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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

Joseph Cross Running with Scissors.jpg

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


Ed Speleers, Eragon — To be fair, Speleers did reappear in the most previous season of “Downton Abbey.”



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


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.