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Why Aren’t These Actors More Popular?




They were supposed to be the future of Hollywood. Today, you’d have to think hard about when you saw last them. There were a few times when actors and actresses were on their way to leading their own franchises – seemingly unstoppable in the eyes of moviegoers everywhere.

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For these unfortunate few, success never quite stayed around. Why does this happen and could it have been avoided? We take a look back on some of the most overhyped actors who were supposed to be the ‘Next Big Thing’ – but never quite made it.

Shailene Woodley

Woodley first attracted a buzz from her performance in The Descendants opposite George Clooney, but things never quite worked after that. Even though she was the star if the Divergent series, box office numbers started to dwindle and it was finished as a TV special.


Woodley had been cast in the 2014 summer hit The Amazing Spider-Man 2 only to have her part completely cut. Today, her career has stayed in television – a medium she used to scoff at.

Carrie-Anne Moss

Even after 20 years, it appears that Carrie-Anne Moss will always be known as Trinity in the Matrix trilogy. Even though she has had a few appearances in Netflix’s Marvel Universe, notably in Jessica Jones, it looks as though that’s all coming to an end.

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We’re not sure why Moss never had a brighter career – she seemed like the perfect woman to lead a sci-fi or action franchise. With her age against her, it doesn’t look like we will see her leading anything soon.

Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton was named Entertainment Weekly’s Number 1 IT girl in 2003. Her role as Marissa on The O.C won the hearts and minds of millions of people for three seasons, making it one of the most popular shows at the time.


Unfortunately, she was fired at the end of the show’s third season for constant erratic behavior and legal problems. News travels fast in Hollywood and she was quickly blacklisted from future projects. The show never recovered from her loss and was canceled the following year.

Taylor Kitsch

Has anyone tried harder to be a star than Taylor Kitsch? He has been the lead in four different movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, Battleship, True Detective, Savages, and John Carter didn’t garner the attention or praise anticipated.

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In fact, John Carter was one of the biggest Hollywood flops in history: losing hundreds of millions for Disney. Since then, Kitsch appears to be taking far smaller roles and clearly isn’t the bankable star Hollywood was expecting, despite its efforts.

Megan Fox

Megan Fox had a promising start to her career when she starred in the first two Transformers films. Unfortunately, you should never bite the hand that feeds you: she compared director Michael Bay to Hitler and was quickly fired.

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Fox had a supporting role in Ninja Turtles but her career never quite recovered. Today, she is a full-time mom and appears in a few projects – but has definitely moved on from the ‘Hot Girl’ persona that made her famous.

Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer had a few roles that promised a strong career, but none seemed to stick. He was seen in Magic Mike and the failed franchise start, I Am Number 4. Pettyfer even starred in the spy film Stormbreaker, which couldn’t make a profit and perhaps got his career off to a bad start.

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Today, the British actor stays to smaller, more independent movies that have reduced his star credibility. In 2011, he spoke about Hollywood in a rude and crass manner – perhaps keeping him stalled.

Minnie Driver

After appearing alongside Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, Minnie Driver was hyped in Hollywood as the next leading lady. However, it never quite worked out and she was often sidelined by filmmakers to small supporting roles.


Today, she can be seen Speechless, but we won’t be seeing her leading a franchise anytime soon. It’s unclear why Minnie Driver wasn’t more of a star, but it’s strange to see the hype die down after such a promising start.

Armie Hammer

Armie Hammer has everything you need to be a leading man: chiseled good looks, charm, and strong acting ability. However, it appears that his roles in The Lone Ranger and The Man From U.N.C.L.E weren’t enough to keep him at the top.


In 2017, he starred in the acclaimed move Call Me By Your Name which won him critical acclaim, but the smaller indie film is no match for the Hollywood blockbusters everyone wants to star in.

Brandon Routh

What’s bigger than Superman? In 2006, Routh had certainly large shoes to fill when he was cast as Superman in the Bryan Singer sequel. Unfortunately, fans weren’t impressed with the film as a whole and the additional sequels were shelved.

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Of course, Superman came back a few years later but it was Brandon Routh who was left behind. Today, he plays Atom – another hero on TV’s Legends of Tomorrow. While still acting today, it appears Routh won’t be the film star he thought he would be.

Leelee Sobieski

In the 1990s, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that Leelee Sobieski wasn’t in. She had appearances in Deep Impact, Eyes Wide Shut, and starred in TV’s Joan of Arc. Strangely, it all dried up after a Razzie nomination and a few box office failures.

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Today, her name remains largely unknown to people younger than 25, which shows just how fickle the movie business can be. Many audiences today will struggle to find her working today. Do you miss her?

Sam Worthington

Where do you go after the biggest film in the world? Sam Worthington starred in Avatar, quickly blowing him up into one of the world’s biggest stars. Weirdly, his career has slowed down since 2009 and he hasn’t appeared in much.

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Aside from the inconsequential Terminator: Salvation, he has taken a back seat in Hollywood. He needn’t worry, however, since he will be appearing in Avatar’s three sequels which are sure to be huge hits for years to come.

Chad Michael Murray

Chad Michael Murray starred in one of the biggest shows for most of the 2000s – so where is he now? The star of One Tree Hill was a heartthrob for millions of viewers from 2003-2012 and then seemingly vanished without a trace.

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Aside from guest appearances on shows like Scream Queens and Agent Carter, his success hasn’t been as predicted. He was last nominated for an award in 2008 – a Teen Choice Award – and probably laments the fact his fans grew out of his boyish appeal.

Dakota Fanning

There was no question that Dakota Fanning was a talented child star. She starred in massive Hollywood movies such as War of the Worlds and The Secret Life of Bees. In 2004, she even appeared in an episode of Friends – a pinnacle of stardom at the time.

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Today, the 24-year-old seems to have taken time away from acting, but is coming back strong. She can next be seen in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Does this mean that she can hold up a future career as a leading lady? We will have to wait and see.

Emile Hirsch

After appearing in 2007’s Into The Wild, Emile Hirsch became somewhat of a hipster star. Although never appreciated by the mainstream, he promised strong performances in drama and had enough screen presence to lead the film on his own.

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Unfortunately, his jump into blockbusters was lackluster – Speed Racer was ahead of its time and never appreciated when it was released. Ironically, it has become a cult classic and he’s once again a hipster icon. Do you think he deserves to kick off another franchise?

Eric Bana

There was nothing wrong with Bana’s performance in 2003’s Hulk, but comic book fans all agreed that the tone was too creative for what should have been an action film. His career appeared to slow down after that and has only been seen in smaller, independent, films.

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Despite roles in Star Trek and The Time Traveler’s Wife, Eric Bana never reached the same heights of success as he did as a superhero. Would you like him to lead another film?

Garrett Hedlund

Garrett Hedlund was the lead in Tron: Legacy, a film widely expected to kick off a franchise. It garnered a bit of attention but failed to reach the same acclaim as other franchises in the space at the time.

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Today, Hedlund has worked on indie projects just as Inside Llewyn Davis and Lullaby, but his time as a blockbuster hero seems to be over. He might continue working in the future, but we think his time as a leading man might be behind him.

Jai Courtney

Jai Courtney is one of those actors who appears in a lot of popular films but fails to leave much of an impression. He has been in A Good Day To Die Hard, Jack Reacher, Terminator Genisys, and Suicide Squad.

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It’s an impressive portfolio but shows that he has yet to earn the praise he might feel is overdue. Although a Suicide Squad sequel is in the works, it appears he won’t be in the new Terminator franchise.

Ione Skye

Everyone remembers the iconic moment in Say Anything when John Cusack holds the speaker over his head. So why can’t we remember the woman he did it for? Ione Sykes was on her way to being an iconic actress after her role in the 1980s classic.

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However, her career failed to take off as quickly as others and she was quickly forgotten. She has appeared in small roles in shows like Arrested Development and Awkward although Syke won’t reach the same success again.

Kate Bosworth

You might just start believing in ‘The Superman Curse’ after this. Bosworth had a promising career ahead of her after being cast as Lois Lane in 2006’s Superman Returns. Unfortunately, as already discussed, the film wasn’t successful and Hollywood has largely forgotten about this co-star.

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Despite a constant flow of supporting and guest roles to keep her busy, Kate Bosworth has not held onto her leading lady reputation. That might change this year since she has recently been cast in Netflix’s The I-Land.

Taylor Lautner

You could hear audiences squeal with joy when Taylor Lautner would remove his shirt in The Twilight Saga. It appeared he was an unstoppable force leading the biggest teen franchise since Harry Potter – so what happened?

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Lautner’s career appears to have quietened down since its peak in the late 2000s. He was last seen in Fox’s Scream Queens but wasn’t met with the same enthusiasm. Perhaps we’ve seen the end for this werewolf? We hope to see him on our screens soon.