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More Case Studies in Likeability: Celebrities Who Turned Us Around On Them

By Vivian Kane | Lists | May 4, 2015 |

By Vivian Kane | Lists | May 4, 2015 |

We’ve been talking a lot about actors’ likeabilty around these parts lately. The Age of Ultron press tour has really been jerking us around, making us question our opinions about some of our favorite actors. And while it may seem silly and trivial to talk about an actor’s likeability as if it’s at all relevant to their careers, it really is. For a celebrity, likeability is a bankable trait, one that can hugely affect their box office draw. Tons of celebrities we once loved have suffered a backlash of hate (or indifference), some deserved (Adam Baldwin, I’m looking at you), some not at all (why don’t we like Anne Hathaway again?). But the reverse has happened, too. Once in a while, an actor has managed to change our minds for the better. You could call it a comeback if we had liked them to start with, but these celebrities won us over, even if they took their time doing so.

Jimmy Kimmel
Before: Emember when Jimmy Kimmel was Adam Carolla’s slightly less smarmy sidekick on The Man Show?
Now: He’s come very, VERY far.
What turned us around: I’m gonna go with Sarah Silverman.

January Jones
Before: We pretty much just saw her as an ice queen with the acting range of a blonde turnip.
Now: She’s an ice queen with the acting range of a blonde turnip who f*cking KILLS IT on Instagram.

What turned us around: This was a definite tipping point:

#tbt to 5th grade when I asked my hairstylist to make me more aerodynamic. #partyinthebacky'all

A photo posted by January Jones (@januaryjones) on

Taylor Swift
Before: Just generally not a person to be taken seriously.
Now: Stop resisting. Stop pretending. Just give in to the wonder that is TSwift.
What turned us around: Was it her changed stance on feminism? Or the fact that “Shake It Off” was lodged in our brains long enough to make us fully succumb?

Matthew McConaughey
Before: Like TSwift, it’s not that we disliked McConaughey, he was just a bit of a punchline. Be honest— until a year or two ago, given the choice, we all would have chosen Matt Damon’s impression over the guy himself, right?
Now: Okay, he’s still sort of a punchline. (Those car commercials aren’t helping things.) But he’s also talented as hell.
What turned us around: Duh.

Scarlett Johansson
Maybe you never disliked ScarJo. Maybe you don’t like her now. Our feelings on her tend to be pretty split. But for many of us, it may have been surprising to realize over the last year or so that we suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, actually take her seriously as an actor.
What turned us around: This one may vary. Maybe for you it was her Black Widow. Personally:

Justin Timberlake
Before: Remember when this was Justin Timberlake?
Now: He may have lost some love with us recently after the weird eclipsing of his wife’s head in “their” pregnancy announcement, but he’s still come a LONG way in our opinion of him.
What turned us around: I’m gonna go with:

Mark Wahlberg (RELAPSED)
The guy went from Marky Mark to respected actor. Then he reminded us all that he once beat a man to blindness in a racist fit of violence.

Russell Brand (PENDING)
Before: No words necessary.
Now: Okay, he’s still super skeevy, but he’s at least focused that skeeviness.
What turned us around: Remember the first time you realized Russell Brand is an intelligent man? For me it was this interview. It was a disconcerting moment, for sure.

Robert Pattinson (PENDING)
Before: Our entire opinion of him consisted of “sparkly vampire.”
Now: This is just a prediction at this point, but he’s proven that he’s actually a hell of an actor. Unfortunately, he’s only proven in films that NO ONE has seen. (Related: Go see The Rover.)

Seth MacFarlane (PENDING?)
Before: Most of us view Seth MacFarlane as a sexist megalomaniac, whose lazy brand of humor is a plague on film and television.
Now: He was a driving force behind getting Cosmos made. Is that enough to change our opinion of him?
What turned us around: Nothing. No. No, it’s not. He’s still the worst.