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.”