Five Actors Who Need a Career Makeover

With the release of Universal’s “The Mummy”, people are saying Tom Cruise needs a Career Makeover. The CineNation writers picked five other actors they feel also need a Career Makeover.

Jun 15, 2017 · 8 min read
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With the recent domestic failure of Universal’s The Mummy, fans and critics alike are talking about what Tom Cruise needs to do next with his career. Cruise’s star power is waning in the United States and The Mummy did not help it. Much of the criticism surrounding The Mummy is that the film did not know if it wanted to be an exciting, new take on a famous horror character or just a typical Tom Cruise action-vehicle. Many people are wanting Cruise to go through a career makeover and try something fresh and new (We’ll see if this happens with American Made). Some of the CineNation writers talked about this and they raised the question of who else needs a career makeover. Take a look to see who else they feel needs to start a new chapter in their acting careers.

Ben Stiller

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Ben Stiller was “so hot right now”.

Not too long ago, Ben was comedy’s go-to leading man. He could do it all, from the awkward everyman Greg Focker in Meet the Parents to the absurd powerless superhero Mr. Furious in Mystery Men. But as you scroll up through his IMDb, the amount of original projects becomes less varied. It’s sequels to Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Madagascar, and Night at the Museum.

His last big “original” film was a dramatic turn in the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a film about a man stuck in a rut. Sound familiar?

So. What to do? While he can certainly do drama, I think Stiller should stick to his roots and comfort zone and focus on comedy. People used to love his crazy characters, but after the disaster that was Zoolander №2, it’s probably best he goes with the “normal dude in a crazy situation” roles. (Although AS I WROTE THIS, Omaze released a video reuniting the core cast of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, which featured Stiller as antagonist White Goodman. It’s a short video, but it shows that in the 13 years since the movie’s release, Stiller hasn’t lost a step.)

Furthermore, perhaps now is a good time for Stiller to return to the world of television. More and more stars are foregoing features for the small screen, where they have found more challenging roles and unique stories. Comedy shows tend to have younger stars, but Will Forte (Last Man on Earth) is 46, Will Arnett (Flaked) is 47, and Zach Galifianakis (Baskets) is 47 too. And I will guarantee audiences will make an exception for Ben Stiller.

Or perhaps Stiller should take heed of what Adam Sandler is doing — forming a deal with a streaming channel to create and distribute his movies. Even though Sandler’s movies haven’t been reviewed favorably, there’s no doubt that he’s having a blast creating content that’s exciting to him. We shall see what happens later this year when Netflix releases Noah Baumbach’s new dramedy, The Meyerowitz Stories, which stars both Stiller and Sandler.

Johnny Depp

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One of the biggest flaws Tom Cruise has at the moment is committing to too many franchises. Mission: Impossible. The Dark Universe. Top Gun. Jack Reacher. And some of these, particularly the last one, don’t exactly do well. Frankly, it’s hard to remember the last time Tom Cruise wasn’t a stunt performer and was a real actor.

Johnny Depp is in basically the same boat. Pirates of the Caribbean. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Alice in Wonderland. Even the same franchise as Cruise with Dark Universe. And what’s the last time he really sat and acted? Black Mass was a stellar return to form for Depp, but the movie and its writing simply didn’t match up with Depp’s output and ability. I firmly believe Depp is one of the best actors out there when he gets his act together and gets into the right film. But Murder on the Orient Express where he looks likely to phone things in until his probable early death? Sherlock Gnomes? These don’t exactly scream “Truly stunning performance” for him. I’m all for actors relaxing and taking fun roles, but the stories of Depp needing his lines fed to him on set? His 5th time in a once Academy Award-nominated role Jack Sparrow? It’s just… really, really depressing to watch.

So if we’re talking a career makeover, Depp needs it desperately. And since celebrity status and career is so closely linked to personal life, let’s be sure he gets a makeover on that front, too. Because, man, he’s really pissing me off and I’m one of his bigger defenders. Wasting money, lawsuits, allegedly abusing his now ex-wife… If any actor today needs a complete shakeup in life and career to match the quality of acting he or she was once capable of, it’s Depp.

Rachel McAdams

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Ray Ray McAdams is notoriously an ingenue, something that I think has ruined her career. Yes, she started off with Mean Girls and recently had Spotlight, but to sandwich her career in two good films is simply not enough! This woman is captivating, she is talented and she isn’t given enough credit for it. I believe her in every film she’s in, which is hard to do because I’m usually analyzing every move the actor makes, so I can get a little lost in the technical. Rachel McAdams needs to be given either a franchise or a hefty role that doesn’t involve batting her eyes and swooning.

Stop making her the romantic lead and give her something to bite into; and not just True Detective, which is a whole other story. Have you seen her audition for The Notebook? Watch it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The woman is merely in the audition and she is nailing it. The side by side of the actual scene they use in the film and her audition is insane.

I want to see her in some Brie Larson roles or heck, give her any role that Jennifer Lawrence has played and she’ll earn an Oscar. She can handle being the lead of her own story, which is something that she is never given.

Antonio Banderas

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Unlike Tom Cruise who fell into mainstream exile after his infamous couch jumping incident, Antonio Banderas — another action star of the late nineties — seemed to simply slip into cinematic obscurity.

Antonio Banderas used to be the bomb. Few movies ignited my imagination more than The Mask of Zorro did back in the day which starred an effortlessly suave Banderas.

During the late nineties, Antonio seemed to be unstoppable. While already a star in his native Spain, Banderas effortlessly — along with a little help from Madonna of all people — broke into Hollywood through such films as Interview with the Vampire. Critics liked him, and more importantly, so did everyone else.

When he was cast as the lead of The Mask of Zorro, he cemented his status as a Hollywood leading man. Even though he was acting opposite Anthony Hopkins, who gave a legendary performance, Banderas held his own and in one fell swoop became one of the best action stars of all time.

And then…not much happened. His next big break came in the form of Spy Kids. While the film was financially successful, it was extremely…odd, and it effectively threw Banderas’ cinematic trajectory off course. Afterwards he mostly showed up in Spy Kids sequels and subsequently voiced Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 and its sequels and offshoots.

He reprised his role of Zorro in the The Legend of Zorro, and while this should have been a return to form, the film was so focused on being kid-friendly that it forgot to tell a genuinely exciting story. This seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for Banderas.

While there are many actors like Will Smith who are in desperate need of a career makeover, Banderas is one of the few that deserves one.

Robert Downey, Jr.

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I thought about talking about how great Will Smith and Eddie Murphy still are and how they have a good comeback in them. I even contemplated talking about Tom Cruise, but I feel like everyone else is already doing that. People think you only need a career makeover after you have failed a couple of times, but what about the great actors who might fall into the same successful roles over and over again, even though they have so much more to give? Robert Downey, Jr. is that person.

I love Robert Downey, Jr. I love him so much that I want to see more of him. I was incredibly happy to see his comeback reach a massive peak in 2008 with the release of both Iron Man (which made him a box office star) and Tropic Thunder (which gave him his second Oscar nomination). Since 2008, Downey has one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and don’t forget, one of the highest-paid actors out there. Robert Downey, Jr. is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, comeback story in Hollywood history.

But since 2008, Downey has released only eleven movies, five of which are Marvel films and two of the others are the Sherlock Holmes series. The next three films that he will star in will all be as Tony Stark/Iron Man, which he plays incredibly well. I love the man as Iron Man and I think he is one of the superheroes that I do not think they can ever recast (Don’t try Marvel), but the man has a lot more to offer. He consistently gives great performances. Less Than Zero, Chaplin, Natural Born Killers, Heart and Souls (a personal favorite), Wonder Boys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, Charlie Bartlett, Tropic Thunder, The Soloist and countless others. He is an actor who can excel in both supporting and leading roles.

The world needs more Downey and it doesn’t always need to be in a Marvel film. Downey has become such an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that he almost has to appear in a Marvel film every year (from 2008 to 2018 he will have appeared in nine Marvel films). He needs a makeover. He needs more. We need (and I want) both Downeys. Robert Downey, Jr. the movie star and Robert Downey, Jr. the actor.

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