12 Actors Whose Career Almost Ended but Was Saved by One Role
Most actors go into the business knowing that in the ever-changing industry, nothing is stable — fame, as well as job opportunities, can come and go. Some of the famous actors almost quit Hollywood for good because of the lack of work, but their luck managed to change.
Bright Side compiled a list of people whose life stories prove that things can drastically get better at any moment, no matter how hard they may seem. They all felt like giving up at some point, but their persistence was rewarded.
1. Amy Adams
Amy Adams is now a 2-time Golden Globe-winning actress, but things didn’t always go so smoothly for her at the start of her career. She considered quitting acting for good. However, after some time, she got cast in an indie movie, Junebug, which ended up getting nominated for an Academy Award, and Adams found herself back in the business.
2. Elizabeth Olsen
Elizabeth Olsen wanted to quit acting because of the way the media treated her older sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. But after landing a breakout role in the movie, Martha Marcy May Marlene, her career took off.
3. William Jackson Harper
The actor was going to permanently take a break from the business because it was burning him out, but he decided to do what he thought was going to be “one last pilot season” of a TV show, The Good Place. The show ended up lasting 4 seasons, and Harper appeared in more hit projects, like the movie Midsommar.
4. Jon Hamm
He moved to Los Angeles when he was 25 years old and gave himself 5 years to find success, otherwise, he was going to move back to his hometown. He had a few minor roles, but the moment he realized he finally was earning a living as an actor was when he worked on the movie, We Were Soldiers. Interestingly enough, he turned 30 years old right on the set of that movie, so his promise to himself was met.
5. Brie Larson
The actress had a hard time finding work and was feeling jealous of her peers who were in college, seemingly knowing where their lives were going. After she didn’t get the role on the TV show, United States of Tara, she felt like giving up completely. However, her luck changed — after the series got picked up by the network, the role of Kate, which she auditioned for, was being called for a recast. And Larson got the role this time.
6. Jenna Fischer
Jenna Fischer is known for her role in the long-running series, The Office, but before that, she struggled to break into the business for a long time. It took her 7 years of rejection to finally book the part of Pam that made her famous. During that time, she felt like she had failed and considered giving up on her dream to become a vet tech.
7. Claire Danes
The actress did not work for 2 years before she landed the role in the TV series, Homeland, which saved her career. While she was offered work during this time, she didn’t feel like she wanted to represent the characters she was asked to play. At some point, she thought that she could switch her career to interior design, but things turned around.
8. 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.
9. Monique Coleman
The actress began acting at a young age, and her career mostly consisted of minor roles, so she considered quitting acting. However, before she could do that, she was offered a part in the Disney movie, High School Musical, and that saved her career.
10. Hong Chau
Hong Chau had been in the business for 10 years before she landed her second movie, Downsizing, which was her big break. She said that she thought of quitting many times, but the faith kept her going, and it brought good results.
11. Robert Downey Jr.
He is now one of the biggest stars in the world and is most recognizable as Iron Man, but things did not go smoothly in the actor’s early career. In fact, his career almost ended had it not been for his role in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which eventually lead to him landing the famous Marvel role. Downey said that Jon Favreau saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and thought that he could do an action movie, so he cast him as Iron Man.
12. Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson rose to fame by playing the vampire, Edward Cullen, in Twilight, and his fate was close to being sealed — he wouldn’t be able to escape getting typecast and missing out on opportunities to portray different characters. However, he managed to turn his career around by doing independent, serious films, like Good Time, which ended up winning a lot of awards.
Who is your favorite actor? Have you ever had to deal with a lot of failures before you finally gained success?