The 10 Most Shocking Career Choices Made By Famous Actors
It takes wisdom for an actor to turn down some roles and courage to accept some. Sometimes actors make shocking decisions by choosing a completely different role from their previous screen personas. As you can see in the following examples, these risky choices either pushed them to greater success or easily ruined their careers.
10. Macaulay Culkin – The Good Son (1993)
The Home Alone movies established Macaulay Culkin as a smart and cute boy, we totally enjoyed the likable kid beat the crap out of the two stupid thieves with all kinds of tricks. The movies were very successful in the box-office and Culkin became one of the most famous kid star overnight.
Maybe Culkin chose it himself, maybe his agent signed the contract for him, but in 1993 American psychological thriller film The Good Son, Culkin played a psychopath kid – the total opposite character to his role in Home Alone movies – who even killed a dog. The film received a mostly negative response from critics. Roger Ebert, who deemed the film inappropriate for children, awarded it just half a star, calling the project a “creepy, unpleasant experience”.
9. Tom Cruise – Collateral (2004)
Think about the previous roles Tom Cruise had played before Collateral: the handsome and passionate aviator in Top Gun, the anti-war activist in Born on the Fourth of July, the righteous lawyer in A Few Good Men, every single character embodies the American value.
In Michael Mann’s 2004 American crime thriller film, Tom Cruise surprised everyone by dyeing his hair to grey and portrayed a assassin whose task was to kill four witnesses and a prosecutor. The film received positive reviews, with particular praise going to Tom Cruise’s brilliant performances.
8. Jennifer Connelly – Requiem For A Dream (2000)
For anyone who has seen Sergio Leone’s epic Once Upon a Time in America, it’s impossible to forget the beautiful scene with the young and angle-like Jennifer Connelly dancing in a barn. Her next couple of career choices were pretty good too, Labyrinth, Phenomena and The Rocketeer seemed have paved the way for her successful career as a next-door-girl type of actress.
When she took the role of drug addict Marion Silver in Darren Aronofsky’s weird movie Requiem for a Dream, everything was subverted. The movie was too dark for any previous Connelly fans to adapt, especially those bold sex scenes. However, Connelly’s desperate spiral into darkness had won praises from critics and after this movie, she started to take some serious roles in drama movies, and won her first Oscar years later.
7. Tom Hanks – Philadelphia (1993)
Before some of his most famous performances in the 1990s, Tom Hanks was just a popular comedian who starred in some of the most successful comedies in the 1980s, including Splash and Big.
In 1993 Tom Hanks played an AIDS victim in Jonathan Demme’s drama movie Philadelphia. The movie was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. The role gave Tom Hanks his first Oscar, since then he has been nominated a couple of times, and becomes one of the greatest actors in our times.
6. Daniel Craig – Casino Royale (2006)
Before his legendary Bond role, Daniel Craig was nobody in Hollywood. He only appeared as supporting roles in movies like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Road to Perdition, Layer Cake and Munich. After MGM announced that he was going to replace Pierce Brosnan as the sixth Bond actor, there was huge controversy around him.
The 5-foot-10-inch blond Craig was not considered by some protesters to fit the tall, dark Bond portrayed by the previous Bond actors, and to which viewers had apparently become accustomed. Craig silenced these protesters with his authentic performance in Casino Royale, and continued to play Bond in the next two Bond films. The latest 007 movie Skyfall even broke the box office record in the history of all 23 Bond movies.
5. Jim Carrey – The Truman Show (1998)
Jim Carrey was famous for his rubber-face and exaggerated body movements in comedies like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Liar, Liar. Nobody took him as a great actor seriously.
Until he took the role of Truman in Peter Weir’s original and provocative drama The Truman Show, Jim Carrey successfully played a tragic character whom the audiences can easily identify and sympathize with themselves. From then on, he signed a couple of serious dramas such as Man on the Moon, The Majestic and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jim Carrey proved to the world that he could be great if he tried.
4. Charlize Theron – Monster (2003)
Before Charlize Theron, few people as gorgeous as her would ugly themselves to fit a role. It’s hard to imagine such a sexy creature, who played men’s dream woman in movies like The Devil’s Advocate, Sweet November and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, would play a monstrous serial killer in a serious drama.
The physical transformation Theron went through in the movie was astounding, and her overall performance won her a deserving Oscar.
3. Halle Berry – Catwoman (2004)
After starring two successful commercial movie X-men and Swordfish, Halle Berry won an Oscar for her magnificent performance in Monster’s Ball and became the first black woman to win this award.
In 2004, Berry tries another superhero movie – Catwoman after 2000′s X-men, but it turned out to be the culmination of numerous bad post-Oscar choices that saw Berry taking on much-criticised roles in Die Another Day and Gothika. The movie was later voted as one of the worst film in 2004, and film critic Bill Muller of the Arizona Republic suggested that Berry should possibly give back her 2001 Academy Award as a penalty.
2. Elijah Wood – Sin City (2005)
Elijah Wood made his film debut with a minor part in Back to the Future Part II (1989), then landed a succession of larger roles that made him a critically acclaimed child actor by age 9, being nominated for several Young Artist Awards. He is best known for his high-profile role as the kind-hearted Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 movie adaptation of Sin City, Elijah Wood played cannibal Kevin, which is a far cry from the Frodo character we all know. Though audiences found it hard to believe what they saw, Wood pulled it off and then tried to do it again in the 2012 movie Maniac.
1. Robert De Niro – Analyse This (1999)
When an actor is acclaimed as one of the best in the world, there must be something brilliant when it comes to choosing roles. Robert De Niro has brought us some of the most memorable roles in movie history, including Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bulls, “Noodles” in Once Upon a Time in America etc.
When it came to his later career, De Niro encountered the bottleneck period of his career. Then he made his decision to play in a comedy - Analyse This. He was so good in it that he totally deserved the title “King of Comedy”. The movie kick-started his comedy career, his Meet the Fockers and Silver Linings Playbook all received positive reviews from critics.