I’m not calling this one a “Top 5″ because it isn’t. These were just five guys that got me thinking on the subject. There are probably dozens more so I may revisit this in the future but, for now, let’s focus on the task at hand.
There are many actors out there who show up on the Hollywood scene with a ton of promise. Some succeed but many either fizzle out or don’t manage to break through to that next level. For today’s list, let’s focus on the latter. Below I’ve listed five actors I think have all the talent to be household names and carry big films but, for whatever reason, have not. Sure, they’ve all had starring roles and worked alongside big name talent but they certainly haven’t crossed over onto that imaginary list that gets first crack at a studios next big thing. That being said, let’s look at the facts…
While Lucas had luck getting into some good films (American Psycho, A Beautiful Mind) early in his film career, I think the role that turned him onto people was as Reese Witherspoon’s charming down-home ex-boyfriend in Sweet Home Alabama. This lead to some interesting indie roles (Undertow, Wonderland) as well as put him on the verge of really breaking through with hefty roles in major summer films (Hulk, Poseidon, Stealth). However, while the films he chose had potential for Hollywood gold, they all seemed to fizzle at the box office. In turn, the big films fizzled to. Lucas still pops up in good films (the upcoming J. Edgar) but I fear his next role, as the lead in a TV adaptation of John Grisham’s The Firm, may have put the nail in the coffin for Lucas. A shame because he has a leading man swagger, that many talented actors lack, that could be put to such better use.
I think time will still tell on this one. Hamm has a good thing going on over at Mad Men which is great but limits his ability to pursue an active film career. As a result, he’s been reduced to smaller roles (The Town) and even cameos (The A-team) in which he’s always solid. Still, the guy was leading man material out of the womb. He’s got a strong jaw, good looks, comic timing, he’s charming on and off screen. What’s not to like? I imagine when the show raps he’ll make a move to crossover and focus on feature films. Let’s just hope he doesn’t miss his window of opportunity.
I love Patrick Wilson. He’s one of the most solid actors working out there. Not only does he make great decisions when picking roles but he’s also one of those guys that makes everything he’s involved in just better. He’s one of the few actors out there, that is not an A-list celebrity, that compels me to see a movie because he’s in it. Unfortunately, taking a role on a sure to be cancelled TV show (A Gifted Man) seems like a step backwards to me. Though, with turns in Jason Reitman’s Young Adult and the much anticipated Prometheus, I think Wilson will land on his feet. If he keeps it up and finds that career defining role, I could see Wilson carrying films one day.
I will forever ove Phillipe for his turn as Mr. Parker in The Way of the Gun alone but it’s far from his only big film. Early in his career, he had roles in many promising projects (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gossford Park, Cruel Intentions). Lately, Phillipe seems to be landing in an unfortunate spiral where he is either being out-shined by his co-stars (Flags of our Fathers, Stop-Loss) or ending up in straight-to-DVD films. I won’t even mention the whole sticking a celery stalk between his butt cheeks in MacGruber thing… oops. I think Phillipe will continue to work and do good things in Hollywood. Unfortunately, I fear he may have missed his window to making an even bigger name for himself and divorcing America’s sweetheart (Reese Witherspoon) certainly didn’t help his case.
I still can’t believe I have to include this guy on this list. Can anyone tell me why Fillion is not a Pitt-Clooney level film star. He’s good looking, charming and a great actor. Not to mention that everyone in the world loves the guy. I’m not even just talking about the geeks. Everyone knows the nerds have taken over and, in Fanboy land, Fillion is king. Yet, Fillion has even found a following on his latest TV show (Castle). I recently read a study that listed the top 10 most liked stars in TV. No joke, nine of them were on NCIS which is TV’s highest rated scripted show. The tenth was Fillion. EVERYBODY likes this guy but no one will give him the big roles. I mean, how great would he have been as Captain America? Let’s go, Hollywood. You’re dropping the ball here.
So, who are some actors that you think should be bigger stars?