Movies & TV Shows

10 Actors Who Had A Great Career Start But Fizzled Out (According To Reddit)

Hollywood loves a good comeback, as illustrated by Lindsay Lohan’s return to acting with her new Christmas movie. But fame can be a fickle thing, especially for an actor. A breakthrough does not guarantee a successful acting career, and one must consistently choose projects well to remain in the good graces of the Hollywood gods.


Hollywood is littered with C-listers who once began their career as the next big thing. But their success was short-lived, and they find themselves scrambling for significant roles, and a great comeback isn’t going to happen for everyone.

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Taylor Lautner

Taylor Lautner as Jacob in Twilight standing shirtless in the rain.

Taylor Lautner started his career in the Twilight franchise and went from an unknown actor to a big star overnight. It was expected that his career would take off after finishing the last Twilight movie, but Lautner has barely been seen in any projects of note lately.

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While he did some movies and some TV shows, none of it compares to the success of the Twilight movies. However, Hollywood might not be to blame for Lautner’s disappearance from big screens. “I think it’s less that Hollywood has kicked him to the curb and more like he’s done with Hollywood,” said Reddit user AwakeAtNights, further explaining that the fans gave Lautner such a horrible experience that he intentionally distanced himself from the fame.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba Gooding Jr. in A Few Good Men in the courtroom

“Cuba Gooding Jr? He was peak in Jerry Maguire, then sorta disappeared in a bunch of terrible movies,” said Reddit user jesterjackson. People might remember Cuba Gooding Jr. as one of the household names not so long ago. After Jerry Maguire in 1996, it was expected that his career would be thriving.

However, despite featuring exciting projects like Pearl Harbor, he mostly vanished in the flood of small roles in movies with low production value. It seemed that his choice of projects was detrimental to his career. He can be seen in a couple of TV series as of late, but it’s nothing compared to the fame he could have achieved had he made better choices.

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts as Chanel in Scream Queens premiere

Emma Roberts had big shoes to fill, but her career seemed to have gotten up to a good start in the beginning. She seemingly followed the footsteps of her aunt, starring in teen rom-coms like Nancy Drew, Wild Child, and Hotel For Dogs. But at some point, her career went sideways as she struggled to transition from teen movies.

“She’s getting regular work in Ryan Murphy’s TV shows, but she never reached the Julia Roberts level of fame that everyone seemed to think she would reach,” said Reddit user Petitcher. Though her role as a fan favorite Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story is amazing, it feels like wasted potential in her case.

Liam Hemsworth

Gale sitting in the meadow alone in The Hunger Games.

“Whatever happened to Liam Hemsworth? It seemed like he was on a roll early on with the Hunger Games,” said Reddit user FrankReynoldsCPA. And it’s a good question to ask, as Liam was following the path of his older brother. Fans fell in love with his portrayal of Gale, and his career was seemingly on the right track.

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He even booked The Dresskeeper and starred next to Kate Winslet, followed by headlining Independence Day: Resurgence. But lately, he’s been booking single episodes in TV series. However, he has recently been selected to replace Henry Cavill in The Witcher, which means his career might be on the right track again.

Skeet Ulrich

Skeet Ulrich making a face at Stu in Scream

“He always seemed like he was someone who was supposed to be famous but actually wasn’t,” said Reddit user Traditional_Entry183. The Scream actor’s career launched after his iconic role in the horror franchise, which was also one of the best horror comedies from that era.

But even though he did some movies in the 90s, he’s mostly been a guest on a couple of TV shows lately. His background might be the reason for that, as he comes from a rich family, and never had to make it as an actor. He could pursue roles that seemed interesting, and he was not forced to make choices for financial reasons.

Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel as Will Lennox in the "Transformers" cinematic universe

“I always thought Josh Duhamel was gonna be big after Las Vegas and Transformers… haven’t heard much from him since,” said Reddit user Jameszhang73. For a while, Josh Duhamel was booking all the big movies, like Transformers and Safe Haven.

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He’s lately been favoring television, appearing in shows like The Thing About Pam and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, and even some video games. Not exactly the fabulous Hollywood career everyone expected him to have, but he seems happy and is consistently working all the time, which is better than completely disappearing.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson as Belle singing How Does A Moment Last Forever (Montmartre) in Beauty And The Beast (2019)

Emma Watson rose to fame with her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies. Her performance was amazing, and it was no surprise people expected great things from her. “You’d expect to see an actress in a slew of big projects coming off a hit like that, but I don’t think anyone wants her leading their film,” said user WoodyMellow on Reddit.

As a matter of fact, her later performances, like the one in Beauty and the Beast were heavily criticized. Her take on Belle was described as a “joyless performance”, even though her Belle was ranked as one of the best. But regardless of everyone’s opinion, one bad movie doesn’t mean she’s a bad actress. Perhaps the thing to blame is that her focus is split between acting and her charity work and that is why she hasn’t been in as many projects as of late.

Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers

Isla Fisher established her presence in the romantic comedy genre with the likes of The Wedding Crashers, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Definitely, Maybe. “Why didn’t she do anything really good after Wedding Crashers? She completely stole that movie,” said Reddit user ParisHilton42069. Fisher played Gloria – one of the less likable characters in the movie and nailed her portrayal.

She seemingly wanted to distance herself from the genre by choosing other types of projects like The Great Gatsbyand Now You See Me, establishing herself as an actress capable of variety. But she hasn’t been in any great projects since Arrested Development, and fans are hoping for her return in the future.

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley as Jane in Big Little Lies standing on the beach with her shoes in her hands.

“Shailene Woodley was everywhere when I was in middle school as a lot of people in my class were obsessed with Divergent and The Fault in our Stars. Haven’t seen her in anything recently,” said Reddit user alitaimur72. Woodley opted against filling her resume with meaningless projects and instead decided to focus on the ones she loved.

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The result might not be many famous roles, but her performance as Jane in Big Little Lies received praise from viewers and even Meryl Streep herself. It seems that she’s picking her projects wisely, and the audience is yet to see what she’s capable of.

Chloë Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz as Flynne in Peripheral

Another child star that struggled with transitioning to adulthood roles is Chloë Grace Moretz. “She was in a series of flops, and now it seems Florence Pugh has taken her place in the public’s eye,” said Reddit user Rage_Like_Nic_Cage.

But there is a darker reason why she might have taken a bit of a break as well. After a horrific meme that went viral, she got bullied for being “too big”. It caused her to suffer from body dysmorphia and anxiety, as she revealed in an interview. Moretz is currently a part of ThePeripheralTV series and hopefully will get the comeback that she deserves.

NEXT: 10 Forgotten Actors Who Made Great Comebacks

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