Believe it or not, iconic roles can ruin careers too. 6 actors and the roles that were their undoing.
Playing iconic characters that are loved by audiences and critics alike should be considered a boon in the entertainment industry. But for the careers of the actors on this list, these roles were nothing but a curse. Let’s take a look at who these actors are and the characters that ruined their careers.
An iconic role in a film or a TV series in every actor’s career that is remembered for generations to come is the stuff dreams are made of. After all, such opportunities only come once in a lifetime and can propel an actor into superstardom. But what if I told you that some of your favourite characters ruined the careers of the actors who played them on screen.
These roles were so iconic that the audiences never really managed to accept these actors in any other roles. Not that these actors were bad at playing any other characters, but their legendary onscreen personas just never left their shadow. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at these unlucky few.
1. David Schwimmer
Before David Schwimmer made a winning comeback as Robert Kardashian in the critically acclaimed FX series ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson’, he had spent many years reeling under the presence of his iconic character Ross Geller. Schwimmer himself even acknowledges the damage ‘Friends’ did to his career. In August 2016, he told “The Hollywood Reporter” that his newfound fame made him want to crawl under a rock, not pursue more work.
While everyone else from the show didn’t end up having extremely successful careers outside of the show either, maybe Jennifer Aniston is an exception, David was the most adversely affected by the iconic status of his character. Some would even argue that among the bunch of friends, without intending to undermine the talents of the five others, David was probably the most gifted performer.
But post his stint on ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ he is back and, as fans, we are very happy. Maybe, like his iconic character, he just didn’t realize that he was on a break.
2. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker, or SJP for short as she is fondly called, had a very successful film career before ‘Sex and the City’ with films like as ‘L.A. Story’, ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’, ‘Ed Wood’, ‘Mars Attacks!’, and ‘Hocus Pocus’. She even had a successful stint with Broadway prior to the runaway hit series.
But the truth that no one can deny is that Carrie Bradshaw from ‘Sex and the City’ remains to be her most iconic character and, sadly, post ‘Sex and the City’, nothing else worked for SJP. Though she famously said that she would never return to television once ‘Sex and the City’ wrapped, her unsuccessful stint at the big screen brought her back to the small screen with HBO’s ‘Divorce’. What do we learn from this? Just, never say never!
3. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar is a unique case under this category. Her most successful years, outside of television and on the big screen, coincided with her stint as Buffy Summer’s, the kickass vampire slayer, and probably one of the best small-screen characters ever.
Her successful films like ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ coincided with her time as Buffy.
But it was her career post the show that didn’t really go as planned, at least when it comes to being an actor on the big screen. Otherwise, in her life, she is doing extremely well, with a monthly subscription service offering baking boxes, called Foodstirs, which she launched in 2015. And, in 2017, she also published her first cookbook.
4. Jason Alexander
Well, till date loyal fans of ‘Seinfeld‘ will tell you that anything that came in the same genre, post the legendary show, drew some inspiration from it. Now imagine being the part of the core team of actors of such a benchmark show, writing your name high up in the list of the most loved and iconic characters, only to see your career nosedive in the end.
Well, this is what happened with Jason Alexander who played George Costanza in the television series ‘Seinfeld’, for which he was nominated for seven consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.
How badly the character ruined his career you ask? Well, apparently, he now plays poker, a lot of it, including televised tournaments. And he even donates his winnings to charity. So maybe not career-wise but he is winning at life.
5. Jim Caviezel
In the history of films and television, there have been or are characters from books, comics, real life, or mythological stories, taking the role of which can be a risk to an actor’s career. But if are going to play Jesus Christ, and I don’t mean it as an expression, but the Lord Himself, and play Him successfully, then only God can help you with the rest of your career.
And, sadly, when it came to Jim Caviezel, God didn’t. I mean, even during filming, Jim was struck by lightning not once, but twice. But Caviezel fought through it, and through bouts of hypothermia and pneumonia.
Now whether you call it God giving you signals to quit or God helping you portray the role of a lifetime, depends which side your faith leans on. But the truth is that after being widely recognized as the face of Jesus Christ, Jim Caviezel found it hard to bag any other roles.
6. Linda Blair
While one was denied opportunities for playing God successfully, the last one on our list was rejected for playing evil at its scariest best. Linda Blair’s possessed act as Regan MacNeil in the 1973 classic ‘The Exorcist’ puts both, the performance and the film, at the top of the best horror film acts ever.
The then 13-year-old Linda was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Oscars for her spine-chilling performance while she won a Golden Globe for the same. But, her greatest performance ever and probably the scariest in horror-film history also turned out to be the one that scared away potential opportunities.
After a few failed remakes of ‘The Exorcist’ and an ill-advised spoof of the same, Linda Blair faded into obscurity. Well, that’s a scary way for a potentially great career to end.
If you have any other actors whose careers were ruined by an iconic role, please do let us know in the comments section below.