“You’ll never work in this town again!” is an immortal slogan thrown around Hollywood, a scornful marking that makes working in that elite business just that much more difficult.
For whatever reasons, these several actors enjoyed success at the top and then due to bad manners or just general maniac behaviour lost that top spot, becoming pariahs in the industry. It’s a sad yet common story that will only see more names soon in these current heated and haphazard times in the industry…
10. Lindsay Lohan
So is the way of the sad story of some Hollywood starlets. Lindsay Lohan was the adorable Disney kid who enjoyed a series of successes (in remakes of “The Parent Trap” and “Freaky Friday”) that showed her as a strong and memorable presence on screen even at an early age. She then came of age in the superior high school comedy “Mean Girls.” All eyes were set on her, yet soon her offscreen exploits began to take centre stage as her cute-as-a-button image became more of a constant ‘party girl’ image instead.
She had on-set drama when she attempted to step into the serious acting leagues with Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Then her toxic reputation followed her onto her next couple of attempts at comebacks in “I Know Who Killed Me” and more recently, “The Canyons,” both edgy indies that were critically lambasted and flopped at the box office; not to mention, they had the media eat up plenty of juicy filming conflicts due to her prima donna nature on each film. The offers have seemingly dried up now, with the actress going instead to TV for work.
9. Charlie Sheen
Martin Sheen’s son rose to heavy prominence in the 80s as he moved to leading man (aka Oliver Stone’s alter ego) in the seminal “Platoon” and “Wall Street.” Plenty of lesser quality yet popular movies followed as Sheen embraced a hard-partying womanising reputation over the years, and although his acting performances suffered, he still enjoyed bankability.
A brief clean-up and attempt at a straight arrow life when he married Denise Richards and started a family, with solid work on the sitcom “Spin City”; even if his movie roster was less prominent, a comeback seemed inevitable. This came in the form of another sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” with other 80’s stalwart Jon Cryer. It was a massive ratings hit (regardless of quality) and a solid living for Sheen, yet things soured between him and showrunner Chuck Lorre due to the actor’s increasingly unhinged and intoxicated behaviour on set.
Sheen was eventually fired and a massive meltdown and media circus followed, with such infamous internet memes like ‘tiger blood’ and ‘winning’ following. Sheen managed to win his own solo show “Anger Management” afterward, which managed to be even less funny than his former sitcom, and displayed plenty of Sheen’s hotheadedness aimed at his crew and wrapped up in two seasons.
No work, a HIV diagnosis and possible negative sexual allegations have arisen in the meantime, and it looks like Sheen has finally become un-hireable regardless of his popularity as an internet meme.
8. Katherine Heigl
After toiling away in as a young actress in thankless sequel roles (“Under Siege 2: Dark Territory,” “Bride of Chucky”), Katherine Heigl managed to have a killer upswing during the mid-2000s when she broke through with her role in the pop culture TV success “Grey’s Anatomy.” Soon after she conquered movies when she landed the plum lead role in “Knocked Up,” the Judd Apatow dramedy that pretty much helped create a ‘comedy renaissance’ with similar movies produced or directed by the filmmaker, starring several of the same actors.
Heigl excluded herself from that list almost immediately when she badmouthed Apatow and the rest involved with the movie, calling it ‘sexist’ during the movie’s press circuit. After burning that bridge, she soon soured herself on the sets of “Grey’s” by belaying the quality of showrunner Shonda Rhimes’ writing. Sure, she managed to churn out a few generic rom-coms after, but her difficult reputation subsided and she’s been less prominent and hardly in demand as of late. This is seen with her latest film “Unforgettable” – a mediocre “Fatal Attraction” rip-off.
7. Edward Norton
It’s no mean feat to get an Oscar nomination with your film debut, but Edward Norton managed to do it with “Primal Fear,” which quickly etched him out as the one of the most exciting names in the movie business.
Several other movies followed that helped further cement this notion (“Fight Club,” “American History X,” “25th Hour”), which are considered some of the best films made in that period, matched only with his incredible skill that soon mounted him the ‘young De Niro’ title of raw but nuanced New York talent. Then roles started to dry up as a reputation for micromanaging several films he appeared in began to reoccur over and over.
His last major push as a commercial and relevant lead actor was with Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk” – the direct follow-up to the studio’s bombastic debut with “Iron Man” that turned Robert Downey Jr’s troubled career around. The similarly unorthodox casting here was meant to lead to a similar success. Unfortunately, Norton’s performance wasn’t as fully embraced, not to mention several reports of him being argumentative and controlling on-set leaked to the press.
So when it came time for when the green one would return for the superhero team-up “The Avengers,” Marvel decided to drop Norton from the role and replace him with Mark Ruffalo. Since then roles have been way less prominent, and although recently smaller roles with interesting directors have helped win him back some points, it’s quite clear that his earlier status has been sadly squandered due to him unable to play nice with most.
6. Mickey Rourke
Now this is an odd example. Throughout the 80s, Mickey Rourke was iron-hot as an actor with appealing good looks, only matched by his barnstorming acting skill and authentic street toughness.
The world was truly his oyster as he moved through exciting movies where critics fawned over his acting (“Angel Heart,” “Rumble Fish,” “9 1/2 Weeks”), yet soon after things took a swerve for the worst, as his outspoken and general nasty reputation proceeded him and got him blacklisted him in the industry. He reverted to boxing for a number of years instead, which mussed up his good looks when cheap surgery attempted to fix it.
He attempted a miserable return to the profession in 1997 that initially felt embarrassing, yet after more than a decade of taking smaller interesting roles and putting in the work to prove he was a new man, he finally landed the role he had been working toward in 2008’s “The Wrestler.” It was a iconic performance that echoed his fall from grace in a moving yet harrowing manner. Awards and unanimous critical praise signified one of the biggest comebacks in Hollywood history – but sadly things weren’t meant to be.
After playing the villain in “Iron Man 2,” Rourke’s nasty back-talk began again when he badmouthed the whole production and Marvel head Kevin Feige as a “nerd,” and this pattern soon occurred again and again with his following movies. Soon after, fewer and fewer respectable roles came along and it was clear he was only in it for the paycheques, whilst his looks decayed even further past the point of weathered charm to downright weird. “Blunt Force Trauma” and “WEAPONiZED” are some of his latest VOD releases – and even just the titles signify that it’s a long way from working with Aronofsky or Coppola.