Top 10 Faded Movie Stars

Top 10 Films’ Lyndon Wells teams up with the Down The Hall movie recommendation podcast to discuss modern cinema’s “faded” movie stars. Check out the top 10 below and also listen to the podcast via iTunes or SoundCloud.

Top 10 Films writer Lyndon Wells has once again tackled a new list with the Down the Hall movie recommendation podcast. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

This time we tackle the Top 10 Faded Movie Stars. This is a list of those film stars that had one or two hits, but never really achieved their full potential and have now faded away.

We set ourselves some loose criteria for the list – we didn’t include child stars like Haley Joel Osment as they could be a whole separate list. The faded stars could be one hit wonders or involved with a single franchise, but they are now faded from our screens, never having reached the stardom many expected. We also concentrated on films that have been within our lifetime (1970 to present day).

10. Taylor Lautner – Twilight (2008)

A massive franchise of which only one of the Down the Hall guys has seen every instalment, I still remain confused about exactly how many Twilight films there are. They aren’t bad films and hit a particular audience well, I even enjoyed the first one. All of Team Jacob expected their favourite topless werewolf, Taylor Lautner, to break big in Hollywood. Whilst Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart have enjoyed indie success, Lautner never followed Twilight with much apart from the British TV series Cuckoo.

9. Alicia Silverstone – Clueless (1995)

The ultimate teen comedy, this is a film that relaunched a seemingly tired genre to a whole new generation. Alicia Silverstone carries this film with a witty and winning performance that she followed with the disaster that was Batman and Robin. So she didn’t really fade from our screens but more drop-off instantly. Let’s not forget Clueless also starred Paul Rudd and he is comfortably unfaded.

8. Ellen Page – Juno (2007)

Juno, Film, Jason ReitmanPerhaps a slightly less faded star that still has the chance to shine. She launched onto the silver screen in 2007 as the confident and witty pregnant teenager Juno, a film carried by its sublime central performance. Despite appearances in blockbusters like Inception and X-Men, Ellen Page is yet to fully capitalise on her potential stardom. Especially with her most recent release, the turgid Flatliners remake. Time will tell, but will the actor bounce back and avoid fading like the rest of the list?

7. Jason Biggs – American Pie (1999)

Top 10 Embarassingly Cringe-Worthy Moments In FilmThe second franchise to feature on the list. This awkward leading man was never propelled into bigger things after this popular teen comedy. Biggs was last seen in Netflix series Orange is the New Black, he is far from a Hollywood Star. His co-Star Sean William Scott did manage to forge out a semi-successful career with films such as Goon.

6. Josh Hartnett – Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

A leading man expected to have a long-lasting career especially with credits including Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbour and top billing in films with a comic edge like Lucky Number Slevin. However, as we know, Josh Harnett hasn’t been a regular feature in our cinemas for some time now but the potential was definitely there.

5. Lindsay Lohan – Mean Girls (2004)

This is a much more documented fading compared to Alicia Silverstone. A film from the same genre as Clueless and perhaps more popular, Mean Girls is a film I still enjoy today. At the time no one would have predicted both Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried going to have more successful careers then Lindsay Lohan.

4. Hayden Christensen – Star Wars: Attack of The Clones (2002)

An actor that many are not surprised to see faded. However, having headlined one of the biggest franchises ever, even if they were the prequels, should he have been able to launch a sustainable career in the limelight? Whilst the likes of Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor recovered from the prequel curse to carve out impressive careers, the leading man never maximised this opportunity apart from the terrible film Jumper.

3. Brendan Fraser – The Mummy (1999)

A personal favourite of mine, The Mummy is a fun romp (much better than the Tom Cruise rubbish from this year) with a slightly goofier Indiana Jonesesque leading man. Surely he would be someone to watch and feature in many big movies? Obviously that is not the case as The Mummy remains the peak of his career and it has become a surprise to see him pop up in anything now.

2. Jon Heder – Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Napoleon Dynamite, Top 10 FilmsA quirky and hilarious cult film enjoyed by many, Jon Heder had the potential to become a comedic regular of the cinema, but apart from Blades of Glory he never really took advantage of his potential. His fall from the limelight means he’s an actor better known by the name of his infamous character than his actual name. If he appeared in a mainstream film today an audience would point out Napoleon Dynamite and ask where has he been?

1. Mark Hamill – Star Wars (1977)

Top 10 Star Wars Characters Of All TimePerhaps not released in our lifetime but the original Star Wars trilogy changed the nature of movies forever and Mark Hamill was the leading man. Apart from some great voice work as the Joker and witty remarks on Twitter the only thing that really kickstarted his career once more was the relaunch of Star Wars. Much to Hamill’s annoyance, all you have to do is compare his career to Harrison Ford and realise quite how much his star faded.

Who are your favourite faded movie stars…

Written by Lyndon Wells

This top 10 was a collaborative effort between Down The Hall podcast hosts Rodney and Chet with Lyndon. Check out the podcast for their individual arguments for and against including the films above.

About the Author
A film geek and cinephile masquerading as a Doctor, husband and father. With my dog Bilbo by my side I seek to prescribe a healthy movie experience through accurate diagnostics. Find me on Twitter: @lwellsfilm

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  1. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    I suppose Jon Heder is an acquired taste but I love his inclusion. I think many, me included, expected bigger things from him.

    Can’t say I’m surprised by Christensen; never liked him in the Star Wars films. Portman and McGregor had already established their careers before Star Wars so were always going to come back from those atrocious films. Christensen didn’t have much going for him. I’d put Lautner in the same category.

    Love Clueless. Love Alicia Silverstone. Can’t understand why her career didn’t take-off. I suppose now, with everyone remembering her cutesy, teen performance in Clueless, it’s tougher to reignite your career at the age she is now.

  2. Avatar
    Graham P Reply

    Interesting subject guys. Christensen was a terrible actor. Not surprised to see his fall from grace. Fraser’s The Big surprise. Where is he now. Good actor.

  3. Avatar
    Sarah Green Reply

    Martin Lawrence is a terrific comic actor who seems to have gone very quiet. Agree that Brendan Fraser’s a talent that should have gone further.

  4. Avatar
    Callum Reply

    Brings back memories when these guys were the next BIG thing! Taylor Lautner was just a pretty boy with pecks! Pattinson could act. Not surprise to see his faded star.

    Drew Barrymore is one I’d throw out there. I know she was a child star but as an adult she made a comeback with Scream and she’s great in things like Never Been Kissed but then hasn’t gone on from there.

    Another I wished I’d see more of, although many would disagree, is Chris Tucker. So much charisma and insanely funny in the Rush Hour films but largely anonymous now.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Chris Tucker did Money Talks with Charlie Sheen back in the early days of his career (along with the likes of Fifth Element and Friday). Always thought he was funny but his humour grated on others. His chemistry with Jackie Chan in the Rush Films was great to see. It made them more memorable than they would have been without their performances.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    Hayden is (in my opinion) a terrific actor and it’s unfortunate that he faded so quickly. He was terrific in Life as a House and he did some good work after SW, but none of it was noticed. I thought he was quite good in Takers.

    It’s also unfortunate that Biggs faded away. I liked him in the American Pie movies but I guess when you screw a pie, perhaps there’s no coming back from that.

    And of course Hamill just fading away was too bad as well. Fortunately for him, the money never did so while his career in front of the camera never really flourished, his finances were set after SW.

    Great piece, really well done, Lyndon.

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    CineGirl Reply

    Drew Barrymore is a good call. She’s a terrific actress whose career doesn’t seem to have matched her talent.

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    Roger Keen Reply

    Topher Grace is another that comes to mind. He was great in That 70’s Show and good in the film In Good Company but his career never seemed to take off. He was a bonefide star during his TV days but didn’t have the same success in film.

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    Kit Jennings Reply

    There are a few I’d add…

    Mike Myers was massive with Austin Powers then largely disappeared.

    How about Jim Carrey and his co-star in Me, Myself and Irene Renee Zellweger.

    I suppose the most obvious one is Eddie Murphy. He was king of the world in the 1980s, managed to sustain his stardom somewhat in the 1990s then faded.

  9. Avatar
    Roger Keen Reply

    OH… and Kevin Costner.

    • Avatar
      Dan Grant Reply

      What? Costner is still active. He’s not the A-list star who opens a movie anymore but he still has lots of work. He was in Hidden Figures and is in Molly’s Game and has been working steady. I wouldn’t put him on this list.

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    Jenny Saunders Reply

    Another vote for Drew Barrymore.

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    Jason Reply

    Well how about Michael Beihn, terrific actor who after Aliens should have had loads of quality opportunities, now he doesn’t even make VOD trash!

    Also Eric Roberts, always on the edge of twilight never making it through.

  12. Avatar
    Anna Reply

    Well, a few of the names on this list have made some sort of recent career resurgence:

    – Alicia Silverstone was in The Killing of a Sacred Deer (though only for one scene).

    – Josh Harnett had a starring role on the TV show Penny Dreadful, which ended a few years ago.

    – Brendan Fraser recently showed up on the TV show The Affair (not sure the extent of his role though).

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