Climbing the Hollywood ladder isn't easy. One tier of success does not guarantee another. That often means actors can reach one level of notoriety, but never reach breakout status. Often it takes years to become a real movie star. Anyone remember how long it took Liam Neeson?
You could argue that Neeson's first real movie role was in Roland Joffee's "The Mission" way back in 1986 (released before many of you were even born). His major breakout should have been Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" where he earned a coveted best actor nomination. Instead, Neeson followed it up with a string of bombs before George Lucas cast him as Qui-Gon Jinn in "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace." That was the second spark. The third spark? Playing Ra's al Ghul in "Batman Begins." And then, of all things, "Taken." It's hard to believe, but Neeson didn't become a household name until that blockbuster 2008 thriller. Over twenty years of moviemaking and critical acclaim culminated with the release of a sleeper hit that no one saw coming.
What Neeson's journey proves is that actors need to be patient, persistent and keep fighting for good roles. They may become movie stars faster than their peers or pass them by years down the road because sometimes audiences don't know what they want until they do.
With that in mind, HitFix's editorial team has selected 13 actors that we feel should be bigger movie stars in the embedded story gallery at the bottom of this post. Will they breakout next year, five years, a decade from now or never? No one knows, but we've got some advice they might want to consider to take it to the next level.
Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
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