Deceased James Dean Turned Down Role to Resurrect His Career (And Other Actors Who Should Stay Dead)
If the growing popularity of sex robots and CGI are any indication, we don’t need real people anymore. Tupac appeared as a hologram at a major music festival in 2012 and now James Dean is set to be digitally recreated in an upcoming film. Is nothing sacred? When something is perfect or complete, the men and women in suits should leave it alone. There are many famous figures we don’t want to see resurrected because of their inimitable legacies. On the flip side, there are some celebrities, although still with us, whose careers are better off dead—no one wants to see any of that again. Let’s highlight some actors better left out of the limelight.
Cover photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer (Getty Images)
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Lautner was a poster child for fame acquired through shirtlessness. While we’re all for the actor making a comeback with a couple of critically acclaimed performances, the shelf life on shirtless werewolves is nonexistent.
In the annals of cinematic action heroes, kung fu masters, and cops, where does Steven Seagal fall? The actor’s stone-cold demeanor and mystical kicks definitely hold a place in all of our hearts; however, the days of kicking ass with Ja Rule are behind us. His career is best confined to direct-to-DVD guilty pleasures.
She had arguably one of the most iconic child star runs of all time. All That, What I Like About You, What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man, Hairspray…the list goes on and on. Amanda Bynes’ filmography is like a glowing beacon of nostalgia for any and all Nickelodeonites. After announcing an indefinite leave from acting (which shocked everyone), Bynes is on to bigger, better, and less-corruptible things.
What happened here? Driving fast before Vin Diesel, making out with Angelina Jolie before Brad Pitt (but not Billy Bob), and hunting treasure way after Indiana Jones (but still well). Cage’s career took a turn somewhere around The Wicker Man (2006) and we haven’t seen any alcohol guzzling, duel-acting, Oscar-worthy performances since.
Freddie Prinze Jr.
As the king of youth culture in the late '90s and early aughts, Freddie Prinze Jr. was responsible for a good chunk of the high-pitched screaming that occurred in the Western hemisphere during that time period. He hasn’t done much since, other than randomly showing up in the WWE and various voice-acting roles. For the most part, it appears Prinze Jr. has hung up his heartthrob hat and called it a day (and the world is a safer place because of it).
One of Teen People magazine's "21 Hottest Stars Under 21" in 1999 is no longer. Once one of the most promising stars around, Josh Hartnett killed it in films like Black Hawk Down and Lucky Number Slevin and hasn’t really done anything since the sun set on his superstar career in 2007 (Penny Dreadful is good though). The sun will not come out tomorrow for Hartnett and his once-reserved A-list seat is no more.
We don’t think anyone is dying to see a revival of Malcolm & Eddie. While Eddie Griffin’s stand-up is admirable, his acting career is abysmal. If you’re currently worshiping your Undercover Brother circa 2002 poster, our sincerest apologies.
Anyone who tries to take on a role made iconic by none other than Jim Carrey should be commended for their courage; unless you’re Jamie Kennedy and the role was in Son of the Mask. The film tanked, his career tanked, and we never want to see that again.
Pauly Shore was less of an actor and more of an archetype in the '80s and '90s. The slacker/stoner/surfer/Cali dude he played in every movie (from Encino Man to Son in Law) was one of the reasons his career didn’t survive; you can’t be pigeon-holed. Let’s bring Shore back, sure, but as someone else. The “Weasel” has no place in cinema.
Similarly to Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan rose to the top of adolescent fame with The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Herbie: Fully loaded and Mean Girls. Her stardom proved too much to survive the transition into adulthood and her career has limped on ever since. For her own well-being, maybe she should remain out of the limelight.
All it took was The Love Guru for everyone to realize Mike Meyers’ unique brand of humor stopped working a long time ago. He will forever exist as Wayne Campbell and Austin Powers. Let’s leave Myers to the “blink and you’ll miss it” supporting roles. It’s hard to imagine a comedy headlined by the actor working in this day and age.
That shameless “Royale with cheese” reference in From Paris with Love was enough to push us over the edge. Samuel L. Jackson may have made it out of Pulp Fiction’s 1979 Chevy Nova but John Travolta never did. The most notable roles of his career remain pre-1995. He almost made a comeback with his role as Robert Shapiro in American Crime Story, but his outing as John Gotti in Gotti proved it might be over.
Yeah, well, you can’t.
You can imagine what we would’ve said here; Renée Zellweger served Bridget Jones’s Diary and Jerry Maguire well but let’s leave it at that. We would’ve said that; however, we also just saw Judy where Zellweger commands the screen in a way she never has before; her newest performance is a paradigm of tenacity— never admit defeat, unless you’re James Dean. If you’re not actually still alive, then your career is better off dead.