Our subject today:
Specifically, those actors whom Hollywood just keep trying—and, often, failing—to make into one. They aren’t necessarily bad actors, but seriously, world, quit it. Let these blossoms—either flower or turd—bloom in their own time, in their own way.
You can consider this piece a spiritual successor to Dustin’s writings on the same subject on 2011. The world’s given up on Alex Pettyfer, and these five actors have stepped into their place:
The Perpetrator: Jai Courtney
The Disappointments: Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard, and I, Frankenstein. Also Divergent and Detergent: Insurgent, which made bank, but they haven’t done well critically. Courtney, playing Generic Baddie #387, doesn’t exactly light the world on fire.
The Potential for Redemption, aka could this actor still earn the pedigree that Hollywood has attempted to thrust on them?: Hollywood hasn’t given up on this one yet—he still has Terminator Genisys, where he plays alternate-timeline Kyle Reese, and Suicide Squad, where he plays Boomerang. Even if those films do well, nothing about Courtney convinces me that his contribution will be met with more than a “…and he was in them, too.” I don’t see Jai “The second coming of Bruce Willis. No, really, believe me, he’s the second coming of Bruce Willis, he really is, c’mon guyyyysssss” Courtney happening.
The Perpetrator: Taylor Kitsch
The Disappointments: After Kitsch sent panties a’dropping in Friday Night Lights as Tim Riggins, Hollywood was bound and determined that he’d be their next big star. But, poor guy, all his big-budget projects were absolute shit: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Battleship, failed Oliver Stone project #57, and the kicker, John Carter. Don’t feel too bad, Taylor. You were never going to come out of that one a star. Space Dog completely overshadowed everyone.
The Potential for Redemption: Maybe I’m being optimistic here, but Kitsch’s status as the guy who Hollywood tried and failed to make happen over the past few years could make him ripe for an underdog… can it be a comeback if he never really arrived in the first place? Regardless, I want to see this guy succeed, dammit! He took a turn for the indie after a disastrous 2012, scoring supporting roles in the critically acclaimed Lone Survivor and The Normal Heart. Next up is season two of True Detective, which has already done some career resurrection work on Mr. Alright Alright Alright.
The Perpetrator: Luke Evans.
The Disappointments: The Three Musketeers, The Raven, Immortals, the last two Hobbit movies, and Dracula Untold. He was also the bad guy in Fast & Furious 6, but he made such a small impression that I barely even remember him in it. There was The Rock, people.
The Potential for Redemption: Studios keep throwing Luke Evans at me, and I don’t get it. He’s fine, I guess? He was decent in the last two Hobbits, but nothing special. Though, to be fair, even Lee Pace’s eyebrows couldn’t elevate The Battle of the Five Armies from being a steaming turd. Evans currently has five smaller, non-franchise-y films in some state of production (including a movie with Hiddleston), then in 2017 he’s back to megablockbusters as Gaston in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast. Absence might make the heart grow fonder here. Dial it back a bit, be more selective with your projects, and actually wow us with something before everyone gets completely sick of your face.
The Perpetrator: Sam Worthington
The Disappointments: Everything that’s not Avatar.
The Potential for Redemption: Hollywood tried so hard after Avatar to make him happen, didn’t they? Even if the sequels ever do get made, the only thing Worthington has to look forward to after is another round of shitty indies and maybe, if he’s lucky, a movie where he’s a Greek superhero with a mullet.
The Perpetrator: Ryan Reynolds
The Disappointments: Pretty much ever big studio movie he’s ever been in (barring The Proposal, which was really Sandra Bullock’s movie, and The Croods).
The Potential for Redemption: Reynolds is the epitome of “actors Hollywood is trying to make into a thing,” except they act like he already is a thing, and they’ve been doing it for years. “Ryan Reynolds is one of the biggest stars in the world! Everyone loves his movies,” they tell us, casting him in comic book adaptations that fail miserably. Stop trying to gaslight me. Ryan Reynolds is not a thing. Saying he is does not make it so*.
Don’t get me wrong—he’s had success with indie films (Adventureland, Van Wilder, Buried). I’m sure he’s a great guy. But a movie star he ain’t (let’s hold the debate on whether movie stars even exist anymore until another time). Of course, him being heretofore unable to open a successful tentpole film says less about him as an actor than it does about the movies he’s chosen being absolutely shit. But it’s not too late. I’ve listened to many a rant from one of my vampire-obsessed friends about how Reynolds was the perfect person to play Deadpool… in an awful movie that completely fucked up the character. With 2016’s Deadpool stand-alone film, he has another shot at finally fronting a big movie that doesn’t make studio accountants want to commit ritual suicide.
*…or does it? Philosophy debate in the comments, y’all!