Back in 2004, Jude Law was in six major films released that year (and a seventh was released at the trail end of 2003). It was that prolific period that so overexposed Jude Law that it nearly killed his career; he didn’t have another hit until Sherlock Holmes, and even that was mostly thanks to Robert Downey, Jr. (though, Law was quite good in Holmes). Clearly, Law learned nothing from that earlier experience because, now that his name is hot again, he’s lined up six more projects over the next two years, determined to wear out his welcome twice in one career (a feat that John Travolta has also accomplished).
It is the cautionary tale of Jude Law that makes one worried when a particularly talented actor falls into the same trap. It’s great to strike while the iron is hot, but if you strike too often, the iron will burn out. Jeremy Renner is the latest actor who seems to have fallen into the trap, signing on this week for yet another major movie, playing Steve McQueen in a biopic scripted by James Gray and directed by newcomer, video director Ivan Zacharias.
With that project, Renner is now a frontrunner to be the next Jude Law, the next major star to flame out due to overexposure and the inevitable backlash. A shame, too, because Renner is great.
Who are the other four contenders? Below is the list of the five leading men who have the most potential for burning out over the next two years, with a list of their upcoming projects and the odds of burnout.
James Franco (Odds — 1.5-1): The Broken Tower, Maladies, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Iceman, Oz: The Great and Powerful and potentially Sal Mineo: A Biography (Note, too, that he’s already coming off of three movies within the last year, in addition to a Green Hornet cameo).
Ryan Reynolds: (Odds — 3-1): Green Lantern, The Change-Up, Safe House, R.I.P.D., Deadpool and two voice roles in animated features.
Jeremy Renner (Odds — 2-1): The Steven McQueen Biopic, a cameo in Thor, The Avengers, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol, The Bourne Legacy and Better Living through Chemistry.
Sam Worthington: (Odds: 1-1) The Debt, Last Night, The Fields, Man on a Ledge, Wrath of Titans, Drift and eventually those two Avatar sequels.
Tom Hardy: (Odds: 10-1) Warrior, This Means War, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Dark Knight Rises and The Wettest County in the World.
Which actor do you think will burn out the quickest?