Hanks as Ned Donnelly in some sort shoe in the vein of Breaking Bad about Wall Street?

  • toblerone

    *Tom Hanks as Ned Donnelly in some sort of show in the vein of Breaking Bad about Wall Street?

    Sucks not to have an edit function or down vote ability if you're not registered,

  • e jerry powell

    Wasn't that called Bonfire of the Vanities?

  • Blake

    Are you actually comparing Breaking Bad to Bonfire of the Vanities?

  • $27019454

    Breaking Bosom Buddies!

    Sorry. Sorry for the way I am.

  • e jerry powell

    Heaven help you.

    Besides, is Peter Scolari still a thing? I thought he went out with Bob Newhart.

  • Blake

    Scolari was Hannah dad in Girls.

    Why Bosom Buddies? Two words: Donna Dixon.

  • e jerry powell

    Really, though, Dixon has held together pretty well. She managed to avoid turning in to Jerry Hall, which was a real danger.

  • e jerry powell

    Aykroyd is keeping all that goodness for himself.

    Plus which, Wendie Jo died.

  • $27019454

    Bonfire of the Bosom Buddies!

  • e jerry powell

    Admit it, you just want to see bosoms.

  • $27019454

    Not Julia Roberts' bosoms. Anything but that.

  • $27019454

    ...er ...those.

  • e jerry powell

    She wouldn't show them to you anyway. That "no-nudity" clause she puts in all her contracts.

  • $27019454

    Thanks, Obama. No, really. Thanks!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Isn't Keanu busy bathing, rinsing, and drying off with his Matrix money?

  • Blake

    And ruining Japanese history too?

  • $27019454

    Well he's certainly not off bathing, rinsing and drying off his self.

  • TVConnoisseur

    I love the idea of using washed out movie actors/actresses but why are we offering up overplayed ideas for TV series like "Legal Drama" or "Cop/Detective" Show. How many more of these do we really need?? You would think America is only populated by a bunch of lawyers and police detectives. I would like to know how someone stands in a conference room with TV producers and successfully pitches another legal/cop TV series. It's time to think outside of the tube.

  • Tinkerville

    Unfortunately, they'll only stop making them when people stop watching them. Procedurals get the highest ratings every damn week and are a money making machine. Just look at the success of all the Law & Orders, NCIS, and CSI. As long as they keep being hits, they'll keep churning them out. :-/

  • $27019454

    I cannot EEEven believe you said *whispers* Julia Roberts out loud. THE GODS ARE LISTENING and we do not want them to hear *looks around in stoner paranoia* that name and get ideas and shit like that because she has been asleeeep for a long time now and that means we have been spared her horse-faced jackassery. But now look what you did. You said it. Out loud. You never learn, do you.

    And I'd fucking watch Fat Kilmer and I'd watch it like a boss and I'd watch it back to back so you better package that shit with an IV. Because I'm goin in for the download if that shit ever happens. And it should.

  • Lee

    Thank you! I would rather watch Honey Boo Boo Child over Miss "Look at how fabulous I am" braying horseface, regularly on my tv. It's bad enough that she is still in movies.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I never really thought of John Goodman as a movie actor, he bounces between the two so much. He was terrifying in Damages.

  • e jerry powell

    SHHHHHHH!

    I'm still waiting on the DVDs of seasons 4 and 5.

  • MissAmynae

    fantastic in Treme, as well. He'll always be Dan Conner to me.

  • sean

    You realize those are actually good ideas? And that someone is going to steal at least 2-3 of them?

  • John W

    What shows could add these actors to their roster?

    Stallone & Arnie - Dancing with the stars or any other reality show for washed up celebs.

    Hanks - Mad Men as a rival, Peg's co-worker?

    Roberts - Girls as Lena's boss or Revenge as Madeline Stowe's high school nemesis

    Bloom - Game of Thrones, The Borgias or Downton Abbey as Edith's love interest

    Mike Myers - Community as a new teacher

    Reeves - Person of Interest, could they handle another stoic actor on that show?

    Tyler - Californication, another sex interest for Duchovny

    Kilmer - Kilmer looks like he belongs on Justified, Breaking Bad, or Sons of Anarcy

    Russo - the new Vikings show

    Jodie Foster - Homeland as the new director of the CIA

  • John WTF?

    1. Why would you ruin Community further by adding Meyers?

    2. Foster on Homeland? NO.

  • e jerry powell

    Stoic, or Al Gore-grade wooden?

  • janetfaust

    Julia Roberts has been overrated her entire career. I have never understood why people were drawn to her. I've never seen "Pretty Woman" or "Erin Brockovich" so maybe I've just missed her better outings, but I just don't get it overall.

  • e jerry powell

    Never has the line "I'd rather have five minutes of wonderful than a lifetime full of nothing special" resonated so strongly.

  • janetfaust

    "Eat, Pray, Meh."

  • e jerry powell

    I want to shove really big prayer beads up Elizabeth Gilbert's nose.

  • Mogan

    It just goes to show that highest paid actors/actresses does not equate talent. Example: Cameron Diaz is the number one paid actress.

    Seriously?

  • Sirilicious

    Stallone looks like what Michael Jackson would look like by now in that pic.

  • e jerry powell

    No. Worse. Somewhere on the order of the baby Mickey Rourke made with Bruce Jenner.

  • e jerry powell

    Just so we're grammatically clear, the intention is to give each of these has-beens a show each and not just shove them all into one horrifically expensive show? Am I in the ballpark?

  • Blake

    First: NO.

    Second: I don't know if TV can handle anymore white people...

    3rd: Hank's already has Band of Brothers 3 and only if it is a Bosom Buddies update.

  • $27019454

    Band of Bosom Buddies!

  • foolsage

    Saving Peter Scolari?

  • Mrs. Julien

    Too late.

  • jM

    Wasn't there a story not long ago about Val Kilmer trying to develop a one man show as Mark Twain? I think the world needs to see that, at least I know I do.

  • e jerry powell

    Whoops, I read that wrong. He's already done it as a play, and now he's trying to make it into a film.

  • e jerry powell

    Yup. He even posted some photo tests from the play he was doing on his Twitter feed.

  • I wouldn't watch Julia Roberts paint my bathroom. Well, actually I might have to, if her trying to walk in heels in 'Oceans 11' is any indication of her skill. Wobbly!

    The Mike Myer's crazy Scottish family patriarch from 'So I Married an Ax Murderer' is his best play going forward. He and Butler as Scottish ne'er-do-well brothers, polar opposites but both f-ups.

  • Jerce

    The top portion of Jodi Foster's Golden Globes evening gown continues to look just like duct tape to me.

    That's all I can think of whenever I see pictures of it. And it's so jarring.

  • Eyes up here!

  • Puddin

    I kind of hate the tone of this article because it implies that doing tv is a step down for a mooovie stah. Fact is, the best stuff is happening on tv right. Best stories, best characters, and best fan bases.

    If I was a big movie star, I would rather do Breaking Bad than, I dunno, "big boobed nerd who eats too much but never gains weight meets rival newspaper columnist and his boorish ways melt her cold, ambitious heart".

  • phase10

    I found the tone to be saying TV would be a step up for these once great box office draws.

  • pajiba

    Maybe you missed this line: "A lot of feature film actors whose best years were behind them have managed to resurrect their careers on the small screen, and thanks to the increasing narrative complexity of much of television, their doing the best work of their lives.

  • Jezzer

    Now that you point it out in italics like that, the egregious "their/they're" error just stands out even more.

  • e jerry powell

    True, that's in there. I still prefer the British POV that acting work is acting work, be it stage, screen or TV. Hell, how recently was it that Judi Dench was on a sitcom? And that was a ten year-run, throughout which she made a shitload of both genre and highbrow films.

    Still, no, can't say her career has cratered the way the listed actors' have.

  • VonnegutSlut

    I want, want, WANT to see "Fat Kilmer." Now. Pretty please with a cherry (yummmm, cherries) on top.

    And the Foster/De Rossi lesbian political drama sounds amazing...the only question is how could the name of the show be sufficiently titillating without being insulting? 'Cause you KNOW that's a very thin line to walk.

  • foolsage

    Yeahhhhh, naming that one would be tricky indeed.

    Anyhow, to be clear, the Foster/De Rossi show should be a dramedy or a comedy. There's just too much comic potential there to keep it all dark.

    Man, I want to see this show now. Sigh.

  • Use her cryptic line from the Golden Globes, somehow - what was the line again?

  • Kballs

    It thinks it's where she thanked her lover of 20 years and their child together. Or wait, maybe it wasn't cryptic at all . . .

  • Keanu Reeves and Val Kilmer can defecate on a script and throw it at a camera and I'd give them a pass because of The Matrix and Tombstone. Mike Myers and Julia Roberts need to stay the hell away from my tv. Otherwise I can take them or leave them.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Keanu can be the streetwise surfing ex-cop and Fat Kilmer can be his XL huckleberry.

  • Nikkers

    Fat Kilmer needs to happen! I would watch the sh*t out of that show.

  • This!

  • sean

    He actually isn't fat anymore. Besides, Ron Eldard seems to have that job filled on Justified.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Heck, I've got it covered right here.

  • Blake

    I be willing if the show was some sort of update to Salton Sea or Top Secret or Real Genius.

  • sean

    Oh god, a Real Genius show. 30 yrs later. I would watch that. Chris is a burned out super rich eccentric who helps people with his genius and wealth. With a great secret that many want to steal from him. Sort of a X-files/McGuiver/Fugitive thing. But funny. With Chris having sex with women much younger than himself.

  • foolsage

    Oh hells yes. Or for that matter, give us Chris Knight as a (probably reluctant) professor, leading a new generation of wacky geniuses with poor social skills in various wacky escapades. Some plotline about military tech secrets could be used to justify Chris being forced to teach, while providing some B-story arcs about Chris' past between the movie and now.

  • $27019454

    YES! The part of Salton Sea where Pooh Bear re-enacts the Kennedy Assassination with pigeons. I got it! A show in which has-been stars use pigeons to re-enact famous events in history/pop culture. I'd watch that. Pigeon version of the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Pigeon version of the beheading of Marie Antoinette. Pigeon version of Janet Jackson's halftime wardrobe malfunction.

    It just yields so much. So much potential.

  • Orlando Bloom on Downton Abbey next season. PLEASE.

  • BWeaves

    He's already on it. Look closely at the balustrade.

  • Robert

    What happened to Orlando Bloom? I'm sure his career took a hit when he was involved in the hit and run where he left the scene of the crime and then came back and pretended to be an innocent bystander. That might have been what happened to his career. It's why he was pulled from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

  • Sirilicious

    Really? If i cared one bit about him, i'd google that.

  • Monica

    That and marrying Miranda Kerr. And having babies with her. If I were him, I wouldn't work either.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Whatever keeps Keanu away from Cowboy Bebop is fine with me.

    And Liv Tyler can continue her trek into obscurity as far as I'm concerned. I've never been anything but bored when she's on-screen, and that includes my beloved "That Thing You Do!"

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