10 Up-And-Coming Actors Who Never Quite Made It

Taylor Kitsch 'come here' GIF(via)

Since it’s Taylor Kitsch‘s birthday today, I’ve been celebrating the same way I always have — by thinking about Taylor Kitsch. All day long. And the thing I’ve been thinking about the most is why he isn’t around more. A couple years ago, everyone was promising that he was The Next Big Thing, about to blow up like crazy and hit the A-List like a ton of bricks.

But he just…never did. Not sure why. He still does projects and stuff, and has a devoted fan base who I’m sure will have a big problem with me saying he hasn’t made it, but he really hasn’t. He was so hyped up that it’s like we set up a whole party for him, but he never quite showed up to it. I guess it’s possible that he’s still on his way, but some of these streamers are getting pretty droopy, y’know? And I have absolutely no doubt that some of the rest of the up-and-comers polished off his cake a long time ago.

Because that’s right! There are more people just like Taylor out there! And I made a list of nine of them. A whole variety of people who never made it as big as everyone expected. Just a bunch of up-and-comers who never actually up and came.

1. Taylor Kitsch

Tim Riggins, Taylor Kitsch GIF

Taylor seemed poised to take the world by storm after Friday Night Lightsbut we’re a few years past the finale now, and I’ve yet to really hear any thunder or see any lightning.

2. Gerard Butler

Gerard Butler Serious

I feel like the world is just ticking off genres one by one that Gerard Butler can’t pull off. For a while he was in every romcom, but then we realized he might be too dickish to be really convincing. And then he was in every high-octane action movie, but he’s not focused enough to be believable as a spy. How many more times do we have to do this before we acknowledge that 300 was a one-time thing?

3. Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke GIF


Kind of similarly to Gerard Butler, I feel like Mickey was in the right place at the right time for The Wrestlerand we should probably stop pretending that his next hit is right around the corner.

4. Chris Evans

Chris Evans The Avengers Captain America Steve Rogers love interest Anna Kendrick Imogen Poots Felicity Jones

Poor Chris! It’s so hard to get A-List famous these days that even after starring in multiple major franchises as Captain America, he’s still only sloppy seconds when it comes time to fill in for Andrew Garfield last minute at the Oscars. The guy wasn’t even invited. How messed up is that?

5. Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett GIF


Remember Josh? He was in every movie during the 90s and early 2000s, and now he has gone away to the same farm as all your childhood pets, I guess? Where is this guy? I was promised a lifetime of smolder.

6. Chace Crawford

Chace Crawford crying GIF


Just proof that a gorgeous face and starring on way too many seasons of Gossip Girl still doesn’t guarantee you a career! The only role I can think of that he might’ve been right for recently is in Fifty Shades Of Greyand we all know how that turned out.

7. Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer confused GIF


A prime example of someone whose name I have to look up EVERY time I see him in a movie. I always recognize it, from all the times I’ve been told he’s gonna be the Next Big Thing, but somehow it never quite sticks.

8. Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill training for Man Of Steel National Guard commercial June 2013

Even with Man Of Steel, a film that should have theoretically ensured his celebrity status, Henry was having such trouble gaining traction that he had to fake-date Kaley Cuoco. And we all know how that turned out. Better luck next time, buddy! I think Nina Dobrev is still available!

9. Cuba Gooding, Jr.

cuba gooding jr show me the money

With a movie like Jerry Maguire under his belt, I would’ve expected Cuba to make it huge. But instead he just made it into…commercials in 2014 that still draw heavily on his 1996 role. Sucks, bro.

10. Eric Bana

Eric Bana GIF 2 (via)

Man, it seriously does suck for the leads in new superhero franchises. Eric’s done a lot of main roles in huge movies, but he’s still not anywhere close to A-List. Which is a shame, because out of all the people on this list, I think he most deserves to be there.

(Sorry Taylor. Happy birthday, though!)

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      What happened to Josh Hartnett?!? Does he still do movies?
      I’d also throw Shane West into this mix — I know he was on Nikita and everything but he had a lot of promise that never quite went anywhere.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Oh my god, Shane West is a genius addition.

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        Poor Shane West, though. :(

      • StarNerd

        He was in ER for a bit, oh god I just remembered how long it’s been since ER ended. You’re right, poor Shane West.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Hollywood cries for Shane West.

      • elle

        Josh Hartnett is actually going to be in Showtimes Penny Dreadful. It looks awesome. But he did just straight up disappear for a long time.

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        Oh! Thanks for the info. Had no idea. Go, Josh! I missed his pretty face…

      • Guest

        Josh Hartnett and Eva Green will be getting their smolder on in Penny Dreadful next month.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      Chace, Josh and TAYLOR can all marry me asap. So funny, Pearl Harbor was on TV sunday and I was just thinking, man, josh hartnett really fell off the face of hollywood

      • J_Doe5686

        I know, right! Josh was a hot ticket in Hollywood and all of the sudden stopped working. Whatever happened to him?

      • Jenni

        I blame Pearl Harbor having 10 false endings for Josh’s career death. Every time I thought it was over, a new plot started.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        That shall be their next career move! All three of them being your brother husbands!

    • J_Doe5686

      Is Josh Harnett still alive? I remember him from the early 00s. So hot. And all of a sudden, it stopped, disappeared, dropped from the face of the earth!

    • elle

      I have never understood why Eric Bana isn’t a bigger star. Unlike some people on this list he can actually act and he is ridiculously good looking. Another for the list is Armie Hammer. Lone Ranger was his big breakout and it fizzled, but I really like him so I hope he gets another break.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I was thinking about Armie as well, right after I finished the list! He was so great in Social Network, but Lone Ranger was a big old whomp whomp.

      • Maddie

        he is so ridiculously good looking.

    • guest

      Do you remember when Gerard Butler was Phantom? I think he could’ve gone the broadway/musical route and have been famous!! Instead he just looks like a dick in everything he’s done since….

      Loved reading this list! Make a female version, please?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I think I will!

        And Larissa Oleynik will be right at the top!

      • guest

        That is perfect! I was like, “Who is that?” and after I Googled her i thought, “Oh yeah! What happened to her??”

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        She vanished!

      • guest

        I loved the Secret World of Alex Mack but when I try to explain it to people, they think I’m crazy. “You remember! The nineties show…about a teenager…who is a detective… and turns into a silver blob…No? You don’t remember that?”

      • guest

        And Alexis Bledel… I loved Gilmore Girls and I think she’s been in like one movie since…..

      • Alexis Rhiannon


      • http://jessgoodwin.tumblr.com/ Jess

        I would have loved to see him as Javert in Les Miserables.

      • itpainsme2say

        yes o my gosh why didn’t you cast that movie

      • http://jessgoodwin.tumblr.com/ Jess

        Trust me, I tried.

      • guest

        That is exactly what my brother-in-law and I decided after we watched Les Mis!!! We were trying to think WHO ELSE could’ve done Russell Crowe’s job that had the similar star power. Then that movie would’ve been perfection- almost.

      • Sheila Lopez

        Gerard Butler’s performance as the Phantom was pretty much panned. He sounds good in the movie, until you compare him to people who played the Phantom on stage (like my favorite, Colm Wilkinson) and then he sounds like a cat going through puberty.

      • guest

        But let’s be real… he would’ve been better than Russell… He sounded crappy without even comparison. Just bad.

    • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

      Happy birthday Riggins!

      Alex Pettyfer became known as a diva almost as soon as his name was being spelled right in the media: http://gawker.com/5756228/meet-hollywoods-newest-diva-alex-pettyfer

    • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

      Chris Evans is deliciousness in a skin tight stars and stripes suit, and say that five times fast.

    • kingdom2120

      Levi . if you think Harry `s st0rry is great… last saturday I got GMC after making $8857 this-last/4 weeks and would you believe, 10 grand last munth . this is actually the best work Ive had . I started this five months/ago and almost straight away started bringin home minimum $76 p/h . hop over to this site .>>>>


    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Out of all these guys, I’ve heard of maybe only 3.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        My point exactly!

    • EJB

      Eric Bana…..mmmmmm….. he’s my fav. I like to think it’s because he doesn’t want to be an A-lister. He’s to busy being an awesome dad and husband and racing cars.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        That’s selfish! I want more of him!

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    • itpainsme2say

      Alex flopped because his three BIG TEEN MOVIES didn’t do so well. I loved two of them though I am number four (I think you should put the chick who played six on the girl list) and Beastly were fun but the orphan spy one was blugh

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        What’s her name?

      • itpainsme2say

        I can’t remember but she’s australian and she was the lead in that sorcerers apprentice movie

      • Isabelle

        Tessa Palmer?

      • itpainsme2say

        Maybe? She was also in that zombie movie(she was the Julie to JLaw’s boyfriend’s R) the name of which I also can’t remember.

    • Susie

      You forgot Channing Tatum, very boring actor. Gerry Butler does not deserve this, his ability to act is alway underrated and I have seen him turn in some performances that are poignant such as One More Kiss, Dear Frankie, Machine Gun Preacher. I think it is often the director to blame, the script, messing with the film by producers with wanting to make it sellable messed up movies too. Rom-coms were only 2 or 3 and Bounty Hunter stunk, but made $.

    • popculturequeen328

      I think you’re wrong about Gerard Butler. He has a very large fan base and he’s a good actor. I happen to think he has a very wide range and can play a variety of different roles. Check out a movie called “Dear Frankie. ” It’s a beautiful performance. I also think he was great in “Machine Gun Preacher.” He did Shakespeare in the movie “Coriolanus” and did an excellent job. In “Chasing Mavericks” he gave a very understated performance as surfer Frosty Hensen, but that’s what made it so good. Don’t write Gerard Butler off. I think we haven’t seen the best of him.

      • Kathy

        I think Gerard Butler would be a great James Bond. Let’s start a campaign!

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        What have I done????

    • Stacey

      I agree about Taylor. However, I think he is purposely choosing smaller roles, and voluntarily staying out of the limelight. I don’t mean he is choosing not to be a huge star, but I think he chose to take a big step back when John Carter and Battleship failed in such an epic way, and is going a more indie route. I have watched several interviews with Taylor, and I personally think he is too laid back to be comfortable being a huge star.
      I don’t ever remember anyone claiming Eric Bana was supposed to be a mega star.

      Wasn’t Mickey Rourke a huge star back in the day? Not sure he belongs on this list. I think he basically had a small comeback, and that was that. I’m not sure anyone really expected anything from him after that….

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