Being an actor is hard work as it requires one to have many great skills, learn fast and be in sync with other creators. Some might say that it is also an unstable job as you might never know when or what your next role might be or when your next big break is going to happen. Having this in mind, Reddit user @SuperNntendoChlmers asked others online who are some of the actors and actresses who “revived” their careers by getting that one important role that made them well-known. Soon their question was answered by giving names of various famous actors and the roles they played so well that everyone knows them for it.
The question that received almost 15k upvotes was answered by naming some of the greatest actors such as John Travolta, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Connery, etc., who, despite their success now, were struggling to get their career up and running.
What are some of the actors that you would add to this list? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments down below!
More Info: Reddit
Sean Connery’s career in the early 1980s had just completely fallen off the rails. He was in some bad non A-list films throughout the ’70s. Couldn’t shake the shadow of James Bond.
Then Brian DePalma cast him in The Untouchables. He got nominated for his amazing role and his career was back on track doing films like Indiana Jones, The Hunt for Red October, and The Rock. Great Hollywood comeback.
Neil Patrick Harris. Though I wouldn’t say “Harold and kumar go to White Castle” was a great role. But, it definitely put him back on the Hollywood radar, and landed “how I met your mother”.
Well it’s not a lock yet but I’m hoping Brendan Fraser’s career resurgence continues. I’m going to see The Whale when it hits the theaters, if we go out in force to support him the dumbasses in Hollywood will see that he’s still a big box office draw and continue to cast him.
Yeah, John Travolta has a f**king airport at his house because of Pulp Fiction.
Incidentally, I remember listening to an interview after Christoph Waltz had been nominated for a second time for a Quentin movie, and he gracefully expressed his appreciation for Tarantino having found him and gotten him better opportunities, but also said, “He gave me my break, but he didn’t give me my craft,” and I thought that was a great way of making that point.
Jason Bateman. Before he did Arrested Development he pretty much was relegated to bit parts in movies and TV. Afterwards he was getting leading roles again.
Wasn’t it the situation with Leslie Nielsen in Airplane? His serious acting career was basically over but the movie kick started his comedy acting career.
And didn’t Taken revive Liam Neeson’s career as he was “too old” at that point to get leading roles, especially in action movies?
Michael Keaton had a renaissance after Birdman. Such a good actor, weird that he kind of vanished having been an A-lister in the late ’80s, early ’90s.
Only Goonies fans knew who Josh Brolin was until he made a comeback 20 years later.
Dennis Quaid had a similar, but less extreme, arc.
Henry Winkler had trouble getting work because he was the Fonz after happy days. Finally won an Emmy for his role in Barry.
Also Ed O’Neill in the 10 or so years between Married with Children and Modern Family. People didn’t take him seriously in the failed cop dramas he was in because he was Al Bundy
Matthew McConaughey. He was doing all rom coms and b movies. Then he came out with Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective, and Interstellar.
He had an interview on Stern where he said how he decided to reinvent himself or kill his career trying. So he turned down the easy money rom coms he was getting offered. He didn’t get a single movie offer for 14 months before he started getting more “real” roles.
I want to say Christian Slater with Mr. Robot, but I may be misinformed. Kind of made him be taken seriously again as oppposed to an late 80’s-90’s star brought in for a cameo joke and showed he could pull of the same blend of charm and menace even as a relatively older guy
Paul Bettany had just walked out of a meeting where he was told he’d never work again in Hollywood. He went outside, sat on a park bench, and got a phone call offering him Jarvis.
Jonathan Banks. He was in a ton of stuff decades ago, but Breaking Bad was a once in a lifetime role for him and I don’t think anyone could imagine Mike as anyone but him. He basically says this in an interview, that he never thought he’d get a role like that after he got older.
Kinda feel like Alec Baldwin has been on and off this list several. Was an action hero guy, then transitioned to several emotional roles, then dry comedy home runs
Kurt Russell had a couple.
He was a Disney kid actor whose career was finished until he did the 1-2 punch of Used Cars and Escape From New York. Though it could also be kickstarted by his Emmy winning performance in “Elvis”
He then became an action and comedy star for the next 25 years until Death Proof, then he went radio silent until Furious 7 brought him back into the limelight. Then he did Bone Tomahawk, Hateful Eight, Guardians vol 2, and so on
Bryan Cranston – Walter White. No role could have offered such a perfect platform to show his range and make him employable for the rest of his life.
with Malcolm having ended, it would have been easy for Cranston to slip into obscurity until retirement, which isn’t exactly the end of a career but likely a steady pay decrease going forward. One thing is for sure, without breaking bad we’d be wondering “whatever happened to Hal, he was great”
Ingrid Bergman in ‘Anastasia’
Persona non grata in the US, over her affair with Roberto Rossellini, and even denounced on the US Senate floor in 1950.
Won the Oscar in that movie.
Don Ameche. Active from 1935 until 1971. Basically forgotten about until he was in Trading Places (1983). Goes onto win an Oscar for Cocoon (1985).
Pierce Brosnan was Remington Steele and then a whole lot of nothing aside from the guy who got drilled in the head with some fruit in Mrs. Doubtfire. Then he became many peoples favorite Bond.
Drew Barrymore & Scream. Her teenage years were a little rocky & it wasn’t really clear if she’d carry her childhood success into adulthood or not. After Scream, people started to pay more attention to her and good roles started coming in again.
Jackie Earle Haley is my favorite comeback story. I remember having the biggest crush on him in Bad News Bears. He was fantastic in Little Children and has gotten such cool, juicy roles like in Watchmen.
I kind of feel like Robert Pattinson is a good fit here. After the twilight saga ended I really thought it was going to be the end of his acting career. But he really did his thing with roles to follow!
I’m waiting to see Jeff Goldblum have his acting comeback. He still shows up in high profile projects nowadays but he’s always being a caricature of himself. I want to see the Jeff Goldblum from The Fly or Deep Cover to return.
Call me crazy but Ryan Reynolds wasn’t looking too good after Green Lantern hit. I was honestly worried about him since I’m a huge fan of the comedic style he has and used on Van Wilder.
I think if he hadn’t made Deadpool, he may have been in trouble.
Martin Landau. Had been doing s**t for years and had pretty much decided to retire, then Coppola asked him to do “Tucker” which led to an Oscar nom, and for the next 20 years he was one of the most highly respected actors around.
He went from such schlock as ‘The Muppets Go Medieval’ and ‘The President’s Neck Is Missing’ to the latest McBain movie and legitimate theatre like ‘Stop The Planet Of The Apes, I Want To Get Off’
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