Some actors and actresses carve out long and distinguished careers, performing until they can no longer stand up. Others don’t make it past child stardom, some fall out of favour, while others become disillusioned by Hollywood and make their quiet exit.
Often audiences don’t really notice when a Hollywood star evaporates without a trace because there is always another to take their place. Always another leading man or lady to jam into the tiny void one might leave in their absence. However, sometimes it’s hard not to miss them. The child star you thought would continue to make it big. The girl you thought would dominate Los Angeles. The fresh-faced action star you thought would take all before him. Here’s a list of those that for whatever reason disappeared from the big screens or TV shows we were used to seeing them on.
- Josh Hartnett
There’s a name and a face that dropped unexpectedly off the radar. The dark and handsome actor looked like the man in demand earlier in his career. He put in stirring performances, starring in ‘Pearl Harbour’ (2001), ‘Black Hawk Down'(2001), ‘The Wrong Man’(2006), ‘The Black Dahlia’ (2006), and ’30 Days Of Night’ (2007). Following this he was seemingly gone without a trace. He didn’t stop acting but instead appeared in numerous low-budget, b-grade flops that apparently seldom made it to major theatres. This particularly surprising for a man of his talents but he has stated it was all of his own doing. He spoke with Time magazine, saying he wanted to focus on independent filmmaking.
“It was kind of like being in a relationship with Hollywood, and it just didn’t feel like we weren’t in the same place at the same time. I wanted something that they didn’t want to give me. So I took a break from my relationship.”
He’s back in the spotlight now, starring in popular series ‘Penny Dreadful’. It’s a welcome return for fans who are happy to see him in big productions again but he says he’s still committed to indie films.
“I’m older now, I’m wiser now. I know that if I make one or two more films in the system, I’ll be able to go off and do these smaller films and possibly give them the release they deserve.”
2. Katherine Heigl
Pre 2010 the blonde beauty was all the rage starring in a string of romantic comedies including ‘Knocked Up’ alongside Seth Rogen, ’27 Dresses’, and ‘The Ugly Truth’. From 2005-2010 she played a major role on hit TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. In the following five years there hasn’t been much at all to write home about, except the nagging reputation that she’s difficult to work with, which may be why her big roles have dried up.
3. Sean Astin
We all thought our favourites from ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy would go onto great things and be constants on our screens. Some of them have remained very successful, but alas perhaps our most loved hobbit Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin, has faded into obscurity. Since the trilogy finished Astin has been unfortunately restricted to bit-parts and small production roles where we’ll only see him if we look very hard. Perhaps the burden was too much to bare.
4. Mischa Barton
The stunning actress played Marissa Cooper in huge teen series ‘The O.C’ and we might have expected her to capitalise on that success. However she’s only appeared sporadically and garnered little attention. 2015 sees her bounce back with a lot of credits to her name but few of them look promising.
5. Ryan Gosling
You may not realise it but Ryan Gosling is on a hiatus. He hasn’t appeared in a single film for two years now and it doesn’t look like he’ll see any screen time in 2015. The actor spoke to The Guardian in 2013 about taking a break from acting.
“I’ve lost perspective on what I’m doing. I think it’s good for me to take a break and reassess why I’m doing it and how I’m doing it. And I think this is probably a good way to learn about that. I need a break from myself as much as I imagine the audience does.”
He hasn’t been dormant though. He has used his time off to write and direct his own film, the dark and beautiful fantasy film ‘Lost River’. Never fear, he’ll be returning to the big screen in 2016.
6. Hayden Christensen
It may be that only Star Wars fans will know the face or the name. Playing the huge role of Anakin Skywalker, Christensen was a sensation who rocketed to stardom. Sadly he hasn’t appeared in anything else worth noting since 2005’s ‘Revenge Of The Sith’. It’s hard to climb back to the top once you’ve fallen to the bottom and his role alongside Nicholas Cage in the deplorable ‘Outcast’ hasn’t helped matters.
7. Liv Tyler
Another to be struck by The Lord Of The Rings curse. Famous for her portrayal of Arwen in the franchise, the daughter of rock star Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) has barely been spotted since 2008’s ‘The Incredible Hulk’ when she starred alongside Edward Norton.
Are there any of your favourites that are no longer appearing in large productions?