13 Actors Who Managed to Revive Their Careers When They Seemed to Be Over
Just because someone gets cast in a Hollywood project, movie or TV series doesn’t mean that they will keep on landing amazing roles. Sometimes they get typecast and they lose interest in the projects that appear in front of them. So, they might decide to take a break and focus on other ventures. But ultimately, the right project comes and they find themselves in the first seat once again.
1. Macaulay Culkin
The story of Macaulay Culkin is a sad one. As we all know, he was one of the most promising child stars after the Home Alone movies, My Girl (1991) and Richie Rich (1994). Unfortunately, that’s when Culkin’s career peaked, and the star went into hiding, apart from a few rare minor appearances in certain films and TV shows. But now it seems that Macaulay is feeling more confident as he is slowly but surely ramping up his acting gigs. He even starred in one of the hit show American Horror Story seasons.
Culkin is currently working on a biographical piece titled Macaulay Culkin’s Midlife Crisis, which will follow his international journey of self-discovery. We have a feeling it’s going to be quite enlightening and entertaining.
2. Julian McMahon
After captivating audiences as the charismatic half-demon, half-human Cole in the television series Charmed, the Australian actor gained immense popularity and adoration. He further showcased his talent by portraying an attractive and cynical plastic surgeon in the acclaimed show Nip/Tuck, a role that earned him a prestigious Golden Globe Award during its successful run from 2003 to 2010. However, McMahon’s career took a turn, and he found himself primarily taking on supporting roles for an extended period.
Everything changed when McMahon made a notable appearance in the television series FBI in 2019, portraying the character of the astute special agent, LaCroix. His portrayal resonated with viewers and impressed producers to such an extent that they decided to create a spin-off series titled FBI: Most Wanted, with McMahon in the lead role. The show’s success prompted its extension, and in March of 2021, the filming of its third season commenced, solidifying McMahon’s position as the central figure in this captivating crime drama.
3. Jennifer Coolidge
Coolidge started her career as a perpetual supporting actress. She’s best known for her roles in the American Pie and Legally Blonde movies in the late ’90s — early 2000s and many other similar comedies in the following years. But Jennifer’s time to shine arrived in 2021 when she landed her most successful project yet, the acclaimed TV show The White Lotus.
The show already brought Jennifer an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Critics Choice Award, making her one of the hottest Hollywood commodities of the early 2020s. We’ll keep an eye on Coolidge’s career and can’t wait to see what’s next for her.
4. Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette was actively playing various roles during the ’90s. Many people remembered her for her role in Lost Highway. In the middle of the 2000s, the actress’s career took a new turn thanks to the series, Medium, and in 2015, Arquette won several prestigious awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her work in the film, Boyhood.
But suddenly, the dizzying success was replaced by calm and forgettable roles. Arquette made a triumphant comeback just a few years ago, starring in the mini-series, Escape at Dannemora (2018), and The Act (2019). Both projects were a great success and added 2 more Golden Globe statuettes to the actress’s shelf of fame.
5. Linda Cardellini
Linda Cardellini first caught our attention with her portrayal of the intelligent and resourceful Velma in the popular Scooby-Doo movie series. Despite actively working in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years, the majority of her roles were often episodic and went unnoticed by the general public.
However, everything took a significant turn when Cardellini was cast in one of the leading roles in the acclaimed comedy-drama series on Netflix titled Dead to Me. This pivotal role allowed the actress to truly showcase her talent and even earned her a well-deserved Emmy nomination, further solidifying her status as a versatile and accomplished performer.
6. Ke Huy Quan
You were right if you watched Everything Everywhere All at Once in 2022 and thought the male lead looked familiar. Ke Huy Quan is remembered mainly for his role as Shortround in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and as one of The Goonies (1985).
Fast forward to 2023, when Quan accepted a Golden Globe for his triumphant return to Hollywood. He emotionally recapped his career by saying: “For so many years, I was afraid I had nothing more to offer.” We’re happy he was wrong. Welcome back!
7. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser was a real star in the ’90s and ’00s. In 1997, the actor played the main hero in the parody of the cartoon about Tarzan, George of the Jungle, and people loved it. After that, he took part in The Mummy trilogy that brought Fraser even bigger popularity. Despite these bright roles, at some point, Fraser disappeared from the big screen.
But over the past few years, the actor has once again been delighting fans with bright roles. In 2019, he played Robotman in Doom Patrol, and in 2021, No Sudden Move, starring Fraser, will be released. In this project, the actor will be working together with many super-famous celebrities.
8. Christian Slater
Christian Slater embarked on his acting journey at a young age, showcasing his talent from the start. His breakthrough came with a remarkable performance as a young monk in the film The Name of the Rose. Subsequently, he solidified his presence in Hollywood through notable roles in the blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the crime drama True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino. However, following his success in the ’90s, Slater experienced a period of career decline, appearing in less prominent films and television shows.
However, everything took a transformative turn in 2015 with the release of the acclaimed series Mr. Robot. Slater captivated audiences with his portrayal of the enigmatic hacker character named Mr. Robot, which earned him his first Golden Globe Award. This marked a significant resurgence in Slater’s career, reaffirming his exceptional talent and cementing his place in the industry.
9. Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate is great at comedic roles, which is why it’s no surprise she got famous in this type of part. The breakthrough in her career was with the hit sitcom, Married... with Children, where Applegate continued to film from 1987 to 1997. After that, she acted in The Sweetest Thing and View from the Top, as well as the bright portrayal of Amy, Rachel’s sister in the cult series, Friends. The actress even got an Emmy Award for this role.
However, after a wave of success in the ’90s and early 2000s, more and more monotonous and unremarkable projects started to appear in Applegate’s filmography. It seemed that her career could not be saved. However, the actress made everyone talk about her again after the release of Dead to Me. Working on the project revealed her true acting potential and earned her nominations for both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.
10. Winona Ryder
Dubbed the ’90s “It Girl,” Winona Ryder starred in a handful of blockbuster films, such as Beetle Juice and Edward Scissorhands. But her shine quickly faded when Ryder got involved in a scandal, which prompted her to take a big break from Hollywood. She made her long-awaited comeback by starring as an aging ballerina in Black Swan and most recently as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things, which was wildly successful.
11. Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Lyonne embarked on her acting career at a remarkably young age, making her mark in the film industry at just 16 with her appearance in Woody Allen’s film, Everyone Says I Love You. Soon after, she gained widespread recognition for her memorable role as Jessica in the comedy hit, American Pie. While she also contributed to other notable projects, Lyonne felt her true potential remained untapped.
However, everything changed when the highly acclaimed series Orange Is the New Black premiered in 2013. This role catapulted Lyonne back into the spotlight, rekindling the level of fame she had experienced earlier in her career. In 2019, she solidified her success with the remarkable performance in the project Russian Doll. Lyonne’s portrayal resonated deeply with both viewers and critics alike, resulting in the show earning an impressive 12 Emmy nominations.
12. Freddie Highmore
Freddie Highmore started to act in movies at the age of 7. Audiences remember this adorable child for his role as the main character in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which he played at the age of 13. His work in Luc Besson’s fantasy trilogy, Arthur and the Invisibles, was a huge success as well.
Highmore never stopped participating in various projects, but people started talking about him again only in 2013 when he played the main character in the Bates Motel drama series. However, the real love for the actor was restored thanks to his role as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism, in The Good Doctor. This work brought the 25-year-old actor a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics’ Choice Television Award.
13. Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin was born to a parent who was also an actor, but that didn’t guarantee him a successful career. In fact, he was mostly unemployed for 22 years, doing mediocre and unknown roles every now and then. However, everything changed when he booked the role of Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy. At first, he wasn’t even credited for his work, but later on, he became a huge part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Many actors have changed a lot since the beginning of their career and they now look completely different that what we remember. And some of them have had such legendary careers that we never lost touch with them.