Actors who looked like they would become big stars, but didn't

Charlie Sheen is the first one which comes to my mind. After Platoon, it really appeared that he would be headed for the A-list, but after some merely moderately successful roles in vehicles like Wall Street and Eight Men Out, he was in the quasi-bomb Navy Seals, and that was that, and he was thereafter relegated to the likes of the Hot Shot movies, eventually becoming the lead for the comedy series Two and a Half Men. Truly puzzling career path, but perhaps he never really had the ability and cachet to be a top star.

Orlando Bloom. He’s had virtually no career outside of the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

I’d say those alone qualify him for being a pretty huge star, and he has been in lots of other stuff, too. Of course, he usually plays the same period-piece pretty-boy for teenage girls to swoon over, but he’s making a successful career of that, despite limited acting ability.

Sometimes it seems like an actor or actress really gets a “push,” and then they fade away. Julia Ormond should be the poster girl for this. She was in First Knight with Richard Gere and Sean Connery, the Sabrina remake with Harrison Ford, and one or two other high-profile movies with big-name actors in the '90s, and then… nothing.

I also thought Sophie Marceau would be in more stuff after Braveheart, just based on how gorgeous she was. I haven’t heard her name in years, though.

One more: Jimmy Fallon. He was never that great on Saturday Night Live, always breaking character and cracking up during sketches. However, he’s kind of an awkward/weird pretty boy who plays a little guitar, so I thought he’d get some Adam Sandleresque push and be cast in lots of big comedies and rom-coms. Luckily for us all, his star has waned while his former Weekend Update co-host, Tina Fey, got even bigger after leaving SNL.

Yeah Orlando Bloom doesn’t count. Discounting being a star in the two biggest trilogies of the decade, kind of renders the point moot. “Oh yeah, this guy was just one of the stars of 6 of the biggest movies of the oughts.”

Vincent Chase. After Aquaman I thought he was going to be huge, but I hear that Medellin was a boondoggle at Cannes, his buyer backed out after seeing it, and they had to sell it to Harvey Weinstein for $ 1.

Yahoo Serious.

I might’ve figured out why, though. I just looked him up and found out he was 35 when Young Einstein came out. I would’ve guessed he was 19 or 20.

Amy Locane- very hot in several early 90’s movies, then nothing of note.

She was also in that Bond movie (The World is Not Enough), and few actresses’ careers ever rebound from those.

I’m surprised Elisabeth Shue didn’t leave a bigger footprint.

All of the following are working very successful actors who have done pretty well, but have never become steady A-list (Tom Cruise, Tobey Maguire, Johnny Depp, etc.) in spite of having the looks and some talent:

Paul Rudd

Billy Zane

Matthew Modine

James Spader

Mira Sorvino and Cuba Gooding Jr. probably both wish they hadn’t won their Oscars. Seemed to have set the bar so high they’ve never been able to measure up since.

Elizabethtown
Kingdom of Heaven
Troy
Black Hawk Down

Add that two the 2 trilogies, in a career that spans only a decade, and I’d call him wildly popular and very successful… but he’s on my list of celebs whose proclaimed hotness makes me go :confused: .

Some that are on my list of people I thought would be more famous than they are, off the top of my head:

Gabriel Byrne
Ellen Muth (from Dead Like Me)
Juliana Margolies
Marisa Tomei
Jennifer Jason Leigh

OK, I admit Bloom has been a pretty big star. I think his career peaked, though.

I dunno, I’ve heard some CGjr. interviews and I’ve become pretty sure that he’s a really weird, not very talented guy who fluked upon a few really good performances. I’m not 100% sure of this but time will eventually tell one way or the other.

Spader headlines a very successful TV show, and has won a few Emmys as a result of it. I think these days, the stigma that used to be attached to “TV actors” as opposed to “movie actors” is long since gone, now that faded screen stars like Kiefer Sutherland and Alec Baldwin have rebuilt their careers bigger and better than ever thanks to the right television roles. Spader just seems to be one of those guys, and he’s definitely at the top of his game.

I’m a huge Paul Rudd fan, and think the guy is talented, hilarious, awesome, and damn good looking too. He only recently seems to be getting any notoriety at all, but he’s been around for close to a decade.

If you really want to see Modine at his best, watch If, Dog, Rabbit, a totally unknown and obscure movie from 1999 which is actually surprisingly good. It has a similar feel to No Country For Old Men and a great supporting cast including Bruce Dern, John Hurt and Kevin O’Connor (most recently known for playing Henry in There Will Be Blood.) It is by far Modine’s best performance, and the film was also written and directed by him!

No, it definitely isn’t.

Alicia Silverstone. Who would’ve thought that after “Clueless,” it was Tai who would get all the roles and not Cher?

I thought Eric Roberts was on his way after The Pope of Greenwich Village and Star 80 . Mickey Rourke too.

I just looked at IMDB and Roberts has 160 credits. He’s probably not hurting for cash but that’s a lot of bad movies.

There’s a lot more fluidity now with big named movie actors doing TV, without a loss of status. Glenn Close, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Forrest Whittaker, folks like that have recently had starring roles in TV shows. Seems like it’s a good career move and not a sign that you’ve lost it anymore.

That’s what I meant.

Sophie Marceau has been acting in a lot of French movies; I don’t think her intention was to be a big Hollywood star.